#1
The Challenge in prayers

Part 1- Elia and the false prophets:
One of the kings of the Children of Israel, called Ahab, married a woman from the idolaters. God in the Torah prohibited them from marrying the idolatresses; therefore this idolatress had control over her husband: King Ahab, and caused him to serve her idol: the Baal or Baalim. He commanded his people to worship Baal. The worship of Baalim then prevailed among people.

Then there was only one prophet of God: Prophet Elia (or Elijah); while the prophets of Baal (: the religious leaders inviting people to worship this idol) were about 450.

See the story of this "challenge in prayer" in the First Book of Kings: chapter 18:

21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, "How long halt you between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word."
22 Then said Elijah to the people, "I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men."
23 "Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:"
24 And call you on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answers by fire, let him be God." And all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken."
25 And Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for you are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under."
26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us." But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, "Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he is sleeping, and must be awaked."
28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them……….
36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word."
37 "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their heart back again."
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, "The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, he is the God."
40 And Elijah said to them, "Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape." And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, "Get up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain."………
45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain…. "
http://quranandhebrewbible.t35.com/english2.htm#intended_to_kill_Prophet_Elia_Elijah

Part 2- Prophet Mohammed and the Christians of Najran:
Once a delegate of the Christians of Najran came to the city of Medina where Prophet Mohammed where; in order to question or inquire about the new prophet: Mohammed.
They wrangled with the believers, and most of their wrangling was about Jesus Christ. They said he was without father, then he should be the son of God. They were answered that Jesus in this respect is like Adam whom God created without father and mother.
They went on in their dispute for few days; then these ayat 3: 59-61 weres revealed:
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَى عِندَ اللّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثِمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ . الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ فَلاَ تَكُن مِّن الْمُمْتَرِينَ . فَمَنْ حَآجَّكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْاْ نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءنَا وَأَبْنَاءكُمْ وَنِسَاءنَا وَنِسَاءكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَةُ اللّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ
The explanation:
(To God, the likeness of Jesus is as the likeness of Adam, whom He created from earth, then said to him: "Be!" and he was [as God willed.]

[What We have told you, Mohammed, about Jesus] is the truth from your Lord; so have no doubt [about that.]

Whoso [of them] wrangles with you [Mohammed] concerning the [matter of Jesus], now after you have been [fully] acquainted [concerning that],

say [to them]: "Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves:

then let us supplicate [God] invoking the curse of God on those [among us] that are liars.")

When these ayat of the Quran were revealed, the Christian delegate discussed the matter among themselves: would they accept the challenge with Mohammed, or not; and they were afraid lest his prayer against them might be accepted,

or in case he was not a true prophet, and they were correct in their belief about the Trinity, that Jesus was God Himself, and that the Christ was the son of God; then they had to challenge with him, and in such case God might answer their prayer against him and prove they were correct and truthful in their doctrine.

They reached to an agreement among themselves: if Mohammed is truthful and he is a true prophet of God, then he will be confident in himself and in his Lord and he believes surely that he is a prophet of God –– then he will bring with him, in this contest, his nearest family members, but if he was a liar, then he would bring some of the rest of believers and exclude his family members; because he would then fear lest God's wrath should be against them.

Then when they went to the contest, they saw Prophet Mohammed bring his daughter Fatima Zahra, his cousin Ali: the husband of his daughter (:his son in law, as European call him) and his grandsons: Hassan and Hussein.

Therefore, they were afraid from challenging him in praying God, and they retreated without accepting the challenge.

Some of them returned to the Medina city and converted, because of being certain then that Prophet Mohammed was truthful.

eanassir
http://quranandhebrewbible.t35.com