Discussion Three – Do the Shi`ah Believe that the Qur’an was Interpolated?

What Do the Shi`i Sources Have to Say on this Subject?
April 14, 2016
A Few Examples of Shi`i Interpretations of the Verses of the Qur’an Continued
April 14, 2016

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Discussion Three

Do the Shia Believe that the Qur’an was Interpolated?


A Preamble to the Subject:

This discussion begins with a question due to three reasons;


Firstly, many of the senior scholars of the Shia, the likes of al Sharif al Murtada, Ibn Babawayh a-Qummi, etc., distance themselves from this view.

Secondly, all Muslims are unanimous upon the belief (fact) that the Book of Allah is protected by Allah, who says:

لَّا یَاْتِیْهِ الْبَاطِلُ مِنْۢ بَیْنِ یَدَیْهِ وَ لَا مِنْ خَلْفِهٖ

Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it.[1]

Thus, whoever entertains doubts regarding the protection of the Qur’an from alterations and truncations is immediately cast out of the fold of Islam. This spells out to us the condition of one who firmly beliefs that alterations and truncations took place. Due to the severity of the consequences, it was binding upon us to take extra caution in this study of ours as far as attributing this type of disbelief to any sect. Therefore, the attributions which will follow were done after a meticulous research in which great caution was applied.

Thirdly, there is a group of intellectuals who attribute this kufr to the all the Shia, without differentiating between them. This is undoubtedly incorrect, as there are many sects among the Shia, and the sect passed through many phases. One cannot say, for example, that the early Shia held this belief.[2] Neither can it be said that the Zaidiyyah subscribe to this lie. Therefore, it is incorrect and unacceptable to generalise and attribute this belief to all the Shia.


Nonetheless, a Muslim researcher is left aghast after setting his sight upon these malevolent and repugnant words which emerge from midgets who try to stretch their evil hands in an attempt to carry out an assault against the Book of Allah. It is only on the basis of necessity that a subject such as this is discussed. However, the reader should understand that a discussion regarding this subject cannot be written in defence of the Qur’an, as the Qur’an has no need to be defended. It is beyond the phantasms of those who have succumbed to wishful thinking and its grandeur is unaffected by the accusations of bigots and claimants who are driven by ulterior motives. Can the palm of a human ever conceal the Sun or the Moon?

A bigot who is taught that he had been wronged will not hesitate to present false claims. Hence, it does not befit us to scrutinise and refute every single claim that is made against us or our beliefs. The poet says:


If I place a stone in the mouth of every dog that barks, each gram would be worth a gold coin.


Similarly, false beliefs and claims should be ignored and they should not be granted any attention, leaving them to fade away and disappear. However, once they become common, gain fame or they are adopted by any sect — especially when they are preserved in books — then it becomes necessary to expose the deviation of the one who uttered it as well as the falsity therein.

I deem it necessary to clarify, at this juncture, that the motive behind the study of this matter is not to refute and counter the belief of the opposition. Rather, it is only to establish whether or not the Shia subscribe to this belief. If it is established to be their belief, they will be utterly disgraced and their foundations will be smashed to smithereens. Who will then accept anything that they say? Will any word that emerges from their mouths hold any weight? Is it possible that a Muslim takes the word or accepts the judgement of the one who attacks the Book of Allah?[3]

Therefore, we are penning down this research so that the truth behind the attribution of this belief to the Shia may come to the fore. This is because the one who wishes to lay any type of attack upon the Book of Allah and attempts to challenge its divinity is far out of the fold of Islam, even if insists that he should be called a Muslim. It is necessary to expose him so that the ummah can be aware of his enmity for Islam. He is attacking its extraordinary basis and its immovable foundation.

Merely attributing this view to the one who subscribes to it is sufficient, absolves us of the responsibility of refuting it, as stated by Abu Bakr al Baqillani.[4] This is because it is even logically impossible, on account of the amount and reliability of the measures that were kept in place to protect it, that the Qur’an surrendered to any alterations or truncations. This was a fulfilment of the promise of Allah:


اِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَ اِنَّا لَهلَحٰفِظُوْنَ

Indeed, it is We who sent down the message [i.e. the Quran], and indeed, We will be its guardian.[5]


Another aspect regarding this claim, which could also be found in Shia circles (the extent to which they accept it or deny it will be studied as well) is that it was given birth to whilst the causes of its extinction and the proofs of its falsity and fallaciousness were already kept in it. Whoever concocted this view really did a putrid job. Therefore, it exposes and contradicts itself. The claim is that the Qur’an is incomplete and that the complete Qur’an, which is protected from any distortions was in the possession of Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu who then passed it on to the next Imam until it reached their hidden and awaited Mahdi.

Thus, this claim is intertwined with the personality of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, he is the one who decided that the Qur’an should be the basis of judgements during his khilafah, he recited it and he complied, believing that that is the only way to please Allah. If he had any other Qur’an in his possession, he would have definitely shown it to the public. How could it be permissible for him to comply to a distorted book as far as seeking the pleasure of Allah was concerned?

If any of their claims had any truth to them, he would have definitely brought out the complete Qur’an which he had gathered, compared it to the distorted one and solved the matter, especially during the days of his khilafah. Any other possibility simply cannot be true, as the one who allows the masses to fall prey to the deception of another is just as guilty as the one who deceived them. Added to that, the issue on the basis of which he fought a war against Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma was a really minor issue compared to this one (even though it was sufficient a reason for the war to take place). Hence, it defies all logic to claim that Amir al Mu’minin done nothing (publicly) to solve this issue.

