Distortion (tahreef) in the Holy Quran has been a subject of much debate among the Muslims. A section of Muslims, as is their wont, accuse the Shias of holding this belief and even allege that Shias have a Quran of their own which is distinct from that of the common Muslims. These Muslims would have been better off referring to Shiite traditions on Tahreef as also comparing the so-called ‘Shiite Quran’ with their own Quran to settle the issue of the Shiite version of the Quran.
While scholars across both sects have their views on tahreef in the Quran, Shia scholars by consensus based on the Quran and Sunnah believe that the present-day Quran is a source of guidance and it is wrong to claim that anything has been added to it.
Differences in recitation and interpretation is not tahreef
The tahreef in Shia books alleged by these Muslims does not refer to tahreef in concept or meaning. It is a variation in the recitation (Qeraa’at) only. Tahreef is when the concept or meaning is changed so that people are unable to distinguish truth from falsehood.
The Shias do not subscribe to tahreef of this nature. It is their belief that the present-day Quran has been revealed on the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and transferred and explained by the successors (Imams (a.s.)) of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The variations are in the Qeraa’at of the Imams (a.s.) and do not qualify as tahreef and therefore not worth debating.
The tahreef that has found its way is the tahreef in interpretation (taavil and tafseer) of Quranic verses which cannot be denied with the numerous books written on exegesis (tafseer) of the Quran including by Sunni scholars, each with its own interpretation. If there was no tahreef of this nature, there would be consensus regarding the tafseer of the Quran and there would be only sect in Islam instead of the numerous sects at present.
Views of Shiite scholars rejecting tahreef of Quran
1) Shaikh Sadooq (r.a.)
The chief of the traditionists – Shaikh Saduq (r.a.) says:
Regarding the Quran our belief is that it is the word of Allah, His revelation which has descended from Him, it is His Word and His Book, falsehood (Baatil) can neither enter it from the front, nor from the back. It has been revealed by the All Knowing and All Wise Allah, its narratives are true and its sayings are firm. It is not a collection of forged useless incidents. Allah is its Creator, its Revealer, its Protector, and he speaks from it too.
Etiqadaat (Shiite Creed – English translation) by Shaikh Sadooq pg 92, published in Iran
He further records in the same book:
Our belief is that the Quran, which Allah revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), is (the same as) the one between the two covers. And it is that which is in the hands of the people, and is not greater in extent than that.
2) Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Numan Baghdadi known as Shaikh Mufid (r.a.)
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.), the student of Shaikh Sadooq (r.a.) and the teacher of Syed Murtaza (r.a.) and Syed Razi (r.a.), states:
There are no flaws of words, verses or chapters in the present Quran.
Tafseer A’la al-Rehman pg 17
He further states:
Verily what is between the two covers of the Quran its whole content is Allah’s words and revelation, there is nothing from the words of mankind in it and its entirety is the revelation of Allah.
1. Miraat al-Uqool vol 1 pg 171
2. Al-Mesael al-Surweya by Shaikh Mufeed, page 78
3) Sayyid Murtaza Alam al-Huda (r.a.) rejected tahreef as recorded in:
1. Tafseer Majmaa al-Bayaan, edition 1 pg 15, published in Iran
2. Tafseer al-Saafi vol 1 pg 34
Views of Sayyid Murtaza became so popular that some renowned Sunni scholars also recorded it in their books. Ibn Hajar-e-Asqalani narrates from Ibn Hazm that Sayyid Murtaza was among the Imaamiyyah scholars and he used to deem infidel whoever maintained the belief in the distortion of Quran and same was the belief of his fellow scholars like Abul Qasim Razi and Abu Y`ali Tusi. (Lisaan al-Mizaan vol 4 pg 224)
4) Shaikh Muhammad b. Hasan Abu Jafar Tusi known as Shaikh Tusi (r.a.)
