Chapter 1: Genuineness of the Holy Qur’an in its Text and Arrangement

“Verily, those who disbelieve in the Reminder when it comes unto them, and verily it (Qur’an) is a Book Unassailable. Shall come not nigh if falsehood from before it nor from behind it a revelation from the All Wise, the Most Praised One.” (41:41 – 42)1

An overwhelming majority of scholars of all schools of thought in Islam agree in which the Holy Qur’an, as it is now in our hands, was rendered in writing under the command and the personal supervision of the Holy Prophet himself, and no addition, omission or alteration, whatsoever, ever took place in it. But a few traditionists of Sunni as well as Shia schools of thought who were invariably influenced more by the letter of all sorts of traditions than by reason and historical facts, have held a different view to the effect in which some omissions and alterations took place after the Holy Prophet, during the time of the Caliph ‘Uthman. The advocates of this view have never succeeded in establishing this theory by any reliable evidence and argument. In order to demonstrate the fallacy of this theory it is necessary:

(A) to point out the ORIGINS of this theory,

(B) to assess the internal and external EVIDENCE of historical value on this subject,

(C) to evaluate the TRADITIONS put forward in support of the theory, and thus

(D) to establish what the Muslims are required to believe about the Holy Qur’an from the religious point of view – DIVINE TRUST.

Before dealing with the above in detail the following essentials must be noted.

1. Definition of the Qur’an

By Qur’an we mean the rhythmic and recitative verses, phrases, sentences, and chapters uttered by the Prophet of Islam, not as his own wording, but as the verbatim Book of God revealed to him. The book he proclaimed as his “Everlasting Miracle,” bearing testimony of his Prophethood with which he challenged not only the Arab individuals of his time who doubted the divine origin of the Qur’an but also non-Arabs who may in the future doubt its origin. He even challenged all “Ins” and “Jinns” (human beings and jinns) together to join hands and create even a single chapter like it, until the Day of Resurrection.

If you be in doubt about what We have sent down unto Our Servant (Muhammad) produce you then a surah (chapter) like unto it, and call you your witness other than God, if you are truthful. But if you do (it) not, and never shall you do (it), then guard yourselves against the (Hell) fire whose fuel shall be the people and stones, prepared for the disbelievers. (2:23 – 24)

(Say you), “Even if men and jinns get united (with the object) which they bring the like of this Qur’an, they would bring not the like of it, even though some of them to the others be helpers.” (17:88).2

The other sayings of the Prophet are also revelations from God but they are not included in the above definition, as they are not part of the Qur’an in respect of which he challenged the world. These are known as Ahadith Qudsi (the sacred traditions), which are so numerous, if collected together they would be at least the size of the Qur’an, if not more. This definition also excludes the words, phrases or sentences revealed to the Holy Prophet as explanatory notes, in between certain verses, but not for recitation. The revealed notes of this type are so peculiar that if they were taken as part of the text of the Qur’an, the rhythmic and recitative tone of the verse would be disturbed. Thus, granting the truth of certain reports pointing out some words or phrases not found in the Qur’an as “revealed,” in between some verses, they do not mean the words or phrases in question were part of the text for recitation.

In other words, it is true the Qur’an as a whole or part is revealed but it is not true that whatever was revealed is the Qur’an or part of it. For example, there are certain reports narrated by some Sunni and Shia narrators in which in Chapter Four verse 24 wherein temporary marriage is dealt with there was a phrase “Illa Ajlin” – “for fixed period” after the sentence “fa mastamta’tum bihi min hunna” – “as such of you had “Muta‘ah”3 with them.” It was said that the phrase was found in the collections of ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud. The said phrase was undoubtedly revealed, not as a part of the recitative Qur’an but as an explanatory note; this is the reason it was not found in any other collection except that of ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud. All the Muslims commentators agree the passage deals with the legislation relating to temporary marriage.

According to ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud the reason for recording and reciting this explanatory phrase was that the Caliph ‘Umar had issued an ordinance prohibiting the temporary marriage (muta‘ah) and as a protest he (ibn Mas‘ud) used to mention this phrase so nobody could deny the legislation regarding temporary marriage. Any report which suggests addition, omission or alteration of some words or phrases which is inconsistent with the rhythmic and recitative tone of the text should be either rejected or interpreted as meaning something out of the text.

For example, Bukhari reports that one of the companions of the Prophet, Abu Darda, used to consider the phrase “Wa ma khalaqa” – “and what has He created” – in Chapter 92:3 as an addition not found in the original version, but the rhythmical consistency of the present version with the phrase is the best proof against the report of Abu Darda. Moreover, it is the consensus of Muslim scholars in which nothing has been added to the text. The definition above needs to be kept in mind throughout the discussion about the Holy Qur’an.

2. No religious document is as genuine as the Holy Qur’an

“A comparative study of the Qur’an with the Old and new testaments brings to light the fact in which the Qur’an in many places has directly or indirectly refuted many statements recorded in the Jewish and Christian scriptures held by their adherents as authentic.4

None of the historical records and reports which the Muslims claim to be the most authentic: the Sihah al-Sitta (Six Correct Collections) of the Sunnis or the Kutb al-‘Arba’h (Four Books) of the Shi‘ahs, can claim to be within the reach of every Muslim from his earliest age as is in the Holy Qur’an. And no traditions were considered so important as to make every Muslim child learn, recite, and memorize it, word by word with the utmost grammatical correctness and phonetic perfection as in the case of the Holy Qur’an.

The utmost importance attached to the Holy Qur’an by every Muslim was not developed as an afterthought. The Holy Qur’an itself, from the time of its revelation, encouraged the people in various ways to learn, read, recite and memorize it, and ponder over every word and mindfully listen when being recited:

And when the Qur’an is recited then you listen to it and be attentive, in which mercy be done unto you. (7:204)5

According to Islamic rules one should be physically clean, i.e. perform prescribed ablution (wudu), and avoid things which cause distraction before recitation.

And when you recite the Qur’an, seek you refuge with God from Satan the accursed. (16:98)6

3. The importance of the Qur’an declared by its divine author and upheld by believers

The Holy Prophet was commanded by God not to be in haste in the recitation or the arrangement of the Holy Qur’an but to follow the divine order in both respects “(Oh Our Apostle Muhammad), move not by the tongue with it (the Qur’an) in haste! Verily on Us is the collection of it and the recital of it! So when We have recited it, then follow through the recital! Again it is on Us the explaining of it!”7 (75:16 – 19)

“High above all is God, the King, and the (Self-existent) Truth. And hasten not (oh Apostle Muhammad) with the Qur’an ere it is completed unto thee its revelation, and say you, “Oh my Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (20:114)8

This indicates the arrangement of verses and surahs need not be according to the dates of revelation. It is evident the importance attached to the holy text by its divine author, is naturally shared by the Muslims, who rightly believe God is the author of the Holy Qur’an.

Thus the Muslims pay full devotion to the Holy Book and carry out the orders required of them. The Muslims in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet were brought up to learn the Qur’an as ‘Ibadat’ (devotion), to recite it as “devotion,” to write it down as “devotion,” to teach their children and other people and make them learn it by heart and understand it as “devotion.” They became so familiar with it they used the verses of the Holy Qur’an in their daily conversation. History records Fadhah, the noble Abysinian housemaid of Fatima al-Zahra, the “Lady of Paradise,” the daughter of the Holy Prophet, was in the habit of using the verses and words of the Qur’an in her conversation.9

4. The Qur’an was arranged and written in complete book form during the life of the Holy Prophet

The Holy Qur’an declares the teaching of the book and the act of writing are among the main objects of the advent of the Holy Prophet and it considers the pen as the means of educating man even when God is the teacher.

“He who taught (to write) with the Pen. (He) taught man what he knew not!” (96:4 – 5)10

“Noon (N) by the Pen and by what they write.” (67:1).11

The Holy Qur’an commands people to write down their business, their agreements, and other transactions, and keep witnesses to avoid doubts and disputes later on. So it is not credible in which the author of the Qur’an, God, who ordered humankind to write down their business transactions minutely did not want His “Book” recorded in precise written form. It is after all the “Book” containing the fundamental principle of truth and justice, the final and the universal Divine Message, not for any section of humanity or for any limited time but for the human race as a whole, for all time in all parts of the earth. It is unthinkable too in which God left the Qur’an in fragmentary form when He blames the Jews for fragmenting the Book of Moses when they were exhibiting a part and suppressing the other.

They esteem not God with the estimation due to Him when they say, “Nothing did God send down unto man!” Say (oh Apostle Muhammad), “Who (then) did send down the Book which Moses brought? A light and a guidance to humankind, you make (transcribe) it into papers (whereof) you publish (a part) and conceal you much (of it)! And you were taught what you knew not, neither you nor your fathers. Say, “God.” Then leave them sporting in their vain discourses. (6:92).12

Emphatically, ‘Ali says, “Nay! During the gradual revelation of the Qur’an there was no chapter, verse, sentence, phrase, word, and letter revealed which the Prophet did not recite to me and made me recite, and then dictate to me. I wrote it in its proper place as ordered. He dictated to me and not only the text but also the necessary explanatory notes about the date, circumstances and the implications of every verse and chapter. Besides this, the Prophet taught me a thousand key notes to the inner meaning of the Qur’an, each key note leading to another thousand key notes and further inner meanings and so on.”

It is a verdict against the claim of any school of thought which the text in question was collected and arranged by anyone after the demise of the Prophet. Umm Salma (wife of the Holy Prophet) has narrated in which the Prophet said, “Ali is always with the Truth (Haqq) and the Qur’an and the Truth is always with him. Until the Day of Judgment they will not be separated from each other.”13

The term Mushaf, or “collection,” used then did not mean the text only. It meant text with commentary or explanatory notes. That collection also had been made by the recognized teachers, months before the demise of the Holy Prophet. It will be discussed later in which the recognized teachers refused to hand over their collection to the then ruling parties. However, the ruling parties decided to dispense with those collections and prepare their own. It is recorded in books of traditions and history in which young Zayd ibn Thabit was selected for the task by them. No record of historical value shows that Ali or other recognized teachers of the Qur’an took part in this official collection, on the contrary each of them engaged himself independently in producing copies of his collections according to his insight and ability.

Of Ali’s transcendental ability we need say no more than what he said about his own Mashaf (collection). It was based entirely on the revealed explanation dictated to him by the Holy Prophet. The following statement of Ali relates not only to the commentary of the Qur’an, but also covers every minute aspect of his life from birth to death. “The Prophet did not follow any but divine guidance and I did not follow any but the Prophet’s guidance.”14 The Prophet said, “I and Ali are from the one and same Divine Light.”15

Neither the so-called collection of Ali, prepared after the demise of the Holy Prophet, nor his former collection made during the life of the Holy Prophet was seen by any person other than the chosen members of the family of the Prophet, i.e. The Holy Ahl al-Bayt. The official collection prepared by Zayd ibn Thabit under the order of the first Caliph also remained unpublished during the reign of the first two Caliphs and the early part of the third Caliph’s rule. But before the beginning of this period the text of the Qur’an along with Ahl al-Bayt was widely known among the Muslims.

All that could have been done was to tamper with the interpretation of the existing text. To the question of Talha, “Is all this in our hands the Qur’an (revealed by God)?” Ali’s answer was, “All that is in our hands (within reach of the people) is the Qur’an (revealed from God), and in this (which is available to all) is the proof of our right over the people and their duty to obey us.”16 However, the futile dispute remains about omissions and alternatives in the arrangement and in some lettering, but not about any addition at all.

5. The issue should not be confused with the question of varieties of recitation which do not mean addition or alteration

The alteration or the alternative given by some commentators regarding some lettering, pronunciation and some words of the Holy Book which did not affect any substantial change either in the meaning or in the significance of the phrases or the sentences will be dealt with under the variety of recitations of the same words, such as Malike and Maalike.

6. Criterion

All religious records other than the Holy Qur’an, Islamic or non-Islamic, are suspected of containing passages, paragraphs and even chapters which have been added to the original works. Having in view the irrefutable authenticity of the Holy Qur’an, the Holy Prophet and his companions and the scholars of subsequent generations are unanimous in which the Holy Qur’an is to be taken as the standard and the criterion of the verification of all the other religious records, be these Islamic or non-Islamic.

Any narration attributing an utterance, action or endorsement to the Holy Prophet or the Holy Imams of his House is unacceptable if inconsistent with the Holy Qur’an. This criterion for accepting or rejecting a narration or tradition has been declared by the Holy Prophet, Ali, Hassan and Hussain and the succeeding nine Imams of the Holy House.17 It means the Qur’an as the criterion for the verification of other religious statements, records and narrations, existed within the reach of the public throughout the period.

7. There is no dispute or doubt in which the Qur’an in our hands is the same version which received the official assent of the third caliph ‘Uthman

All which has been or may be said about the omission, addition, or substantial alteration alleged to have taken place in the Qur’an is the arrangement of the words, phrases, verses and chapters or the arrangement of the chapters together relates to the period between the demise of the Prophet and the official assent given to the existing popular version by the third Caliph, ‘Uthman. The confusing circumstances created by the ruling party on this occasion of official assent needs to be reviewed. Besides the Qur’an there were authoritative scribes of the Qur’an who could be referred to in any issue pertaining to the Qur’an. Apart from Ali, Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib and other adherents, there were a few scholars selected by the Prophet like ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud and Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr from the earliest Muslims in Mecca, and ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b amongst the earlier adherents of Islam (Ansars), Ma‘adh ibn Jabal, Salim Maulla, Hudhayfa, and others who were entrusted with the duty of recording there and then the Qur’an as it was revealed to the Prophet and recited by him.

The scribes, after recording, used to obtain the approval of the Prophet on the spot and many times afterwards. The Muslims learned the Qur’an directly or indirectly from these scribes of the Holy Book in the lifetime of the Prophet and later on. Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib was the head of the early Muslims who migrated to Abyssinia, and Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr was sent to Medina to teach the Qur’an before the migration of the Prophet to that city.

Apart from these scribes, many companions of the Prophet (Sahaba) were interested in learning the Holy Qur’an and its commentary. Among the prominent scholars of the Qur’an, Abdullah ibn Abbas was eminent, though he was a young companion of the Prophet. He was also one of the disciples of Ali. Even the party in power and their dignitaries had to learn the Qur’an from Abdullah ibn Abbas (vide Sahih of Bukhari), Chapter Stoning the Pregnant Adultress, Rajm Hubla). The dignitaries of the Quraysh, during the later period of the second Caliph, were learning the Qur’an from Abdullah ibn Abbas. One of them was Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf whose political importance was evident from the fact that the second Caliph gave him the right of casting a vote in the deliberation of the committee appointed to nominate the third Caliph.

Most of these recognized scholars of the Qur’an lived throughout the period between the demise of the Holy Prophet and the official assent given by Caliph ‘Uthman to the existing version. These people taught the Qur’an throughout the length and breadth of the fast expanding Muslim Empire.

People of various races, creeds, and different shades of opinion who had embraced Islam learned the Qur’an by heart from those early Muslims and put it down in writing for their own use. The popularity of the Qur’an among the Muslims is evident from the report in which the Battle of Yamama (12/633 C),18 which took place only about six months after the demise of the Holy Prophet, 700 Huffaz (those who learned the Qur’an by heart) were killed in a single day’s fight. If there was any letter, word, phrase, sentence, verse or chapter and if its original position was different from those of the version in hand it would have been known to a very large number of people in every generation.

Any such report about the wording of the Qur’an lacking the strength of evidence of the reporters in large numbers cannot be true as the eclipse of the sun at midday in a clear sky cannot take place and be known only to only a few out of thousands of inhabitants of a particular region. This argument, aimed at the negation of a certain event on the basis of the absence of correlative factors of the event, will frequently be referred to in the course of our discussion about the Qur’an in hand as the strongest evidence of its genuineness. There are solitary reports about certain words of Surah al-Fatihatul-Kitab being different from the words in the version in hand, e.g. instead of Walad-daleen, some reports say it was Ghairad-daleen. Reports stating this small chapter, the recitation of which twice in each of the five daily prayers is compulsory, was different in wording from the present version, cannot be relied upon at all.

The statement of the Holy Prophet, “Gabriel had placed before me the Qur’an for review once a year and in the last year of ministry he (Gabriel) did so twice which indicated the time of my departure was close at hand,” asserts both the Divine Author and the Holy Prophet were so very careful about the Qur’an in which no alteration of any kind whatsoever could have been made in it by any one, and the Qur’an received its complete arrangement and order not later than about two months before the demise of the Holy Prophet. It is with reference to this revealed Book which existed in the complete form within the reach of the people, in which the Prophet addressing his followers declared:

“I leave amidst you two great things, the Book of God (the Holy Qur’an), and my Ahl al-Bayt (members of my household). Should you be attached to these two never shall you be misled after me, for verily these two will never be separated from each other, until they meet me at the cistern of Kawther (on the Day of Judgment).”19 Hadith al-Thaqalayn. Tradition of the Two Precious Things.

It was with reference to the complete of Book of God in the hands of Muslims in which ‘Umar said, “Hasbuna Kitaballah” (i.e. “Sufficient for us the Book of God”), on the last day of the Holy Prophet’s life when he had asked for pen and ink to write his will in which he wanted to reiterate Ali as being the Hujjat (the Supreme Authority) after him but was refused (vide Hadith of Pen and Paper).20 It is a categorical announcement referred above about the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt. Any details in the genuineness of the Qur’an and the supreme authoritative status of both the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt undermine the very foundation of Islam. Such doubts imply the Holy Prophet, who claimed to be the last in the order of the Messengers of God, has left two vital issues to be finalized and decided by the wishes of the new converts whose susceptibility to reversion to the old pagan cult and practices has been referred to by the Qur’an as a warning to the Prophet.

وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا {30}

And shall say (out) the Apostle (that day), “My Lord, verily my people have held this Qur’an as a vain forsaken thing!” (25:30)

In other words, to doubt the genuineness of the Qur’an is to allege the Holy Prophet, who had come to finalize the divine mission so after him there would be no arguments or excuses for men against God, had neglected the final settlement of important issues, and thus laid the foundation of all the later controversies in Islam.

رُسُلًا مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللَّهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا {165}

(God says), “We sent apostles as givers of glad tidings and warners in which there may not remain any argument for the people against God, after (the coming of) these apostles. And God is Mighty, Wise.” (4:165)

For the sake of argument, let us say the Holy Prophet in his declaration,

“I am leaving among you two precious things, the Book of God and my Ahl al-Bayt,”

referred to what the people had learnt by heart and from the fragments of the leaves, wood, bones and papers on which the Qur’an used to be written at the time of its revelation. Such an interpretation of the above words of the Holy Prophet which he uttered when declaring the final and supreme authority after him, is as meaningless as the interpretation which the word Maula used by the Holy Prophet, at the declaration of Ghadir al-Khum, meant “friend.” There was no need for such a declaration if the intention of the Holy Prophet was to refer to ‘Ali as a mere “friend” at Ghadir.

Similarly, it is not possible he referred to a pile of scattered fragments as the “Book of God” without saying anything definite about the would-be shape of those fragments as a complete book and about those who were to undertake the task. If by the “Book of God” he meant the fragments in questions, and not a proper book, then he would have said (according to the Shia point of view) that he had left them with Ali to give the final shape as ordered by God. And he would have said people should receive the Qur’an from Ali only. Or, according to the Sunni point of view, he could have left the Qur’an in a fragmentary condition and said it was the duty of the man in power after him to undertake the task of putting together a “Book.”

There is no such statement of the Prophet. Again, to doubt the existence of the Qur’an in a definite book form and the existence of a clear declaration about a living authority (Ahl al-Bayt) as its interpreter and infallible exponent, is to doubt the prophethood of the founder of Islam and his perfect wisdom.

8. The Qur’an claims several stages of its existence

(1) A pre-revealed existence with God in the Lawhe Mahfuz (Ch. 85 v 22) (protected tablet) and in the Kitab al-Maknun (Ch. 56 vs 77 – 79) (hidden book).

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ {77}

فِي كِتَابٍ مَكْنُونٍ {78}

لَا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ {79}

Verily it is an honoured Qur’an. In a Book hidden, touch it not save the purified ones. (56:77 – 79)

(2) A revealed form taught to the Holy Prophet when he was created and given the power of expression.

الرَّحْمَٰنُ {1}

عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ {2}

خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ {3}

عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ {4}

(God), the Beneficent. Taught He the Qur’an. He created man. He taught him Expression. (55:1 – 4)

And (3) an arranged from revealed to the heart of the Holy Prophet in its totality on the esteemed night in the month of Ramadhan. (Ch. 44:1 – 6 and Ch. 47:al-Qadr).21 These three states refer to God’s teaching the Holy Prophet and acquainting him with the Qur’an. (4) Fourth is the stage of the gradual revelation of the Qur’an; in this stage the revelation of the Qur’an part by part was meant for recitation to the people (17:106):

وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنْزِيلًا {106}

“And it is the Qur’an which We have apportioned it so you may recite it unto the people with deliberation (by degrees) and We have sent it down, gradually in portions.” (17:106)

It was in this stage of recitation in which the first five verses of Chapter 46 (‘Alaq or Iqra) were revealed. The first chapter of the Qur’an named al-Fatihatul-Kitab (the Opening Chapter of the Holy Book, the Qur’an) was revealed for recitation later. In this stage of revelation the circumstances would require quotation and recitation of some chapters or verses (from chapters) not in accordance with the order of the previous arrangement. A portion of one chapter would be recited earlier and the other portion would remain to be recited later on. In this interval a few others chapters were revealed for recitation.

(5) Fifth is the stage of post gradual revelation where the Qur’an was taught to be placed within the reach of Jinns and Ins (jinns and human beings) as an everlasting guidance and challenging miracle. Post-gradual revelation begins in the last year of the Holy Prophet’s ministry. The Holy Prophet said Gabriel used to place the Qur’an before him every year but this year he placed it twice before him as it was the Holy Prophet’s last year in this material world. It was approximately three months before the Holy Prophet’s repeated declaration:

“I am leaving among you two precious things, the Book of God and my Ahl al-Bayt.”

It is obvious, then, in which the arrangement of the post-gradual revelation should be in accordance with the order of the Qur’an or pre-gradual revelation because circumstances may require an earlier recitation of a portion which might be next, in the order of the pre-revealed arrangement.

This fact is supported by the Qur’an:

إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ {17}

“Verily on Us is the collection of it and the recital of it.” (75:17)

Also there are the traditions indicating the Holy Prophet used to order the scribes to place the revealed verses of different rhythmical pitch in the relevant chapters, and the Qur’an was revised by Gabriel twice in the last period of the Prophet’s ministry. Therefore, the place and the days of revelation have no bearing on the order of arrangement of the Qur’an in post-gradual revelation. What we find written in the beginning of every chapter about the date and place of revelation (whether revealed in Mecca or Medina) are not part of the Qur’an. People had marked these for their own reference. Thus, it is not correct to consider the present placing of the Medani chapters before the Mecca and vice versa as a sign of disorder and lack of proper arrangement.

9. Unique Method – Tasrifi

There is no issue of any theological nature which the Qur’an has not dealt with. It surpasses all scriptural records of pre or post-Islamic ages in the abundant variety of its content. Its method of presentation is unique in itself. It never deals with any topic in the common systematic way used by authors of theology or even by apostolic writers. On the contrary, it expressly says it has adopted a special manifold method of its own which may be termed as Tasrifi, that is, display of varieties, or changing the topics and shifting from one subject to another or reverting to the previous one and repeating purposely one and the same subject in unique and peculiar rhythmic and recitative forms to facilitate understanding, learning and memorizing:

وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِنْ كُلِّ مَثَلٍ فَأَبَىٰ أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلَّا كُفُورًا {89}

“And certainly We have used various arguments for men in the Qur’an, every kind of description, but most men consent not to aught but denying.”(17:89)

انْظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ هُمْ يَصْدِفُونَ {46}

“...See you how we display (explaining) the signs yet they turn aside.” (6:46)

“Behold! How repeatedly do We display the signs in which they may understand.” (6:65 last portion).

وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ وَلِيَقُولُوا دَرَسْتَ وَلِنُبَيِّنَهُ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ {105}

“And thus do We display the signs and they may say (unto You Muhammad), ‘You have been taught and We make it clear to people who know.’” (6:105)

This display of varieties linked together with rhythm of peculiar pitch is to reveal the signs of the Unity of God. From the above verses it is evident in which the Holy Qur’an was already alive to the fact this splendid method will make some opponents accuse its author of introducing the subject abruptly. The Qur’an emphatically asserts it is a matchless form of expression and unique beauty to stir up the depth of human intellect, to reflect on the unity in variety, and harmony in diversity. An attentive reciter or an intelligent audience of the Holy Qur’an while passing through these varieties of rhythmical pitch experiences, which the Holy Qur’an itself declares:

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُتَشَابِهًا مَثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ {23}

“God has the best announcement, a book consistent in its various parts, at the recitation of which do shudder the skins of those who fear their Lord, then their skins and their hearts become pliant to the remembrance of God, this is God’s guidance. He guides with it whomsoever He will and (as for) him whom God allows to err, there shall be no guide for him.” (39:23)

وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِنْ كُلِّ مَثَلٍ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ {27}

“And certainly We have set forth for men in this Qur’an similitude’s of every sort in which they may mind.”(39:27)

Even those who doubted the genuineness of the arrangement of the present version did not complain in which the whole arrangement of the verses in all the chapters had been affected. There are chapters which were undoubtedly revealed in complete forms such as Chapters 45 (al-Qamar), 45 (al-Rahman), 46 (Al-Waqi‘ah), and the chapters immediately preceding and succeeding them and Chapter 39 (al-Zumar). The sixth chapter (al-An‘am), which is a lengthy chapter, according to the Ahl al-Bayt, was also revealed at one time in its complete form. One finds the same variation of subject manifested in those chapters also. This variety of expression in a rhythmical way is found not only in the chapters but even in the verses of the Holy Book. These facts are understood by an intelligent and a sincere student of the Holy Qur’an as he goes on reciting it over and over.

Therefore, to consider (a) the absence of chronological arrangement of some of the verses and chapters or, (b) the variance of topics in the verses, as proving that disagreements over the Qur’an took place after the Holy Prophet is not correct.

On the other hand, there is irrefutable internal evidence based on the verses of surahs (chapters) to establish our contention discussed above. For example, Chapter 96 (al-‘Alaq or Iqra) contains eleven verses of which the first five are in chronological order but the last six were revealed long afterwards when many portions of the chapters were also revealed for recitation. The last six were revealed when the Holy Prophet started offering and leading prayers openly, and met with the opposition from the infidels in the third year of his mission. Similarly, the last lengthy verse 20 of Surah al-Muzzammil (Chapter 72) according to its content, supported by authentic reports, must have been revealed 11 years after the first 19 short verses. The revelation of the last portion belonged to the early revelations next to Iqra (Ch. 96) and al-Muddathir (Ch. 74).

Were not the position of the verses in complete accord with the Holy Prophet’s declaration, it would have been pointed out by the Ahl al-Bayt and their followers, and also by other companions of the Holy Prophet who were held as authorities on the Holy Qur’an. The Imams of the Holy House have pointed out in which Surah ad-Duha (ch. 93) and al-Inshirah (ch. 94) though separated by Bismillah should be considered as one and recited together if they are recited in the first two Rakaahs of the daily compulsory prayers. The same is true of al-Fil (ch 105) and al-Quraysh (ch. 106) they should be recited together in the prayer. This directive of the Ahl al-Bayt about these chapters confirms they were keen to see the prayers from the Qur’an be recited in the proper order.

If the last six verses of Iqra and last 46 verses of al-Muddathir were not in their proper places the Ahl al-Bayt regarding the verses in question is sufficient proof in which their present arrangement is in order, though the time of their revelations was long after the revelation of the other portions of their respective chapters. This is the best internal evidence negating the notion which the chronological arrangement of verses and chapters should be according to their date of revelation. Besides these, all the authentic reports to the effect in which the Holy Prophet use to direct the scribes to insert revealed verses into different chapters, proves the original arrangement of the verses and the chapters need not be in accordance with the date of revelation.

Besides these apparent (exoteric) ties which justify the groupings, there are hidden (esoteric) ties which explain the sequence of the verses and the chapters which are only known to God and those whom He has purified from the profanity of the material world, those in perpetual touch with the Qur’an in its original stage of hidden Book: the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt. The recitational consideration plays a part in the arrangement of verses in the chapters and has some affinity to the size and subject matter of the chapters. The date and place of the fragmentary revelation have nothing to do with the position of the verses in the chapters, nor in the grouping of the chapters together. The knowledge of the date and place of the fragmentary revelation may be of some use in the elementary stages of commentary, but otherwise the Qur’an transcends the boundaries of time and space.

A. Origins of doubt – the background

There is no doubt the irresistible fascinating force and the challenging power of the Holy Qur’an were the significant, if not the sole means of conversion ever since the beginning of the Holy Prophet’s mission. Inevitably, the effect of the recitation of the Qur’an made the opponents spare no effort to prevent the Holy Prophet and his disciples from reciting the Holy Book before the public, particularly the youth. There is an abundant historical evidence of this fact. Besides this preventative measure, the opponents also tried to overcome the irresistible force and the wonderful effect of the Holy Qur’an by disturbing its recitation through making noises and mischievous interjections.

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَا تَسْمَعُوا لِهَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ وَالْغَوْا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَغْلِبُونَ {26}

“And those who disbelieve say, “Hearken you not this Qur’an, make noise in it, happily you may overcome.” (41:26)

One of the instances of the effort is the story of Tilkal Ghuraniqual ola inna Shafa Atahunna Laturja, (These are the exalted females whose intercessions is sought).

It narrates that when the Holy Prophet, while reciting Surah al-Najm (ch. 53), reached the 20th verse, one of the infidels in the audience uttered mischievously the above words, which were his own, to make them appear as if they were a continuation of the verse recited by the Holy Prophet and thus to disturb the sequence of the succeeding verses. The result was the infidels immediately fell into prostration in token of their approval and satisfaction. This pre-arranged plan among the infidels to disturb the recitation of the Qur’an by the Holy Prophet was condemned by the Qur’an as an unsuccessful satanic attempt which used to be made against all the preceding Prophets when they delivered God’s message to the people.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رَسُولٍ وَلَا نَبِيٍّ إِلَّا إِذَا تَمَنَّىٰ أَلْقَى الشَّيْطَانُ فِي أُمْنِيَّتِهِ فَيَنْسَخُ اللَّهُ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ ثُمَّ يُحْكِمُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ {52}

لِيَجْعَلَ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ فِتْنَةً لِلَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ وَالْقَاسِيَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَفِي شِقَاقٍ بَعِيدٍ {53}

وَلِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكَ فَيُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ فَتُخْبِتَ لَهُ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَهَادِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ {54}

“And We sent not before you (oh Our Apostle Muhammad) any Apostle or Prophet, but when he recited (the message) Satan did cast his recitation (to create error). But annuls God which Satan casts then God does establish His signs, and verily God is All-knowing, All-wise. So He may make that which casts Satan a trial unto those in whose hearts is a disease and those whose hearts are hard, and verily, the unjust are in a schism far (away from the truth). And that may know those who have been given the knowledge which it (Qur’an) is the truth from the Lord, so they may believe in it and may humble unto it their hearts, and verily, God guides those who believe unto the right path.” (22:52 – 54)

It is surprising in which the superficial critics in the Encyclopedia of Islam, and some commentators of the Qur’an, due to lack of insight and by accepting the rumours spread by infidels and hypocrites, attribute the satanic utterances of infidels to the Holy Prophet while the verses preceding and following 52:20 (al-Najm) are the unshakable internal evidence which the allegation against the Prophet is blasphemous.

This hostile attitude towards the Holy Qur’an continues, though without success. The hypocrites during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and afterwards did not hesitate to divert the attention of the Muslims from the Qur’an or weaken its influence on the minds of the people by all possible means. The mischief-mongers received support from the politically ambitious Quraysh to regain, after the Holy Prophet, supremacy over the Arabs which they had enjoyed before Islam. As the Qur’an did not favour their ambition, they did not mind if it lost its constitutional authority.

The antagonistic tendency appeared clearly when one observed the reaction to the apostolic stand taken by the Prophet, confirmed by the Qur’an and his sayings, about the genuineness and infallibility of the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt.

Apostolic Stand

The revealed form of religion started with the advent of Adam and passed through a continuous chain of divine vicegerency and the intermittent appearance of Prophets, reached its perfection and assumed its final form of Islam in the manner revealed to the last Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (peace be on him and his household) as the universal religion approved by Allah for humankind throughout the world and ages. The revelational period of the preaching of Islam in its final form to humankind comprised 23 years of the Holy Prophet’s ministry. During this period the revelational aspect of the religion of Allah (Islam) was completed in the form of:

(a) the recitative miraculous Word and Book of God, the Qur’an, and
(b) the sayings, deeds, and endorsement of the Holy Prophet.

Both the Qur’an and the life of the Holy Prophet, as the Qur’an asserts, ought to be taken as the inseparable and equally revealed parts of the constitution of Islam. But for explaining and expounding the implications of these two constitutional sources and their application to the various aspects of human life and to make the new converts, with all their divergent outlooks to grasp Islam, the said period of 23 years was not sufficiently long. The new period of consolidation began after the demise of the Holy Prophet. It took nearly 250 years to systemize the Islamic constitution with details which form the basis of the development of Islamic thought embracing all aspects of human life.

It resulted in the various schools of thought in theology, ethics, philosophy, history, mathematics, and the physical sciences. During that long period there was to be a supreme authority, Imamate, of the chosen persons of the Ahl al-Bayt (in other words, Ale-Ibrahim) to ensure the continuity of divine guidance along with the Qur’an. According to the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet the goal was to protect the purity of the universal message of Islam by disallowing any profane element to creep into it.

وَإِذِ ابْتَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ {124}

“And remember when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words then He fulfilled them. He said, “Verily I am making you an Imam for humankind.” (Ibrahim) said, “And of my offspring?” He said, “My covenant reaches not the unjust.” (2:124)

This divinely chosen form of Imamate (leadership) was not designed after any monarchical pattern. It was purely apostolic in nature. That was reason why their number was divinely fixed and foretold by the Holy Prophet and many other Prophets who preceded him as “12”, neither more nor less. This divine lead which began with Ali, the first Holy Imam, continued for almost 250 years until the requisite constitutional consolidation was completed, and the 12th Imam (the promised Mahdi, whose name is the same as of the Holy Prophet) though alive, disappeared from the sight of man, and in the light of the Qur’an, a new era of ijtihad (rationalization of revelation) followed to give complete opportunity to the believers to acquaint themselves with the revealed and divinely detailed constitution and use their reason, with knowledge and utmost piety and righteousness, to bring forth the implications of the constitution and apply their findings to the ever-changing, increasing and expanding aspects of human life.

This was to give full freedom to every believer, irrespective of colour, social and geographical distinction, to develop his faculties on the basis of the Islamic constitution towards the achievement of the Islamic ideals and values. During this period, every believer, as declared by the Imams, who qualifies himself in the prescribed knowledge and piety, is entitled to act as the supreme authority of his time, under certain conditions mentioned in detail under the topic “Ijtihad and Taqlid” (vide Chapter “Occulation”). This era of ijtihad will continue until the time when individualism, nationalism and all other isms, tendencies and interests give way to the sense of the human race, the globe, and the whole solar system as small parts of the greater whole. Then time will be ripe for the reappearance of the last link in the chain of the divinely chosen guides, the “12th Imam,” not as an exponent of the constitution and teacher of Islam, but as the final Islamic executor, establishing universal justice on Earth.

The vital issue of the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt as two inseparable parts of the constitution has been fully established above. Thus, doubting the genuineness of the one leads to the denial of the divine authority of the other. Ibn Hajar Mekki (author of al-Sawaiq) confirms it as the main reason why the Holy Prophet has dealt with the above mentioned two issues jointly in his “Declaration” and “Sermon at Ghadir al-Khum” and on various subsequent occasions. Actually, ‘Umar’s pronouncement Hasbuna Kitabullah (“Sufficient is for us the Book of God”) was a denial of the Holy Prophet’s repeated declaration of the joint authority of the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt. Such is the brief outline of the apostolic stand, as confirmed by the explicit wordings of the Qur’an and the sayings of the Holy Prophet.


But the Qur’an, the sayings of the Holy Prophet and the facts of history show the reaction of the majority of the new converts surrounding the Holy Prophet, particularly of the non-Hashimite branches of the Qurayshite tribe, was not favourable. The pagan tendency for bureaucratic rule, rule of the elders and the chieftains, was still in the hearts of the Quraysh whose claim to supremacy and authority over the Arabs had just recently been crushed by Islam, and by the Qur’anic declaration:

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ

“The most pious of you is the noblest in the sight Allah.” (49:13)

They were far from yielding to the absolute authority of the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt. To them it was but a nepotic urge on the part of the Holy Prophet to contribute to the supremacy of the House of Hashim. The Annals of Tabari22 has recorded a report of a conversation between ‘Umar and ibn ‘Abbas during the reign of the former, wherein the unfavourable attitude of the Quraysh towards the status of the Ahl al-Bayt as divinely chosen people is fully exposed. Caliph ‘Umar said, “The Quraysh, dislike the Prophethood and the vicegerency to be combined in the ‘House of Hashim’ as this would increase themselves, and their choice was the best.” Ibn Abbas replied, regarding the dislike of the Quraysh, “They disliked all that was revealed from God, so God put them in loss, but regarding the remark against the ‘House of Hashim’ and of their vanity being increased, it means accusing the people whom God has purified” (33:33),23 and regarding the choice of the Quraysh if they would have chosen the one whom God had chosen, it would have been better for them.”

This anecdote throws ample light on the reaction of the Quraysh toward the divine choice and the inner motive which was working behind the confusing events which developed around the issue of the authority after the Holy Prophet, and on the causes of the civil wars and other internal events of political value, from Ghadir to Karbala, and from Karbala to the disappearance of the “12th Imam” of the House, and the subsequent sectarian disputes, quarrels and bloodshed. Instead of absolute submission to the dictates of the divinely established authority and theocratic form of rule representing God and the Holy Prophet, the new converts aspired to having a share in authority and command.

وَطَائِفَةٌ قَدْ أَهَمَّتْهُمْ أَنْفُسُهُمْ يَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ ظَنَّ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ ۖ يَقُولُونَ هَلْ لَنَا مِنَ الْأَمْرِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ الْأَمْرَ كُلَّهُ لِلَّهِ

“While the other group cared for their own selves – thinking quite unjustly about God, thoughts of ignorance. Say they, ‘Is there anything for us in the authority?’ Say (oh Our Apostle Muhammad), ‘Verily the authority rests wholly with God’.” (3:154).

They were waiting for an opportunity, and viewed the divine authority of the Qur’an and Ahl al-Bayt as an obstacle to having a ruler of their own choice. Hence, they attempted to remove that obstacle as much as possible by such means as

(1) ignoring, minimizing and counteracting the authoritative importance attached to the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt,24

(2) creating confusion and doubt regarding the genuineness of the Qur’an in hand,

(3) creating doubts and confusion about the authenticity of the Holy Prophet’s sayings and declaration about Ali and the rest of the Ahl al-Bayt,

(4) interpreting the Qur’an and authentic sayings of the Prophet in a way which loses their significance, and

(5) counteracting such sayings of the Holy Prophet as mentioned above by fabricating reports which directly or indirectly negate the divine appointment of Ali as the supreme authority inseparable from the Qur’an.

Notwithstanding the innumerable authentic reports of the Prophet’s announcement about Ali’s infallible status, Bukhari repeatedly narrates a damaging report that once Abbas (the uncle of Ali) told Ali, “Let us ask the Prophet whether we have any share or right in the matter of authority or not.” To which Ali said, “if we would ask him and he would say no, then nobody would give the chance of coming to power afterwards.” The whole idea behind this concoction is to counteract reports of Ali’s nomination for khilafah by the Holy Prophet. Similarly, to minimize the importance of Ali’s Sahifa – a book dictated by the Holy Prophet and written by Ali, Bukhari reports that once Ali was asked whether it was something other than the Qur’an to which Ali replied that it was about the fine for bruises.

The actual reply was, “It contained everything even the fine for bruises.” A similar confusing report is narrated that after the Holy Prophet, Ali did not wear a mantle and did not come out of his house until he had collected the Qur’an as he was ordered to do by the Holy Prophet. This narration is a misrepresentation of the facts. It is true there were fragments of wood, bones, leaves, paper, hides, etc. on which a rough copy of the Qur’an was written and they were in the custody of the Holy Prophet, who on the eve of his demise asked Ali to take care of them so they might not fall into the hands of the people who would misuse them. It may also be true that Ali brought to the mosque during the reign of Caliph Abu Bakr or Caliph Umar, a complete copy of the Qur’an, with full commentary as dictated by the Prophet and written by him (Ali), informing the people it was what he had been ordered by the Holy Prophet to prepare, but the ruling party declined to accept it for obvious reasons, as it was not their achievement.

There is sufficient proof that Ali’s collection with commentary was prepared by him and reviewed by the Holy Prophet long before his demise. The idea behind the misrepresentation is twofold. One is to provide an excuse for Ali’s non-participation in the Qurayshite choice of a ruler by stating he was busy with collection of the Qur’an and, therefore, he had no time for other activities. The other is to justify the attempt made by others to collect the Qur’an ignoring the collection left among them by the Holy Prophet which is similar to their (the ruling party’s) attempt to have a ruler of their own choice. The main reaction which appeared in the temporal success of the anti-Hashemite plan of the Qurayshites was to blame Ali for his selfish and disruptive authority, and to counteract against the attempt of the Ansar to prevent them from occupying the would-be vacated place of the Hashemites in the front row of the Islamic government.

Thus, it resulted in a quick change of loyalty of the people to the new political order. To consolidate their gains, the promoters of this political change felt justified to leave aside the apostolic declaration and encourage the people “in whose hearts there was perversity” to come forward. These were the same people who had only recently expressed their awe at the efforts of the Holy Prophet to make them worship only One God.

أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ {5}

“What! Make the gods to be but One God? Verily this is a thing indeed strange.” (38:5)

Thus the party in power began to evolve a new idea to the effect that anyone who has embraced Islam or had seen the Prophet or heard something from him and transmitted it became a Sahabi (companion of the Holy Prophet), irrespective of his or her maturity, sensibility and honesty. Not only the reports about the Prophet’s sayings were accepted, even their personal views carried constitutional weight in some cases. The honest intellectuals of the community were pushed back, and those who were mentally and morally backward and the hypocrites found an opportunity to occupy prominent places. This was the most painful change after the demise of the Prophet, Fatima, and “the Lady of Paradise,” who brought it to notice of Ummate-e Muslima (all Muslims) in her famous sermon in Masjid an-Nabawi25 which pointed to the most serious damage caused to the fundamentals of Islam by the regime.

The newly formed chain of unreliable reporters between the Prophet and the new generation got pre-eminence. The Qur’an depicts the multitude of converts who had the honour of being in the presence of the Prophet as possessing intellectual and moral standards. They included a large number of hypocrites other than Abdallah ibn Ubay who died in the lifetime of the Prophet. Many were unknown but aspired to power after the Prophet. (47:16, 20–23, 29–32).26 Each one of these companions had a large number of followers of various categories who formed the second link of reporters and narrators for the generation next to them.

The number and varieties multiplied until the celebrated and voluminous books of traditions were compiled in the third and fourth centuries. But this did not stop the traditionists of the next generation from collecting and recording the reports which their predecessors missed or discarded for some reason or another. As a result of the multiplicity of the various chains of transmitters and narrators, a huge number of contradictory, absurd and misleading statements and reports about the teachings of the Holy Prophet and the developments of the events, during his time and after him, formed a historical data for Islamic thought and literature which needs close scrutiny. A very few instances out of many false or distorted reports against the apostolic statements will help to understand the reactionary attitude.

Zayd ibn Arqum, a pro-Qurayshite narrator paid respect to the Ahl al-Bayt as mere relatives of the Prophet and common companions. He declined to declare the truth of the event of “Ghadir al-Khum” when Ali asked him to testify as a witness of the event. He pretended he forgot it. On some occasions, however, he recounted the sermon of the Prophet on Ghadir, omitting the main portion of the sermon “Whomsoever I am Maula (Master), Ali shall be his Maula.’ An on another occasion, he narrated in a distorted manner the declaration of the Prophet:

“I am leaving among you two precious things – the Book of God and my Ahl al-Bayt.”

Then and there he attempted to tamper with the application of the term Ahl al-Bayt so it might lose its significance. In answer to a question about the application of the said term, he excluded the wives of the Holy Prophet from it but extended it so widely as to include all the Hashemites’ descendants, Abbasids, Ja‘farids, ‘Alawids, and ‘Aqilids (Vide Muslim, chapter on Ahl al-Bayt). The Prophet categorically announced what was revealed to him in whom none but Ali, Fatima, Hassan, Hussain, and the nine successive Imams from the progeny of Hussain are the Ahl al-Bayt, the names of the nine Imams were also mentioned by the Holy Prophet.

Such distortions provided a satisfactory pretext to avoid Ali in all matters relating to administration, judiciary decisions and all which concerns the Ummah (Muslim community). They were reluctant to agree with Ali’s method of justice based on the Qur’anic injunctions save on critical occasions, when there was no alternative but to abide by his final advice to save the dignity of Islam. But Ali and his successors were rarely referred to in the books of traditions like Bukhari and Muslim. If here and there Ali and his descendants are quoted as reporters of certain traditions in those books, the purpose is partly to avoid being accused of total neglect of the Ahl al-Bayt, and mostly to foist on them such reports which would indicate the negation of, or counteract the numerous genuine reports which testify to the apostolic status of Ali and the Ahl al-Bayt (vide Bukhari and Kafi). On the contrary, Bukhari has credited persons like Shau’bi,27 the tutor of the children of the Umayyad royal house to discredit the genuineness of most of the numerous reports or statements ascribed to Ali.

People like Abu Huraira and Anas ibn Malik, despite all drawbacks recorded about them in the biographies of the companions, were credited with a large number of reports about the Holy Prophet and his teachings just because it was claimed they had the honour of serving at the door of the Holy Prophet for a few years. Among the ladies, Ayesha, the Prophet’s wife, is given extra-ordinary prominence as a reporter. She has been credited with a large, if not the largest number of reports about the life and the teachings of the Holy Prophet. Some are absurd and some are even damaging to her reputation and the dignity of the Holy Prophet.28 She had not attained the status of perfection which ‘Asiya, wife of Fir‘on (Pharaoh, the enemy of Prophet Musa, i.e. Moses), Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran (mother of Prophet ‘Isa, i.e. Jesus Christ), Khadijah, wife of the Prophet, and Fatima, daughter of the Prophet (and wife of Ali) had (vide Isti‘ab by ibne Abdul Barr).

Despite all these shortcomings, Bukhari and his supporters feel comfortable to quote her as authority for facts on the Prophet’s life and misrepresentations of Ali. Bukhari credits her with statements denying Ali was the executor of the holy Prophet’s testaments on the basis that she was attending to the Holy Prophet until the last moment before his demise and he made no will or testament to anyone. It is refuted by other reliable traditionists who say: (a) Ali insists he alone and nobody else was attending on the Holy Prophet at the moment and the Holy Prophet’s soul departed from his body when his head was resting on his (Ali’s) chest.29

(b) Hundreds of companions of the Holy Prophet in the presence of hundreds of others, at the battles of Jamal and Siffin, pronounced Ali as Wasiy-yo-Rasulillah (the executor of the testaments of the Prophet of Allah).

(c) This title had been bestowed on Ali by the Holy Prophet even before ‘Ayesha was born.
It is part of the declaration about Ali’s status at Abu Talib’s house in the presence of the elders of the Hashemites where ‘Ayesha’s father was not present, because he was not included in term ‘Ashiratal-al-Aqrabin’ (the “closest kins.”)30 However, regarding this lady – the mother of the faithful, none can say anything other than what ‘Ammar ibn Yasir had remarked while he was addressing the people of Kufa, on the eve of the battle of Jamal, waged by Lady ‘Ayesha against Ali, “She is a testing point (being given a motherly status) by God, to see whether you follow her own self or obey God.”

(d) During the second or third year of Hijrah the Holy Prophet ordered all those who had their houses around the mosque with doors opening to the mosque to close the doors and open them in another direction, except in the case of Ali’s house which was as before allowed to open towards the mosque. This resulted in a severe protest from the other relatives of the Holy Prophet, such as Hamza and Abbas, whose houses were there with houses opening towards the mosque. The Holy Prophet was asked whether the order of closing all doors and keeping Ali’s house open was his or God’s? The Holy Prophet replied that all was by divine order. He said, “God has closed yours and has kept Ali’s open.” Overlooking this tradition entirely, Bukhari tries on the other hand to make people believe the door of Abu Bakr or a ventilator from his house was kept open towards the mosque, without mentioning the time and the circumstances connected with this event. In fact, Abu Bakr had no house there at all. He was living at Sunh, at a considerable distance from the mosque. This fact put the commentators of Bukhari into difficulty in their wishful interpretation of Bukhari’s report.

(e) Another example – it is a noted fact that after the revelation of the first 25 verses of at-Taubah or al-Bara‘ah (ch 9) the Holy Prophet called Abu Bakr, who was to conduct the pilgrims to Mecca, and entrusted him with the verses to preach there and acquaint the pagans with what the verses meant.31 Hardly had Abu Bakr set out for the journey, when the Holy Prophet recalled him and ordered him to hand over the verses to Ali, and in reply to the questions about the reason for this new order, the Holy Prophet said it was God’s order that no soul could preach those verses but the Holy Prophet himself or Ali who was identified with him as they were in fact reflections of each other. So Ali was commissioned with the special order of Allah to preach the verses at the hajj season.