The champions of this lie have no answer to this crucial question, which destroys their foundations, besides a statement of their scholar Ni’mat Allah al Jaza’iri[6]:


ولما جلس أمير المؤمنين – عليه السلام – على سرير الخلافة لم يتمكن من إظهار ذلك القرآن وإخفاء هذا لما فيه من إظهار الشنعة على من سبقه

When Amir al Mu’minin ‘alayh al Salam sat upon the seat of khilafah, he could not present this Qur’an and hide that one as it meant open disparagement of those who preceded him.[7]


This is their answer and excuse! Can there be a greater attack and insult against the personality of Amir al Mu’minin — from those who claim to be his ardent supporters? They accuse him of preferring diplomacy in the matter of those who preceded him over the guidance of the ummah! This is the only reason why he did not show the public the Qur’an that he had in his possession. Glory be to Allah, indeed this is a horrendous accusation!

Amongst the many sad but laughable aspects of this doctrine is that the second personality with whom it is intertwined is their hidden Imam, whose birth and existence can never be established (as will be proven later). Both, the hidden Imam as well as the hidden copy of the Qur’an are nothing but figments of their imagination. Furthermore, the words that they have managed to put together, which they present as verses that have been discarded from the copies of the Qur’an further expose the lack of substance of this claim.

The closest match to these sentences are the claims of the great liar and imposter, Musaylamah. You will not be able to make sense of these statements in light of the Arabic language, and the eloquence thereof refutes all possibilities of it being accurate. Later, they decided to cover their tracks by claiming that these sentences cannot be relied upon, they should not be considered as part of the Qur’an and it is impermissible to recite them as they are transmitted by very few people at some point. Also, the Imams recited this Qur’an (the original Qur’an, which they disbelieve in) and used it, so it is not permissible to leave out that which they have agreed upon on the basis of this type of narrations.

Thereafter, a group from them who blessed with some intelligence dissociated themselves from this kufr, as they saw the stark contradictions in it as well the clear falsity thereof. Subsequently, they publicised its falsity and ridiculed those who subscribed to it. In this way, Allah lifted this burden off the shoulders of the Muslims. This war between the two groups (the Shia who subscribe to this belief and those who do not) appears in the book Fasl al Khitab. Further details will be mentioned later, if Allah wills.

To sum up the above, this belief is self-contradictory and its falsity has been exposed through the statements of those who believe in it as well. This is a great sign for the Muslims, and a clear proof as far as the grandeur of the Qur’an is concerned. It is a manifestation of one of the secrets of its miraculous nature, which cannot be completely comprehended by the intellect. This belief and the matters around it are a demonstration of the fulfilment of the promise of Allah by Him, to guard His Book.

Next, we will study the stance of the Shia on this matter, when it started, how it spread and remained, who is the one who had the greatest share in concocting it and is it the belief of all the Shia, or are there some amongst them who reject it and dissociate themselves from it? We will start off by quoting that which is mentioned in the books of the Ahlus Sunnah, after which these quotations will be judged or proven by that which is mentioned in the books of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers).


The Birth of this Doctrine – as Stated in the Books of the Ahlus Sunnah


Imam Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al Qasim al Anbari[8] says:


The honourable and intelligent ones have always honoured the nobility of the Qur’an and admitted its lofty status… it is only in this era of ours that one who had deviated from the religion and attacked the ummah by means of that with which he wishes to annul the shari’ah has risen his head… he claims that the copy which was gathered by ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and authenticated by all the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum is not the complete Qur’an. Rather, five hundred letters have been deleted from it.


Thereafter Ibn al Anbari mentions:


This irreligious one began reciting verses of the Qur’an against the way in which they were (revealed). He would recite:

ولقد نصركم الله ببدر بسيف علي وأنتم أذلة

Indeed Allah helped you at Badr by means of the sword of ‘Ali, when you were disgraced.[9]


This was stated by Ibn al Anbari who was born in the year 271 A.H. and he passed away in the year 328 A.H. This indicates that the belief was given birth to at the end of the third century and the beginning of the fourth century. The above text also indicated that this belief was concocted by the Shia, hence the words “the sword of ‘Ali”. A third point indicated in this text is that the Muslim ummah had not heard of beliefs of this kind prior to the appearance of this irreligious individual. It seems as if Ibn al Anbari is referring to a specific person, but for some reason, he does not name him. However, his sectarian inclinations could be gauged from the words of his concoctions.

Al Milti (d. 377 A.H.) indicates that this concoction was the work of Hisham ibn al Hakam.[10] He claimed that the Qur’an which is in the hands of the Muslims was created during the days of ‘Uthman. As for the true Qur’an, it was raised to the heavens on account of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam turning renegade (as he believes).[11] Hisham ibn al Hakam died in the year 190 A.H., which means that this concocted belief began before the date indicated by Ibn al Anbari.

If we ponder over the fact that this lie has a strong connection with the doctrine of Imamah and the Imams, which is a belief of the Shia, as well as the fact the scholars of the Shia had to hunt for proofs of this doctrine in the Qur’an (which contains none) and they could not find anything to prove their claims, they were compelled to accept this concoction as well as others. If we ponder over all of this, then the view of al Milti, that Hisham is the one who concocted this view, makes perfect sense, especially since he was also among the first ones to speak regarding Imamah. Ibn al Nadim stated that Hisham ibn al Hakam was among those who broke the silence on the matter of Imamah and among his books was Kitab al Imamah.[12]


Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli says:


وكان ممن فتق الكلام في الإمامة وهذب المذهب بالنظر

He was among those who broke the silence regarding Imamah, and he systemised the mazhab on the basis of logic.[13]


Another reason, on the basis of which, we are allowed to believe that Hisham was the one who concocted this view is the following text which appears in Rijal al Kashshi, the prime book of the Shia on the subject of biographies:


هشام بن الحكم من غلمان أبي شاكر، وأبو شاكر زنديق

Hisham ibn al Hakam was from the students of Abu Shakir, and Abu Shakir was a zindiq.[14],[15]


