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Distortion of the Quran

Q:

Hi Is it true that prominent shia scholars like shaykh- al Kulayni, Shaykh- Al-Mufid and Shaykh Kashani believed in the distortion of the quran? If they did, what is the rulings on such individuals? Are they deviants or do they fall out of the folds of Islam? And if shaykh- Al- Kulayni believed in the distortion of the quran doesnt this make the whole Al-Kafi an uncertain book?

A:
Bismillah ArRahman ArRaheem 

Wa-Alaykum As Salaam  
 
This answer requires some introductory points:
 
First:
Distortion of the Holy Qur’an could mean one of the following:
  1. Change in the meaning of the word of an Ayah to something that is not what it means.  That is not allowed, considered to be exegesis using your own opinion with no evidence to back up that opinion, and the narrations have prohibited this completely.
  2. Change in the location of an Ayah with in the surah.  This would be a rare opinion.  Note that most Ayahs did not come down in the way the Holy Qur’an is now, but rather, the Ayahs were placed in their positions.  There is a difference of opinion as to whether the Ayahs are with in their positions as ordered by Allahﷻ – or if they were placed there after the demise of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household.
  3. Changing the way a word is recited against what all the known reciters have recited.
  4. Change in the dialect of the words.  This is allowed where the meanings of the words do not change and are found in the different recitations, the most accepted being the 7 dialects or recitations, then there are another 3, and then another 4 (making them 10, then 14 recitations) and as we go further out from the initial seven they are less and less likely to be correct.
  5. Changing the words in the Holy Qur’an which have the same meanings.  This is not considered allowable.
  6.  Additional words,  ayahs, or surahs inserted in the verses.  This is because in some transcripts they used to insert explanatory words and some thought they may be part of the Holy Qur’an.  They are not.  So is not a distortion.
  7. Removal of words, ayahs, or surahs.
The only real distortion accepted today by learned scholars is the first one.  That is, a changing of the meaning, which is not allowed, but is used as a means of distorting religion.  
 
Secondly
Scholars believe that the Holy Qur’an is protected by the AlMighty and is not distorted, and that the main evidence for that is the following verse:
 
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ 
Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian. (15:9)
 
It is important to know even those who claim the Holy Qur’an is distorted believe this ayah is NOT!  And if this ayah is not distorted, and Allahﷻ never breaks a promise, then there is no doubt that the Holy Qur’an is not distorted and our major scholars believe in the completeness of the Holy Qur’an, including the ones you mentioned.
 
Conclusion
So if distortion means the distortion of the six items from #2-7, then they do not believe that.  However, there is no dispute there is distortion with the meaning of #1.
 
Your question
Sheikh Kulaini – for example, the claim he believes in the distortion of the Holy Qur’an is because he mentions some narrations that indicate the Holy Qur’an has been distorted in a chapter that is titled with the word “rare narration”, with out indicating that he believes in them, as mentioned by Al Muhadith Al Kashani.  They may have been inserted because they have been narrated through correct narrators (علم الرجال), for example, but the content may not be correct (علم الحديث و الدراية).  This is where the science of narrations becomes important.
Nevertheless, he mentions at the very beginning of his book that should there be narrations that contradict each other, and this contradiction is not something we can solve – ie it is correct in all aspects of the narrators and we can not resolve the contradictions, then we must go back to the Holy Qur’an and seek advice from that.  Even if that is the case, and using the above Ayah, we then know that the Holy Qur’an is fully protected.
 
But even before that, there are many other narrations in his book Al-Kafi, with stronger evidence for it being correct than any of the ones saying the Holy Qur’an is distorted, that say the Holy Qur’an is not distorted and protected.
 
The writings of the greats such as Sheikh AL Sadooq, Mufid, Murtadha and Tabrasi clearly indicate they do not believe in the distortion of the Holy Qur’an in the meaning that is being referred to (meanings 2-7).  Only some rare people have said so (such as Al Hashawia).  Sheikh Al Sadooq has even stated that – what they attribute to us with regards to this … it is a lie.
 
Furthermore – the title “rare” in the heading indicates that we can not act on these narrations with stronger opposing and more common ones.  
 
Finally, if you read the tafseer of Syed Khoei, for example, he gives six evidences as to why he believes the Holy Qur’an was collected and finalized at the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, and Imam Ali peace be upon him, was set the task of delivering this finalised Holy Qur’an according to the order in which the Ayahs descended and with exegesis.  However, this was unfortunately rejected by those who took charge at the time.
 
The Imams, Peace Be Upon Them, however, have repeatedly confirmed the authenticity of the current Holy Qur’an that is in between our hands.
 
Given the above, the latter questions are no longer applicable.
 
We hope this answer is satisfactory to your needs.  
 
S.L. Al-Hakim
 

Sources: 
Al-Tamheed fe Uloom AlQuran – Part 8 Sheikh Maarefat
Al-Bayan fe Tafsir Al-Holy Qur’an – Syed Khoei

And http://www.aqaed.com/faq/2778/  

 
بسمه تعالى. راجعت قسم تحريف القرآن بموقعكم، ولكني لم أجد جوابا صريحا على أنه لماذا يذكر الكليني روايات التحريف في كتابه الكافي؟