Bukhari accepts the verses in question. However, he emphasizes that Abu Huraira also preached the verses at Mina, without mentioning the narrator of this story. ‘Abd al-Rahman, who belonged to the pro-Umayyad party, explains why Abu Huraira has been brought into the picture. A thorough appraisal of these few examples brings out the biased trends, accentuated by the political turn of events and their consequences.

Such attempts by unconstitutional governments to bring a drastic change in the established version of religious and constitutional codes are not unusual in the political history of nations.

The best evidence of this fact is during the early stage of the sudden turn when the Ansar or the Ahl al-Bayt protested the new policy of misquoting the Qur’an, the ruling party in reply either misquoted some sayings of the Holy Prophet or made some other excuses, but did not quote the Qur’an in support of their deeds and contentions. Of course, there is one instance of ‘Umar’s quoting the Qur’an (9:100) in support of his contention which the Quraysh were superior to the Ansar in religious status omitting wa (and) after the word Ansar – a reading which would make the Ansars the followers of the Muhajirs. But if it is read correctly with the conjunction “and” both the Muhajirs and the Ansars would have equal status and “those who followed them” would mean another class of people who would follow the preceding classes of Muhajrin and Ansars.

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ {100}

“The foremost of the first of the Immigrants (Muhahirn) and the Helpers (Ansars) and those who followed them in good.” (9:100)

‘Ubayy remonstrated against his misreading, support by all the students of the Qur’an and ‘Umar should have withdrawn his wrong quotations. However, as a staunch pro-Qurayshite, he remained adamant. Islam, as depicted and prescribed by the Qur’an, stands definitely for a particular form of theocracy represented by men who have passed beyond the boundaries of limited tendencies and interests, capable of representing the universal will and grace of Rabil-‘Aalamin, the Lord Cherisher of all the universes, Allah, in knowledge and practice, not comparable to any form of democratic, bureaucratic, aristocratic, monarchic, despotic, dictatorial or even the theocratic form of the patriarch and papal systems of government. Islam and the Qur’an stand for the rule of the fittest in moral and intellectual strength, verifiable through divine selections. This is the essence of the “apostolic stand” and the “reaction” against it.

With the above background in view the motive for raising doubts in the Qur’an appears more evident. If the reports of Sihah Sittah, authentic books of tradition among Sunnis, are to be relied upon, then the causes of the doubt about the Qur’an in hand mainly are:

(a) the unnecessary and unauthorized attempt of the ruling party to make a collection of the Qur’an of their own, apart from what was already prepared under the supervision of the Holy Prophet, and approved and left by him among them,

(b) the manner in which they pursued their attempt,

(c) the rumours spread about the alleged utterances of some responsible members of the party, affirming the incompleteness of their collection after the first attempt was over.

Even if we discard and ignore all the external and internal evidence bearing testimony to the existence of the Qur’an in a complete book form approved by the Holy Prophet and be so impudent as to remark the Holy Prophet was not precise and serious in the usage of the term kitab (book), and even if he meant by the kitab only written fragments scattered among the people and no complete form of the Qur’an was with anybody either in writing or in memory, and even if the ruling party felt something imperative was left undone by the Holy Prophet, even then they were not justified in calling Zayd ibn Thabit, an inexperienced young man of no intellectual status to undertake such a heavy responsibility as that of collecting the Qur’an.

The only reasonable course open to the authorities in pursuance of their attempt in question was to entrust the work to well-known scribes, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, Ma‘dh ibn Jabal, Salim Maulla, Hudhaifah and others, who were known to have learnt the whole of the Qur’an before the Holy Prophet several times and getting their recitations approved by him. The incomparable divine personality of Ali was also there to be consulted without any condition.

The incompetency of Zayd was once pointed out by ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b in a dispute between the two. “Do you teach me the Qur’an?” said ’Ubayy to Zayd. “I used to read the Qur’an with the Holy Prophet, while you were still a child at play in the street.” A similar remark once passed by “Ubayy to ‘Umar in the course of a dispute. “I used to read the Qur’an with the Holy Prophet while you were busy in transactions in the market.” Neither Zayd nor ‘Umar could refute ‘Ubayy’s remarks. Unfortunately none of the three, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar or Zayd, who joined hands in this matter were a recognized student of the Qur’an. Moreover, from a conversation of ‘Umar, during his reign, with Zayd who declined to comply with a certain order of the Caliph, it appears that both were lacking in proper regard for the revelation.

Once ‘Umar warned Zayd, when the latter refused to follow him, “Look! It is my command to which you have yield. It is not the revelation with which you might play about.” Such tendencies and lack of regard for the Book of God among some of the companions of the Holy Prophet was not uncommon then. In a certain case of pronouncing divorce thrice in one session, which was brought to the notice of the Holy Prophet, he remarked angrily, “Is it the Book of God that is being played with, while I am still alive among them (the companions)?” Zayd and his colleagues, being no authorities themselves, nor inclined to refer to those who were considered to be authorities, had approached common men who possessed some scattered portions of the Qur’an either in writing or in memory. They invited people to bring their portions of the Qur’an on the condition which their claim be supported by some witness.

The method adopted for the official collection of the Qur’an shows either:

(a) there was no one among the companions of the Holy Prophet who had the entire Qur’an in writing and in memory with him, or

(b) those who had the entire Qur’an with them did not care at all for the official attempt and scheme, or

(c) the schemers debarred them from taking part in the contemplated scheme lest their participation made the project unsuccessful.

Even the method of accepting witnesses or rejecting in support of including or excluding a particular verse was not reliable. There were certain cases of verses being claimed by some people to be part of the Qur’an for which no witness to support could be produced, so Zayd treated these cases in a seemingly partial way.

He accepted the claim of one Abu Khudhaymah with no witness and rejected ‘Umar’s claim for lack of witness. So it is quite obvious this type of attempt gave room to all sorts of talks about the Qur’an being tampered with by the collectors. Unfortunately, the members of the party were also not discounting the rumours.

However, it was a political move which produced nothing useful for Muslims at all except an opportunity for some friends to credit the authorities for preparing the collection of the Qur’an, and the mischievous enemies to argue against the genuineness of the Qur’an in hand. Their attempts, it is said, produced a collection of Qur’an of their own, but it was never published. It remained as a bundle in the custody of ‘Ayesha and Hafsa during the reigns of their respective fathers. It is also said that some portion of it was devoured by a goat, a story which indicates the lack of regard on the part of persons in power who presented themselves as the guardians of the Book of God.

The reigns of the first, second and a considerable part of the third Caliph’s period had also passed and the bundle produced by the State remained unnoticed. During this period of nearly 16 to 17 years, the Qur’an was being written, taught, learnt, memorized, recited, discussed and applied to the daily life of the Muslims throughout the fast expanding Muslim empire.

No Muslim complained against the lack of approach to the collection of Zayd, nor did anyone ask the State to publish that collection. The authorized teachers of the Qur’an were performing their duties of imparting knowledge of the Qur’an directly and through their disciples in every part of the Muslim world, independently of the collection in the possession of the State. A considerable part of the third Caliphate had also passed when at last a variation in the recitation of the Qur’an was noticed among the Muslim soldiers who were fighting with infidels on the remote borders of the empire.

The leniency in variety of recitation noticed by Hudhayfa, one of the confidants and prominent disciples of the Holy Prophet, worried him lest this practice may lead to addition, omission, and alteration in the Qur’an. He had a complete list of the hypocrites. He advised Caliph ‘Uthman to take necessary action to unify the Muslims under the current recitation of the Qur’an, as that of the Holy Prophet, and stop them from reciting in a manner of their own choice as which might lead to further controversies. ‘Uthman again entrusted the job to Zayd who did not except what Hudhayfa had suggested, and declared it as the official version to which ‘Uthman gave his assent.

Several copies of that official version were made and dispatched to different parts of the empire so the people might revise their recitation accordingly. No complaint of any omission, addition or alteration (i.e. tahrif) was made by anyone. Neither the Caliph, his party, nor the opposite party which was framing charges of deviation from the right path against the third Caliph ever complained against this adopted version of the Qur’an. The third Caliph was blamed for ordering the other versions differing from the official version in recitation to be destroyed on the grounds it was an act of desecration of the Word of God to recite them, but none charged him with tampering with the verses of the Qur’an.

In spite of the utmost care taken by the ruling party for the publication of the official version and the obliteration of the other versions, they did not succeed. All the then current recitations have come down to us in the terms of the “seven or ten recitations”. The Umayyad rulers could not stop the publication of the other recitations, nor publication or narration of the verses or the chapters left out of the Qur’an if there were any. Neither could they stop the recording of objections to the omissions, additions or disagreements.

B. Evidence

The reign of Caliph ‘Uthman was marked by the growth of strong opposition parties and critics of the authorities led by the prominent companions of the Holy Prophet, such as (1) Talhah, Zubayr, and ‘Ayesha. (2) ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf, ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, Abu Musa al-‘Ashari and other disgruntled members of the same ruling party. (3) ‘Ali, Hassan, Hussain, ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Abbas and other Hashemites and their adherents, ‘Ammar, ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud, Abu Dharr Ghifari, etc. and (4) the people of the important provinces such as Kufa, Egypt and Syria and their leaders who were watching with a critical eye the small movements of the centre. Any tampering with the Qur’an could never have escaped the notice of all these critics and opponents. No consideration would have stopped any one of them from raising objections publicly against the desecration of the wording of the Book of God. No power could have suppressed the report of such objection had it been raised publicly by the critics.

Neither the first three Caliphs nor the Umayyads nor the Abbasid Caliphs could suppress the Holy Prophet’s declaration about Ali’s status as the “master of the faithful” (Amir al-Mu’minin) and being the supreme authority of Islam next to him. All statements of the Holy Prophet in this connection have been passed from generation to generation down to us. How could anyone suppress the reports of even a word of the Qur’an having been tampered with if this were the case? One cannot accept the solitary and contradictory traditions and reports about a particular verse, phrase, or sentence being tampered with in the absence of evidence. The rejection of such reports contained in the books of traditions of Sunni and Shia schools, their solitary nature and weakness of the chain of reporters and the contradictory tone of their content are the best proof.

A man like Abu Dharr Ghifari, about whom the Holy Prophet said, “The heaven has never spread its shadow on anyone as truthful a speaker as Abu Dharr” and whom no personal temptation or persecution could stop him from criticizing the Caliph and the host of Umayyad youths surrounding him, for their misdeeds, contempt for the tenets of Islam, misuse of the public treasury and ill-treatment of the people, would have certainly noticed and announced an unpardonable act of the party had there been any specified alteration in the wording of the Qur’an.

The same is the case of ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, the bold and outspoken opponent of the party in power, about whom the Holy Prophet had foretold he would be killed by the rebellious group whom he (‘Ammar) would call to heaven and they (the rebels) would call him (‘Ammar) to hell. The Holy Prophet ordered people “to keep always to the side where ‘Ammar is, as he was always on the side of the right and truth.” This was a hint that ‘Ammar would never leave the side of Ali. During the battle of Siffin, he was once asked about the justification of ‘Uthman being killed. He answered, “He (‘Uthman) wanted to change our religion, so he was killed.” Such an outspoken man on the same occasion in the presence of the chiefs of both armies (of Ali and Mo‘awiya) pointed to the banner under which Mo‘awiya was standing and said, “We were with the Prophet, under the banner Ali was standing and fought against that banner (of Mo‘awiya) on issue of the revelation of the Qur’an and today with Ali we are fighting under the same banner of the Holy Prophet against the same banner of the Quraysh on the issue of the interpretation of the Qur’an.

Is it possible that ‘Ammar, who was aware of the Quraysh’s tampering with the significance of the Qur’anic verses for which he found justification to fight them, kill them and be killed by them, would have no knowledge of the Quraysh’s tampering with the wording and letters of the Qur’an if there were any? According to him the dispute on the issue of the Qur’an, being the revealed word of God (verbatim), was over in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and the pagans willingly or unwillingly submitted to it. The disputed issued after the Holy Prophet was only the interpretation of the Qur’an and not the wording of it. The very fact of history in which the battle of Siffeen ended with Ali’s acceptance of arbitration based on the Qur’an then at hand and not on any other version of it, proves the letters, wordings and arrangement of the Qur’an were for both parties the same and the dispute was always confined to the interpretation.

In support of this fact there is a report narrated by ‘Allamah Majlisi in Bihar al-Anwar, (Oceans of Light), Volume Ten about a conversation which took place at Medina between ibn ‘Abbas and Mo‘awiya, after the martyrdom of Ali. When Mo‘awiya asked ibn ‘Abbas to stop praising Ali and the Ahl al-Bayt, ibn ‘Abbas replied, “Do you stop us from reading the Qur’an?” Mo‘awiya said, “No, but do not interpret it.” Then ibn ‘Abbas said, “You want us to read the Qur’an, but not understand it?” He said, “I mean, to give your own interpretation to it.” “Oh,” said ibn ‘Abbas, “you mean I should give up the interpretation of those people in whose house the Qur’an was revealed and leave the interpretation to the children of Abu Sufyan?”

“No,” said Mo‘awiya, “I mean, do not interpret the portion concerning Ali at all, and do whatever you like with the other portions, or if you insist on interpreting that portion, too, then do it privately among yourselves and do not give publicity to it.” All that the authorities in power could try to stop or alter was only the publicity of the true and correct interpretations of the Qur’an. But as for tampering with the wording of it, they knew it was something beyond their power. Failure in that direction had already proved the truth of the assurance given by God in which He Himself would guard the Qur’an as the last revealed reminder for people and the everlasting miracle against the ill-designs and mischievous attempts of the enemies to nullify its effective force.

The only course open to them was to tamper with its interpretation and the significance of its verses. Accordingly, one should be sure the word tahrif, change or tampering with, and other synonymous words used by the Ahl al-Bayt and their early adherents with which they charged their opponents, were meant only as wrong interpretation.

Along with this evidence, the presence of several varieties of recitations, and the absence of the requisite number of reporters to give unanimous evidence affirming and confirming specific wordings or order of the wordings of the Qur’an being tampered with, and the absence of any other version of the Qur’an different in wording and order from the received version, yet comparable in style with it, are the conclusive proof of the genuineness of the version in hand.

But the said attempt after the Holy Prophet, however, along with the utterances and statements alleged to have been made by members of the ruling party before the existing version was approved by ‘Uthman, did give a chance to the opponents of the Qur’an whether in the garb of Muslims or otherwise, who could not disturb its miraculous force for eloquence by throwing some triviality in it, to spread rumours alleging it was incomplete or misarranged compared to the received version. These rumours gained currency along with the development of the later religious and political controversies in spite of the efforts of the Imams of the House of the Holy Prophet and the faithful thinkers and the sincere rational scholars of academic accomplishment, to discredit them.

The rumours got somehow into certain books of traditions of the Sunni school, and subsequently some of the Shia books of traditions also were not exempt from the taint of such sceptic rumours. The result was that some of the credible narrators of both schools, who lacked the ability to apply critical scrutiny to confirm the authenticity and examine the external and internal evidence for and against the text or the wording of traditions, accepted the rumours despite the established genuineness of the Holy Qur’an.

C. Traditions

1. Sunni Sources

Another reason for raising these doubts was the traditions which assert the collection of the Qur’an by Ali was in a particular form different from the version recognized officially. A similar opinion is held about the copies of ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud and ’Ubayy ibn Ka‘b. There are different opinions about the collection of Ali. It is not established whether he refused to place his collection at the disposal of the ruling party and the public, or the ruling party refrained from accepting it when it was offered, and whether this happened in the reign of the first or the second Caliph. ‘Allama Majlisi narrates it took place during the reign of the second Caliph, while the others maintain it was during the time of the first Caliph. In any case, the collection remained with him and his successors, i.e. in the possession of the Imams. No one claimed to have seen that collection thoroughly.

One or two narrations claim the sixth Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq showed some of his disciples the collection of Ali and they found in one small surah the names of 70 munafiqin (hypocrites). This contradicts what Ali had declared about his collection in which none would see it before the reappearance of the Last Imam (12th Imam of the House of the Holy Prophet). The tradition itself says the sixth Imam gave the collection to the narrator concerned and told him not to look at it. The narrator disobeyed the Imam and had a glimpse at the surah. This version seems implausible, because the Imam would not have handed over the collection to a person who was likely to disobey him. It is said that Ali’s collection of the Qur’an contained all which was revealed with its exoteric and esoteric interpretations.

Apart from the question of their authenticity, a thorough examination of these traditions process without doubt that the collection in question was a sort of detailed commentary on the Qur’an which contained the revelations and their interpretations besides the miraculous text which was placed within the reach of humankind as a challenge.

The same is the case with the collections of ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud and ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b and others. Both, being the acknowledged and the earliest authorized students of the Qur’an, must have had their own special collection with interpretations and notes of their own for guidance. Therefore, they might also have had a different arrangement of the verses and the chapters for the purpose of their commentaries as the later commentators have done (chronological and subject-wise, etc.). These collections do not deny the current accepted version placed within the reach of the common man for recitation and as an open challenge to man and jinns. The explanatory nature of the collections of the eminent companions of the Holy Prophet is evident from traditions which assert that ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud used to recite with the verse of Muta‘ah (temporary marriages) the phrase ila ajalin (until a term) after famastamta‘atum bihi minhunna (when you do muta‘ah [temporary marriage] with them – 4:24).

It is obvious this praise was used by him as an explanatory note of guidance and by way of protest when muta‘ah was prohibited by the second Caliph. The narration which says that ibn ‘Abbas used to recite fi ‘Aliyin (about Ali) after manzila ilaik (that which has already been sent unto you) in 4:67 should be taken as a note explaining the occasion. It meant to point out the implied significance of the verse innallah astafa Aadama wa Nuhan (3:33–34), according to some traditions. Ibn ‘Abbas had added Al-e Muhammad (the descendants of Muhammad) after Al-e Imran or had replaced Al-e ‘Imran by Al-e Muhammad. If this tradition is true, ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Abbas might have said that Al-e Muhammad are meant in the verse.

He did not mean the phrase to be part of the text, because if it is taken as part of the text with the phrase dhurriyatan b‘aduhu min b‘ad (offspring, one from the other), then Ali will be out of Al’e Muhammad, and if it is said without Dhurriyatan ba’duha, people other than the House of the Prophet would be included in the Al in the same way as all the followers of Pharaoh are included in Al-e Fir‘aun.

In short, different collections of the Qur’an prepared by different companions of the Holy Prophet, which were neither published nor had gained any currency among the Muslims, cannot have any value other than that of a tradition serving as a commentary on the text. This is the reason why none of the acknowledged and authorized students of the Holy Book raised any voice of dissent against the accepted version, though all of them were alive and had their other grievances of religious importance against the ruling party.

Let us now examine a few references given by the traditionists which have somehow found their way into the books of tradition of both the Sunni and Shia schools.

Regarding the first attempt of the ruling party for having a collection of their own, Bukhari narrates from Zayd ibn Thabit as follows:

After the battle of Yamama the first Caliph sent for Zayd ibn Thabit. He told him in the presence of ’Umar, who had said many reciters of the Qur’an had been killed in the battle of Yamama and feared others might be killed in other battles with the result that a great portion of the Qur’an might be lost with them. ‘Umar had further insisted to the first Caliph, “You should order the collection of the Qur’an.” The first Caliph told ‘Umar, “How could I do what the Holy Prophet did not,” to which ‘Umar replied, “By God, this good has to be done,” and continued demanding it until God opened Zayd’s heart to it. Zayd says the first Caliph told him, “You are an intelligent young man whom we do not suspect and you used to write the revelations for the Holy Prophet. You search for the Qur’an and collect it.”

He answered, “I swear on my God, if they had ordered me to carry out the task of shifting a mountain from its place, I would not have felt it so heavy a task as what they asked me to undertake (i.e. the collection of the Qur’an).” He said to ‘Umar, “How dare you do a thing which the Holy Prophet did not?” ‘Umar replied, “By God I swear! It is good to do.” “Thereafter the first Caliph continued asking me to undertake the task until God opened my heart for which He had opened the heart of the first Caliph and ‘Umar. Therefore, I began to search for the Qur’an, collecting it from the pieces of wood, bones and from the memory of the people until I found the last verse of Surah al-Taubah with Abu Khudhayman Ansari, and with no one else.” This collection remained with the first Caliph until he passed away, then with ‘Umar and with his daughter Hafsa.

Bukhari tells that Hudhayfa ibn Yaman, after his return from the expedition to Armenia and Azerbaijan, expressed his anxiety about the variation in the recitation of the Qur’an among the members of the expedition. He asked the third Caliph to take the necessary steps to unite the Muslims in this regard before it leads to a controversy about the Book of God similar to those among the Jews and the Christians about their Holy Scriptures. Even today there exists various versions of the Old and New testaments termed as the Apocrypha against the Bible termed as authentic. The third Caliph requested ‘Umar’s daughter, Hafsa, to hand over the bundle of the collection of the Qur’an left with her so its copies might be made, and ordered Zayd, Abdallah ibn Zubayr, Sa‘id ibn al-‘As, and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Harith ibn Hisha to prepare copies of the same.

He told the three Qurayshites that whatever they and Zayd differed in the recitation and pronunciation of the Qur’an, they should write it in accordance with the dialect of the Quraysh as it was revealed in their dialect. They did as they were bidden and prepared copies of the collection and returned the original to Hafsa and sent the copies to all corners of the empire, and then he ordered the Qur’an in any other book form or in the form of any collection be burnt and destroyed. In continuation of these statements Bukhari narrates from the son of Zayd in which he had heard his father saying, “When we were copying the collection, we missed a verse from Surah al-Ahzab (33) which I used to hear the Holy Prophet recite and then we searched for it and found it with Khudhaymah ibn Thabit Ansari and then we put it in the same surah in the collection.”

These two traditions of Bukhari regarding the collection of the Qur’an in the reign of the first Caliph and the copying of it during the reign of the third Caliph contain a slight contradiction regarding the missing verse of the Qur’an which could not be found with anybody except one Abu Khudhayman ibn Thabit Ansari.

Now, besides these two, there are 20 other traditions regarding this official collection of the Qur’an, each contradicting the other in one way or the other. Eleven are mentioned in the Muntakhab-e kanz al-‘ammal and the rest have been taken from Ittqan (by Suyuti). The following is a brief account of them.

In one tradition ibn Abi Shaiba narrates from ‘Ali in which he considered Abu Bakr as the greatest person for the collection of the Qur’an. He is the first person who collected the Qur’an which is between the pads.

Another narration also says Abu Bakr collected the Qur’an on paper and asked Zayd ibn Thabit to review it. When Zayd declined to do so Abu Bakr sought the help of ‘Umar to persuade him. Zayd did so and the reviewed copy remained with Abu Bakr, then with ‘Umar and then with Hafsa.

The third tradition form Hisham ibn Orwa asserts that after the battle of Yamama where some of the companions of the Holy Prophet who had collected the Qur’an were killed, Abu Bakr ordered ‘Umar and Zayd ibn Thabit to sit at the gate of the mosque and collect the Qur’an from the people.

Another tradition from Muhammad ibn Seerin tells us that ‘Umar was killed and the Qur’an was not collected until then.

The fifth tradition says once ‘Umar asked for some verses of the Holy Qur’an and he was told these were with a person who was killed in the battle of Yamama. ‘Umar became worried and ordered the Qur’an to be collected and he was the first person to collect the Qur’an in book form.

The sixth tradition tells us that ‘Umar decided to collect the Qur’an and ordered that “whosoever has received from the Holy Prophet any portion of the Qur’an should bring it to us.” The people had the Qur’an on bits of wood, stones, skin, leaves of trees, and bones and he would not accept anything from anyone unless it was certified by two witnesses and he (‘Umar) was killed while the collection was not yet over. ‘Uthman succeeding him and continued the task, and repeated the order of ‘Umar demanding certification of two witnesses. Then Abu Khudhaymah ibn Thabit came with the last two verses of Surah al-Bara‘ah (9) saying, “I have received it from the Holy Prophet and you have not got it in your Qur’an!” ‘Uthman then said, “Yes! I also give evidence that these verses are from God, but tell me where we should place them?” Abu Khudhaymah said, “Place these two verses at the end of the last revealed portion of the Qur’an” and those were accordingly placed at the end of Surah al-Bara‘ah concluding the surah.

The seventh tradition asserts it was ‘Umar who accepted these last verses of Surah al-Bara‘ah from a man of the Ansars without any witnesses which was against his own formula.

Another tradition relates that after the battle Yamama in which four to 700 reciters of the Qur’an were killed, Zayd ibn Thabit approached ‘Umar and said, “The Qur’an is the only unifying factor of our religion; if it is lost, our religion is also lost. I have decided to collect it in a book form.” ‘Umar replied, “Wait until I ask Abu Bakr” and both went to Abu Bakr and informed him of their talk. Abu Bakr replied, “Do not hurry until I consult the Muslims” and then began lecturing to the people informing them of their decision. All approved it. Then they collected the Qur’an and Abu Bakr ordered a crier to announce, “whosoever has a part or the whole of the Qur’an should produce it.