Qadi ‘Abdul Jabbar, the Mu’tazili, states:


هشام.. ليس من أهل القبلة، وهو معروف بعداوة الأنبياء، وقد أخذ مع أبي شاكر الديصاني

Hisham… he was not from the Ahl al Qiblah. He was infamous for his hatred for the prophets. He was a companion of Abu Jafar al Daysani.[16] (The leader of the Daysaniyyah).[17]


He was associated with him and he was his companion, however he claimed that he belonged to the Shia and he is a supporter of the Banu Hashim. Consequently, some of the companions of al Mahdi al ‘Abbasi set him free and did not imprison him along with the Abu Shakir.[18] He was a man who was nurtured by the zindiqs, thus it came as no surprise that he followed in their footsteps. He was advised — as recorded in Rijal al Kashshi — to adopt silence when al Mahdi al ‘Abbasi started a campaign to crackdown upon all the Zindiqs.[19] Hisham says:


فكففت عن الكلام حتى مات المهدي

Thus, I did not speak at all until al Mahdi passed away.[20]


All of these signs indicate that Hisham and his group were the culprits. The least that this text proves is that this belief was introduced in the era of Hisham. Another text which indicates that this belief existed at that time is that which Ibn Hazm reports from al Jahiz:


أخبرني أبو إسحاق إبراهيم النظام وبشر بن خالد أنهما قالا لمحمد بن جعفر الرافضي المعروف بشيطان الطاق: ويحك! أما استحيت من الله أن تقول في كتابك في الإمامة: إن الله تعالى لم يقل قط في القرآن: ثَانِیَ اثْنَیْنِ اِذْ هُمَا فِی الْغَارِ اِذْ یَقُوْلُ لِصَاحِبِهٖ لَا تَحْزَنْ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا قالا: فضحك والله شيطان الطاق طويلاً حتى كأنّا نحن الذي أذنبنا


Abu Ishaq Ibrahim al Nizam and Bishr ibn Khalid informed me that they said to Muhammad ibn Jafar[21] the Rafidi who was famously known as Shaitan al Taq (the devil of the arch), “woe unto you! Do you not feel ashamed before Allah. You stated in your book regarding Imamah that Allah did not ever say in the Qur’an “one of two, when they were in the cave and he [i.e., Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said to his companion, ‘Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.’”[22] They related, “by the oath of Allah, Shaitan al Taq let out such a prolonged laugh, as if we were the ones who sinned.”[23]


This narration is reported by Ibn Hazm who quotes al Jahiz. Ibn Hazm states regarding al Jahiz, after considering him to be a deviate:


We have not seen him lying intentionally in his books or establishing them, although he does quote many lies of other people.[24]


Shaitan al Taq was the title of Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al No’man Abu Jafar al Ahwal. He died in the year 160 A.H.[25] It is well known that Shaitan al Taq was a contemporary of Hisham ibn al Hakam. Ibn Hajar says:


It is said that when Hisham ibn al Hakam, the leader of the Rafidah, was informed that they gave him the title Shaitan al Taq, he named him (from his side) Mu’min al Taq.


Thus, he could have been one of Hishams accomplices as far as this concoction is concerned, just as he had his share in writing on the subject of Imamah — the main cause and basis of this concoction, as indicated by the texts of thereof.


The Spread of this Belief Amongst Them – as Explained in the Books of the Ahlus Sunnah


Thereafter, this belief spread amongst the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), who are referred to by al Ash’ari and others as al Rafidah until it became — as mentioned by al Ash’ari (d. 330 A.H) — the view of a group of these Rawafid. They claimed that (words) of the Qur’an were deleted. As far as additions are concerned, they accepted that it was impossible to have happened. Similarly, they believed that it was impossible for anything in it to have been changed. However much of it was deleted, but the Imam has complete knowledge regarding it.[26]

Another group, who al Ash’ari describes as people who married Imamah and I’tizal chose to refute this belief. They stated, “nothing was deleted from the Qur’an and nothing was added to it. It is exactly as Allah revealed it to His Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. it was not changed or altered. It has always been in its original form.”[27] There is a third group, which apparently, has been omitted.[28]

Al Baghdadi (d. 429 A.H.) indicates that the Rafidah are the ones who claim that the Sahabah distorted some portions of the Qur’an and changed others. He cited this as one of the reasons for it being incumbent to declare them disbelievers (kafir) and state that they have left the fold of Islam.[29] It seems as if this drivel took root amongst majority of members of this sect to the extent that Ibn Hazm (d. 465 A.H.) ascribes this belief to all the groups of the Imamiyyah, excluding only three of their influential scholars, who were saved from falling into this profanity.[30]

Similarly, Qadi Abu Ya’la (d. 458 A.H.) attributes this belief to the Rafidah[31], which is one of the names of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), as explained. However, we find that Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 A.H) attributed this belief to the Batiniyyah. He states:


Similarly (the judgement of Kufr will be passed against) those who believe that the verses of the Qur’an were deleted, hidden, has a secret interpretation, etc. These people are named al Qaramitah and al Batiniyyah.[32]


It is unclear whether Ibn Taymiyyah considered the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) to be from the Batiniyyah or it slipped him that they hold this view, which is why he did not mention them. It is also possible that he was concentrating specifically upon the last cause, i.e. secret interpretations which is firmly upheld by the al Qaramitah al Batiniyyah. Whatever the case may be, I did not come across in the writings of Ibn Taymiyyah, as far as what I have read in Minhaj al Sunnah (which was a rebuttal of their scholar Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli) and his other published works that he attributes this belief to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers).

Mirza Makhdum al Shirazi (of the tenth century) reveals to us (as he lived amongst the Shia and he read many of their books — as stated by him[33]):


They mention in their books of hadith and their textbooks on doctrine that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu deleted verses of the Qur’an, according to them.


