6. Tijani presents al Khu’i’s defence of the Shia on the issue of distortion
Tijani’s discussion continues with al Sayed al Khu’i:
Then he turned to me and said, “Have you read the Qur’an?” I answered, “I could recite half of it by heart before I was ten.” He said, “Do you know that all the Islamic groups, regardless of their sects agree on the Holy Qur’an, for our Qur’an is the same as yours?” I said, “Yes I know that.” He then said, “Have you not read the words of Allah, praise be to Him the Sublime:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُوْلٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ
Muhammad is not but a Messenger. (Other) Messengers have passed on before him.
مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوْلُ اللّٰهِ وَالَّذِيْنَ مَعَه أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers.
مَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّنْ رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ رَّسُوْلَ اللّٰهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّيْنَ
Muhammad is not the father of (any) one of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah and seal (i.e., last) of the Prophets.
I said, “Yes I know all these Qur’anic verses.” He said, “Where is Ali then? If our Qur’an says that Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the Messenger of Allah, so where did this lie come from?”
All statements which claim that the Qur’an is not distorted is certainly welcome. Similarly the Mushaf from which the Shia recite is not different from that which is recited by the Ahlus Sunnah. However, there is no denying the fact that Twelver Shia authorities have espoused a belief of corruption in the Qur’an which we continue to recite today. The claim that the Qur’an was distorted by the Sahabah has been a doctrine found in many of the most authoritative and reliable Shia books. Scholars in the early and later period have declared that the Qur’an that was revealed to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his sons.
The early authority in Tafsir, ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim al Qummi, writes in his Tafsir al Qummi:
The Qur’an has within it the Nasikh (abrogating verse) and the Mansukh (abrogated verse), and it has within it the Muhkam (clear) verse and the Mutashabih (ambiguous) verse, and it has within it the ‘Am (general) verse and the Khas (specific) verse, and within it is the delayed and the advanced, and within it is the independent and the combined, and within it is the letter in place of another letter, and it contains other than what Allah revealed.
Then he forwards some examples of what he considers as ‘other than what Allah revealed’.
He cites the verse:
كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُوْنَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِاللّٰهِ
You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.
Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) said (as they claim), “Did the reciter of this verse (You are the best nation) kill Amir al Mu’minin, and Hassan and Hussain?”
It was said to him, “How was it revealed, O son of the Messenger?”
He said, “It was revealed as…
كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أئمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ
You are the best of Imams produced (as an example) for mankind.
Do you not know praise for them at the end of the verse?
تَأْمُرُوْنَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِاللّٰهِ
You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.”
Similar to it is when a verse was recited to Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq):
وَالَّذِينَ يَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَّاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِيْنَ إِمَامًا
And those who say, “Our Lord! grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us a leader (i.e. example) for the righteous.”
It was said to him, “O son of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, how did it descend?”
He said, “It descended as…
الَّذِيْنَ يَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَّاجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنَ الْمُتَّقِيْنَ إِمَامًا
And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make for us from the righteous a leader.”
لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِنْۢ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِه يَحْفَظُوْنَهمِنْ أَمْرِ اللّٰهِ
For him (i.e. each one) are successive (angels) before and behind him who protect him by (literally: from) the decree of Allah.
Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) said, “How can something be protected from the decree of Allah? And how can the Mu’aqqib (literally: pursuer) be in front of him?”
It was said to him, “how was it revealed, O son of the Messenger?”
He said, “It descended as…
لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّنْ خَلْفِه وَ رَقِيْبٌ مِّنْۢ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ يَحْفَظُوْنَهمِنْ أَمْرِ اللّٰهِ
He has pursues (angels) from behind him and a guard from in front of him who protect him from the decree of Allah.”
And there are many examples like this!
Then he elaborates further, saying, “As for what distorted, it is like the words of Allah:
لٰكِنِ اللّٰهُ يَشْهَدُ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكَ – في علي– أَنْزَلَهبِعِلْمِه وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ يَشْهَدُوْنَ
But Allah bears witness to that which He has revealed to you—concerning ‘Ali—He has sent it down with His knowledge.
And the verse:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُوْلُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ – في علي – وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ
O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you—concerning ‘Ali—and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message.
And the verse:
إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا وَظَلَمُوْا –آل محمد حقهم – لَمْ يَكُنِ اللّٰهُ لِيَغْفِرَ
Indeed, those who disbelieve and commit wrong (or injustice)—against the family of Muhammad—never will Allah forgive them.
And the verse:
وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِيْنَ ظَلَمُوْا – آل محمد حقهم – أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَّنْقَلِبُوْنَ
And those who have wronged—the family of Muhammad—are going to know to what (kind of) return they will be returned.
And the verse:
وَلَوْ تَرَى – الذين ظلموا آل محمد – فِيْ غَمَرَاتِ الْمَوْتِ
And if you could but see those—who wrong the family of Muhammad—in the overwhelming pangs of death.
