Al-Khurasani and the Distortion of the Qur’an

Al-Nuri and the Distortion of the Qur’an
May 17, 2016
`Abd al-Latif al-Kazarani
May 17, 2016

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Al Khurasani and the Distortion of the Qur’an


Al Khurasani[1] says in his book Bayan al Sa’adah fi Maqamat al ‘Ibadah (vol. 1 pg. 12):


Know well that there are numerous and widespread narrations from the pure Imams regarding the occurrence of addition, omission and distortion in it (the Qur’an), to the extent that virtually no doubt can be cast in attributing it (these narrations) to any of them. As for the interpretation of many regarding the fact that addition, omission and interpolation are only found in the interpretation and understanding of the Qur’an, and not in the words of the Qur’an, it is farfetched. It is also inappropriate for the people of perfection to address the general people thus (in vague, ambivalent terms) since the people of perfection ought to communicate what is in the best interest of the masses and the elite; and to divert the meaning from the apparent to the inferred without any convincing reason. As for what they assume that they inferred from the apparent meaning on account of the Qur’an having been documented by them in the time of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and that they memorised it and taught it, and the Sahabah being extremely meticulous in preserving it from distortion and interpolation to such an extent that they determined precisely the different readings of the Qurra’ and the manner of their readings, the response to this claim is that the Qur’an having been documented is not accepted. The reason being that the Qur’an was revealed in stages during the period of his nubuwwah until the end of his life. There are famous ahadith indicating clearly that some of the chapters and verses were revealed in the last year of His life. Whatever has been narrated that they documented it after his passing, and that ‘Ali remained in his house engaged in documenting Qur’an, it is in such abundance that it is not possible to deny. The fact that that they memorised it and learnt it is plausible, but the memorisation and the learning was only with regard to what was available to them. The care of the Sahabah of memorising it and memorising the different readings of the Qurra’ and the manner of their readings was only after the documentation of the Qur’an and the arranging of its sequence. Just as the incentives were found for its memorisation, similarly, the incentives were found within the munafiqin for changing and distorting it.

As for what has been said that in this case we cannot place reliance upon what remains of it whereas the reality is that we have been commanded to rely on it, follow its laws, ponder upon its verses, obey its commands and its prohibitions, establish its legal punishments and apply the ahadith in light of it; this will be given no attention on account of the numerous ahadith of this kind which establish distortion and interpolation. The reasoning behind this is that reliance upon that which is written (the present Qur’an), the necessity of following it, obeying its commands and prohibitions, establishing its legal punishments and its laws; is due to the fact that the ahadith indicate to what is mentioned (of these laws) and it is not that that whatever is between the two covers is the Book revealed to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam without any omission, addition nor distortion in it. The following is what is deduced from these narrations: the addition, omission and the distortion if it occurred in the Qur’an then it does not harm the objective of the remainder, rather the main objective of the Qur’an is to indicate to the family of the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and how to be connected through them. In the other remainder of the Qur’an (not distorted) there are proofs of the Ahlul Bayt, and after intermediary of the Ahlul Bayt people are commanded to follow it, this is a clear proof for us, even if the distortion detracts from its objective. However, if we do not seek reference from them, or if they did not instruct with the following of it and we sought guidance from it (directly, i.e. not through their directive), and follow its laws, deducing its commands and its prohibitions, the legal punishments and its laws from our side, this is a tafsir based on interpretative opinion which is prohibited, even if it does not change anything.[2]


NEXT⇒ Al Nuri and the Distortion of the Qur’an

[1] He is Sultan Muhammad ibn Haydar al Janabidhi al Khurasani, one of the scholars of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah Shia (Twelvers) in the fourteenth century. I did not come across anything else of his biography more than this, with the references available to me.

[2] Quoting from al Tafsir wa al Mufassirun of Dr. Muhammad Hussain al Dhahabi (vol. 2 pg. 203)

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