Thereafter he cites a few examples. Among them is the following claim regarding Surah al Inshirah:


After the verse:


و رَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَك

And raised high for you your repute.[34]


Allah said:


و عليا صهرك

And ‘Ali is your son in law.[35]


Mutahhar ibn ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Ali ibn Ismail, in his book Takfir al Shia (which was authored in the year 990 A.H.), mentions that the Shia of his era burnt copies of the Qur’an, showed gross disrespect to it and they produced a new version thereof.[36] A personality from the thirteenth century indicates towards the statements of the Shia regarding the interpolation of the Qur’an, after which he states that the word was going around in his era that the Shia produced two Surahs, claiming that these were hidden by ‘Uthman; each of these Surahs were equivalent to a juz of the Qur’an. They were added to the end of the Qur’an and their names were Surah al Nurayn and Surah al Wala.[37]

This matter is further clarified by the author of al Tuhfah al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al Dehlawi (d. 1239 A.H.) who states that the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) believe that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum changed the Book of Allah and deleted from it that which was related to the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and their other Imams as well as that which was related to their enemies. He then quotes a few examples to prove this from their books. He explains that by doing so, they have opposed the divine texts, logic, that which is obvious to the one who has any knowledge regarding Islam as well as the undisputed and authentic accounts of history. He also states that the Ahlul Bayt were free of this heresy and that some of the scholars of the Shia, the likes of Ibn Babawayh began rejecting it.[38]

Abu al Thana al Alusi (d. 1270 A.H.) touches upon the subject in his Tafsir. He quotes a few examples from their books, followed by an explanation of their falsity on the basis of the impeccable systems that were put in place to guarantee its protection. They were such that a mu’min is left convinced that no portion of this Qur’an could have been left unprotected and deleted. If anyone doubts this, he will go on to doubt many other aspects of the din which are established beyond doubt.

He further states that when some of their scholars realised the drastic consequences of such a view, they jumped out of the cauldron by stating that it is only a few of their scholars. As proof, he cited the statements of the leading scholar of the Shia al Tabarsi, which appears in Majma’ al Bayan that the Shia reject this view and it is only the view of a group from amongst them. The contradictory view is the accurate one. Thereafter al Alusi comments, “this is a statement which he was forced to make on account of the obviousness — even to children — of the falsity of the view held by his companions. Praise be to Allah upon the triumph of the truth, and Allah removed the burden of countering them from the Muslims.”[39]

Perhaps al Alusi (Abu al Thana) was the first person to write on the subject so extensively (compared to others) in Arabic, as he added to his study of this fabrication direct quotations from their own sources. He quoted their narrations verbatim from Usul al Kafi and other books. He also mentioned the other view held by some of the Shia who rejected this lie, used their statements as proof and analysed it as well. His grandson, the leading scholar of Iraq, Abu al Ma’ali al Alusi (d. 1342) followed in his footsteps by explaining that the Shia fell prey to this kufr, in his booklets which he compiled or summarised regarding the Shia.

Muhammad Rashid Rida (d. 1352 A.H.) was the next person to discuss this matter. He disgraces the Shia time and again in his magazine, al Manar[40], and thereafter in his booklet al Sunnah wa al Shia. He did this after being provoked, or rather, forced by the fanaticism and enmity of some of the scholars of the Shia — as said by him. He mentions that the Rafidah Shia claim that whatever is between the two covers is not the speech of Allah. Instead, the Sahabah, according to them, deleted some verses as well as the Surah of Wilayah.[41]

Thereafter came Musa Jar Allah (d. 1369 A.H.) who lived among the Shia for a while, explored their cities, attended their lessons in the Masjids classrooms and houses and read many of their important books.[42] He was of the view that the belief of the Qur’an being distorted by deleting a few words and verses which were revealed as well as by changing the sequence of the words and verses is something that is agreed upon in the books of the Shia.[43]

These words and verses, as they claim, were regarding ‘Ali and his progeny radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They were deleted by the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He goes on to quote Shia scholars who claim that the narrations concerning this lie are of the highest degree of authenticity, according to them. Rejecting these narrations would necessitate the rejection of all their narrations regarding Imamah, Raj’ah, etc. All of them will then be declared false.[44]

He noticed, during his stay among the Shia at that time, the ill-effects of this belief upon the Shia population, as none of the students or scholars had memorised the Qur’an. They could not even articulate the words correctly, or even to some extent. They had abandoned the Qur’an completely.[45] He then asks, “is this because they are waiting for that which they have been promised in their fairy tales, that the complete Qur’an will appear with their awaited and promised Mahdi?”[46]

Later, Muhibb al Din al Khatib (d. 1389 A.H.), on account of the Shia establishing Dar al Taqrib Bayn al Mazahib al Islamiyyah in the land of Kinanah, as a ploy to spread their belief of Rafd among its inhabitants, began writing about them in his magazine al Fath and in his booklet al Khutut al ‘Aridah. He discusses this lie and he cites as proof that which appears in the book Fasl al Khitab fi Ithbat Tahrif Kitab Rabb al Arbab (the decisive speech in proving that alterations took place in the book of the Rabb of all masters).

The author of this book was Mirza Hussain ibn Muhammad Taqi al Nuri al Tabarsi, one of the senior scholars of Najaf, who was honoured by the Shia to such an extent that upon his expiry (in the year 1320 A.H.), they buried him in the most blessed land according to them. He says that this book includes hundreds of narrations from their scholars which are contained in their reliable books, which establish that they were convinced that alterations took place and they believed in the idea without any reservations.