And there are many examples like this which we will mention in the appropriate place!
It is odd that al Khu’i ratifies al Qummi as a transmitter of sacred knowledge and testifies to his high religious status. He says about him:
And we declare all of ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim al Qummi’s teachers trustworthy, all of those from whom he narrates in his Tafsir with a chain which leads to one of the infallibles.
The irony is that Maqbul Jadid, a Shia author, in his book Tuhfat al ‘Awamm, describes an invocation called “the prayer (against) the two idols of the Quraysh,” which refers to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. These are the words which form part of that ‘prayer’:
And curse the two idols of the Quraysh; who oppose your command; and distort your book; O Allah! Curse them with every verse they distorted!
His books alleges to only quote material which meets the criteria of acceptance by six of their scholars, amongst them al Khu’i.If al Khu’i accepts this narration it means that he has indirectly acknowledged some distortion in the Qur’an.
Muhammad al ‘Ayyashi, one of their reputable scholars in the field of Tafsir, relates in his Tafsir:
From Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq), he said, “If the Qur’an was recited the way it was revealed you would find us named therein!”
Al Fayd al Kashani, he too is of their senior scholars, says in his Tafsir al Safi:
I say: What is learnt from all of these reports and other than them from the Ahlul Bayt is that the Qur’an which is in front of us is not in the complete form as it was revealed to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rather, in it is what is opposite to what Allah revealed and in it is what has been changed and distorted. Indeed, many things have been erased from it such as ‘Ali’s name at many places, and the words, “the family of Muhammad,” at more than one place, and the names of the munafiqin at its places, and other than the aforementioned. Also, it is not in the sequence desired by Allah and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Al Kulayni confirms the existence of a Mushaf other than the copy we are familiar with. He narrates a lengthy narration from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq), a portion of which is a s follows:
Then he said, “And indeed, with us is the Mushaf of Fatimah. And what will make them realise what the Mushaf of Fatimah is?”
I asked, “What is the Mushaf of Fatimah?”
He said, “A Mushaf similar to this Qur’an of yours (but) three times (greater). By Allah! There is not a single letter of it in your Qur’an!”
This is further emphasised in what al Kulayni narrates elsewhere:
Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) said, “Indeed, the Qur’an that Jibril brought to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam contains seventeen thousand verses.”
Where is this Mushaf? Who will bring it? Al Saffar has the answer in his book Basa’ir al Darajat under the chapter, “The Imams possess the entire Qur’an revealed to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” He narrates from Jabir (al Ju’fi):
From Abu Jafar (al Baqir) that he said, “No person is able to say that he has compiled the entire Qur’an, the apparent and the hidden, besides the successors.”
(Jabir also said) I heard Abu Jafar (al Baqir) saying, “No person is able to say that he has gathered the entire Qur’an as Allah revealed it except a liar. No one besides ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and the Imams who succeeded him have gathered it and memorised it as Allah revealed it.”
Al Tabarsi provides greater clarity, without being ambiguous in any way, in his book al Ihtijaj. He presents a narration from Abu Dhar, who allegedly said:
When the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away, ‘Ali documented the Qur’an, and brought it to the Muhajirin and the Ansar. He presented it to them in accordance with the bequest of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When Abu Bakr opened it, their ignominies appeared on the first page, then ‘Umar jumped and said, “O ‘Ali take it back, and we have no need of it.” He then took it and departed. Thereafter he called for Zaid ibn Thabit who was a great Qari of the Qur’an, and ‘Umar said to him, “Indeed ‘Ali came to us with a copy of Qur’an, in it is the ignominies of the Muhajirin and the Ansar, we want you to document the Qur’an for us, together with omitting any ignominy and degradation of the Muhajirin and the Ansar,” and Zaid agreed to that.
Thereafter he said, “When I am done with the documentation of the Qur’an in the manner that you asked me to do, and ‘Ali exposes what he documented, would not your effort be in vain?”
‘Umar enquired, “What would be the solution then?”
Zaid replied, “You know better.”
‘Umar said, “The only solution is to kill him to become free of him.”
Then he plotted that Khalid ibn al Walid should kill him, but he failed to do so. So when ‘Umar was appointed as Khalifah, he asked ‘Ali to hand the Qur’an over to them, so that they could distort it amongst themselves. He said, “O Abu al Hassan if you brought the Mushaf to Abu Bakr, bring it to us as well so that we may agree upon it.”
‘Ali said, “Never! That is impossible, I only brought it to Abu Bakr as a proof against you, so that you do not say on the Day of Judgment, ‘We were unmindful about this,’ nor say, ‘You did not show it to us.’ Indeed the Qur’an that is with me none can touch it except the pure and the successors from my sons.”
‘Umar said, “Is the time of its exposition known?”
‘Ali said, “Yes, when my son, al Qa’im, comes, he will expose it and take it to the people and the Sunnah will be established through it.”