The ninth tradition narrates that Khudhaymah ibn Thabit said he brought the last verses of Surah al-Bara‘ah to ‘Umar and Zayd ibn Thabit. Then Zayd asked Khudhaymah as to who would give evidence in his support, to which he replied he did not know anyone. Then ‘Umar said, “I was there to witness it.”

The tenth tradition narrates when ‘Umar collected the Qur’an, he asked, “Whose is the best pronunciation?” The people answered, “Sa‘id ibn al-A‘as.” Then Umar asked, “Who is the calligrapher?” They replied, “Zayd ibn Thabit.” Then he ordered, “Let Sa‘id dictate and Zayd write.” They made four copies and distributed them in Kufa, Basra, Damascus, and the Hijaz.
The 11th tradition reports when ‘Umar wanted to have the Qur’an written he made a few of his companions undertake the task and said, “Whenever you differ in the wording write it down in the dialect of Hudhail for the Qur’an was revealed to men of Hudhail.”

The 12th tradition reports the narration of Abu Qullaba that during the reign of ‘Uthman, the teachers of the Qur’an started teaching their pupils different recitations and the boys used to meet and differ with each other. When this was brought to the notice of the teachers they condemned each other’s recitation, and when this news reached ‘Uthman he reprimanded them saying, “You differ in the recitation and recite it in different ways in my presence. What about those people who are far away from me in distant cities. Their differences in recitation would be greater.” He then asked the companions of the Holy Prophet to write a standard Qur’an for the people. Abu Qullaba narrated in which Anas ibn Malik had said he was among those who used to dictate the Qur’an and they used to mention the name of the person who had received a particular verse from the Holy Prophet, and if the person was not present, they used to write the preceding and the succeeding verses leaving blank the space for the verse under dispute until the person concerned was available. ‘Uthman thus completed the collection and wrote to the people in the big cities in which he had obliterated everything else with him, and they should also act accordingly.

The 13th tradition relates that ‘Uthman addressed the people in one of his lectures, “Only 13 years have passed between you and your Prophet and you doubt the Qur’an, saying the recitation of ‘Ubayy or the recitation of ibn Mas‘ud, or one’s own will not stand right.” Then he urged them all by an oath to the effect that whosoever had any portion of the Qur’an should bring it. People brought pieces of paper, bits of wood, and skin, etc. containing Qur’anic verses. Then ‘Uthman went inside (his house) and called them one after another and made each one swear he had heard it from the Holy Prophet, and the Holy Prophet had dictated it to him. After finishing this task he asked as to who was the best in pronunciation, the people said, “Sa‘id ibn al-‘As.” Then he ordered Sa‘id to dictate and Zayd ibn Thabit to write. Several copies were made and distributed among the people. And the narrator Mus‘ab ibn Sa‘ab says he heard some of the companions of the Holy Prophet approving this act of ‘Uthman.

The 14th tradition relates the people who were ordered by ‘Uthman to make the collection and dictate were from the tribe of Hudhail and the scribes were from the tribe of Thaqif.

The 15th tradition relates that after the collection was completed, it was brought to ‘Uthman who looked into it and said, “You have done well, and done the best. Yet I see some mistakes which an Arab will correct.

The 16th tradition relates when the collection was shown to ‘Uthman he found some mistakes therein and said, “Had those who dictated been from the Hudhail and the scribes from the Thaqif these mistakes would not have occurred.

The 17th tradition reports that when ‘Uthman wanted to make copies of the Qur’an he sent of ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b who dictated to Zayd ibn Thabit who wrote it down, and Sa‘id ibn al-‘As was there to correct the pronunciation. Thus the Qur’an of ‘Uthman was the recitation of ‘Ubayy and Zayd.

The 18th tradition supports the 17th mentioned above adding a person named Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith was asked to assist Sa‘id ibn al-‘As in correcting the pronunciation.

The 19th tradition narrates from Zayd ibn Thabit that while they were making the copies of the Qur’an he found the pages containing 33:33 (Surah al-Ahzab) were missing. Later on he found them with Khudhaymah ibn Thabit only, whose evidence had been accepted by the Holy Prophet as equal to the evidence of two people.

The 20th tradition narrates the first person who collected the Qur’an was Abu Bakr, and Zayd ibn Thabit was the scribe, that people used to come to Zayd with passages and he used to accept a passage only when it was supported by at least two pious men, except in the case of the last passage of Surah al-Bara‘ah which was found with Abu Khudhaymah ibn Thabit. In this case he did not ask for any witness and assumed the Prophet valued Abu Khudhaymah’s evidence as a single person who was equal to two witnesses. And when ‘Umar brought the passage concerning the stoning of an adulteress, Zayd did not accept it from him for he was alone in asserting, without any witnesses.

The above are the main reports about the efforts of the collection of the Qur’an during the reign of the first three Caliphs. None of these has the standard authenticity required to establish them as genuine. Further, they are subject to criticism from various aspects.

Let us first examine the two traditions on the authority of Bukhari:

1. Even if we suppose the Qur’an was not collected and arranged in a book form during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, what right could anyone have to make a collection according to one’s own taste or fancy? Is it not a sort of innovation? What does Sharh-e Sadr (the opening of the heart) mean? Does it mean some kind of inspiration or revelation which the Christians claim for the authors of the Gospels? Can this Sharh-e Sadr be taken as an authorized legal source like Kitab and Sunna (the Book and the Tradition) of Islamic jurisprudence and the means of inference of Halal (the allowed) and Haram (the prohibited)? Or was it an exclusive privilege given only to those three: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and Zayd ibn Thabit? What about the other companions of the Holy Prophet who had also made a collection of their own, a fact which has been unanimously acknowledged by Muslims?

2. Why did ‘Uthman destroy the other collections without having the sanction of the Holy Prophet for his action? Zayd’s collection as well as the other collections according to the above statement was based on their innovation (ijtihad). Why should one ijtihad be perfected over another?

3. Why was Zayd’s inspired collection not published immediately and placed within the reach of the people so as not to allow time for the other versions of the Qur’an to gain popularity through the Muslim empire, which were commonly available for 20 years?

4. What do the following words, spoken by Abu Bakr to Zayd, imply? “You are a young and intelligent man whom we do not suspect and you used to write the revelations for the Holy Prophet.”

5. What are the qualifications of Zayd which made the selector prefer him over other scribes who had the honour of writing the revelations since the earliest days and long before Zayd grew up? On the contrary, the experience of ripe age was actually the requirement. What does the clause “we do not suspect (you)” imply? Did they suspect Ali ibn Abi Talib and his innumerable divine credentials?

One may say that in spite of the great qualifications of Ali they had the right to suspect them and his co-operation with them. Bukhari and Muslim report through Malik ibn Aws ibn al-Hadthan in which the ruling party believed Ali did not have good opinion about them. Even if this is assumed to be true, there were other scribes, such as ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud, ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, Ma‘adh ibn Jabal and Salim Maula ibn Hudhayfa whose competence according to Bukhari was certified by the Holy Prophet who had ordered the people to learn the Qur’an from them. And this is narrated by ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Umar. Though Salim was killed in the Battle of Yamama, the other three were alive and available until the official version issued by ‘Uthman, but no reference was ever made to any of them.

Why was the assistance of certain Umayyad youths such as Sa‘id ibn al-‘As and Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith sought, during the reign of ‘Uthman, while persons like ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud and ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b were ignored? Was it the lack of knowledge of the Qur’an, or, was it the lack of truthfulness and reliability or the lack of political loyalty to the ruling party? In view of the certification by the Holy Prophet, the first two possibilities should be entirely discarded. Now remains the third possibility which is a historic fact in which they were not loyal to the ruling party while Zayd ibn Thabit was. Ibn Abdul Barr (the author of Isti‘ab) has noted Zayd remained pro-Umayyad. For this act of loyalty on his part, he was rewarded with wealth and comfort, while ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud was persecuted and ignoring these personalities then the attempt to collect the Qur’an itself becomes subject to suspicion.

6. Moreover, these two traditions of Bukhari contain contradictory statements regarding the missing verse of the Qur’an which was not found with anyone except the one whose name in one tradition is given as Abu Khudhaymah ibn Ansari and in the other tradition as Khudhaymah ibn Thabit Ansari. Regarding the passage itself in the first tradition, it is said it was the last verse of Surah al-Bara‘ah (Chapter Nine) and in the second tradition it is given as 33:23.

Of the remaining 20 traditions given above, the first and second mention Abu Bakr was the first person who collected the Qur’an, and according to the second Zayd ibn Thabit was asked only to review Abu Bakr’s collection, contradicting the previous tradition which says it was Zayd who collected it by the order of Abu Bakr.

The third states ‘Umar and Zayd jointly were given the task of the collection, and here it is also stated some companions of the Holy Prophet who had already collected the Qur’an were killed in the battle of Yamama. Historians avoided the issued as to what happened to these collections and why they were not secured by the ruling party which was seriously interested in the collection of the Qur’an. It contradicts four previous traditions, as it asserts others had already collected the Qur’an.

The fourth contradicts all the other traditions in which the Qur’an had not been collected by the time ‘Umar died.

The fifth gives an entirely different story in which ‘Umar was the first person who ordered the Qur’an to be collected in a book form and the reason was he asked about some passages of the Qur’an and was told those were possessed by a person who was killed in the Battle of Yamama. It implies the collection of the Qur’an took place during the reign of ‘Umar long after the Battle of Yamama.

The sixth one gives us quite a different picture saying it was ‘Umar who decided to collect the Qur’an by the same process from bones, leaves, bits of wood, and paper, etc. with the help of witnesses, but the work was not completed when he died and when ‘Uthman pursued the same course, and, he was the one who supported the statement of Khudhaymah ibn Thabit and not ‘Umar. But the seventh tradition says it happen in the reign of ‘Umar, and he accepted the verses from a person who had brought them without asking for any witnesses.

The eighth tradition gives credit to Zayd ibn Thabit for taking the initiative to collect the Qur’an during the reign of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr did not approve of Zayd’s proposal which was supported by ‘Umar, until he consulted the Muslims and obtained their approval and only then did he order the collection.

The ninth tradition makes ‘Uthman and Zayd ibn Thabit the joint champions for the collection of the Qur’an. ‘Umar accepted this collection and offered himself as a witness to it without any evidence, when it was brought to his notice by Khudhaymah ibn Thabit.

The tenth tradition asserts that ‘Umar initiated the collection and employed Sa‘i ibn al-‘As as the person to dictate and Zayd ibn Thabit as the calligrapher, and they produced four copies which were dispatched to the big cities mentioned in the tradition. This contradicts the first two traditions of Bukhari which date the initiative in the reign of Abu Bakr and the dispatch of the prepared copies to the big cities during the reign of ‘Uthman and also contradicts the traditions which give credit to ‘Umar for the initiative and to ‘Uthman for the completions.

The 11th tradition confers on ‘Umar the honour of collecting the standard Qur’an.

The 12th tradition gives the credit for the first collection and completion and preparation of the copies of the Qur’an to ‘Uthman, and introduces Anas ibn Malik as one of the people who dictated the Qur’an while it was being copied. Further, it asserts ‘Uthman informed the people of the big cities about what he had done with the Qur’an and ordered them to follow his footsteps without sending any copy to them. It clearly indicates that ‘Uthman was sure of the people already having the copies of the Qur’an with them. It shows that of the various recitations the most current were those of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud’s and ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b’s.

The 13th tradition asserts Sa‘id ibn ‘As was the person who dictated and Zayd ibn Thabit was the calligrapher who produced the copies which was distributed to the people.

The 14th tradition asserts that the task of dictation and writing the Qur’an was given by ‘Uthman to people of the Hudhail and Thaqif tribes, an Ansari, while the 16th tradition says if the person dictating and the calligrapher had been of the Hudhail and the Thaqif respectively, the mistakes found by ‘Uthman in the prepared copies would not have occurred. It clearly indicates the Hudhail’s and the Thaqif’s were never employed to copy the Qur’an.

The 15th and the 16th traditions state the prepared copies were not free of mistakes and they were left to the dialect of the Arabs and no corrections were made.

In the 17th tradition, ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b is mentioned as the person who dictated to Zayd ibn Thabit as a calligrapher. This contradicts the statement in the 13th tradition which presents Sa‘id ibn al-’As as the person who dictated and also contradicts all the traditions which present Zayd ibn Thabit as the person solely responsible for the collection.

The 19th and 20th traditions contradict each other about the missing passage which was found with Khudhaymah ibn Thabit. The former reports it was 33:23 while the latter states it was the verse of Surah al-Bara‘ah.

All these contradictory statements, if they were not the products of later periods, show in order to counteract the statement or the Holy Prophet,

“I am leaving among you two precious things: the Book of God and my Ahl al-Bayt,”

signifying the excellence of Ali and the succeeding Imams as the unquestioned authority on the Qur’an over ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud, ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, Ma‘dh ibn Jabal and Salim Maula Hudhayfa as the teachers of the Qur’an, an attempt was made by the ruling party to produce a collection of the Qur’an to dispense with these authorities so they may themselves take the credit. But they differed even among themselves as to who should get the most credit. Parties within parties, in opposition to each other had obviously been formed. Each party was trying its best to claim the credit for itself.

The only thing which can be said is, that whoever be the hero in this venture, he was neither competent nor authorized for the task. Thus though they had collected something of the scattered fragments from here and there, yet they dared not publish it for more than 16 years during which period the Qur’an collected at the time of the Holy Prophet’s life had gained tremendous publicity in a perfect book form throughout the length and breadth of the vast Muslim empire. As ‘Uthman and the ruling party of his time felt their failure in their attempt to gain credit through their instituted venture, they procured a copy of the current version and gave it official assent and called it the official version.

The method adopted made some companions to question the official version by spreading rumours to start a disruptive propaganda. In support of this fact statements attributed to some prominent members of the ruling party about the omissions in the present version may be referred to.

Firstly, the majority of the Sunni schools of thought agree there are certain passages, the wording of which is abrogated but their contents or the instructions contained therein remain valid. The example given of such abrogation is the passage dealing with the stoning of the adulteress – the wording which is given in three different forms as Bukhari and Muslim narrate on the authority of ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Umar.

Muslim further narrates what ‘Ayesha said about two revealed passages of the Qur’an which dealt with the question of how many times a foster mother had to suckle the child to be considered the mother in order to include her under the category of prohibited women for matrimonial relations. ‘Ayesha says that in the first passage it said ten but it was abrogated by another passage which reduced the number to five, and these two passages were read as part of the Qur’an until the demise of the Prophet. This is given as an instance of the abrogation of the passages in both respects, namely, the wording as well as the instruction implied in it. A careful examination of these two instances proves the abrogation is a euphemistic term for a deliberate omission, because none but the Holy Prophet had the right of abrogating anything from the Qur’an either in wording or any significance of the contents.

It is obvious from the two statements in which the abrogation was not done by the Holy Prophet, as the first statement says ‘Umar while collecting the Qur’an brought the passage dealing with the stoning of the adulteress which was not accepted, nor for the reason of its having been abrogated but for want of the required witnesses to support the statement of ‘Umar. In the second instance, ‘Ayesha expressly says the passages dealing with the foster mother were part of the Qur’an until the demise of the Holy Prophet. Therefore, if these statements are true, it means nothing but the intentional omission of certain passages of the Qur’an by an unauthorized person.

Suyuti, in his book, Ittqan, in continuation of the narration of Bukhari and Muslim regarding the matter, relates another passage from ‘Umar, which is said to be missing in the official version of the Qur’an. But a careful examination of the said “missing passages” which ‘Umar and ‘Ayesha presented, when compared with the style of the Qur’an proves they could never have been a part of the Qur’an. There is nothing but imaginary statements.

Some of the companions used to accuse each other of particular mistakes on account of their fancies in their narrations. For instances, about the question of mourning for a bereaved person, ‘Ayesha accused ‘Umar of misunderstanding the statement of the Holy Prophet. It is not possible that a part of the Qur’an was not known to the companions of the Holy Prophet except ‘Ayesha and ‘Umar, both of whom were accused for forgetfulness and lack of knowledge in respect of the Qur’an by the traditionists.

Ittqan, on the authority of Tibran, narrates ‘Umar said the Qur’an contained 1,077,000 letters whereas the Qur’an available would not reach even one-third of this account. It means the Qur’an left by the Prophet was so well arranged even the number of its letters was known to ‘Umar. How could this statement be reconciled with his claim that during his reign two-thirds was missing? How could a person, who had no proper knowledge of the available one-third portion of the Qur’an, know that two-thirds was lost? This is further supported by the fact that ‘Umar was not even properly acquainted with the available one-third portion of the Qur’an, which had been memorized by other Muslims. Moreover, when his evidence even for one verse, which he so well remembered, was not accepted by his own party, while Khudhaymah’s statement was accepted without any testimony, how can his solitary statement about two-thirds of the Qur’an being missing be accepted especially when he did not mention a single verse?

This early history of Islam indicates the Ansar considered themselves to have equal status with the Muhajirin (immigrants). This tendency is obvious from the very statement of the Ansar in Saqifah when the Quraysh insisted the head of State should be someone from the Quraysh. The Ansar had negated it and proposed Mina amir wa minkum amir (We will have two heads; one from us and one from you). The Quraysh, claiming to be superior to the Ansar in the eyes of Arabs, proposed that while the head of State shall be from the Quraysh, the Ansar could act as his assistants – Nahanul umara wa antamul-wozara.

The tendencies of both the parties are clear. The Ansar considered themselves equal to the Muhajirin and the Muhajirin used to consider themselves superior to the Ansar. However, the Muhajirin won the case by force in Saqifa and got the reins in their hands but the Ansar were not satisfied and every now and then the matter was disputed. On one occasion to prove the superiority of the Muhajirin over the Ansar, ‘Umar quoted 12:100 of the Qur’an where the first and foremost Muhajir and Ansar are mentioned. The passage runs as follows: “The first foremost immigrants and the helpers and those who follow them.” ‘Umar in his recitation of this passage omitted Wa meaning And, the conjunctive particle between the words Ansar and the relative pronoun al-lazina meaning the Ansar (helpers) who follow the immigrants (Muhajirin).

‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b objected to ‘Umar’s recitation and said the correct recitation was the conjunction Wa between the words Ansar and al-lazina should be inserted which would mean the first and the foremost of the Muhajirin and the Ansar. This version gives the Ansar and the Muhajirin equal status and makes those who followed the Muhajurin and the Ansar as subordinates. ‘Umar first insisted his recitation was correct but with evidence of other students of the Qur’an he had to submit to ‘Ubayy’s recitation.

Suyuti in Ittqan narrates ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Umar had said one should not say he has received the whole Qur’an as he does not know about the whole, and one should only say he received of the Qur’an only much as has come into evidence. Again Ittqan points out ‘Ayesha claimed Surah al-Ahzab (33) read during the time of the Holy Prophet contained 200 verses while in ‘Uthman’s collection it contained much less. To the same effect Mun-takhabe Kans al-Ummal narrates that ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b said Surah al-Ahzab which now contains 73 verses was originally equally in size to Surah al-Baqarah or even longer.

‘Ayesha’s evidence for the missing 127 verses of Surah al-Ahzab without quoting a single verse of it, should be discounted as she did not remember even the first words of v 33 of the same surah which concerns herself and the other wives of the Holy Prophet. The statement attributed to ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b is also to be disregarded because the omission of such a large portion of one particular surah without its being remembered by him who was an acknowledged authority on the Qur’an or by anyone else is unbelievable. Such a claim could never have been forwarded from a personality like ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b.

Another tradition of Ittqan asserts that ‘Ayesha had a collection of her own, and she narrated from her father in Surah al-Ahzab after Taslima in verse 56 mentioning Salawat there was a conjunctive clause – Wa llazina yasiluna sufulful awwal – and that was before ‘Uthman made changes in the collection. First of all, the internal evidence against this statement is the style of the alleged missing clauses which is against the unanimous verdict of the Muslims as a whole because either Muslims in their Salawat on the Holy Prophet stop with the Prophet or join his family or add the companions in general, or the wives and the issues of the Holy Prophet. But there is no trace of any evidence in support of this addition. Secondly, no one else has narrated that ‘Ayesha’s Mushaf (collection) was ever destroyed by anyone. Therefore, the question arises as to what happened to that Mushaf?

Another tradition of Muslim says Abu Musa al-‘Ashari called on the reciters of the Qur’an in Basra and addressed them, “You are the chosen ones of the people of Basra and the reciters of the Qur’an. You continue reciting the Qur’an regularly and do not stop it for any period of time lest your hearts get hardened in the manner of the hearts of the previous people.” He further said he used to read a surah in the Qur’an which resembled in length and rigidity of Surah al-Bara‘ah (Chapter Nine) but he had forgotten it except one verse of it. There was also another surah which resembled the Musabbihat but he had forgotten except one verse of it.

The style of both the narrations is inferior to that of the Qur’an and the wording of the first passage itself makes it quite obvious that it belongs to the category of the Ahadith Qudsi.

As regards the second passage it might be taken as a parenthetical sentence in the form of commentary added to the text of 61:2 (as-Saff) before the third verse Kabura maqtan indallahe (of the same chapter), which Abu Musa having heard, might have taken it to be a different surah, because he is known to have been credulous, weak in memory and lacking in literary taste. He himself confessed to have forgotten both the surahs and none else had any knowledge of the matter. This statement stands discredited. Besides the statement, if it be true, might have been made after tensions developed between ‘Uthman and him which led to his removal from the governorship. Thus, it is obvious he wanted to blackmail ‘Uthman accusing him of omission.

Suyuti in his Ittqan points out that ‘Umar once told ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf, “Do you not find this passage among what was revealed to us: In Jahado kama jahadtum awwala marratin? Surely we do not find it now!” Abd al-Rahman replied, “It was one of the passages of the Qur’an which was omitted.” Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf, though one of the important political workers of the ruling party, was not an authority on the Qur’an. Ibn ‘Abbas, though much younger, used to teach the Qur’an to him and some other people among the Muhajirin, to the last days of ‘Umar’s reign. Secondly, this is a conditional clause, a part of a large one.

The consequent sentence is not mentioned and neither ‘Umar nor Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf had mentioned it was part of a certain verse and surah. Thirdly, no one could prevent ‘Umar from reinserting this and the other omitted passages in appropriate places in the Qur’an, if he thought that was the case, as he was a powerful leader of the ruling party. No insertion on his behalf shows that those and many other passages which are fancied by people like ‘Umar and Abd al-Rahman as part of the Qur’an were rejected by the Muslims for lack of internal and external evidence in support of those statements.

Similar to the above statements is of Musslemah ibn Mukhallad Ansari, a prominent companion of the Holy Prophet. Once he asked the people, among whom was also Sa‘ad ibn Malik Ansari, “Will you tell me about the two passages of the Qur’an which were not written in this collection?” No one replied except his son who recited the passages (vide Ittqan by Suyuti).

Undoubtedly a proper examination of this passage will prove the reciter had mixed up certain passages of different surahs of the Qur’an with each other while inserting in it his own fancies and prose which differ from the inimitable and miraculous style of the Qur’an, and in fact it exposes his lack of knowledge and inability to produce a version similar to the Qur’an. It may be added to this category of traditions what is said about the two surahs found in the collection of ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, the proper examination of which bears testimony to the fact in which their style is quite different from the Qur’an and they may be classed under the category of the supplications (Ad‘iya) worded by the Holy Prophet or some members of his family. In the opinion of some scholars these two passages are inferior in language and style to the supplications of the Imams of the house of the Holy Prophet whose authentic collections are available.

What is given here is only the internal and external evidence, thus establishing the Qur’an is inimitable. From these reports we infer that either from blackmailing each other or for discrediting the accepted version of the Qur’an which stood between them and their political aspirations, some of the members of the ruling party were inclined to spread disruptive rumours. On the other hand, those of the Ahl al-Bayt and the people close to them and other companions, who were against the ideology of the ruling party, were firm in pursuance of the command of the Holy Prophet for the verification of genuine and false traditions, both the pre-Qur’anic as well as the post-Qur’anic, was strong.

The Ahl al-Bayt have recorded that once the Holy Prophet stood up and declared, “Certainly the liars about me have increased abundantly. Beware! For every truth there is a proof and for every right there is the Light. Thus whatsoever agrees with the Book of God hold it fast and whatsoever is opposed to the Book of God leave it.”

‘Ammar ibn Yasir, the most upright Sahabi and one of the zealous adherents of the cause of the Ahl al-Bayt, once during the Battle of Siffin, in the presence of the representatives of both parties, pointing to the banner under which Mo‘awiya was standing, and to the banner of Ali under which he stood, said, “Behold under this banner of ours we fought against the banner of Mo'awiya in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet on the question of the revelation of the Qur’an, and now we are fighting against the same banner on the question of the interpretation of the Qur’an.” The dispute was confined only to the interpretation of the Qur’an and there was no question of any distortion of its wordings. No tradition dealing either with the theory or the practice of Islam would be acceptable to the Imams of the House of the Holy Prophet or the members of their school of thought, if it did not agree with the Book of God.