He also cites as proof the narrations which appear in the book al Kafi of al Kulayni, which holds the same position among them as Sahih al Bukhari holds among the Ahlus Sunnah. A picture of ‘Surah al Wilayah’ is presented by him, which he says is a photo of one of the copies of the Qur’an in Iran. Thereafter he says, “there are two Qur’ans; one is common and known and the other is hidden and it is a special one. Surah al Wilayah is from the second one. He then quotes as proof a text which appears in their verdicts regarding recitation from the ‘Uthmani Mushaf (copies which comply with the script of the Qur’an which were revealed to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and written out in the era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu). He then says that the elite members of the Shia teach one another that which opposes it (the ‘Uthmani Mushaf), claiming that this (which they teach) is preserved by the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt.[47]

Similarly, Sheikh Mahmud al Mal Allah (d. 1389 A.H.) disgraced the Shia in Iraq as far as this matter was concerned, in an effort to counter their scholar al Khalisi, who attempted to spread Rafd under the banner of Islamic unity.[48] Following in the footsteps of all of these scholars, Ihsan Ilahi Zahir wrote on this subject in his book al Shia wa l-Sunnah. He held the view that al the Shia were entrapped in this kufr. He quotes extensively from their books, which contain the narrations of this fabrication. He believed that whoever rejected this view from them, done so due to Taqiyyah, not because they really believed so. He then says that he explained this matter in an unambiguous manner and he backed his views with proofs in a way that was never done before.[49]

Ihsan then wished to delve further into the issue, so he wrote the book al Shia wa l-Qur’an. Herein, he arrives at the exact same conclusion as he arrived at in his previous book. Most of this book is simply a word for word quotation, without any comments or footnotes, of the book which is second to none among the books of the Shia as far as covering this fabrication is concerned, i.e. Fasl al Khitab fi Ithbat Tahrif Kitab Rabb al Arbab.

Strangely, Ihsan Ilahi Zahir arrives at the exact same conclusion as the author of Fasl al Khitab, even though the author of Fasl al Khitab, as will appear, only wrote his book to pacify a group of his brethren who rejected this kufr and refused to swallow it, citing as proof that which some of their earlier scholars stated in rejecting this lie. Thus, the author of Fasl al Khitab wished to disprove their arguments by means of this book. Therefore, he claimed that the denial of the former scholars was nothing but Taqiyyah, or their lack of sufficient sources, as will appear.

Ihsan adopted the exact same view as the author[50] and Ni’mat Allah al Jaza’iri, that those who rejected this view done so only on the basis of Taqiyyah. The discussion and study of this subject will appear. Muhammad Mal Allah also wrote a book titled al Shia wa Tahrif al Qur’an, in which he arrived at the conclusion that the scholars of the Shia agreed upon the acceptance of this lie, citing as proof the statements of twelve of their scholars who accepted it. He did not indicate that there is a difference of opinion regarding this among them, even though a group of their scholars had rejected it.

Added to that, he cited as proof, two hundred of their narrations as examples of Shia alterations to the Qur’an. Similarly, he prepared a table regarding this, which he included in his commentary on the book al Khutut al ‘Aridah. This appears at the end of the book. These were extracted from some of the books of tafsir and hadith of the Shia. However, some of these examples are not clear in this regard (i.e. being alterations) and they could very easily be placed in the category of interpretations. Another huge error committed by him, which was committed by Ihsan before him, was that he mentioned some narrations of the Shia in which variations of the recital of verses (which were reported by the pious predecessors as well) were reported and he ignorantly dismissed them as alterations.

The root cause of this problem was that they relied, without any reservation or thought, upon the book Fasl al Khitab. There are other books as well, the authors of which fell prey to the same folly.[51] One of the most active personalities regarding the problem of Shi’ism, Dr ‘Ali Ahmed al Salus, disagrees with Muhibb al Din al Khatib and others who attribute this view to all the Shia. He is of the view that it is confined to the Akhbaris. As for the Usulis, they reject this view. However, he is not totally convinced of the accuracy of this categorisation, as he asked one of the Marja’s (title of the high ranking Shia scholars) of the Akhbaris regarding this. The reply received by him was that alterations took place in the meanings only, not in the words. Dr Salus says, “he gave me a booklet which he wrote as a commentary upon a view which attacked the Shia. The following also appears in this book:


مذهبنا – ومذهب كل مسلم – بأن القرآن الكريم المتداول بين أيدينا ليس فيه أي تحريف بزيادة أو نقصان، وما ذكر في بعض الأحاديث بأن فيه تحريفاً ونقصاناً فهو مخالف لعقيدتنا في القرآن الكريم الذي هو الذكر الحكيم، والذي لا يأتيه الباطل من بين يديه ولا من خلفه


Our view, and the view of every Muslim is that the Noble Qur’an, which is common amongst us was not altered in any way, neither by additions nor by deletions. That which is mentioned in some ahadith books, that there were alterations made to it and deletions took place, is in contrast to our beliefs regarding the Noble Qur’an, which is the Wise Reminder. Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it.


Dr Salus continues, “perhaps those who accept this lie are a group from the Akhbaris, not all of them. The other possibility is that the statement mentioned in that booklet was stated on the basis of Taqiyyah.” He then attempts to prove this by another statement which appeared in the very same book, which will be reproduced hereunder:


لم يقل الشيعة وأئمتهم بما يحط من كرامة الخلفاء المرضيين.. وقد أجري الفتح والخير للمسلمين على يد أولئك الصالحين – عليهم سلام الله ورحمته ورضوانه أجمعين

The Shia and their Imams have never uttered any derogatory statements regarding the Khulafa’ with whom everyone was happy… Indeed conquests and goodness became the lot of the Muslims at the hands of those pious ones. May the salutations of Allah, His mercy and His pleasure be upon all of them.