Shaikh Tusi (r.a.) in his book Al-Tibyaan says that raising questions about tahreef of the Quran is inappropriate, because as far as the question of anything being added to the Quran is concerned, there is complete consensus that no such thing has happened, and about anything being subtracted from it, apparently the belief of all Muslims is that it has not happened either. The same is the ‘Saheeh’ statement especially in our sect (Shias), and it has been backed by Allamah Sayyid Murtaza (r.a.) and the same is proven from traditions. No doubt both Shias and Sunnis have some single chain narrations (about tahreef) which can neither suffice for knowledge, nor can they be acted upon, therefore it is better to discard them.
1. Tafseer al-Saafi, pg 36
2. Tafseer A’la al-Rehman pg 17
3. Al Bayan fi Tafseer al-Quran vol 1 pg 3
4. Al-Tibyaan by Shaikh Tusi, vol 1 pg 3
5) Fazl b. Hasan known as Shaikh Tabrisi rejected tahreef as recorded in
1. Tafseer Majma al-Bayaan pg 5
2. Tafseer al-Saafi page 13
6) Allamah Ibne Shahr-e-Aashob rejected tahreef as recorded in
Manaaqib-e-Aal-e-Abi Taalib (a.s.) vol 1 pg 187
7) Allamah Ibn al-Mutahhar al-Hilli (r.a.) known as Allamah Hilli rejected tahreef as recorded in
Masael al-Mehanawiyyiah by Allamah Hilli (r.a.) pg 121
8) Shaheed-e-Saalis – Qaazi Noorullah Shostari (r.a.) rejected tahreef as recorded in
1. Masaaib al-Nawaaib pg 105
2. Muqadimma Tafseer Haqqani vol 1 pg 23
9) Shaikh Muhammad b. Hasan known as Shaikh Bahai rejected tahreef as recorded in
Ala al-Rahman, page 26
10) Allamah Sadruddin Shirazi known as Mulla Sadra rejected tahreef as recorded in
Tafseer of Ayaat al-Kursi pg 332 in the Sharh of Usul-e-Kaafi
11) Shaikh Muhammad Baaqir Majlisi (compiler of Behaar al-Anwaar) rejected tahreef as recorded in
1. Behaar al-Anwaar vol 9 pg 113
2. Behaar al-Anwaar vol 89 pg 75
3. Miraat al-Uqool vol 2 pg 273
12) Shaikh Muhammad b. Hasan b. Hurr al Aamili (compiler of Wasaail al-Shia) rejected tahreef as recorded in:
Al Fusul al-Muhimmah fi Taalif al-Ummah pg 166
13) Mullah Sadiq rejected tahreef as recorded in
Tafseer-e-Haqqani vol 1 pg 63
14) Allamah Syed Muhammad Husain Tabatabaai (author of Tafseer Al-Mizaan) rejected tahreef as recorded in:
Tafseer Al-Mizaan vol 12 pg 104, 109, 110, 111 published in Iran
15) Ayatullah Sayyid Abul Qaasim al-Khoei (r.a.) has rejected tahreef as recorded in
Al-Bayaan fi Tafseer al-Quran pg 201, 207, 215, 220, 221, 228, 233, 234 published by Al-A’lami Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon, 3rd edition 1974
Ayatullah Al-Khoei in Al-Bayaan has elaborated on various categories of tahreef. He states that there is tahreef with regards to interpretation of verses (taavil and tafseer) and not with regards to revelation (tanzeel).
16) Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Seestani has rejected tahreef as recorded in
Ahdath al-Istiftaat al-Aqeedia pg 454
This is an abridged list of the most reliable Shiite scholars across centuries culminating in the present era, who have rejected tahreef outright and have declared reports on tahreef as being unreliable since they originate from single narrators.
After this there is no reason to propagate the lie that Shias believe in tahreef of the Quran. Anyway, we will soon list the opinions of renowned Sunni scholars to establish that it is in fact the Sunnis who hold the belief of tahreef.