The book al Kafi of al Kulayni has a great status within the hearts of the Shia, it is one of the four canonical books of hadith according to them. The ahadith of al Kafi amounts to almost 16199. Al Kulayni is no different from the rest of the Shia scholars who believe in the Tahrif of the Noble Qur’an, and the omission of those verses which indicate the merit of the Ahlul Bayt and the blemish of the Sahabah.
His two books, al Usul min al Kafi and Rowdat al Kafi, are filled with the previous examples, we find these narrations in al Usul min al Kafi (vol. 1 pgs. 421-422-430, vol. 2 pgs: 86, 366, 372, 379, 380, 381, 383, 388, 389, 390 , 394 , 395, 396, 419, 420, 421, 424, 432) and in his book Rowdat al Kafi (pgs. 43, 159, 160, 174, 175, 241, 242, 309). He cited the distorted verses and claimed that these verses were (deliberately) omitted from the Qur’an.
The Qur’an according to the Shia is three times more than the present Qur’an in our possession, and not a single letter of the original is found in the present Mushaf. Al Kulayni mentions in al Kafi (vol. 1 pg. 457):
It is narrated from Abu Basir — from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) that he said, “verily, we do have a Mushaf of Fatimah, what will inform them about the Mushaf of Fatimah?” I asked, “what is the Mushaf of Fatimah?” He replied, “Mushaf of Fatimah consists three times more than the Qur’an that you have, by Allah not even one letter of your Qur’an is found in this Mushaf.” I said to him, “this is, by Allah, knowledge!”
To emphasise the belief of al Kulayni in Tahrif, he narrates in al Kafi (vol. 4 pg. 456) by way of Hisham ibn Salim — from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq), who said:
The Qur’an that Jibril brought to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam consisted of 17000 verses.
It is well known that the verses in the present Qur’an is but a third of what he has mentioned.
He also reports in al Kafi (vol. 4 pg. 433) from Muhammad ibn Sulaiman — from some of his friends — from Abu al Hassan (al Rida):
I said to him, “may I be sacrificed for you; indeed we hear some verses of the Qur’an (from you) contrary to what we heard and have (with us), we are also unable to read them in the manner that reaches us from you, will we then be sinful (if we do not recite it as you have conveyed)?” He said, “No, recite as you have learnt it, someone will soon come to teach you.”
It is also narrated in al Kafi (vol. 4 pg. 452) from ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Hisham — from Salim ibn Salamah, who said:
A man read a portion of the Qur’an to Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq), while I was listening, not in the manner as is normally recited. Abu ‘Abdullah said, “stop this recitation, and recite as the people recite, until al Qa’im arrives. When al Qa’im arrives, he will recite the Qur’an in its proper manner and he will bring forth the Mushaf written by ‘Ali.” He said, “‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam presented this Qur’an to the people after he completed writing and said to them, ‘this is Allah’s book in its exact manner that it was revealed to Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam I have collected it between two covers.’ The people said, ‘we already have a comprehensive Mushaf, there is no need for your Mushaf.’ This is when he said, ‘in that case you will never see this Mushaf ever after this day.’”
The Shia claim that no person compiled the Qur’an as it was revealed except Imam ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and that whoever claims contrary to this is a liar. Al Kulayni reports in al Kafi (vol. 1 pg. 441) — from Jabir who said:
I heard Abu Jafar (al Baqir) saying, “no person should claim that he compiled the entire Qur’an unless he is a liar. No person has compiled it and memorised as it was revealed by Allah except ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and the Imams after him.
He also narrates (vol. 1 pg. 441) from Jabir — from Abu Jafar (al Baqir) that he said;
No person will be able to claim that he has the entire Qur’an, the inner and the outer, except the Awsiya’ (i.e. the Imams).
After all of this, what are the scholars of the Shia going to say about al Kulayni, is he one of those who admit and affirm Tahrif or not? We are still awaiting the response from the Shia scholars, especially after knowing that he did not mention any refutation on the narrations which indicate Tahrif.
 He is Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al Kulayni, one of the great scholars of Shia Imamiyyah. Al Bahrani says about him in al Lu’lu’ah (pg. 387):
Muhammad is the sheikh of our scholars in his time, good in fiqh, he was reliable and strong in hadith, he authored al Kafi within 20 years. He died in Baghdad in the year 328, some say 329 after hijrah.
Al Najashi says the same in his Rijal (pg. 266).
‘Abdul Sayed Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al ‘Ulum says in his marginal notes on Lu’lu’at al Bahrayn (pg. 388):
His gathering was a meeting place for the great scholars who travelled to seek knowledge; they would attend his lecture for the sake of revision and to increase knowledge and study by him. He was a great scholar, a profound reliable muhaddith, evidence on his own, honest, with correct views. He is regarded as one of the great scholars of literacy, the great luminary of all the scholars, a master in fiqh and one of the great Imams of Islam. In addition, he was a great ascetic and worshipper, a person of Allah’s recognition and sincerity. He knew history and biographies. There is a book on biographies authored by him, eloquent, an expert. He penned a book al Radd ‘ala al Qaramitah, which is a refutation upon the Qaramitah. As a sign for his proficiency in language and prose, he authored two books: Rasa’il al A’immah and Ma Qila fi al A’immah Min al Shi’r, perhaps his book Tafsir al Ru’ya is the best book ever written on dream interpretations.
Al Kafi, justly is a bag copious with the most fragrant narrations and precious things, such as knowledge, din, laws, commands, prohibition, traditions, and etiquettes. The introduction of this book and every portion of its discussion in every chapter is done in an excellent manner. This book was written in a high standard, the Arabic language is discussed in detail, and eloquence was considered. There is a high standard of rhetoric. The author remained for a long period of time as a reference for the students of fiqh, until our present time he is still regarded as a source of narrations and the chain of narrators, the scholars of Imamah and the majority of the Shia are unanimous on giving preference to this book and accepting it, and to rely on what comes in it, and to suffice with the laws related in it. They also agree on the acknowledgment of the high status of this book, that it is the pivot through which all the narrations of the reliable revolves on up to the present day. According to them, this book is the most beautiful and best of all books in hadith.
Dr. Hussain ‘Ali Mahfuz says on page 8 in his introduction to al Kafi (printed in Iran in the year 1381 A.H):
The journey of al Kulayni is known in history, in the books of biography and in the books of the contemporary scholars. His valuable and great book al Kafi is printed, this scholar was granted fame and good reputation. The fuqaha’ will remain glancing at him and admiring him. The Muhaddithin too will remain exposing its prime and seeking light from it. It is the support of the hadith transmitters and the custodians of the family members of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and a support of the protectors of the shari’ah of Ahlul Bayt and the narrators of the ahadith of the Shia. They will not stop extracting verdicts from it, and it is worthy of extracting laws from. Qualified to be inherited, deserving of having a basing lessons upon. It is appropriate that care should be taken in terms of all that exist in this book, such as the excellent narrations, good expressions and the exquisite wisdoms.
 These are al Kafi, Man la Yahdurhu al Faqih — the number of narrations in this book is 5963, al Istibsar — its narrations are 5511, al Tahdhib — the number of narrations in this book is 13590. The total number of all the narrations in these four books are approximately 41 263, including repetitions and Marasil. Refer to Lu’lu’at al Bahrayn pg. 395-396.
 Refer to Lu’lu’at al Bahrayn pg. 394Back to top