Dr Salus then goes on to say that it is clear and obvious that this is not the belief of the Shia.[52] Nonetheless, the scholars of Pakistan and India have also exerted themselves in exposing this great lie from the books of the Shia, and bringing this to the attention of the Muslims. However their works are not in Arabic.[53] This brings us to the end of the brief report on the work that took place against the lie under discussion. We cannot afford to carry out a detailed evaluation of these works, as this will be a digression from our actual topic.

I will endeavour to pen down a discussion regarding this subject from a different perspective, i.e. by studying and discussing its foundations and roots, its historical record and the opening of the road for this evil concoction to make its entrance, be heard and analysed. I have not come across anyone, thus far who has done this. I will also add a few matters, related to this topic, which have not yet been discussed.

Before lifting my pen regarding this subject, I wish to point out that some Shia scholars whine and bellow, claiming that they have been oppressed concerning this subject, and that they are totally innocent. So what is the reality of the matter? We have seen a person who affiliates himself with the Ahlus Sunnah[54], whose fervour drove him to gather all that is mentioned in the books of Ihsan Ilahi Zahir and Muhibb al Din al Khatib, along with their references and present it to one of the scholars of the Shia[55] — seeking a response from him regarding it.


The Shias answer included the following text:


سلامة القرآن الكريم من التحريف موضع اتفاق وإجماع علماء الشيعة الإمامية، ومن شذ منهم في هذه المسألة فلا يعبأ برأيه كما من شذ عن هذا الإجماع من علماء السنة

The (belief that) the Qur’an is free from any alterations is a matter in which the scholars of the Imami Shia are unanimous and they have reached a consensus. Attention should not be paid to the one whose personal opinion opposes this consensus, just as (is done) with the one who opposes this consensus from the scholars of the (Ahl) al Sunnah.[56]


This scholar then goes on to quote some of their senior scholars who rejected this view, along with an explanation that their ahadith have different ratings and not all are authentic. Thus saying, he dismissed the narrations quoted in the booklet as unreliable. He says:


وقد عرفنا إجماع الطائفة واتفاقها قائم على رفض التحريف في كتاب الله، فهذه الروايات إذن مهما كثرت فهي مردودة عندنا، ولا تسل لماذا تثبت هذه الروايات في المجاميع عندنا، فهي مجاميع خاضعة للنقد والاجتهاد، وليست صحاحاً للأخذ والعمل


We have realised that the unanimity of the sect and their agreement regarding the rejection of the doctrine that alterations took place in the Book of Allah. These narrations, irrespective of their abundance, are rejected by us. Also, do not ask, “why are these narrations preserved in our compilations?” as these are compilations which are subject to criticism and deliberation. They are not authentic enough to be accepted and practiced upon.[57]


Due to the excessive rejection of this doctrine by the Shia and their scholars — whether on the basis of Taqiyyah or due to this really being their belief — Dr Rushdi ‘Alyan says, “it is my view that as long as the reliable Shia scholars believe that no changes, alterations, deletions and additions took place in the Book of Allah, we should be satisfied with that. There is no need to repeat some rare views and quote baseless and fabricated narrations regarding it.”[58]

Sheikh Rahmat Allah al Hindi states in his book Izhar al Haq, after quoting the speech of some of their scholars who have rejected the doctrine, “hence, it has become clear that the accurate view according to the scholars of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) Imami sect is that the Qur’an which Allah revealed upon His Nabi is the same as that which is between the two covers, and in the possession of the masses. There is nothing more to it than that…”[59]

Thus far we have observed the following; that which appears in the book of the one who claims to be a Sunni, the former scholars — such as al Ash’ari — were of the view that the Shia split into two groups (the first group accepted this kufr and the second group rejected it). Thereafter, this lie was attributed to all the Rafidah by al Baghdadi and Abu Ya’la, Some of the latter day scholars — such as Abu al Thana al Alusi, Dr Salus and others believed that the Shia were divided into two groups as far as this belief was concerned.

Dr Salus differentiates between them by taking their names, saying that the Usulis rejected the narrations which promote this belief, which is the demand of their methodology in hadith criticism. On the other hand, the Akhbaris accept it as they accept all narrations which are attributed to their Imams. Then, we seen an indication towards this difference of opinion in the speech of Sheikh Rahmat Allah.

Next, we learnt that the view of Dr Rushdi ‘Alyan was that, besides the correct view, no other view should be attributed to the Shia, as anything else is a rare or a fabricated narration. We also saw the other category of contemporaries, the likes of Muhibb al Din al Khatib and Ihsan Ilahi Zahir among others, who believed that all the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) subscribe to this view. If any of them deny this, their denial is only on the basis of Taqiyyah, and it is not the truth.

After all of this, we decided to summon the reliable Shia sources and make them speak for themselves. They should inform us of the reality of the matter. Is it so that lies and allegations have been circulating about them by some oppressors? Have some scholars attributed to hem that which they do not contain? Are the statements which are recorded in the books of sects far-fetched allegations and misinterpreted implications? Are they not established, or do they have a different interpretation? It has often been said, “the quotations (reproduced by) the opposition are unreliable.”[60] Objectivity and justice are compulsory. Allah says:


وَ اِذَا حَکَمْتُمْ بَیْنَ النَّاسِ اَنْ تَحْكُمُوْا بِالْعَدْلِ

…and when you judge between people to judge with justice.[61]


وَلَا یَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَاٰنُ قَوْمٍ عَلٰٓی اَلَّا تَعْدِلُوْاؕ اِعْدِلُوْا هُوَ اَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوٰی

…and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.[62]


NEXT⇒ What Do the Shia Sources Have to Say on this Subject?