As ‘Allama Majlisi has put it, “Of the innumerable miracles of the Holy Prophet, the first and the foremost is the Holy Qur’an which is the most genuine and authentic one narrated and recorded ever since its revelation by innumerable people, generation after generation, down to us and will last as such until the Day of Resurrection.” (Haq al-Yaqin)

Before the conclusion of this review, it is desirable to refer to some traditions of the Sunni school about the nature of ‘Ali’s collection of the Qur’an, the date of the collection, its authenticity and Ali’s vast knowledge of the inner and outer aspects of the Qur’an as a whole.

Suyuti in his Tarikh al-Khulafa states Ali is one of the godly scholars, the celebrated warrior, the famous ascetic and the matchless orator, and one of those who collected the Qur’an and presented it to the Holy Prophet for his review. In Ittqan, Suyuti on the authority of Abu Na‘yim, relates the statement of Ali himself, “No verse of the Qur’an was revealed of which I know not.”

And the same Abu Na‘yim further narrates from ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud in which the Qur’an was revealed on seven folds or seven sides (Ahruf) or aspects, each of which has an inner and an outer significance and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib has got with him all the inner and outer aspects with the significance of each aspect.

The author of Wasilatun-Najaat, Mullah Muhammad Mubin Luckhnavi, (Farangimahali) on the authority of ibn Sirin asserts Ali arranged the Qur’an according to the dates of the revelation, with noting antedated. Again Suyuti in is Ittqan says Ali was one of those who arranged the Qur’an according to the dates of revelation.

And Abu Shukur, the author of Tamid, says the companions of the Holy Prophet were not unanimous in accepting Ali’s collection.

Again Suyuti says Ali’s collection began with Surah ‘Iqra followed by al-Muddathir and al-Muzzammil, tabbat (al-Lahab), al-Takwir, etc. ‘Abdallah ibn Mas‘ud’s collection began with al-Baqarah followed by al-Nisa and Al-e ‘Imran and with much difference thereafter and the same was the case with the collection of ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b.

If we accept the authenticity of the above narrations and other similar ones, it will assert nothing more than what has already been said expressly, that ‘Ali was the foremost, next only to the Holy Prophet in possessing thorough knowledge of the inner and outer significance of every word, sentence, passage, part of chapters of the Qur’an in its revealed and pre-revealed form to which the Qur’an itself bears testimony, and if it is properly and impartially read one will grasp that 54:77 – 79 (al-Waqi‘ah) from the major premises with 33:33 (al-Ahzab) as the minor premises and 3:61 (Al-e ‘Imran) as the conclusion defining the personnel of the Ahl al-Bayt. It is the unanimous verdict of the Muslim world as to the names of the people to whom the above verses are applicable: they are Ali, Fatima, Hassan, and Hussein.

These verses are supported by many other verses of the Qur’an which declare of the descendants of Al-e Ibrahim, those who divinely inherit the Kitab (Book), Hikmat (Wisdom), Mulk-e Azim (the Great Kingdom), and the Imamate (Divine leadership) which cover all aspects of human life, are divinely the foremost in complete obedience and service to the Absolute, and purified from all ungodly inclinations. The foremost of the Ismaelite branch is the Holy Prophet himself and next to him are the members of his household (the Ahl al-Bayt) headed by Ali as the Imam and succeeded by the eleven Imams. The inclusion of Lady Fatima in the Ahl al-Bayt on account of her personal purity is also by virtue of her elevated position of being the daughter of the Holy Prophet, the wife the first Imam, and the mother of the 11 Imams – thus establishing the link between Risalat (Prophethood) and Imamate (the Divine Guidance), a status which can never be secured by merely being a wife of a Prophet and playing no part in the establishment of the divinely chosen line of Abraham’s descendants.

Besides this clear evidence of the Qur’an there are the most authentic declarations of the Holy Prophet about Ali which have been mentioned at various places in this treatise. Regarding Ali’s special collection and the collection of others, it has already been said their particular arrangements must be for the purpose of commentary or for their personal information.

The point to be noted here is the statement of Suyuti to the effect Ali collected the Qur’an and presented it to the Holy Prophet for a review contradicts all the statements which assert Ali collected the Qur’an after the demise of the Holy Prophet. Furthermore, we would like to remind the reader, the collection of the Qur’an in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet was made not only by Ali, whose authority is unquestionable, but also by the other authorized companions of the Holy Prophet, among who, besides men, there were also women. It is interesting to note that in some traditions Zayd ibn Thabit, the hero of the official venture of the ruling party in the collection of the Qur’an, is counted among those who had collected the Qur’an during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. This contradicts all the stories of his collecting the fragments of the Qur’an from pieces of paper, bits of wood, bones, leaves and skin, etc. by the order of the first, second or third Caliphs jointly or independently.

Tabarani and ibn ‘Asakir narrates from Shu‘abi in which he said the Qur’an was collected during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet by the following six people from the Ansar:

1. Ubayy ibn Ka‘b

2. Zayd ibn Thabit

3. Abu Darda

4. Ma‘adh ibn Jabal

5. Sa‘ad ibn ‘Ubayy

6. Abu Zayd

There was a seventh one, Mujjama ibn Jariah who also collected the Qur’an, with the exception of two or three surahs.

Bukhari tells us that Anas ibn Malik said four people, all from the Ansar, collected the Qur’an during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet:

1. ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b

2. Zayd ibn Thabit

3. Ma‘adh ibn Jabal

4. Abu Zayd

Nasa’i asserts that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said, “I collected the Qur’an and used to complete its recitation (as a whole) every night. This news reached the Holy Prophet and he called and told me not to complete hastily the recitation of the whole Qur’an in one night (i.e. not to recite it mechanically) but to recite it (intelligently) as to ponder over its contents to understand and complete the recitation in one month.”

Ibn Sa‘ad asserts in Taba‘qat on the authority of Fadhl ibn Dakeen from Walid ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Jamil who reports from his grandmother, Umme Waraqa, in which the Holy Prophet used to visit her and call her Shahidah, meaning witness, and she was one of those who had collected the Qur’an.

There is a narration from ibn ‘Abbas, related by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, ibn Abi Shaibah, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, ibn Habban, Hakim, Bahiqi, and Zia Maqdasi in which ibn ‘Abbas asked ‘Uthman about the reason why Bismillah was not written in the beginning of Surah al-Bara‘ah (Chapter Nine, al-Taubah) and why they had joined this surah with the other and put the two surahs in the seven big surahs?” ‘Uthman replied, “Sometimes when the surahs were revealed the Holy Prophet used to call the scribes and tell them to place the particular verses in certain places of the surahs. The verse subsequently revealed was placed as pointed out by the Holy Prophet. Surah al-Anfal (Chapter Seven) was revealed in Medina early after the Hijrah and Surah al-Bara‘ah was the last of the Medinite surahs but the contents were almost similar to each other and the Holy Prophet did not say whether the surah was a separate one or the continuation of the previous surah. Therefore, I joined these two together without using Bismillah and put it in the lengthy surahs.”

This statement of ‘Uthman, if true, is an attempt to gain some credit for himself for the arrangement of some portion of the Qur’an namely al-Bara‘ah and al-Anfal but it asserts the fact in which the Qur’an was put in writing under the supervision and the instructions of the Holy Prophet, and the arrangement of the ayahs (verses) in the surahs and the arrangement of the surahs, one after another were done accordingly except for al-Anfal and al-Bara‘ah. But there are authentic traditions by both the schools (the Sunni as well as the Shia), in which the revelation of al-Bara‘ah had begun in the ninth year of the Hijrah with the first 20 verses, and Ali was instructed by the Holy Prophet to recite them at Mecca during the Hajj season, and that there are no questions of ‘Uthman’s joining these two surahs or arranged them together as one.

Surah al-Bara‘ah was revealed without Bismillah, and on account of the similarity of the contents was put after al-Anfal under the instructions of the Holy Prophet, not as part of al-Anfal but as a separate surah. Probably ‘Uthman had no knowledge of this. It is not possible to imagine the actual position of Surah al-Bara‘ah, the earlier portion of which was revealed in the beginning of the month of Dhil Q‘ada, 9th Hijra. Its position in order of arrangement among the other surahs was not clarified by the Holy Prophet for more than a year, before his departure from this world, during which period, he himself used to direct the scribes about the arrangement of the surahs and even about the arrangement of the verses in them. Moreover, during these last years the Qur’an was revised by Gabriel twice.

How was it possible that the portion of al-Anfal and al-Bara‘ah as one or two surahs and the question of Bismillah were not made clear by the messenger of God? In any case, the statement contradicts his original claim or collecting the fragments of the Qur’an from the people and copying them with support of witnesses. On the other hand, it supports all the statements and evidence which show that the Qur’an was collected during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet.

According to the unanimous statements of the Ahl al-Bayt, Bismillah is a part of the Qur’an, revealed to the Holy Prophet is the beginning of every surah except Surah al-Bara‘ah which was revealed without Bismillah. Therefore, the last portion of the statement ascribed to ‘Uthman cannot be his. It may be a fabrication of a later period of those schools of thought who did not consider Bismillah as a part of the Qur’an except the Bismillah used in the middle of Surah al-Namal (27).

2. Shi‘ah sources

From numerous Shia traditions, only a few important ones are being considered. Most of the others are transmitted from people like Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Sayya‘ri (368 A.H.) and Ali ibn Ahmad Kufi (352 A.H.) the former was accused of heresy and the later of lies and heresy. However, the scrutiny of the text of the narrations is our main concern in respect to the subject of the traditions.

There are 20 traditions where the word tahrif (i.e. alteration) has been used, out of which we refer to only eight examples.

1. Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi (d. 381 A.H.) relates from Abu Dharr Ghifari in which the Holy Prophet commenting on the verse Yuma tabyadht wujuhun (on the day when some faces will be bright...), (61:106) said, “On Resurrection Day my people will come to me under five different standards and I will ask the group under each standard about what they had done with the two precious legacies which I left among you?” (The two precious legacies refer to the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt – Hadith-e Thaqlayn).

The people under the first standard will reply, “Of the two precious things which you left behind, the greater one we have distorted and thrown on our backs (i.e. ignored it), and the smaller one we opposed (or hated).” The group under the second standard will reply, “Of the two precious ones the greater one (the Qur’an) we distorted, and tore it into pieces and went against it, and the smaller one we opposed and waged war against it.”

2. Ibn Taus (664 A.H.) and Sayid Na‘matullah al-Jazairi (1112 A.H.), the two prominent Shia traditionists, narrate a lengthy tradition which the Holy Prophet said to Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamam that the people will profane the sanctity (of Islam) to the effect in which they will deviate from the path of God and distort His Book and alter the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah (traditions).

3. Sa‘d ibn ‘Abdallah al-Qummi, narrates from the fifth Imam; Muhammad al-Baqir said the Holy Prophet had called the people at Mina and said, “Oh people! I am leaving among you two precious things to which if you adhere, never shall you go astray, namely the Book of God and my Ahl al-Bayt, and besides these two, here is the Ka‘ba (the Sanctuary), the Holy House.” The Imam said, “The Book they have distorted, the ‘Itrat (the Ahl al-Bayt) have been killed the Ka‘ba they have destroyed, and all God’s deposits with them, they threw away, and they have detached themselves from them.

4. Sheikh Suduq asserts in his Khisaal, through Jabir ibn ‘Abdallah Ansari in which the Holy Prophet said on the Day of Resurrection three entities would complain: i) the Qur’an, ii) the mosque, and iii) the ‘Itrat. The Qur’an would say, “Oh my Lord! They distorted me and tore me into pieces.” The mosque would say, “Oh my Lord! They kept me and spoiled me. The ‘Itrat would say, “Oh my Lord! They killed us, drove us out of our homes and made us wander hither and thither.”

5. The tradition narrated by Kulayni and Saduq from Ali ibn Suwayd is that he wrote to the seventh Imam Musa ibn Ja‘far al-Kazim while he was in prison and got the following reply, “They were trusted with the Book of God and they distorted and altered it.”

6. Ibn Shahr Ashub (588 A.H.) narrates the third Imam Hussain ibn Ali on the Day of Ashura, while addressing the enemy’s army said, “You are of the same rebellious party, and the remains of the infidel allies (against the Holy Prophet), and the remains of those who threw away the Book (the Holy Qur’an) and were inspired by Satan, and a gang of criminals, and those who distorted the Book.”

7. In Kamil al-Ziyarah by ibn Qulawayh (d. 369 A.H./979-980 A.D.) it is related in which the sixth Imam, Ja‘far al-Sadiq has prescribed for the pilgrims who enter the shrine of Imam Hussain to say, “Oh God! Cursed be those who belied Your Prophet, destroyed Your House (the Ka‘ba), and distorted Your Book.

8. It has been narrated from Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq, “The masters of the Arabic language distorted the Word of God from its proper place.”

The rest of the 20 traditionists have also used the words tahrif and tagyir in the same tone.

If these and similar traditions are read in the light of what the fifth Imam Muhammad al-Baqir had said, “Of their throwing away the Book of God was they established its letters and altered and distorted its scope and significance,” it becomes clear that no change in the lettering of the Qur’an ever took place by omission, addition, or alteration but the change took place in the significance, and the application of the contents of the Holy Qur’an. There is no doubt in which the words tagyir and tabdil, used in these traditions mean nothing but the misuse and misinterpretation of the contents of the Qur’an.

This is fully vouched by the history of the development of Islamic thought. The Holy Prophet was expecting this behaviour from some of this followers when he declared, “Three pronouncements of divorce in one session do not make it effective.” And he warned, “Do they play with the Book of God when I am still present among them?” there are many more examples of misinterpretation and misuse of the contents of the Book of God in every generation.

The last tradition quoted here supports the fact in which many who think themselves to be masters of the Arabic language try to misinterpret the Holy Book by destroying its real significance. We find many commentators striving to distort the wordings of the Qur’an to deny the miracles of the Prophets of God. The best example being attempts of the anti-Ahl al-Bayt commentators to distort the significance of the verses which undoubtedly were revealed exclusively regarding the spiritual excellence of the Ahl al-Bayt since the earliest days of Islam.

One of the clear examples of such attempts is the distorted interpretation of 33:33 (Ta’thir) which leaves no room for anybody else other than the Abna’ana (i.e. Hassan and Hussain), Nisa’ana (i.e. Fatima) and the Anfusana (i.e. Ali) of verse of Mubahala (3:60) among the Ahl al-Bayt including the wives of the Holy Prophet. If the verses preceding 33:33 and its following verses of Surah al-tahrim (Chapter 66) dealing with the wives of the Holy Prophet are taken into consideration it becomes clear 33:33 is applicable only to those who are in the highest stage of accomplishment and attainment.

They also distorted the significance of the terms of Mubahala (3:60), especially Anfusana by making it refer not to the self of the Holy Prophet but to the Muslims in general, overlooking the undeniable fact in the Holy Prophet, in relevance with his authentic statement, “Ali is of me and I am of Ali,” had responded to the challenge of the Christians by choosing Ali as Anfusana. Further, in keeping with his other statements about the Ahl al-Bayt, he had chosen Fatima as Nisa’ana and Hassan and Hussain (the sons of Ali and Fatima) as Abna’ana. They held that if the fact of Mubahala is admitted, other followers, wives and the remaining relatives of the Holy Prophet will be naturally excluded from Islam, whereas according to the Shia belief the divine selected few were the best of the Muslims and their selection did not in any way exclude others from the fold of Islam or lessen their respective position in views of their proximity to the Ahl al-Bayt.

The conversation between ibn Abbas and Mo‘awiyah, reported by Allama Majlisi in volume ten of Bihar al-Anwar, when the latter warned the former not to narrate anything from the Prophet or quote or interpret the Qur’an in support of the Ahl al-Bayt, throws sufficient light on the fact that all the ruling class was attempting to do and wanted others to do was to misinterpret the Qur’an and distort the significance of the verses which are in favour of the right cause. Otherwise the wide publicity of the text of the Holy Book made it impossible for them to affect any distortion in the wordings or arrangement of the verses.

To have an idea of the distortion of the interpretation of the verses of the Holy Qur’an, one has to study 3:32, 5:55, 4:54, 33:33, 35:31 – 32, 42:23, and all the passages dealing with the distinction given to Al-e Ibrahim, and the verses which clearly show the Prophets of God inherit and leave behind them their legacies to their issues.

These are only a few of the innumerable instances of the distortion of the scope and significance of the verses of the Holy Qur’an against which Imam Hussain spoke at Karbala and his successors, the Imams of the house of the Holy Prophet, had reiterated the protest, in private as well as in public.

When Imam Hussain, his relatives, and the companions had sacrificed their lives on the battlefield of Karbala for the establishment of truth (on Muharram 10, 61 A.H./681 A.D.), his son, Imam Zayn al-‘Abideen, with his aunt Zainab (sister of Imam Hussain), and other members of the household of the Prophet and the families of the martyrs of Karbala were taken to Damascus as captives before the court of Yazid (son of Mo‘awiyah), a noted tyrant in the world. He addressed Zainab, overwhelmed with self-pride, with the words of the Qur’an:

قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ مَالِكَ الْمُلْكِ تُؤْتِي الْمُلْكَ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتَنْزِعُ الْمُلْكَ مِمَّنْ تَشَاءُ وَتُعِزُّ مَنْ تَشَاءُ وَتُذِلُّ مَنْ تَشَاءُ ۖ بِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {26}

“Say (oh Apostle Muhammad), “Oh God! Master of the kingdom. You gave the kingdom unto whomsoever You like and take away the kingdom from whomsoever you like. You exalt whomsoever You like and abase whomsoever You like.” (3:26)

Instantaneously the granddaughter of the Holy Prophet, Zainab, gave a moving sermon which depicted the brutality of Yazid against the family of the Prophet. She recited:

وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لِأَنْفُسِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِثْمًا ۚ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ {178}

“Let not those who disbelieve think Our giving them respite is good for their selves. We only give respite to them in which they may increase in sins, and for them is a disgraceful chastisement.” (3:178)

The evident distortion of the Qur’an by Yazid was brought to the notice of the audience, who shed tears over the sermon. The precedent of distortion was followed by the Umayyads and their successors and all aggressors.

The second collection of the traditions shows in some verses of the Holy Qur’an the name of Ali in particular and the names of the other members of the Ahl al-Bayt in general, which had been originally mentioned, were omitted or altered later on. Such traditions are divided into three classes.

1. The tradition from Kafi. In 2:23 (al-Baqarah) after the phrase Ala ‘Abdina was the phrase fi ‘Aliyyin and omitted afterwards.

2. There is a tradition from both the Sunni and the Shia schools that in 5:67 (al-Ma‘idah) after the phrase ilaika there was the phrase fi ‘Aliyyin which was omitted later on.

3. The author of Fasl al-Khitab, on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Sayya’ri (who was accused of heresy) says that ‘Aliyya in 15:41 (al-Hijr) is Inna haza sirato alaiya.

One may find traditions of a similar nature indicating the omission or the alteration of the name, Ali, in some other passages narrated in books like Tafsir by the ibn Furat, or the commentary unwarrantedly ascribed to the 11th Imam Hassan ibn Ali al-Askari, for which Sahl ibn Ahmad Deebaji is accused.

The first, though from Kafi, the authentic book of the Shia traditions, is to be totally rejected because of the context. It is unanimously agreed by all Muslims that 2:23 is an ever current challenge to those who doubt the divine nature of the Book in part or as a whole. If such a restricting phrase as fi ‘Aliyyin is accepted then the verse and the challenge as a whole will become meaningless.

It should be noted the authenticity of Kafi does not mean doubt in the genuineness of a problem should be left unsolved. Kafi has some conflicting traditions, including some facts against history, particularly in the Rauza-Kafi. Moreover, these kinds of traditions are contradicted by the authentic traditions of Kafi itself, on the authority of Abu Basir who says, “I asked the sixth Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq about 4:59 (al-Nisa’) which deals with Ulil Amr and he said it was revealed about Ali, Hassan and Hussain.” Then he asked the Imam in which the people say, “if it is so, then why were Ali and the people of his house not mentioned by name in the Qur’an?” The Imam replied, “Tell them, the daily prayer Salat, is mentioned in the Qur’an in several places but the numbers of the rak‘tan in each prayer have not been given. It was for the Holy Prophet to explain the details.”

The same is the case with the details about Hajj, zakat, saum (i.e. fasting), etc. which were left to the Holy Prophet to explain. Likewise, it was the duty of the Holy Prophet to explain as to who are the people worthy of being called Ulil Amr, obedience to whom is as compulsory as obedience to the Holy Prophet, next to obedience to God. The Holy Prophet explained it whenever the occasion demanded, and the last of such occasions was the declaration of Ghadir al-Khum (Ref. note 23 F and G), which left no room for any doubt to be clarified, but those who were determined to doubt and create doubts among others did not leave any stone unturned. They could not succeed in hiding any occasion of the least importance, let along the event of Ghadir, concerned with declaration of Ali and his particular descendants of his successors.

This tradition contradicts all other traditions which tend to say Ali’s name or of Hassan, Hussain or Fatima, were revealed as the text of the Qur’an and dropped by someone later. Therefore, such traditions are to be interpreted as these names have been mentioned as a commentary to the text, as in the case of 5:67 referred to above. In the cases of those traditions which would not bear such interpretations, they should be totally rejected as being against the Qur’an and the authentic traditions.

Accepting the third tradition as true, it does not convey any peculiar distinction or qualification for Ali which he did not already possess. Particularly, if the context is taken into consideration it proves Ali was one of those who did not follow Satan, which is no great distinction for him, because an ordinary righteous person also possesses that distinction. Secondly, Sayya‘ri, from whom the author of Fasl al-Khitab reports, did not say Aliyyin used there was a proper noun in possessive case, as there is another recitation of this verse where Aliyyin is used as an adjective which qualifies Sirat in 15:41.

It is more probable that Sayya‘ri with his ultra-views aimed to say that Ali, though used here as an adjective, yet from an esoterical point of view meant Ali. Not only here but wherever the word Ali occurred in the Qur’an, though as an adjective, according to the ultra-Shias, it means Ali. According to some traditionists the Holy Prophet named him Ali under Divine command. Therefore, they say, whatever is termed by God as Ali, as an adjective, must be associated with Ali in some sense.

There are traditions which show Al-e Muhammad originally mentioned in some passages of the Holy Qur’an were omitted or altered later on. For instance, the tradition narrated by Ayashi that in 3:32 – 33 after Al-e Ibrahim there was Al-e Muhammad instead of Al-e ‘Imran and the former was omitted and the latter was inserted. Such a tradition, if true, means not only omission but also addition of non-Qur’anic matter in the Qur’an: but this is against the unanimous verdict of all schools, particularly the Ithna ‘Ashari Shi‘ah school. Besides, its being reported by one solitary reporter cannot be acceptable in the case of the Qur’an, as already pointed out. The insertion of the term Al-e Muhammad here in place of Al-e ‘Imran would exclude Ali from Al-Muhammad on account of the subsequent phrase Zurriatan Ba‘duha min B‘ad as Ali is not a descendant of Muhammad, and this against both in fact and the faith, as Al-Muhammad, and this is against both the fact and the faith, as Al-e Muhammad are headed by Ali.

If the subsequent phrase is totally discarded then the term Al-e Muhammad will include not only the members of the family, but all the followers as in the case of Al-e Fir‘aun (3:32 – 33), whereas in the case of the present version of the Qur’an both Muhammad and Ali, along with their issues are included in the term Al-e Ibrahim (i.e. descendants of Abraham).

There is another tradition to the effect in which 26:227 after Zulimu the term Al-e Muhammad was mentioned, which if true, would restrict the condemnation of injustice only to the case of Al-e Muhammad, excluding the cases of the others, which is against the spirit of the Qur’an, the universal justice of God being that whosoever is unjust to any one in any degree, is punishable. It is also against the sayings of Ali, “It is easier for Ali to bear all sorts of tortures than to meet God after committing injustice to anyone of His creatures.” Most probably the expression Al-e Muhammad has been used a commentary to emphasize the seriousness of injustice caused to the holy people.

Another example is the tradition from ibn ‘Abbas which deals with 37:130 showing that instead of Ilyasin there was Al-e Yasin. It is totally against the context which is dealing with the Prophet from verses 123 to 132. If the tradition is authentic, most probably ibn ‘Abbas mentioned Al-e Yasin not as the word title of the Holy Prophet, but on the ground of the association of ideas. He might have mentioned Al-e Yasin also to be the subject of “peace from God,” similar to Ilyasin, and there are many biblical evidences which show the reappearance of Elijah as identified with Ali.

There are also many solitary traditions dealing with the word Ummat (community) mentioned in the various passages of the Qur’an assigning to the expression the duties and qualities suitable for leading personalities. The traditions say that in those verses (i.e. 2:143, 2:123, and 3:103) instead of the word Ummat the word A‘immah (plural of Imam) had been used at first. But counter to these traditions there are other traditions which assert the word Ummat itself was rightly used by God to denote A‘imma (note 3:31).

