The Origin of These Interpretations, Their Roots and a Few Examples

A Few Examples of Shi`i Interpretations of the Verses of the Qur’an
April 14, 2016
b) Their Belief that Most of the Qur’an was Revealed Regarding them and Their Enemies
April 15, 2016

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The Origin of These Interpretations, Their Roots and a Few Examples

Their Origin

The claim of the Shia that the Qur’an cannot be used as proof unless it is accompanied by one who keeps it in place has already been discussed. He has to be one of the twelve, and he has all the knowledge of the Qur’an, an accolade that is shared with him by none. Furthermore, he was granted the duty of the law-maker, by specifying texts which were general, adding conditions to some of them from his own side, choosing a meaning for those which had more than one implication and abrogating those which he wished to abrogate. This is because all the matters of religion were handed over to him.

Thereafter, they proved the necessity of having the one who keeps it in place by stating, “the Qur’an has inner meanings which contradict the apparent ones.” Then, this treasure of knowledge, which was guarded by the twelve Imams was finally revealed to be a reference to them (the Imams) and their enemies (the Sahabah and those who followed diligently in their footsteps). Most of the discussions in the Qur’an (according to them) do not go beyond this topic. Finally, these ideas needed to become a reality. Thus, the scholars of the Shia rose to the occasion by fabricating hundreds of narrations to twist the meanings of the Qur’an, so that they could claim that it is a reference to the Imams, their opponents or any other doctrine which is upheld by them alone, and it is in stark contradiction to the beliefs of the majority.

It is the opinion of one of the orientalists[1] that the first book which set this trend in tafsir for the Shia, is a book that was written in the second century after the hijrah by Jabir al Ju’fi.[2]

Some of the scholars of the Shia have indicated towards this Tafsir[3], and it was — as indicated by some of their narrations — something that was spread and passed on secretly. Al Kashshi reports from Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar al Ju’fi:


سالت ابا جعفر عليه السلام عن تفسير جابر فقال لا تحدث به السفلة فيذيعوه

I asked Abu Jafar ‘alayh al Salam regarding the Tafsir of Jabir. He replied, “do not inform the lowly ones of it, as they might spread it.”[4]


One can find many narrations spread in the books of the Shia, which have been narrated from this Jabir and attributed to Imam Jafar ibn Muhammad or his father.[5] It is obvious that the Shia cannot find any footing or proof from the Book of Allah, except by means of these ludicrous Batini interpretations. This is why this methodology was given birth to at a very early stage.

In fact, we could say that the roots of this belief started growing on the veranda of Saba’ism, as Ibn Saba’ is the one who tried finding proof regarding his belief of reincarnation from the Qur’an by means of an ‘inner’ interpretation. He proclaimed, “those who surprise us are the ones who believe that ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam will return, yet they do not believe that Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will return. Allah says:


اِنَّ الَّذِیْ فَرَضَ عَلَیْكَ الْقُرْاٰنَ لَرَآدُّكَ اِلٰی مَعَادٍ

Indeed, [O Muhammad], He who imposed upon you the Qur’an will take you back to a place of return.[6]


Some of the books of the Ahlus Sunnah have related to us examples of Shia interpretations of the Book of Allah. However, that which has been revealed to us in this era, was unimaginable. It seems as if those interpretations which were attributed to the extremist Shia by the scholars of Islam have been inherited by the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). Imam al Ash’ari[7], al Baghdadi[8], al Shahrastani[9] and others report from Mughirah ibn Sa’id (who the Ahlus Sunnah as well as the Shia accept as an extremist and whose sect is called al Mughiriyyah[10]) that he interpreted the word shaitan in the following verse to be ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu:


کَمَثَلِ الشَّیْطٰنِ اِذْ قَالَ لِلْاِنْسَانِ اكْفُرْ

Like the example of Satan when he says to man, “disbelieve.”[11]


This interpretation has been narrated verbatim by the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), and they have preserved it in their reliable sources. Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi[12], al Safi[13], al Qummi[14], al Burhan[15] and Bihar al Anwar[16] report from Abu Jafar (al Baqir) regarding the verse of Allah:


وَقَالَ الشَّیْطٰنُ لَمَّا قُضِیَ الْاَمْرُ

And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded…[17]


هو الثانى و ليس فى القران شيئ وقال الشيطان الا وهو الثانى

He is the second one. There is no place in the Qur’an wherein it is said, “Shaitan said,” except that it refers to the second one.


The books of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) have surpassed Mughirah by setting this blasphemous interpretation as a standard rule. Al Kafi reports from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq):


و كان فلان شيطانا قال المجلسى فى شرحه على الكافى: المراد بفلان عمر

Fulan (an unnamed person) was a shaitan.[18] Al Majlisi says in his commentary of al Kafi, “the one who is referred to as fulan is ‘Umar.”[19]


These narrations, which the books of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) attribute to Abu Jafar al Baqir are in fact from the fabrications of Mughirah ibn Sa’id and his likes. Al Dhahabi reports from Kathir al Nawa[20] that Abu Jafar (al Baqir) said:


برئ الله و رسوله من المغيرة بن سعيد و بيان بن سمعان فانها كذبا علبنا اهل البيت

Allah and Rasul have nothing to do with Mughirah ibn Sa’id and Bayan ibn Sam’an. They have concocted lies using our (the Ahlul Bayt) names.[21]


Al Kashshi reports in his Rijal from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq):


لعن الله المغيرة بن سعيد كان يكذب علينا

May Allah curse Mughirah ibn Sa’id, he would forge lies against us.[22]


Thereafter, al Kashshi quotes a few narrations similar to this. These narrations indicate that Mughirah would acquire his deviant ideas from a Jewish source. Rijal al Kashshi states that Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) said one day to his companions:


لعن الله المغيرة بن سعيد و لعن يهودية كان يختلف اليها يتعلم منها السحر و الشعبذة (كذا) والمخاريق

May Allah curse Mughirah ibn Sa’id and may he curse the Jewish woman. He would visit her to learn from her witchcraft, magic and sorcery.[23]


It is noteworthy that al Ash’ari, al Baghdadi, Ibn Hazm and Nishwan al Himyari all agreed that Jabir al Ju’fi was the first person to lay the foundations of this Batini method of tafsir adopted by the Shia. He was the successor of Mughirah ibn Sa’id[24] who said that the meaning of the word shaitan in the Qur’an is Amir al Mu’minin Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They are components of the same poison which were led to the destruction of Shi’ism.