[1]  Surah al Fussilat: 42

[2]  Ihsan Ilahi Zahir bought into the theory of the author of Fasl al Khitab, who claimed that none of the former Shia rejected this belief except these four (i.e. Ibn Babawayh al Qummi, al Murtada, al Tabarsi and al Tusi). Ihsan says, “in a nutshell; the former as well as the latter Shia, almost all of them, agreed upon the belief that the Qur’an was changed and altered.” Al Shia wa l-Sunnah pg. 122, printed by Dar al Ansar. The reality is that this doctrine was introduced at a much later stage than the actual formation of the Shia. The former Shia were not upon this deviation and there are still some sects of the Shia who do not accept this falsehood.

[3]  This is why we see that Ibn Hazm, when challenged by the Christians — who used that which is attributed to the Rafidah as evidence to prove that the Qur’an was interpolated — replied by saying that these people are not Muslims. They are a group who sprung up against Islam and the Muslims. The first sign of them was seen twenty five years after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Refer to al Fisal (2/80)

[4]I’jaz al Qur’an pg. 24, researched by Ahmed Saqr

[5]  Surah al Hijr: 9

[6]  He holds an extremely lofty position according to them. They have showered him with a many honorary titles such as al Sayyid (the master), al Sanad (the pillar of support), al Rukn al Mu’tamad (the reliable pillar of support), al Muhaddith al Nabih, al Muhaqqiq, al Nihrir and al Mudaqqiq al ‘Aziz al Nazir. They believe that he was among the most senior scholars of the latter day Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), a great and invaluable Muhaddith, an outstanding researcher, etc. He died in the year 1112 A.H. Refer to Amal al Amal 2/336, al Kunna wa l-Alqab 3/298, Safinat al Bihar 2/601, Muqaddimah al Anwar al No’maniyyah.

[7]Al Anwar al No’maniyyah 2/326

[8]  Muhammad ibn al Qasim ibn Muhammad, Abu Bakr al Anbari. Al Khatib al Baghdadi says, “he was a truthful, virtuous, pious and from the Ahlus Sunnah. He authored many books on the sciences of the Qur’an, Waqf, Ibtida and he wrote books in refutation of those who opposed the common copy of the Qur’an. He was among the most learned of people regarding the linguistic aspects and tafsir of the Qur’an.” Refer to Tarikh Baghdad 3/181-186.

[9]Tafsir al Qurtubi 1/82

[10]  He was of Kufi origin. He stayed in Baghdad and he grew up in the care of some heretics. Initially, he subscribed to the beliefs of the Jahmiyyah, after which he adopted the belief of Tajsim (anthropomorphism)… many deviant beliefs have been reported from him. The Shia Hishamiyyah attribute books regarding sects to him. He died in the year 179 A.H as stated in Rijal al Kashshi. It is also stated that he died in the year 190 A.H, refer to Rijal al Kashshi 255-280, Rijal al Najashi pg. 338, Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan 6/194. Regarding the Hishamiyyah, here are some books to which you may refer al Milti: al Tanbih wa l-Radd pg. 24, al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/106, al Baghdadi: al Farq Bayn al Firaq pg. 65, al Shahrastani: al Milal wa al Nihal 1/184.

[11] Al Tanbih wa al Radd pg. 25

[12]Al Fahrist pg. 175

[13]Rijal al Hilli pg. 178

[14]  A person who claims to be Muslim, but holds such beliefs which cast him out of the fold of Islam.

[15]  Rijal al Kashshi pg. 278

[16]  Refer to Ibn al Nadim: al Fahrist pg. 338

[17]  A group of idolaters who believe in the two principles; light and darkness, and that the world emerged from them. It is regarded as the foundation of Manuyah. The two sects only differ regarding the manner in which light mixes with darkness. Al Milal wa al Nihal 1/250, Ibn al Nadim: al Fahrist pg. 338, 339

[18]Tathbit Dala’il al Nubuwwah pg. 225

[19]Rijal al Kashshi pg. 265-256

[20]Rijal al Kashshi pg. 266

[21]  This name appears in the researched copy of al Fisal. However, the more correct name would be Abu Jafar, as his father was ‘Ali. This is stated in the books regarding biographies.

[22]  Surah al Towbah: 40

[23]Al Fisal 5/39

[24]Al Fisal 5/39

[25]  The following statement, among other deviate beliefs, is attributed to him, “Allah does not know of an occurrence until it takes place.” The sects Shaitaniyyah and No’maniyyah, from the extremist Shia are attributed to him. Refer to Rijal al Kashshi pg. 185, Rijal al Najashi pg. 249, Lisan al Mizan 5/300-301, Firaq al Shia of al Nowbakhti pg. 78, Safinat al Bihar 1/323, Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/111, al Milal wa al Nihal 1/186, al Intisar by Ibn al Khayyat pg. 14-48

[26]Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/119-120

[27]  Ibid 1/119-120

[28]  This is the impression we get from the printed version of Maqalat al Islamiyyin, which was researched by Muhammad Muhy al Din ‘Abdul Hamid (vol. 1 pg. 120). The other print of the book, which was researched by Helmut Rueter, states that the researcher found a footnote in some of the manuscripts which reads, “one group was omitted from the sequence and the count. They are those who accept that additions could have been made but not deletions.” Refer to the footnote of Maqalat al Islamiyyin (pg. 47), researched by Helmut Reuter. This is at times the action of the one who copied the book, as he did not find any of the Shia subscribing to this belief. Al Tusi has mentioned in al Tibyan and al Tabarsi in Majma’ al Bayan (1/30) that it is agreed upon, in their circles, that additions are impossible.