Then he forwards a lengthy narration explaining that there are two Qur’ans and not one. This is a portion of it:
Then, when ‘Ali saw their betrayal and their lack of trustworthiness he remained at home and focused his attention upon compiling and collecting the Qur’an and he did not leave until he collected all of it. Therefore, he wrote in the manner it was revealed including the Nasikh and the Mansukh.
Then Abu Bakr summoned him, “Come out of your house and give your pledge!”
‘Ali sent message to him, “I am busy. Indeed, I took an oath that I would not get dressed except for the salah until I have compiled the Qur’an and gathered it.”
Then he gathered it in a garment and sealed it and went to the people and they were gathered with Abu Bakr in the Masjid of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he yelled out at the pitch of his voice, “O people! I have been busy since the time the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away, (first) with his ghusl, then with the Qur’an until I gathered all of it in this garment. There is not a verse in it except that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught it to me and taught me its meaning!”
They said, “We have no need for it. We have something similar to it!”
Therefore, there is a Qur’an belonging to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu which is different to our Qur’an. Al Tabarsi is not the only one to openly state this. Rather, al Kulayni and al Saffar confirm it as well. The narration appears by way of Salim ibn Salamah:
A man read to Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) and I heard him reciting letters different to what the people recite. Abu ‘Abdullah said, “Quiet, quiet! Refrain from this recital! Recite the way the people recite until al Qa’im appears. When he appears, then recite the Qur’an in its correct manner!”
Then he took out the Mushaf which ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam wrote and said, “‘Ali brought it to the people when he completed its collection and writing and said to them, ‘This is the Book of Allah as Allah revealed it to Muhammad and I have gathered it between these two covers!”
They said, “We have with us a comprehensive Mushaf and in it is the Qur’an. We have no need for it!”
He said, “You will not see it after today! My duty was only to inform you about it when I gathered it so that you could read it!”
The question that now arises: Is al Sayed al Khu’i any different from Tijani when it comes to misrepresentation?
Then al Khu’i says:
The Shia and the Sunnis only differ on issues regarding jurisprudence, in the same way that the different schools of jurisprudence in the Sunni school differ among each other; as Malik did not agree all the way with Abu Hanifah who himself did not agree all the way with al Shafii … and so on!
If al Khu’i was telling the truth then Tijani’s book would be an exercise in futility. Does Malik differ with Abu Hanifah about the superiority of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu over the rest of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum? Does Ahmed differ with al Shafi’i about the legitimacy of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate? Does Abu Hanifah differ with al Shafi’i about the categorisation of the Sahabah? Is al Shafi’is view that all the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are trustworthy while Abu Hanifah says that the munafiqin are a category of people among the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum? Do they differ with one another about whether one ought to hold on to the Sunnah, or whether one ought to discard the Sunnah and hold on to selected members from the Ahlul Bayt and only accept what people like Zurarah and Jabir al Ju’fi relate from them?
Tijani’s book is a more honest refutation of al Sayed al Khu’i’s responses than an enlightening alternative perspective of both traditions.
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 144.
 Surah al Fath: 29.
 Surah al Ahzab: 40.
 Then I was guided, p. 37.
 Tafsir al Qummi,vol. 1, p. 17, the introduction of the book.
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 11.
 Surah al Furqan: 74.
 Surah al Ra’d: 11.
 Tafsir al Qummi, vol. 1, p. 22-23.
 Surah al Nisa’: 166.
 Surah al Ma’idah: 67.
 Surah al Nisa’: 168.
 Surah al Shu’ara’: 227.
 Surah al An’am: 93.
 Tafsir al Qummi, vol. 1, p. 23.
 Mu’jam Rijal al Hadith by Abu al Qasim al Khu’i, vol. 1, p. 63.
 Their Imam Muhammad Agha Buzruk mentions in his book al Dhari’ah ila Tasanif al Shia that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were the two intended with the words, “the two idols of the Quraysh.”vol. 1, p. 9, published by al Najaf. Al Fayd al Kashani in Qurrat al ‘Uyun, p. 326, published by Dar al Kitab al Libnani.
 Tuhfah al ‘Awamm Maqbul Jadid by Manzur Hussain, p. 422.
 Refer to the cover of the book.
 Tafsir al ‘Ayashi, the introduction, p. 25.
 Tafsir al Safi, vol. 1, p. 44.
 Al Usul min al Kafi, vol. 1, p. 186, Kitab al Hujjah.
 Al Usul min al Kafi, vol. 2, p. 463, Kitab Fadl al Qur’an, Bab al Nawadir.
 Basa’ir al Darajat, p. 191.
 Al Ihtijaj by al Tabarsi, vol. 1, p. 155-156.
 Ibid, vol. 1, p. 82.
 Al Usul min al Kafi, vol. 2, p. 462-463, Kitab Fada’il al Qur’an; Also, Basa’ir al Darajat, p. 191-192.
 Then I was guided, p. 38.Back to top