There is another tradition dealing with the word Imaman wa Ruhmatan mention in 11:17. It says in the original arrangement Imaman wa Rahmatan was after Shahidan minhu before qualifying Shahid and not Kitabu Musa. We have dealt with this matter and proved Imaman wa Rahmatan in its present arrangement qualifies both Kitabu Musa and Shahid. The imagined arrangement is absurd and against the Qur’an and the commentaries of the Ahl al-Bayt, as Kitabu Musa is qualified in Imaman wa Rahmatan (46:12).

Another example of a tradition of this nature is that which is dealt within 25:74 saying in the place of the present Waj‘alna lil Muttaqina Imama, it was originally Waja‘l lana min Mittuaqin Imama. The reading of this verse will show the absurdity of this view and the soundness of the present verse. The supposed version would reduce the position of the people referred to by the personal pronoun Na meaning “Us” to a state of praying to have a leader from among the pious ones, in which case the infallible Imam would be excluded from Na i.e. Us. Further, such a prayer could be the prayer of only an ordinary man, while in the present version the pronoun would mean only the infallible personalities who are fit to be the leaders of the pious and not to be led by anyone from among the pious ones. In either case, the restriction in the meaning of the personal pronoun is unavoidable. In the supposed version the position of the Imam al-Muttaqin which Ibrahim prayed for his Zurriah.

These are examples of traditions which assert omission or alteration of the wording of the Qur’an which according to the imagination of their reporters were in favour of the Ahl al-Bayt but were omitted. But a thorough study of these will prove without doubt this was either the work of a foolish friend or a crafty enemy who wanted to damage the sacredness of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt and along with it the unique status of the Holy Qur’an which is the criterion for the verification of the Truth of pre- and post-Islamic literature of a theological nature.

These are traditions which give a different wording in some passages of the Qur’an as a different recitation which are not acceptable in any way. For example, Ali ibn Ibrahim narrates through his chain from Huraith from the sixth Imam Ja‘far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, in which the Imam read the last portion of Surah al-Fatihah as follows: Sirata mun an‘amta alaihim, ghairil maghdube alaihim wa gahiriz dalin, meaning instead of Allazeena after Sirat he used the relative pronoun Mun and Ghair instead of la before dalin. It is obvious that the supposed recitation does not differ from the present recitation in substance, but the absurdity of the narration is so obvious one is surprised a person like Ali ibn Ibrahim should have narrated it.

The Fatihatul-Kitab is a chapter repeatedly recited by the Muslims in the daily prayers and all other prayers and there is no prayer without the recital of the Surah, and as such it is impossible in which the correct version escaped the memory of all the Muslims from the time of the Holy Prophet up to the third Caliph, or deliberately the correct recitation was replaced by the distorted recitation without a word of protest from any quarter. If this tradition is to be accepted no report of the past, whatever the degree of its authenticity and the number of its narrators and written reports, could be relied upon.

There is another group of traditions quoted by some writers in support of tahrif which indicates the Qur’an contains different sections, dealing with the Ahl al-Bayt and their enemies, the exemplary events of the past and the laws and precepts of Islam. It is obvious these kinds of traditions have nothing to do with tahrif (i.e. omission, alteration or addition). It refers to the applicability of the subject matter and not to its arrangement. As such it does not convey more than what is mentioned in the celebrated Ziarat (Jami‘ah), “Wherever, or whenever, anything good is mentioned it applies to you as its origin, its development, its source and as its final phase.”

A few traditions narrated by ‘Ayashi in his commentary confirm what has already been said viz the names of the Ahl al-Bayt have not been mentioned in the Qur’an and the passages of the Qur’an should not be restricted to people or occasions in connection with which they might have been revealed. He narrates through his chain from the fifth Imam who said, “The Qur’an was revealed in three groups, one-third about us and our devotees, one-third about our enemies and the enemies of those before us (the Prophets and the righteous ones) and one-third about law, precepts and exemplary narrations and if the passage revealed about the people is restricted to them, then that passage would lose its applicability along with the death of the said people; but the applicability of the Qur’an continues to be valid so long as the heavens and the earth exist. There are passages in the Qur’an which apply to good or bad.”

Another saying from the same Imam reported by ‘Ayashi is, “Whenever in the Qur’an any of the followers of Islam is mentioned as virtuous, it refers to us and whenever some are mention as wicked, even in the past, it is our enemies that are meant.” And another tradition narrated by ‘Ayashi from the sixth Imam says, “If the Qur’an is read as it was revealed, one would find us named therein.” This means if one reads the Qur’an studiously without prejudice, he would realize the exclusive status given to them by the Qur’an. For example, 3:60, nobody’s name is mentioned but there is no doubt that no one is meant by the verse but Hassan, Hussain, Fatima, and Ali. It is natural that only these can be termed as the people of the House and members of the family. Therefore, whatever God has said in the Qur’an about the Ahl al-Bayt and the chosen members of Al-e Ibrahim applies to these people exclusively.

Instead of mentioning their names, the Qur’an referred to them according to reliable traditions narrated above. God has introduced them in a rhetorical manner which is much more effective than mentioning their names.

There are some other traditions which evidently assert a large portion of the Qur’an has been omitted and some non-Qur’anic matter has been inserted in the present version. The outstanding example of such traditions is the lengthy statement of Ali narrated by Sheikh Ahmad bin Abi Talib al-Tabrisi, the author of the book Kitab al-Ihtija. Ali is reported to have said on the course of his conversation with a Jew, that between the first portion of 4:3, 137 about one third of the Qur’an has been omitted and 7:188 was not a genuine part of the Qur’an. The absurdity of this tradition is self-evident. It seems Ali was talking of some remote ancient book. If one-third of the Qur’an was deleted in his presence he and all the Muslims would not have remained silent.

Not even a single verse of the one-third of the Qur’an said have been omitted has been indicated. In the case of Fadak, Ali and his followers did not hesitate in the least to raise objection and even for a minor deviation from the Islamic law, people like Abu Dharr, ‘Ammar, Miqdad, etc. protested against the ruling party at the risk of their lives. That being so, if one-third of the Qur’an had been omitted, it is unthinkable that no one objected. It is unacceptable that such a deliberate omission in the Qur’an was effected and Ali did not speak but to a Jew. On the strength of this spurious tradition the genuineness and authenticity of the Qur’an cannot be doubted. On the other hand, the book containing this tradition itself cannot be regarded as reliable.

There is another tradition of Kulayni on the chapter dealing with the Qur’an to the effect in which the sixth Imam Ja‘far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq said the Qur’an which Gabriel brought to the Holy Prophet contained 7000 verses. This is according to Wafi taken from Kafi but in some editions of Kafi itself, the number mentioned is 17,000, instead of 7000. There is no doubt the narration of Wafi from Kafi is much more reliable than the ordinary editions of Kafi itself. However, the difference between the narration is there, hence it is not unreasonable to take either of these statements as wishful conjecture, because it deals with the number of passages of the Qur’an and the numbering depends upon punctuation, about which the reciters of the Qur’an differ. According to the current punctuation the number of verses is 6,666 but according to the punctuation ascribed to the Prophet by Majma‘ul Bayan it is 6,263. The different schools of the reciters –Kufi, Hijazi, Macci, Madani, and Shami – differ in this regard from each other. It is also said the numbering by the Kufi school is based on the authority of Ali.

However, it should be noted the differences in numbering was not based on the variation in numbering of the letters and the words of the Qur’an as confirmed by a tradition from Kafi saying, “No change in the letters of the Qur’an in addition or omission ever took place” and the Muslims established the letters of the Qur’an and distorted its significance and its application. Here it is not out of place to recommend to the reader a reference to a tradition quoted by the author of Majma‘ul Bayan in Chapter 76 (al-Dahr) while dealing with the question of the date and the occasion of Shan-e Nazul (Significance of Revelation), where the full account of the number of the chapters, verses, letters, the date and place of their revelation is given. It is said there are chapters the beginning portions of which were revealed at Mecca and the other portions were revealed at Medina and were put in their proper places by the order of the Holy Prophet.

To a particular group belongs the solitary tradition stating the Qur’an originally had Juz (i.e. parts of which we have now only 30 and the remaining ten parts are with the Last Imam who would bring them when he reappears). The absurdity of this version has already been pointed out when dealing with the tradition of the Ihtijaj. No word, phrase, sentence, verse or chapter, small or large, can be considered as a part of the Qur’an if it is reported by a solitary reporter, because in our definition of the Qur’an we have said the revealed statement was placed within the reach of humankind as an everlasting miracle, and as such it cannot be known only to one chain of the reporters. To this category belongs the spurious surah known as Surah al-Vilayat which the author of Dabistan ul-Madhahib has narrated from some unknown source, and it may be the same surah to which ibn Shahr Aashub refers as the omitted chapter of the Qur’an.

The chapter contains as many words (or lines) as Musabbahat. The style of the chapter betrays its fabrication. It cannot be classed even with the style of the Ahl al-Bayt in their sermons and prayers. It is an attempt to imitate the rhythm of the Qur’an but is most unlike the Qur’an in grammatical structure and rhetorical consideration, the like of which can be composed by any imitator who is acquainted with the Arabic language. There are other compositions of this type said to be the omitted chapters of the Qur’an, the style of which betrays them. Of these are two surahs named Qul and Hafd. The style shows they are some sort of prayers composed by someone much inferior in style to that of the Holy Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt, let alone the style of the Qur’an.

There is another tradition of this kind narrated by Kafi from Abu Nasr Bazanti (d. 221 A.H./836 A.D.) who said the eighth Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Rida gave him a Qur’an and told him not to look into it, but he opened it and read Chapter 98 known as the Bayanah and found therein the names of 70 people of the Quraysh along with the names of their fathers. Then the Imam sent for the Qur’an and took it back. This is not believable. In the first place, it is unthinkable the Imam would give the Qur’an and yet ask that it shouldn’t be looked into. Secondly, the person who disobeys the order of the Imam not to look into it is hardly reliable. Thirdly, if we grant the genuineness of the narration, the version which he found therein the names of so many people with the names of their fathers is the best proof that what he saw was not the text of the Qur’an but some commentary.

Of the contemporaries of the Holy Prophet or his ancestors, and his followers, and the members of his family, nobody’s name had come in the Qur’an except the name of Zayd among the friends and Abu Lahab among the enemies and the name of the Holy Prophet himself, and if anyone else’s name had come, the report of it would not have reached through a solitary tradition. Apart from our remarks about the tradition, it can be taken as evidence in which the celebrated Mushaf attributed to the first Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib was not confined to the text of the Qur’an revealed as a challenging miracle, but it contained also the commentaries which the Holy Prophet dictated to him or the explanatory notes which he himself added to it.

These are the main traditions quoted in favour of tahrif, in the sense of addition or omission. There remains the question of tahrif with regard to the arrangement of words in the phrases and the sentences in the verse and the verses in the chapters and the arrangement of the chapters in the collection. As pointed out already the Qur’an explicitly asserts the arrangement, the recitation and the explanation, all are the responsibility of God and this must be discharged before declaring the perfection of the religion and the Holy Prophet’s declaration:

“I am leaving among you two things, the Book of God and the Ahl al-Bayt.”

Both issues have been thoroughly discussed and established and now no fallacy remains.

The Imams gave instructions to the Muslims to be very cautious in the recitation of the surahs. Besides, the traditions allow the recitation of any chapter in the compulsory prayers with the exception of four surahs which contain sajdah-e wajib (compulsory sajdah). The Imams have ordered that Chapters 93 and 94, though separated by Bismillah, should be recited together because the latter supplements the former. An identical statement is also made about the recitation of Chapters 105 and 106. The spiritual effect and the divine reward assigned to the recitation of chapters and verses are mentioned by the Imams. It should be noted that according to the Ahl al-Bayt it is necessary that one complete surah of the Qur’an, neither more or less, is to be recited in Chapter One, in the first and second Rak‘at of prayers. Therefore, if there was any arrangement in any chapter of the Holy Book which affects its completeness, it would have been pointed out.

It is the unanimous verdict of the Shi‘ah theologians and jurists that any recitation different from the present arrangement, or with any addition or omission in any compulsory prayer, renders the prayer void. Even in the optional prayers or in ordinary recitations, any arrangement different from the present one is a sin.

There are some solitary reports about the recitation of some Qur’anic words by the Ahl al-Bayt other than the present, (such as Mou‘ooda 82:8), but according to the authentic tradition of Kafi and the unanimous verdict of the Shi‘ah theologians, any recitation other than the seven or ten current ones, is forbidden. All these show that mischievous hands have been working since the demise of the Holy Prophet down to the beginning of the fourth century to create doubts about the genuineness and infallibility of the Qur’an in hand.

Even the reports which the Holy Prophet, on the eve of his demise, told Ali to take care of the fragments of the different materials on which the Qur’an was written and were in the custody of the Holy Prophet, does not mean the Qur’an had not been, by then, collected. In fact, the Holy Prophet did not like them to fall in the hands of the public as they might be misused. Hence, he ordered Ali to take care of them, and no one has ever claimed to have seen them. The fragments from which Zayd ibn Thabit attempted to produce his collection were those on which people had made copies for themselves other than those of the Holy Prophet’s.

However, the Shi‘ah traditions clearly assert the Holy Prophet had dictated to Ali the details of Islamic precepts, theoretical and practical, even such details as the fine for the bruise, and all the events which had already happened and all that would occur until the Day of Resurrection. Ali noted them all in the form of a scroll termed as Jami‘ah and in the form of another collection on the parchment of hide known as Ja‘fr.

The authoritative status of the Qur’an in all ages declared by the Holy Prophet and the Imams of his house implies that any report suggesting the least doubt about the genuineness of its present version with its present arrangement is to be totally rejected. These are the views adhered to by their disciples during their presence and followed by the standard theologians, jurists, and scholars of the Ithna ‘Ashari Shi‘ah school of all ages. No one, who professes Islam, and belonging to whatever school can doubt the fact that the Qur’an, besides containing the last message of god, has been revealed as an ever-current, challenging miracle and as the guardian of all the preceding scriptures and standard of the verification of all the post-Islam literature.

As such it should remain genuine and intact within the reach of humankind, protected against any addition, omission, alteration or distortion. Otherwise it would affect its status as a miracle and a guardian which has been expressly stated in the Qur’an – 15:9, 41:42. It is incorrect to say these verses refer to the true copy of the Qur’an which was with the Imams, because the Qur’an as a standard and as a miracle was revealed and must have been within the reach of all and not hidden and treasured by any one single person. Genuine copies of all the ancient scriptures were also with the Imams and their possessing a copy of the Qur’an was only natural. The lives of the Holy Prophet and the Imams, their teachings, mirror completely the Holy Book as it is now. (Vide al-Kafi, Chapter on the Qur’an as the standard on any controversial issue.)

“I was given the lengthiest surahs in place of the Torah (Taurat) and I was given 100 versed chapters in place of the Gospels (Injil) and I was given the lengthy one next to the first in place of the Psalms (Zabur), and I was made to exceed them with the separate small ones, they were 68 surahs and the Qur’an is the guardian over all the scriptures.

It has been transmitted from the seventh Imam Musa ibn Ja‘far al Kazim, “Whosoever derives his religion from the Book of God and the teachings of the Holy Prophet, the mountain may move from its place but he will not be shaken in his faith. But he who takes his religion from another man, will refute it. The person who does not understand our status from the Qur’an is not safe from mischief,” which means the present Qur’an is the standard for the identification of the Imamate. From the sixth Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq, “Surely God has revealed in the Qur’an the norm of everything. Surely God did not leave out anything which people would be in need of, but He revealed it in the Book, so nobody could say, ‘I wish it would have been there in the Qur’an.’ There is no matter under dispute between two people but there is a ruling for it in the Qur’an. Only the people’s mind cannot grasp it, which clearly shows the Qur’an is short of nothing but the short-coming is from our side.

From the fifth Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir, “Whenever I inform you about something you should ask if it is in the Qur’an.”

There are many traditions of a similar nature narrated by Kafi here and elsewhere, asserting everything is in the present Qur’an at hand, but the ordinary people may not be able to grasp it. We would like here to summarize the gist of all these traditions in the words of Ali: Innallah tajalla fi kitaabihi le’ibadeth (God manifested Himself in His Book for humankind).

The sixth Imam Ja‘far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq narrates from the Holy Prophet, “For every truth there is a way of verification and for every right thing there is light to be thrown on it. Therefore, whatever is in conformity with the Qur’an take it and whatever is contrary to it leave it.” When asked about the conflicting reports narrated from the Holy Prophet, he said, “The one which is supported by evidence from the Qur’an or from the sayings of the Holy Prophet take it, otherwise return it to the person who brought it.” Everything should be evaluated by comparing it with the Book of God and the teachings of the Holy Prophet, and any tradition which does not agree with the Book of God is spurious and must be rejected.

The following sermon delivered by the Holy Prophet has been reported from the sixth Imam Ja‘far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq through the chain of ancestors, “Oh you people, you are in an abode of truce, and you are on a journey and the move with you is fast and indeed you see the night and day the sun and the moon, both wearing out everything new and bringing near everything which was far and bringing everything promised. Equip yourselves with provision for the remote journey.”

Miqdad ibn al-Aswad stood up and asked, “Oh Apostle of God! What is the abode of the truce?” “The abode (halt) is to take provisions and leave,” replied the Holy Prophet and then continued the sermon.

“Whenever the ordeals become so confusing and dark for you, like a part of the dark night, you adhere to the Qur’an. Verily it is the intercessor whose intercession is accepted and the pleader whose pleading is approved. He who keeps it in view (as his guide or norm) it guides him to Paradise, and he who puts it behind, it will drag him to hell fire. It is the guide which guides to the best path. It is the Book wherein are the details and explanations and the extract and it is the decree. It has an outer aspect and inner one. The outer side is law and order while the inner side is knowledge and enlightenment. The outer is fascinating beauty, the inner is deep. It has bottoms and the bottoms have bottoms and so on. Its wonders are innumerable and incomprehensible – its marvels are never worn out.

“Therein are the torches of guidance and the minarets of wisdom, and guidance towards knowledge for the one who understands the description.

“Thus it is for the seeker to continue his search so his sight should reach the fact described by God and thus be rescued from perdition and entanglements. Verily the meditation on it is a life directing an awakened heart just as the torch illuminates one who walks in darkness. Therefore, it is on you to devote to it duly without the least hesitation.”

The above statements of the Holy Prophet and the Imams are but a few examples out of the many transmitted by the following authentic Shi‘ah scholars who are the supreme authority after the occultation of the last (12th) Imam.

Kulayni (Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub, d. 329 A.H./941 A.D.) in the introduction of his celebrated work al-Kafi states, “Passed away the Holy Prophet, leaving behind among his people (Ummah), the Book of God and the executor of his will, Ali Amir al-Mu’minin (the Commander of the Faithful), Imam al-Muttaqin (the Leader and Guide of the Pious Ones) (peace of God be upon him) as the two inseparable associates, each as witness to the truth of the other.”

Pointing out the sources of true knowledge of God’s religion, Kulayni quotes the two traditions which have been reproduced above. In answering the question about the conflicting traditions narrated by different reports and the method for their verification he says, “Behold oh my brethren! May God guide you that none among the scholars can distinguish the true and false ones of the conflicting traditions except in the way shown by the Holy Imams who said, ‘Refer them to the Book of God and then the one which agrees with book of God, take it, and the one which disagrees with the Book of God, reject it.’” (Ref. Introduction of al-Kafi.)

This quotation from Kulayni proves without doubt, that to him the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt were two inseparable and infallible authorities left by the Holy Prophet among the people for their guidance and the Qur’an was the criterion for the scrutiny of the traditions. As such it is unfair to allege that Kulayni had doubts about the genuineness of the Qur’an simply because he had mentioned in his book some solitary reports which to some may appear as indicating tahrif, notwithstanding the fact the reports in question are capable of different interpretations as already pointed out. It needs to be remembered that in attributing a doctrine to a person or a community, comparison and scrutiny of their various statements are essential.

Next to Kulayni is Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Bubayah al-Qummi known as Saduq (d. 381 A.H./991 – 992 A.D.), author of Mun la Yahduruhu al-Faqih, who has specifically dealt with the subject in his famous book I‘tiqadat (The Beliefs). But here Saduq’s views are quoted through the authority of Mullah Muhsin al-Faid (10th century A.H.), in his work al-Wafi, to prove unanimity between the two great authorities separated by about six centuries. The Mullah reports of Saduq, “Said our Sheikh (may he be blessed) in his I‘tiqadat as follows, ‘Our belief is the Qur’an which God, the Most High, revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him and his household) is what is between these two pads, the collection which is in the hands of the people. The Qur’an was never more than this. The number of its chapters according to the people is 114 and according to us Chapter 93 and Chapter 94 is one and Chapters 105 and106 are also one. Whoever ascribes to us we say it was more than this, he is a liar.’”

The above statement clearly shows it is not only the personal view of Saduq but is the unanimous verdict of all the Shi‘ah authorities preceding him, and it does not refer only to the quantity but also indicates the genuineness in arrangement. Had there been any discrepancy other than in the number of the surahs or the quantity of matter regarding the arrangement, Saduq would have pointed it out in the same manner as he did about the two sets of the four chapters referred to above.

Saduq gives proof in support of the Shi‘ah view about the Qur’an, and Mullah al-Faid confirming Saduq’s views says, “Whatever tradition has come about tahrif or distortion it must be taken to mean distortion only in the interpretation, application and the significance of the verses of the Qur’an and not in its wording.” (al-Wafi, closing chapter on the Qur’an.)

The view in which the tradition indicating the distortion of the Qur’an by profane hands after the Holy Prophet means distortion in the interpretation of the Qur’an but not in the recitative miraculous text, is confirmed by another famous theologian and jurist of his time, Muhammad ibn Numan, known as Sheikh al-Mufid (338- 431 A.H./950 – 1022). Mufid, who succeeded Saduq as the recognized authority, asserts in his commentary on Saduq’s I‘tiqadat, that all the traditions and reports about distortion of the Qur’an received from the Ahl al-Bayt refer to what was recorded in the collection of Ali. Ali’s collection contained besides the text, commentaries and interpretation and some inner meanings of the text. The omission or change of arrangement or even addition might have taken place in the explanatory passages of the collection and not in the text. For example, along with the revelation of the two passages of 5:3, 67 regarding the declaration of Ali’s Imamate at Ghadir al-Khum several lengthy explanatory passages were revealed, as are recorded in Tafsir al-Safi, but they were not part of the text of the two passages in question.

Mufid’s leading disciple was the great scholar and heard of the Shi‘ah divines, Ali ibn al-Hussain al-Musawi, popularly known as as-Sharif Murtadha (or Sayyid Murtadha), descendant of the seventh Imam Musa ibn Ja‘far al-Kazim (d. 436 A.H./1044 A.D.). He was also given the title of Alam al-Huda, the Banner of Guidance. He maintained Mufid’s view.

The names of other celebrated scholars who have supported this view are given below in chronological order:

1. Sheikh al-Tabrisi, the author of the well-known commentary Majma‘ al-Bayan (d. 548 A.H.), supported the above contention and it was adhered to by the most celebrated Shi‘ah divines, generation after generation, until the establishment of the Shi‘ah Safavid dynasty in Iran (907 – 1135/1502/1722 A.D.).

2. Muhaqiq Karaki-Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Abd al-Ali (d. 940 A.H./1534 A.D.), author of a separate book on the subject.

3. Syed Hashim al-Baharani (d. 1107 A.H. 1696 A.D.), author of Tafsir al- Burhan (Exegesis).

4. Sheikh Muhammad Hussain (d. 1261A.H./1848 A.D.) author of al-Usul Fil Fusul (Principles of Jurisprudence).

5. Sheikh Ja‘far ibn Ja‘far al-Najafi al-Kashif al-Ghita (d. 1228 A.H./1830 A.D.), author of Kashif al-Ghita.

6. Haji Muhammad Ibrahim Kalbasi (d. 1262 A.H./1846 A.D.)

7. Muhaqiq Baghdadi, author of a commentary on Wafia.

8. Sheikh Muhammad Balagi (d. 1352 A.H.), a celebrated scholar on semitic scripture, author of Aala-ir-Rahman Fi Tafsiril-Qur’an.

9. Ayatullah Hussain ibn Ali Tabataba’i al-Burujirdi (d. 1380 A.H./1961 A.D.), author of ‘Urwah al-Uthqah.

10. Ayatullah Sayyid Mahmud Shahrudi. His letter dated 1383 A.H. is printed in Ahmad Ali’s translation of the Qur’an, where he mentions that nothing has been added in the Qur’an nor is there anything non-Qur’anic in the version of the Qur’an in hand.