[29]  Refer to al Farq bayn al Firaq

[30]  Refer to al Fisal 5/40

[31]Al Mu’tamad fi Usul al Din pg. 258. Qadi Abu Ya’la explains the ignorance required to end up making a claim the like of this one, wherein the Rawafid have denied the obvious and that which is reported by almost everyone. This is because the Qur’an was compiled (in the form of a book, as previously it was memorised and written, but not in one place in the form of a book) in the presence of the Sahabah among whom was ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. All of them agreed upon it, without any objections raised. It is impossible, even according to the norms of society, that if they did delete or change anything, there would be no objections, at least. Most definitely ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and others would have said something. However, the reality is that he recited it and applied it! (al Mu’tamad pg. 258)

[32]Al Sarim al Maslul pg. 586

[33]  He mentions that he was forced to live amongst them due to which he had no choice but to mingle with them and read their books… This is how he came to find out their false beliefs and concoctions. Refer to al Nawaqid (scroll 110, 151 and 165 of the manuscript). He goes on to say, “none discovered the details of their books, beliefs and the explanations of their habits and actions in the way that I have. Thus, they cannot say, ‘he lied against us.’ As they claim regarding that which is attributed to the Rafidah in the books of doctrine authored by our predecessors.” (scroll 87)

[34]  Surah al Inshirah: 4

[35]Al Nawaqid scroll 103. Sheikh Muhibb al Din al Khatib states: “They do not feel shy to make this claim despite knowing that this surah was revealed in Makkah, and the only son in law of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at that time was al ‘As ibn al Rabi’ al Umawi!” al Khutut al ‘Aridah pg. 15

[36]Takfir al Shia, scroll 58 (of the manuscript). He mentioned this under the chapter, “the chapter regarding Tahmasp the illegitimate, his irreligiousness and an explanation of his disbelief and blasphemy.” Tahmasp was the son of Shah Ismail ibn Haydar al Safawi. He was born in the year 919 A.H. and he was one of the kings of the Safawid dynasty. He occupied the throne after the death of his father, in the year 930 A.H., and he belonged to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). Refer to Da’irat al Ma’arif (al Shia) vol. 6 pg. 321.

[37]  Refer to Risalat al Radd ‘ala al Rafidah pg. 14

[38]  Refer to Mukhtasar al Tuhfah al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) pg. 82, 30, 50, 52.

[39]Ruh al Ma’ani 1/33

[40]  Refer to vol. 29 pg. 436

[41]Al Sunnah wa l-Shia pg. 43

[42]Al Washia pg. 25-26

[43]Al Washia pg. 104

[44]Al Washia pg. 138

[45]  He sought some information regarding this glaring calamity from some of the scholars of the Shia in the form of a small paper upon which he wrote (questions) regarding this matter as well as others, but he found no one to answer him. Refer to Al Washia pg. 27-28. Thereafter, he wrote a booklet in which he mentioned many of the false Shia beliefs and he presented it to leader of the mujtahids of the Kazimiyyah of Baghdad. Copies of this were made and distributed by al Rabitat al ‘Ilmiyyah to the lecturers of Najaf. He mentions that after waiting for more than a year, he received no reply from the mujtahids of the Shia. It was only the grand mujtahid of the Shah of Baghdad who responded with a ninety page dictionary of vulgarity, directed towards the first century and its people. His language therein was amazingly worse than that which was already contained in the books of the Shia. Al Washia pg. 98, 117-118.

[46]  Refer to pg. 30-31, 112.

[47] Al Khutut al ‘Aridah pg. 10-19

[48]  Refer to his book al Wahdat al Islamiyyah bayn al Akdh wa l-Radd

[49] Al Sunnah wa l-Shia pg. 14

[50]  In the book Fasl al Khitab it becomes clear that there are two groups among the Shia. One group beliefs in the lie, claiming that all those who denied it done so on account of taqiyyah. They claim that there is consensus among the Shia regarding this kufr. The author of Fasl al Khitab, who — as stated — wrote this book specifically to refute the opposite view, supports this view (that it has been interpolated). The other group rejects this lie and also claims that there is consensus regarding this belief. They quote strong proofs to support their view. However, the author of al Shia wa l-Qur’an did not mention the proofs of this group, sufficing upon the proofs of the first group without any comments attached to it. It is as if he considered it unnecessary to mention this aspect on account of him believing that it was done only on the basis of Taqiyyah. Undoubtedly, the demand of honesty would be that both sides were given equal attention. Also, by mentioning both sides, many matters regarding the inconsistency and falsity of the mazhab become quite clear.

[51] Such as the book Wa Ja’a Dawr al Majus (page 114) states that their rejection of alterations is Taqiyyah as they believe that the first three khulafa’, as well as the majority of the Sahabah were treacherous hypocrites, and the Qur’an reached us by means of them. Another reason he cites to believe so is that they ask Allah to send mercy upon their scholars who openly state the opposite view. (page 117)

[52]  Refer to Fiqh al Shia pg. 148

[53]  As an example, refer to the book written by Sheikh ‘Abdul Shakur Faruqi al Lucknowi which is titled, Afsanah Tahrif al Qur’an. Afsanah means: a narrative or report.

[54]  Salim al Bahansawi in his book Al Sunnat al Muftara ‘alayha

[55]  Muhammad Mahdi al Asifi, as stated by the author, who describes him as ‘The truthful Imam and brother’. Al Asifi is a resident of Kuwait.

[56]  Take note of the shameless accusation against the Ahlus Sunnah. It cannot be proven that even one of their scholars held this blasphemous view. Here, we only wish to pint out this accusation. We will discuss it at length, as well as the other mistakes and contradictions of this scholar under the discussion, “present-day Shia and their relationship with their predecessors,” if Allah wills.

[57]  Al Asifi: al Bayan al Tawdihi Hawl Da’wa Tahrif al Qur’an, which appears in the book al Sunnah al Muftara ‘alayha

[58]Al ‘Aql ‘ind al Shia al Imamiyyah pg. 49

[59]Izhar al Haq pg. 77

[60]  Al Qasimi: Tarikh al Jahmiyyah wa l-Mu’tazilah pg. 22

[61]  Surah al Nisa: 58

[62]  Surah al Ma’idah: 8

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