NEXT⇒ A Few Examples of Shia Interpretations of the Verses of the Qur’an

[1]  Goldziher: Muhammedanische Studien pg. 303-404

[2]  Jabir ibn Yazid ibn al Harith al Ju’fi al Kufi. (d. 127 A.H.) Ibn Hibban says, “he was a Saba’i, from the companions of ‘Abdullah ibn Saba’. He would say that ‘Ali will return to this world.” Al ‘Uqayli reports with his isnad from Za’idah who says, “Jabir al Ju’fi is a Rafidi who reviles the Sahabah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” Al Nasa’i and others have stated that he is unreliable. Yahya said, “his narrations should not be written and he has no dignity.” Ibn Hajar says, “he is an unreliable Rafidi,” refer to Mizan al I’tidal 1/379-380, Taqrib al Tahdhib 1/123, al Du’afa li l-’Uqayli 1/191-196.

The views regarding him in the books of the Shia are contradictory. Some suggest that he is the one who possessed all the knowledge of the Ahlul Bayt. They generously grant him super-human attributes such as knowledge of the unseen, etc. On the other hand, there are views wherein he is criticised. However, they interpret the views wherein he is criticised as Taqiyyah, and they regard him to be reliable, as is their habit regarding those who share their views, even if he was the greatest liar.

Refer to Wasa’il al Shia 20/51, Rijal al Kashshi pg. 191, Jami’ al Ruwat 1/144. Read up the details under the chapter, “their beliefs regarding the Sunnah”.

[3]  Al Tusi/al Fahrist pg. 70, Agha Buzurg/al Dhari’ah 4/268, al ‘Amili/A’yan al Shia 1/196

[4]Rijal al Kashshi pg. 192

[5]  Al Muzaffar (one of the contemporary Shia scholars) says, ‘He reported seventy thousand ahadith from al Baqir alone. It is said that he had all the knowledge of the Imams.’ Muhammad al Muzaffar/al Imam al Sadiq pg. 143. However, Rijal al Kashshi (pg. 191), under the biography of Jabir al Ju’fi states: ‘Zurarah says, “I asked Abu ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding the ahadith of Jabir. He replied, ‘I have not seen him with my father except once, and he did not ever visit me.’”’ These are testimonies from them that prove the lies of Jabir al Ju’fi as far as his narrations from al Sadiq and his father are concerned. Further details regarding this will appear under the chapter of the Sunnah.

[6]  Surah al Qasas: 85. This text is found in Tarikh al Tabari 4/34, Tarikh Ibn al Athir 3/77.

[7]Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/73

[8]Al Farq bayn al Firaq pg. 240

[9]Al Milal wa l-Nihal 1/177

[10]  Al Mughiriyyah – the followers of al Mughirah ibn Sa’id. The authors on the subject of sects have counted them among the extremists Shias. Al Mughirah was of the view that ‘Ali was god. He claimed nubuwwah, anthropomorphism and other deviant beliefs. The books of the Twelvers have narrated that the Imams have disparaged him and cursed him. Khalid ibn ‘Abdullah al Qisri had the opportunity of killing him in the year 119 A.H.

Refer to Tarikh al Tabari 7/128-130, al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/69-74, al Baghdadi: Al Farq bayn al Firaq pg. 238-242, Ibn Hazm: al Fisal 5/43-44, al Shahrastani: al Milal wa l-Nihal pg. 176-178, Nishwan al Himyari: al Hur al ‘Ayn pg. 168, al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal 4/160-162, al Maqrizi: al Khutat 2/353.

Also refer to these books of the Shia; al Qummi: al Maqalat wa l-Firaq pg. 55, Rijal al Kashshi narrations 336, 399, 400, 909, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 511, 542, 543, 544, 549

[11]  Surah al Hashr: 16

[12]Tafsir al ‘Ayyashi 2/223

[13]  Al Kashani: Tafsir al Safi 3/84

[14]Tafsir al Qummi (Refer to Tafsir al Safi 3/84. I did not find it in my copy of Tafsir al Qummi)

[15]  Al Bahrani: al Burhan 2/309

[16]Bihar al Anwar 3/378

[17]  Surah Ibrahim: 22

[18]  Al Kulayni: al Kafi (which is printed along with Mir’at al ‘Uqul 4/416)

[19]Mir’at al ‘Uqul 4/416

[20]  Kathir al Nawa: He was a Shia. It is said that he repented from being a Shia. Al Dhahabi says, “they considered him to be unreliable. Ibn Hibban was lenient regarding him.” Al Kashif 3/3

[21]Mizan al I’tidal 4/161

[22]Rijal al Kashshi number 336

[23]  Ibid number 403

[24]  Al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/73, al Baghdadi: al Farq bayn al Firaq pg. 242, Ibn Hazm: al Muhalla 5/44, Nishwan: al Hur al ‘Ayn pg. 168

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