11. Ayatullah Syed Muhsin al-Hakim (d. 1390 A.H./1971 A.D.), author of Nahj al-Fuqaha and Mustamsak al-‘Urwa al-Wuthqa.

12. Ayatullah Syed Abul Qasim al-Khu’i, author of al-Bayan which has helped in the preparation of this topic.

13. Ayatullah Sayyid Hadi al-Hussaini Milani from Mashhad.

14. Allama Sayyid Muhammad Hussain Tabataba’i (d. 1402/1981), author of al-Mizan (Exegesis).

In short, the overwhelming majority of Shia divines of the Usuli School, whose main object is the rationalization of revelation, have always been the firm advocates of the supreme authority of the Holy Book and of its genuineness. It is only a few Akhbari traditionist scholars, and perhaps a few Usul scholars, who have not paid proper attention to the question. They have been misled by the contradictory traditions mentioned and refuted above.

3. The various recitations of the Holy Qur’an

There are seven different recitations ascribed to the seven celebrated reciters of the Book who lived between the last part of the first century and the third century Hijrah. These seven reciters are very famous; the next three are not so famous.

None of the reciters have seen or heard the Holy Prophet nor do any of them claim to have received his particular recitation directly from the authorized companions of the Holy Prophet. It seems some of their recitations are based on their own personal discretion of the linguistic consideration, and from some of their recitations they claim they received them from the reciters who had received them in turn from their predecessors (companions or disciples of the companions). Anyway, one does not find the various recitations being properly traced back to the Holy Prophet. They are mere conjectures based on some non-authentic reports which all these recitations were allowed by the Holy Prophet.

However it is generally believed that all these seven or ten recitations have been allowed by the Imams (Ahl al-Bayt).

Besides these seven or ten recitations there are solitary reports about some different recitations ascribed to the Imams (Ahl al-Bayt) or some authorized companions of the Holy Prophet. These are termed as Qir’at-e Shazzha (sporadic and unpopular recitations). None of the Shi‘ah theologians has allowed such recitations in compulsory or optional prayer or in general recitations.

The variety of recitations in question should not be confused with the question of tahrif, alteration by addition, omission or arrangement of letters, words, phrases, sentences, passages and surahs which may affect the exact meaning and significance of the wording in question. Variety of recitation means various pronunciations of letters, words, phrases, change of vowels and punctuations, etc. which do not affect the meaning and significance of the wording at all. For example, to recite Malik or Maalik there will be no change in the significance of these two pronunciations both of which are true of God and carry the same significance so far as He is concerned, though they may have slightly different shades of meaning if they are used about someone else.

From the grammatical point of view, also, both pronunciations referred to above are correct and permissible. The celebrated genuine reports of the Imams assert the Qur’an is the word of the Absolute One, revealed in one recitative form and no more and the differences in recitations have been brought about by the reciters. It is possible that some of the companions of the Holy Prophet had the words in question in a different way which is grammatically correct also, and the Holy Prophet endorsed the pronunciation for the sake of convenience. This might have happened in some cases but after the demise of the Holy Prophet the companions might have thought it a privilege for them to recite differently if according to them no change would be affected and in the meaning and significance of the word.

And so did the disciples. Each began to advocate the appropriateness of his choice or recitations, which gradually widened the gap between the various recitations. It caused the companions like Hudhayfa ibn Yamani and the other loyal followers of the Holy prophet apprehension that this tendency might lead to further controversies even in the text of the Qur’an. Thus, in order to stop this tendency from gaining strength it was deemed advisable to give official recognition to the original recitation which used to be followed by the Holy Prophet and to disallow the recitations chosen by the companions after his demise.

However, the ruling party could not succeed in suppressing the other recitations but it stopped further development of various recitations. Due to the absence of substantial differences in those official and non-official recitations the Ahl al-Bayt allowed people to choose any of the current recitations and stopped them from reciting unpopular and sporadic recitations ascribed to the Prophet, the Ahl al-Bayt or other companions.

However, it seems the recitations from the Imams (Ahl al-Bayt) were almost the same as that of ‘Ubayy ibn Ka‘b. This recitation and the Kufi recitation of the Qur’an with punctuations were almost the same as taught by people who had learnt from Ali. The recitation of ‘Asim, Hamza ibn Habib, Hamran ibn al-A‘yun, Abu ‘Umar ibn ‘Alai ibn ‘Ammar and many others were close to each other. It is said their recitations differ from the official recitation adopted by Caliph ‘Uthman at ten places though they carry no significance.

However, it is wrong to ascribe the official recitation to Zayd ibn Thabit as has been narrated by Sunni writers. The Holy Prophet would not accept any companion’s recitation particularly of a person like Zayd ibn Thabit, who was not at all the recognized student of the Qur’an. On the contrary, Caliph ‘Uthman and Zayd ibn Thabit may be given credit they had tried to adopt the Holy Prophet’s recitation in their official collection. One should be careful to avoid unpopular recitations ascribed to the Ahl al-Bayt and other authorities which may affect the meaning.

Muhammad Ahmad Sayyari is a contemporary of or senior to Kulayni. He is quoted here and there by some prominent jurists as an authority but he is not reliable. His book Kitab al-Qira contains unpopular recitations, which undermine some fundamental articles of Shi‘ah faith; e.g. in 14:41, instead of the popular recitation Wal-e Waledia (my parent), he gives the unpopular recitation Wal Wale-Dia (my two sons) with the excuse that Ibrahim’s father was not a Muslim to be prayed for, though it is the firm faith of Shi‘ah’s in which Ibrahim’s father as well as other Prophets’ parents were Muslims and the non-believer Azar was not the father of Ibrahim.

The other example is that Sayyari asserts Ali also confirmed Caliph ‘Umar’s claim in which the passage concerning the stoning of adulteresses was part of the Qur’an. This statement is so absurd it naturally discredits its author. If Caliph ‘Umar believed this was part of the Qur’an and Ali confirmed it, which power on the Earth could have prevented these two from inserting the passage in the Qur’an and what made Caliph ‘Uthman not to take their view into consideration.

4. Punctuation Symbols

The system of punctuation, symbols and other marks were introduced by Abul Aswad ad-Dulli and completed by the order of Hajaj ibn Yusuf about the close of the first century Hijrah to guard the recitation of the Qur’an against mispronunciation by non-Arabs. Dulli was a celebrated grammarian, and one of the devoted disciples of Imam Ali.

5. Exegesis (Tafsir) of Imam Hassan ibn ‘Ali al-Askari (the 11th Imam)

The Tafsir as it is in our hands now contains statements which the like Sayyari’s book should be discredited. There is no doubt the 11th Imam dictated a brief commentary of the Qur’an to some of his disciples who had approached him when he was in Samarra under house arrest. The dictation undoubtedly was of great value but it was tampered with before its publication. The person accused of this profane act is Ahmad ibn Sahl Deebaji.

The Divine Trust

Now it is evident from both the internal and external evidence that to credit the first, second, and third Caliphs or their deputies with the collection of the Qur’an is unreasonable. The deep study of the verses of the Qur’an and the traditions, and the undeniable declaration of the Holy Prophet;

“I leave two precious things among you, the Book of God and my Ahl al-Bayt. Should you cleave to these two, never shall you be misled after me. For verily these two will never be separated from each other until they meet me at the cistern of Kauthar (on the Day of Judgment),”

prove that any doubt about the genuineness and infallibility of any one of them (i.e. the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt) shake the fundamentals of Islam. They are divinely identified with each other. It is a sacred trust, a revelation which guides humanity to the straight path.

The next chapters will deal elaborately with aspects of the unity of God and revelation.

  • 1. إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِالذِّكْرِ لَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ ۖ وَإِنَّهُ لَكِتَابٌ عَزِيزٌ {41}
    لَا يَأْتِيهِ الْبَاطِلُ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلَا مِنْ خَلْفِهِ ۖ تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٍ {42}. Chapter 41.
  • 2. وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِنْ مِثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {23}
    فَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَلَنْ تَفْعَلُوا فَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِي وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ ۖ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَافِرِينَ {24}. Chapter 2 vs. 23 – 24.

    قُلْ لَئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الْإِنْسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَىٰ أَنْ يَأْتُوا بِمِثْلِ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لَا يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ وَلَوْ كَانَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا {88}. Chapter 17, vs. 88.

    وَمَا كَانَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ أَنْ يُفْتَرَىٰ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِنْ تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {37}
    أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ ۖ قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {38}
    بَلْ كَذَّبُوا بِمَا لَمْ يُحِيطُوا بِعِلْمِهِ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِهِمْ تَأْوِيلُهُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَانْظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الظَّالِمِينَ {39}

    “And this Qur’an is not such as to be forged by (anyone) besides God , but it is a confirmation of (the scriptures) which went before it and (the clearest) explanation of the Book. There is no doubt in it, (it is) from the Lord of the worlds. Or do they say, ‘He (Muhammad) has forged it?’ Say you, ‘Bring you then a chapter like unto it and call on (to your aid) whomsoever you can, besides God, if you be truthful.” Nay, they belied that which they comprehended not with the knowledge of it and the explanation of it came not unto them, even thus did belie those before them; see then what the end of the unjust ones was.” (2:37 – 39)

    أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ ۖ قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِعَشْرِ سُوَرٍ مِثْلِهِ مُفْتَرَيَاتٍ وَادْعُوا مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {13}
    فَإِلَّمْ يَسْتَجِيبُوا لَكُمْ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا أُنْزِلَ بِعِلْمِ اللَّهِ وَأَنْ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ {14}

    Or do they say, “He (Our Apostle) has forged it.” Say you, “Bring you then ten surahs like unto it forged, and call you (to your aid) whomsoever you can besides God if you are truthful.” Then if they answer you not, then know you this (Qur’an) is revealed (only) by God’s knowledge and there is no God but He! Will you then submit (and be Muslims now).” (9:13 – 14)

    وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ ۚ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ {88}

    Say you, “Even if men and jinn were united (with the object) that they bring the like of this Qur’an, they would not bring the like of it, even though some of them to the others be helpers. (27:88)

    And various other verses.

  • 3. Muta‘ah – Muslims practiced Muta‘ah or temporary marriage along with permanent marriage from the time of the Prophet until his death. It continued in the rule of Abu Bakr (the first Caliph) and part of the rule of ‘Umar (the second Caliph). In the Qur’an God says,

    “And those who guard their private parts except from their wives or those whom their right hands possess, then verily they are not blameable, and whosoever seeks beyond that, these are they who are the transgressors.” (23:5-7).

    This injunction was repeated in 12:29 – 31. These verses were revealed in Mecca. Before the Hijrah Zubary (a Sahabi) married Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr in a temporary marriage; from the union were born ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr and ‘Urwah ibn Zubayr, the companions (Sabaha) of the Prophet. The legitimacy of Muta‘ah continued after Hijrah. This verse revealed at Medina, “As much of them you had Mut‘ah (temporary marriage) with them, give them their dowries as fixed reward” proves that Muta‘ah was not abrogated.

    According to all sources ‘Umar made the following statement in the second part of his rule, “there are two Mut‘ahs which existed in the time of the Prophet of God and Abu Bakr which I have banned and I will punish those who will disobey my orders. These two Mut’‘ahs are concerning the pilgrimage and Muta‘ah concerning women.” The Shias and Malaki Sunnis do not accept his view. He has no authority to abrogate the Qur’anic legislation which applied during the lifetime of the Prophet. It has been reported by Amir al-Mo’mineen ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, ‘If ‘Umar had not declared Muta‘ah as unlawful only some unfortunate fellow would have committed adultery.” The Qur’an as a universal message takes all human beings into consideration. It is a fact in which permanent marriage does not satisfy the instinctive sexual urge of certain people and adultery and fornication according to Islam are sins, destroying the order and purity of human life.

    Despite all efforts there exists throughout the world the hidden and public places where adultery and fornication take place. The horrible excessive percentage of illegitimate births proves the fact. To root out this evil temporary marriage with fixed rules according to Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) is unavoidable. These conditions include the necessity for the woman to be single to become married temporarily to only one man at one time for a fixed period. After the expiry of the fixed period divorce takes place. After divorce she must keep ‘Iddah, a period during which she cannot remarry. (For further details refer to Fiqh, excerpt from Shi‘ite Islam by ‘Allma Tabataba’i translated in English by Sayyid Nasr.)

  • 4. For example, the Qur’an refutes (1) the Old Testament which depicts Harun (Aaron), the brother of Musa (Moses), as an idol-maker and idol-worshipper and (2) Sulayman (Solomon) as an idol-maker, idolater and a man practicing witchcraft. The Qur’an purifies Maryam (Mary) as the virgin mother of ‘Isa (Jesus) contradicting the statement of the new Testament (see St. Luke’s and St. Matthew’s genealogy). The Qur’an does not attach any importance to what the New Testament emphasizes viz that ‘Isa (Jesus) was a descendant of Dawud (David) through the ancestral of Yusuf (Joseph the Carpenter) whom the New Testament introduces as the husband of Maryam (Mary). The Qur’an purifies from all ungodly thoughts and actions ‘Isa and all other prophets from Adam to the last one and their true successors chosen by God. The Qur’an expressly negates what the four Gospels affirm concerning the crucifixion, resurrection and physical sufferings of ‘Isa at the hands of the Jews. It denies the doctrine of sonship believed by the Jews and Christians, the incarnation theory of Christians and Hindus, the Hindu theory of transmigration and union of Atma and Brahma, etc.
  • 5. وَإِذَا قُرِئَ الْقُرْآنُ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ وَأَنْصِتُوا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ {204}
  • 6. فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ {98}
  • 7. لَا تُحَرِّكْ بِهِ لِسَانَكَ لِتَعْجَلَ بِهِ {16}
    إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ {17}
    فَإِذَا قَرَأْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ {18}
    ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ {19}
  • 8. فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ ۗ وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يُقْضَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ ۖ وَقُلْ رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا {114}
  • 9. Abul Qasim Qashiri relates the dialogue between Fida and Abdullah Mubarak, “I saw a woman passing through the desert who had fallen behind the caravan, and asked her, “Who are you and where are you from?” She said, “Say Salam!”

    لِكُلِّ نَبَإٍ مُسْتَقَرٌّ ۚ وَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ {67}

    “Soon shall you know it.” (6:67). I learned she expected me to greet her and say Assalamu Alaikum first, before any question. I did as she reminded, and inquired why she was here in this desert. She answered,

    وَمَنْ يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ مُضِلٍّ ۗ أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِعَزِيزٍ ذِي انْتِقَامٍ {37}
    “Whomsoever God guides, then none shall beguile.” (39:37). I gathered she was left behind and thus restless, so I asked again, “Are you a human being or a jinn?” She returned,

    يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ {31}

    “Oh children of Adam! Be you adorned at every time of prostration.” (7:31). I discovered she was a human being, so I continued my enquiry, “Where are you coming from?” She said,

     ۚأُولَٰئِكَ يُنَادَوْنَ مِنْ مَكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ

    “Who are called to from a place far off.” (41:44). I found out she was coming from a place far off and inquired her destination. She immediately responded,

    فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ {97}

    “And for God is incumbent upon mankind the Pilgrimage of the House.” (3:97). I realized she was going for Hajj (pilgrimage to the Ka‘ba) and asked her how many days she had been travelling? She told me.

    إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ ۗ تَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ {54}

    “Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods of time, (7:54). I concluded it was six days. I requested her to have food and water if she was so inclined. She politely indicated,

    وَمَا جَعَلْنَاهُمْ جَسَدًا لَا يَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَمَا كَانُوا خَالِدِينَ {8}

    “We (God) made them not such bodies which do not eat food and they will not abide (in this world) forever.” (21:8). She accepted my refreshment. then to catch the caravan, I suggested her to make haste but she reminded me again,

    لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ 

    “God tasks not any soul beyond (individual) ability).” (2:286). I told her if she could not do it do so let her ride on the back of my camel behind me. She recited another Qur’anic verse,

    لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا ۚ فَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ {22}

    If there were gods besides Allah, then verily both (the heavens and the earth) would have been disordered.” (21:22). It was a reminder of piety in which when a man was not a husband of a woman, it was unlawful to ride together on the same animal. (It is an Islamic law concerning the relatives of people of prohibited degree – Namahram.) Qashiri says he got down and requested her to ride the camel. “She occupied the seat and recited,

    سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ {13}

    “Hallowed is He who subjected this (animal) unto us.” (43:13). She thanked Allah who brought the animal under her control. When we reached the caravan, I asked her, “Do you know anyone among them/” She recounted,

    يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ

    “Oh Dawud (David), We have appointed thee a vicegerent in the earth.” (38:26)

    وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ

    “And Muhammad is not but an Apostle.” (3:144)

    يَا يَحْيَىٰ خُذِ الْكِتَابَ بِقُوَّةٍ ۖ 

    Oh Yahya (John the Baptist)! Hold you the Book fast. (19:12)

    يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنَّهُ أَنَا اللَّهُ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {9}

    “Oh Musa (Moses)! Verily it is, I am God the All-mighty. (27:9). I understood Dawud, Muhammad, Yahya, and Musa were the names of her sons. When the boys appeared, I asked her who they were. She said in her habitual manner,

    الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا

    “Wealth and children are the adornment of the world.” (18:46). I recognized them as her sons. “The woman looked at her sons with a feeling of contentment and uttered,

    قَالَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا يَا أَبَتِ اسْتَأْجِرْهُ ۖ إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ اسْتَأْجَرْتَ الْقَوِيُّ الْأَمِينُ {26}

    “Oh my father! Employ him, verily the best of those who can employ is the strongman and trusted ones.” (28:26). In these words of the Qur’an, she informed her sons indicating towards me that

    مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنْبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنْبُلَةٍ مِائَةُ حَبَّةٍ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ {261}

    “This man offered me a gift (i.e. help), so verily God gives manifold increase to whomsoever He wills.” (2:261). The sons grasped their mother’s indication, and so they paid me twice as much as I ought to have been paid. To satisfy my curiosity I asked the sons, “Who is this honourable lady which speaks nothing but the Qur’an?” They responded she was their mother, Fidhah, the housemaid of Fatima al-Zahra (peace be upon her and her progeny), the Daughter of the Holy Prophet and wife of Amir al-Mu’minin Ali. She was raised under the shade of supreme knowledge and piety of the daughter of the Prophet. For 20 years she spoke nothing but the Qur’an in her daily conversation. This school of Fatima is a cradle of divine knowledge and great character.” (Refer Nasikh al-Tarikh, vol. 4, p. 345, Misbah al-Harmyan, p. 64, Charda Masumin by ‘Imadzada.)

  • 10. الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ {4}عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ {5}
  • 11. تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {1}
  • 12. وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَكٌ مُصَدِّقُ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَلِتُنْذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَىٰ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا ۚ وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ ۖ وَهُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ {92}
  • 13. This hadith of Haqq has been narrated through 15 channels in Sunni sources and 11 in Shi‘ah sources. Umm Salama, ibn Abbas, Abu Bakr, ‘Ayesha, Abu Sa‘id Khudri, Abu Ayub Ansari, and Ali are among the narrators (al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah by ibn Kathir, vol 6, p. 36).
  • 14. refer to renowned books of traditions.
  • 15. Hadith al-Nur narrated by ibn ‘Abbas has been transmitted through 1 channel in Sunni sources and 14 Shia sources. From Sheikh Ibrahim ibn Muhammad in his work Faraid el-Simtain Fadail-el-Murtadha wal Sibtain.
  • 16. Refer to renowned books of traditions.
  • 17. First Imam: Amir al-Mu’minin Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) (‘as’ means peace be upon him)
    Second Imam: Imam Hassan al-Mujtaba (as) son of Ali (as)
    Third Imam: Imam Hussain, Sayyid al-Shuhada (as, son of Ali (as) the Lord among Marytrs
    Fourth Imam: Imam Ali ibn Hussain, Zain al-Abideen and al-Sajjad (as), son of Hussain (as)
    Fifth Imam: Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir (as) (The word Baqir means he who dissects knowledge; a title given to him by the prophet), son of the fourth Imam.
    Sixth Imam: Imam Ja‘far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (Truthful) (as), son of the fifth Imam.
    Seventh Imam: Imam Musa ibn Ja‘far al-Kadhim (one who suppresses anger) (as) son of the sixth Imam.
    Eighth Imam: Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (the Content) (as) son of the seventh Imam
    Ninth Imam: Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Taqi (as) sometimes called Jawad (Pious and Generous), son of the eighth Imam.
    Tenth Imam: Imam Ali ibn Muhammad al-Naqi (the Pure) (as) son of the ninth Imam.
    11th Imam: Imam Hassan ibn Ali al-Askari (one who has command on knowledge and wisdom) (as) son of the tenth Imam.
    12th Imam: The Promised Mahdi (as), who is usually mentioned by his title of Imam al-Asr (the Imam of the Period) and Sahib al-Zaman (the Lord of the Ages), son of the 11th Imam.

    The above mentioned titles of the Imams and those titles which represent the divine attributes are common with all the Imams who are the successors of the Prophet as divine guides. Jabir has narrated in which the prophet has said, “God placed the children of all the Prophets in their “backbones”, but He placed my children on the “backbone” of Ali.” (Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah by Sheikh Qanduzi, who quotes the tradition from Salman Farsi) and in other standard books, this celebrated tradition is recounted in which “the Imam after Ali will be Hassan and Hussain, and the nine Imams after Hussain will be from his progeny. All are Bani Hashim.

  • 18. Battle of Yamama.
  • 19. Hadith al-Thaqalayn – This hadith has been transmitted through more than 100 channels by over 35 companions of the Holy Prophet. ‘Abaqat of Musavi, Volume on Hadith Thaqalayn, various sources such as Ghayat al-Maram, p. 211.
  • 20. Hadith Qirtas – While the Prophet was suffering from the illness which led to his death, he organized an army under the command of ‘Usama ibn Zayd and insisted everyone should participate in the war and go out of Medina. A number of people disobeyed the Prophet including Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and this disturbed the Prophet greatly. (Sharh ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Cairo, vol 1, p. 53). At the time of his death the Prophet said, “Prepare ink and paper so I will have a letter written for you which will be a cause of guidance for you and prevent you from being misled.” ‘Umar, who prevented the action said, “His illness has run out of hand and he is delirious, sufficient is the Book of God for us.” (Tarika Tubari, Raudat al-Safa of Mir Khawind; Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim) ‘Umar was not correct.

    The Prophet is infallible (Ma’sum) and he was fully conscious. History records a similar occasion during the illness of the first Caliph Abu Bakr which led to his death. In his last testament the first Caliph chose ‘Umar as his successor when he completely fainted. ‘Uthman wrote the testament, but ‘Umar said nothing nor did he consider the Caliph delirious or remember the Book of God. ‘Umar knew the Prophet was never delirious or unconscious on any occasion. The Qur’an declared the Prophet’s consciousness free from all deficiencies and impurities, material and spiritual.

  • 21. حم {1}
    وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ {2}
    إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنْذِرِينَ {3}
    فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ {4}
    أَمْرًا مِنْ عِنْدِنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ {5}
    رَحْمَةً مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ {6}

    Ha meem. By the Manifesting Book (Qur’an).
    Verily We sent it down on a Blessed Night.
    Verily We have ever been warning.
    Therein are made distinct all wise affairs.
    (Becoming) a command from unto Us.
    Verily We are the senders (of mercy and peace).
    A mercy from your Lord, verily he is the All-hearing, the All-knowing.
    (44:1 – 6)

    إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ {1}
    وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ {2}
    لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ {3}تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ {4}
    سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ {5}

    Verily We sent it (the Qur’an) down in the Night of Qadr.
    What can make you know what the Night of Qadr is?
    The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand months.
    The angels and the spirit descend therein by the permission of their Lord, with (decrees) of all affairs.
    Peace is (the whole night) until the breaking of Dawn.
    (97:1 – 5)

  • 22. The Annals of Tabari
  • 23. وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا {33}

    Verily God intended but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness, oh you People of the House and purify you with thorough purification. (33:33)

    The purity of the ego-centre of an individual depends on the purity of the lineage from which the individual is developed. The lineage in question includes both the human genealogical chain as well as the pre-human stages of the development from primal matter upwards leading towards the human being. Every individual of every species will reach the final stage of perfection in accordance with the extent of the purity of lineage from which it has developed. If we suppose the human species to be the most developed, complicated, conscious being, it will necessarily imply utmost purity and refineness in human lineage in comparison to other living species. The same principle applies to every individual man. The purer the lineage the wider will be its ego-centre, which will have a higher notion of the Absolute One. Therefore, in the human race there should be of that lineage a continuous chain of individuals with the purest ego-centres, in order to have the highest possible notion of the Absolute, Unlimited One.

    The Negative and Positive Aspects Required in the Conception of Purity

    Whatever narrows down the ego-centre towards material and temporal objects is a hindrance with affects submissiveness. The Qur’an terms it as rijs and whatever action or notion causes widening of the two ego-centres to have a better manifestation of the Absolute One is termed by the Qur’an as taharat.

    فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ ۖ وَمَنْ يُرِدْ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ {125}

    Whomsoever God intends to guide, He expands his breast for Islam (to submit his self to his will). And whomsoever He intends to leave straying, He makes (his) breast strained and narrow as if they had to climb up to the skies: Thus God puts dirt (rijs) on those who disbelieve. (6:125)

    Those who lack belief are termed as rijs due to the perversion and narrowness in their ego-centres as opposed to those whose ego-centre has been widened to receive guidance from God for their submissiveness.

    سَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ لَكُمْ إِذَا انْقَلَبْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لِتُعْرِضُوا عَنْهُمْ ۖ فَأَعْرِضُوا عَنْهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ رِجْسٌ ۖ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ {95}

    They will swear unto you by God, when you return unto them. That you may turn aside from them. Verily they are (filthy) and their abode is hell; a recompense for what they did earn. (9:95)

    The hypocrites have been termed as rijs for their shaky faith and hypocritical attitude.

    وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ فَزَادَتْهُمْ رِجْسًا إِلَىٰ رِجْسِهِمْ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ {125}

    But as to those in whose hearts is a disease (loathsome filth) adds unto them (further) filth (to their inherent filth) and they shall die while they are infidels. (9:125)

    The term rijs has been also applied to those who are lacking sound reasoning.

    وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ {100}

    And (although) it is not for any soul to believe except by God’s permission, while casts He uncleanliness (of infidelity) on those who use not (their) sense. (10:100)

    The unhealthy mind of the hypocrites is termed as inherent rijs which converts the external guidance given by the Prophets into further impurity.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ {90}
    إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ فِي الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ {91}

    Oh you who believe (a fact and nothing else) which intoxicants and games of chance (dedication of stones) (i.e. idols) and (divination by) arrows, are only loathsome filth wrought by Satan. So be you away from it so you may be successful. Satan only desires to cause enmity and hatred in your midst through intoxicants and gambling. And keep you away from remembering God and from prayer: will you then abstain (from them)? (5:90 – 91)

    Intoxicating liquor, gambling, idols, and ballot of lotteries are termed as rijs wrought by Satan in order to create enmity and vengeance of God and prayer. A thorough study of the above quoted verses proves the fact that whichever mental process or physical action diverts the ego-centre of man towards temporal and sensual desires is rijs. (It is noteworthy that the learned translation of the Qur’an did not select one word. The words used for rijs are abomination, uncleanliness, impurity, loathsome filth and dirt, which they deemed appropriate according to the context. Moreover it should be realized that rijs in its usages signifies one and the same sense as the author has explained in his works.) On the other hand, whatever widens the ego-centre of man towards submission to the Absolute One and His Will is termed as purity, such as prayer, spiritual cleanliness which is called Taharah, the physical cleanliness of body and dress which is essential for the prayer. It is obvious there are degrees of such impurity and purity.

    The highest degree of purity means to be kept constantly aloof from all the causes of impurity. This is termed as the state of infallibility in knowledge, character and action. Such a state of absolute infallibility should be possible and have application to a particular group of humanity. The Divine Order makes one avoid the cause of impurity and adhere to the conditions of purity and will be addressed to all in general but in actuality the application of the order will be confined to those who are really carrying the order; e.g. the order for prayer and ablution applies to humankind but the real application is confined to those who carry out the order. In this case, all divine orders and precepts given to man through the Prophets are general, but there are certain instances where God confines expressively His order to certain individuals or groups of people excluding the rest of humankind from it. In these instances, whether the divine will be legislative or creative makes no difference. In the instance of 5:56 and 33:33, Ayat-i-Tat’heer the order may be interpreted as the manifestation of the legislative or creative will of God but the application is exclusive. It should be necessarily true of those who are included in the order, otherwise the order will be meaningless.

    The divine will mentioned in 33:33

    وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا {33}

    And stay in your abodes and display not your finery like the display of the ignorance of yore, and establish you prayer and give away the poor rate and obey God and His Apostle. Verily, God intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) filth, oh you People of the House, and purify you (with) a thorough purification.

    After the exclusive particle of Imamate has no application but to the Ahl al-Bayt, whether the will is of creative or legislative nature makes no difference.

    Inseparability of the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt

    These entities, the Ahl al-Bayt, are purified and honoured by God directly in the same stage wherein the divine Book has been purified and honoured. The following Qur’anic verses prove the equal standard of both the Book and the Ahl al-Bayt.

    فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِمَوَاقِعِ النُّجُومِ {75}
    وَإِنَّهُ لَقَسَمٌ لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عَظِيمٌ {76}
    إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ {77}
    فِي كِتَابٍ مَكْنُونٍ {78}
    لَا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ {79}
    تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {80}

    But may I swear by the setting of the stars. And verily it is a great oath if you only knew it. Verily it is the Qur’an honourable. In a book hidden. Touch it not save the purified ones. Sent down by the Lord of the worlds. (56:75 – 80)

    مَرْفُوعَةٍ مُطَهَّرَةٍ {14}
    بِأَيْدِي سَفَرَةٍ {15}
    كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ {16}

    (It is written) in the Books greatly honoured. Exalted high, purified, in the hands of the Deputy Angels, noble, virtuous. (80:14 – 16)

    لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ مُنْفَكِّينَ حَتَّىٰ تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ {1}
    رَسُولٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ يَتْلُو صُحُفًا مُطَهَّرَةً {2}
    فِيهَا كُتُبٌ قَيِّمَةٌ {3}

    Those who disbelieved from among the people of the Book and the polytheists could not have separated themselves (from the falsehood) until came unto them the clear evidence. (In the) Apostle from God reciting (unto them) the purified scripture, wherein are the decrees (correct and) strong. (98:1 – 3)

    In 56:79 God declares the Ahl al-Bayt as the persons purified by Him to be constantly in touch with the Qur’an in its original, hidden, well-protected, exalted and purified form. This fact has been explained and supported by the celebrated statements of the Holy Prophet, narrated by a large number of his companions to this effect which he was leaving two inseparable entities among his followers, i.e. the Gook of God and his Itrat (Ahl al-Bayt) and whoever adheres to these two shall be saved from going astray. But to reduce the importance of and counter the above declaration made by the Holy Prophet another statement has also been narrated from the Holy Prophet on the authority of Abu Huraira whose reliability has remained always questionable. His narration is that the Holy Prophet said, “I have left among you two things. If you adhere to them both, you shall not go astray after me, i.e. the Book of God and my Sunnah.” The text itself does not stand a sound critical scrutiny. There is no doubt the Sunnah is the sense of the Holy Prophet’s sayings, actions and endorsement has the same authoritative status as the Qur’an, but the question the Qur’an was in a written form and distinctly recorded to be referred to while the Holy Prophet’s Sunnah was not then recorded in a distinct form to be adhered to when disputes would arise.

    On the contrary, the disputants used to take advantage of the unrecorded Sunnah against each other. Therefore, to declare such a controversial source to have the same authoritative status as the Qur’an would not only be meaningless but would mean encouraging controversies. The term Itrat or Ahl al-Bayt was well defined and known to everybody as the embodiment of the teachings of the Holy Prophet. In short, to follow the Sunnah as it is in our hands will lead to controversies and errors but follow the Itrat along with Qur’an would mean following the Kitab and Sunnah in its true sense which would save the adherents from going astray and committing errors. Therefore, we shall leave the tradition of Abu Huraira to himself and his followers.

    Regarding the disputes about the personalities to whom the term Ahl al-Bayt or Itrat has been applied, there is hardly any need of discussion. The application of the term in question the nearest members of the House of the Prophet through whom the holy House was established and continued to last forever is undoubtedly unquestionable. They are the persons to whom reference has been made in 3:61 as Aba’ana (our son), Nisa’ana (our women) and Anfusana (our souls).

    فَمَنْ حَاجَّكَ فِيهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنْفُسَنَا وَأَنْفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَلْ لَعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ {61}

    And unto him who disputes with You, therein after the knowledge has come unto you. Say, (Oh Our Apostle Muhammad) (unto them), “Come you, let us summon our sons, and (you summon) your sons and (we summon) our women and (you) your women, and (we summon) ourselves and (you) your selves, and then let us invoke and lay the curse of God on the liars.”

    The traditions and historical reports are unanimous in which they are none but Hassan, Hussain, Fatima, and Ali. It is true that through Fatima and Ali the House of the Prophet was established and their progeny continued to propagate until now. They are the certified members of the Al-e Ibrahim from the Ishmaelite branch. The efforts of some Muslim antagonists and writers to include the wives of the Holy Prophet or his other relatives in the terms Itrat and Ahl al-Bayt are uncalled for against the verdict of the Qur’an and sayings of the Holy Prophet.

    The Ahl al-Bayt mentioned in 33:33 includes not but Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain and the other nine Imams of the descendants of Imam Hussain who possess the same excellence of infallibility. The wives of the Holy Prophet who remained childless cannot be included in it, as the wives of the Prophet, though they are respectable and are of high standard yet better females than these wives are possible.

    عَسَىٰ رَبُّهُ إِنْ طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَنْ يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَاجًا خَيْرًا مِنْكُنَّ مُسْلِمَاتٍ مُؤْمِنَاتٍ قَانِتَاتٍ تَائِبَاتٍ عَابِدَاتٍ سَائِحَاتٍ ثَيِّبَاتٍ وَأَبْكَارًا {5}

    Haply his Lord, if he divorces you, will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, repentant, observers of fast, widow’s and virgins. (66:5)

    They cannot have the same position as the Ahl al-Bayt, otherwise the word Innama in 33:33 would be meaningless. As such the term Khair-e Ummat in 3:110

    كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ ۚ مِنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ {110}

    You are the best group which has been brought forth for humankind. You enjoin goodness and you forbid evil, and you believe in God. And if the people of the Book had (also) believed (similarly) it had surely been better for them. Of them (only some) are believers and most of these are perverse.

    Is only applicable to the Ahl al-Bayt) and no one can lay claim to it or the leadership incumbent on the Khair-e Ummat in 3:104.

    وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ {104}

    And there should be among you a group who call (humankind) into virtue and enjoin what is good and forbid wrong and these are they who should be successful.

    The other relatives of the Holy Prophet, even of the Hasmimite House on whom sadaqa (charity) is forbidden, do not come under the definition of Ayat-i-Tat’hir and Ayat-e Mubahala. Of the descendants of Ali and Fatima, also, all do not come under the term in its strict sense. It applies only to the 11 Imams of the House who have been certified to possess the requisite qualification and absolute purification.

    Even the inclusion of fallible persons of the House of the Holy Prophet and Hashimite House in Ayat-e Muwadatu Qurba, 42:23

    ذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يُبَشِّرُ اللَّهُ عِبَادَهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ ۗ قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ ۗ وَمَنْ يَقْتَرِفْ حَسَنَةً نَزِدْ لَهُ فِيهَا حُسْنًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ {23}

    This is what God gives, as good tidings to those servants of Him who believe and do right deeds. Say (oh Prophet), “I do not ask you any reward for it (the mission) save the love for the sake of nearness (to me or to God).”

    Is questionable because the love on account of nearness to the Holy Prophet merely in blood or faith cannot be the reward of Risalat unless there is nearness in blood as well as spiritual attainment. They should be originated from the same light from which the Holy Prophet has been originated. As tradition asserts the number of such infallible personalities after the Holy Prophet who succeeded as vicegerents of the Holy Prophet is limited to 12 (refer to note 17).

    a. This not will be incomplete if a few of the many significant traditions are not recorded here about the attributes of the Ahl al-Bayt, and Ali among them as the Ahl al-A’immah (father of Imams) accepted by all Muslims and other individuals who are not prepared to turn away from the truth.

    b. Hadith-i-Safinah: ibn Abbas says, “The Prophet said, ‘My household (Ahl al-Bayt) is like the ship of Noah; whoever embarks upon it will be saved, whoever turns from it will be drowned.’” (al-Sawaiq al-Mubriqah of ibn Hajar, Cairo, 1312, pp 150 and 184; tarikh al-Khulafa of Suyuti and other sources.) Eleven chains of transmissions of this hadith from Sunni sources and seven from Shia sources.

    (Hadith-i-Thaqalayn; Hadith-i-Noor and Hadith-i-Haq have been mentioned above.)

    c. The Prophet said, “I am the city of knowledge, Ali is the door. (Refer to authentic books of tradition and history).

    d. Ibn Mardwayh has said the Prophet said, “Whoever wishes his life and death to be like mine in which he enters Paradise should after me love Ali and follow my household, for they are my descendants and have been created from my clay. My knowledge and wisdom has been bestowed upon them. Therefore, woe unto those who deny their virtues. My intercession (on the Day of Judgment) will never include them. (Muntakhab Kanz al-‘Ummal: Musnad, Imam Ahmad Hanbal, vol. Five p. 67)

    e. “Verily your guardian (wali) can be only Allah, and His messenger (Muhammad) and those who believe, who establish prayer, and pay the poor due while bowing down in prayer” (5:55). Almost all commentators agree this verse referred to Ali. Abu Dhar Ghifari has said, “One day we prayed the noontime prayer with the Prophet. A poor person asked people for help, but no one gave him anything. He raised his hands to the sky saying, ‘Oh Allah! Be witness that in the mosque of the Prophet none gave me anything.” Ali was in the position of genuflection (ruku‘) in the prayer. He pointed with his finger to the person, who took his ring and left. The Prophet, who was observing the scene raised his head towards heaven and said, “Oh Allah! My brother, Musa (Moses) said to You, ‘Expand my breast and make easy my task and make my tongue eloquent so they comprehend my words, and make my brother Harun my help and my vizier.’ Oh Allah! I am also Your Prophet, expand my breast and make easy my task and make Ali my vizier and helper.” The words of the Prophet had not finished when the verse (cited above) was revealed. (24 hadiths from Sunni sources, 19 Shia sources, Bharani: Tabari’s Dhakhair al-‘Uqba, p. 16; Ghayat al-Maram, p. 103; Tabatabai’s Shi‘ite Islam, p. 177; Suyuti’s Darr al-Manthur.)

    The chain of divine guardians continues after Ali and the 11 Imams of the House of the Prophet. All the prominent Muslim exegetes and scholars have reported that when 13:7 (al-Ra‘d), “And say you who disbelieve. Verily you are a warner and guide unto every people” was revealed to the Holy Prophet, he placed his breast and said, “I am the warner,” and with his other hand on the shoulder of Ali said, “Oh Ali, you are the guide, and after three issues shall be those who are guided aright.” (Tafsir-e Khabir, Fakhruddin Razi; Al Durr al-Manthur, Suyuti,; Imam Ahamad ibn Hanbal, ibn Mardwayh, Tabarani, Hafiz Abu Na‘yim, ibn ‘Asakir and ibn Hatim, etc.)

    (f) The Holy Prophet along with the caravan of thousands of pilgrims returning from Mecca after the farewell pilgrimage (Hajjat al-Wida‘) reached Ghadir al-Khum, where it was revealed, “Oh Our Apostle (Muhammad)! Deliver what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and if you do it not, then (it will be as if you have not delivered His message (at all). Surely God will protect you from (the mischief) of humankind. Verily God guides not an infidel people.” (5:67). It indicates God commanded a mission of great importance to the Prophet which if not accomplished would endanger the basis of Islam and prophecy. The same revelation was received earlier by the Prophet without specifying until the appropriate occasion to announce it without opposition. This latest revelation which is of a categorical nature made the Prophet secure. He stopped the caravan, called back those who had gone ahead, cleansed the place, and a pulpit of kajawas (saddles used on the back of camels) was made. The Prophet gave a long sermon from the pulpit, praised God enumerating them all one by one. The assembly answered in one voice, “Oh Apostle of God! We acknowledge.” Then he gave the news of his death and said, “I leave behind me two precious things which if you cleave to them you will never go astray – that is the Book of God and my offspring from my family (Ahl al-Bayt).

    Then he called out at the top of his voice, “Am I not superior (Master) to the believers more than their selves?” “By God! Yes!” they answered. Then he took Ali’s arm and lifted him so high the white spot in the armpit of the Prophet could be seen, and said, “For whom I am his Master (Maula) and the authority whom he obeys, Ali will be his Master (Maula) and authority. Oh God, be friendly with the friends of Ali and the enemy of the enemies of Ali.” Just at that moment it was revealed again, “This day are despaired those who disbelieve against your (reverting from your) religion, so you fear them not, fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour towards you and chosen for you al-Islam to be the religion.” (5:3).

    Then the Prophet uttered serenely, “Allahu Akbar (God is Great) that religion has been perfected and God’s bounty has been completed. His satisfaction attained and the Walayat of Ali achieved. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab congratulated Ali, “May this position be pleasing to you, for you are not my Master and the Master of all believers.” The enemies of Islam who did everything to destroy Islam and were planning to continue their activities after the demise of the Prophet lost all their hopes when Ali was presented as the guide and leader of people to protect the universal message of God as the successor of the Prophet. This hadith has been recorded in books of Sunnis and Shias which has been narrated by more than 100 companions. (Ghayat al-Maram, p. 79; ‘Abaqat of Musavi, India (vol on Ghadir); al-Ghadir of Amini, Najaf; 1372 recounted by Allama Tabataba’i).

    (g) al-Yaum – “this day”

    وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِنْ طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَنْ شَيْءٍ مِنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَرِيئًا {4}

    This day have I perfected for you your religion and have completed My favour on you and chosen for you Islam (to be) the religion (5:4).

    From the context it is obvious the “day” referred to here is not the ordinary day of 24 hours known to us. It is the “day” wherein God has approved Islam as a “din” for us and according to other passages of the Qur’an the only “din” approved by God from eternity to eternity is Islam, to which every heavenly and terrestrial being has willingly or unwillingly submitted. No religion other than Islam is acceptable to Allah. And emphatically enough the person “Muhammad” was commissioned with this universal grace. And Ali was made identical in degree of perfection so he was ordained as Muhammad’s vicegerent. The result is the day referred to here is the day or rather the stage wherein the creation begins with Muhammad and Ali. The perfect of din, and bounty of God and approval of Islam for all worlds coincide with the creation of the two identical entities, Muhammad and Ali. Thus, the day obviously transcends all our concepts of time and space and refers to the highest stage of ascension (Mi‘raj) as pointed out by the sixth Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq, a stage which is identical with the starting point of descension. And the Day of Ghadir has been honoured as one of the manifestations of “this day.” Whenever the Holy Prophet announced his prophethood he declared Ali’s vicegerency, as both are identical with each other at every stage.

    Moreover, one should know the phrase, al-yawm (this day) used before the sentence, “This day have I perfected your religion” in vol. three and in the latter verse, “This day has been made lawful for you” is a sequence to the “Sublime Day.”

    There are various manifestations of the perfection of din (religion) as such. It is not out of place when the perfection of din is declared with all its aspects, that Satan and all his followers (infidels) give up hope. All the clean things (tayyabat) have been declared lawful for the believers and the unclean things unlawful.

    There is another point which needs our attention: that 5:4 begins with the declaration of the unlawful foods but after the middle of this verse, “This day are despaired those who disbelieve” and “This day have I perfected for you your religion” the clause “But whosoever is helplessly forced by hunger not inclined to sin” implies that unlawful food should be avoided except in the case of complete absence of lawful food (tayyabat). The structure of the verse draws the attention of the reader which he is permitted to obey the unlawful authority to the minimum extent as the case of unlawful food where and when circumstances compel him. To eat a dead animal and obey the order of an unlawful authority are permissible when lawful is not available. This passage refers to the perfection of din by God.

    Verse 67 of the same chapter: (Oh Our Apostle Muhammad) Deliver you what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and if you do it not, then (it will be as if) you have not delivered His message (at all), and surely will God protect you from (the mischief) of men. Verily God guides guides not an infidel people should normally be placed next to the above verse (“This day have I perfected for you your religion) because perfection (takmeel) by God precedes the conveying of the message (tabligh) by the Holy Prophet. (Pooya, Fundamentals of Islam).

    (h) Mubahala: a spiritual contest between Christians and the Holy Prophet.

    In the tenth Hijra the Holy Prophet sent messages to the tribes and religions to accept Islam. The Christians of Najran, a town in Yaman, got the invitation. A deputation of 60 Christians with Abu Haresa, the renowned scholar and one of the chief monks, Abdul Mashih, the chief monk priest, and Aqab, a distinguished aristocrat visited the Holy Prophet and had a long discussion about the personality of Jesus and asked him, ‘What do you say, have you seen any man born without a father?” The reply was revealed to the Holy Prophet in which Adam was born without father and mother, “The likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him ‘Be’ and he is. This is the truth from your Lord (oh Muhammad) so be not you of those who doubt. And who disputes with you therein, after the knowledge which has come unto you, say (unto him), ‘Come! We will summon our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, and then pray humbly to (our Lord) and (solemnly) invoke the curse of Allah upon those who lie’” (3:59 – 61).

    When the Christians did not listen to reason, the Mubahala as commanded by God in the verse mentioned above was arranged to pray to God and to invoke His anger on the liars. The next day, Dhill Hijja 24, 10th Hijrah, the Holy Prophet sent Salman Farsi to erect a shelter in an open place. A large number of companions assembled in the mosque to make themselves available for this fateful event. The Holy Prophet with his grandchild Hussain on his lap and his elder grandson, Hassan, holding his finger, his daughter Fatima (al-Zahra) close behind him, and her husband Ali following her, appeared on the spot. The Christians, on the opposite side, who were waiting with their selected children, women, and men observed the halo of divine light radiating from the faces of the Holy Prophet and his group. Their chief monk exclaimed, “By God! I see the faces who if they prayed to God to move the mountains from their places, the mountains would immediately move!” The Holy Prophet, raising his hands towards heaven said, “Oh God! These are the people of my House! (Allahumma Haulai Ahl al-Bayti).” It was revealed to the Holy Prophet, “Verily, verily God intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanliness. Oh you the people of the House, and purify you with a thorough purification” (33:33) (ref note 23).

    The chief monk turned to his crowd who were inspired with awe, and said, “Oh believers in Jesus of Nazareth! I will tell you the truth, should you fail to enter into some agreement with Muhammad and if these godly souls, whom Muhammad has brought with him, curse you, you will be wiped out of existence to the last day of the life of the earth.” The Christians listened to his advice and gave up the idea of the Muhahala, and beseeched the Holy Prophet in which they would pay the jizia (protection tax) which entitle them to religious freedom and protected their personal rights and property and forbade them to do any act detrimental to Islam, the religion of peace. It was an occasion of tremendous sanctity. The relevant verses of the Qur’an mentioned above reveal the following points:

    1. The usual turn of events in the process of creation is not confined to Adam and Jesus. There are innumerable examples wherein the natural process known to man fails to explain entirely. Man is bound to find the explanation of events in the “Hands of God,” as the Qur’an terms it, “the imperative Word of God.” If Jesus, born without the agency of a male could be considered the “Son of God,” Adam born with the agency of either partner would deserve more to be accepted so. The similitude of Jesus and Adam explains the evolutionary process of creation. The creation of the first living cell with unliving elements wherein there is no alternative left to accept the possibility of living being coming into existence without one or both of the sexual agencies is a command of God (Amr-l-Rabbi). Whatever once becomes possible in the order of creation shall remain possible forever. It is the command of Almighty God. “Be and it is” (Kun Fayakun).

    2. It proves without doubt as to who are the members of the House of the Holy Prophet – the Ahl al-Bayt.

    3. It establishes the spiritual purity and infallibility of the Ahl al-Bayt as the occasion demands the best of God’s creation to be heard in the prayer to establish the truth.

    4. The infallible Ahl al-Bayt are witness to the purity and universality of Islam and God is witness over them.

    5. Invoking the curse of Allah on the enemies of Islam established by Muhammad and his house is commended by the Qur’an (1 – 5 Pooya; ref. Baizavi, Zamkshari, Kashaf, Kamil ibn Asir, Kafi, Suyuti and all Muslim commentators and traditionists): Mir Ahmad Ali.

  • 24. Example of Ignoring: Verses in connection of inheritance and preferences given to the nearest of kin – omission of the phrase “Dhawilqurba” when quoting the verse on the issue of Fadak.

    Example of counteracting: The oft-quoted hadith, “We the group of Prophets do neither receive inheritance nor give inheritance” is against the clear Qur’anic statement:

    وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ ۖ وَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنْطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ۖ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ {16}

    Sulayman the Prophet received inheritance from his father Dawud (David), another Prophet (27:16).

  • 25. Vide Chapter Three: Sermon of Holy Fatimah, daughter of the Holy Prophet.
  • 26. وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَسْتَمِعُ إِلَيْكَ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا خَرَجُوا مِنْ عِنْدِكَ قَالُوا لِلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ مَاذَا قَالَ آنِفًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْوَاءَهُمْ {16}

    has been given the knowledge. ‘What was it he said just now?’ These are they on whose hearts has God set a seal, and follow they their vain desires.” (47:16)

    وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَتْ سُورَةٌ ۖ فَإِذَا أُنْزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ مُحْكَمَةٌ وَذُكِرَ فِيهَا الْقِتَالُ ۙ رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْكَ نَظَرَ الْمَغْشِيِّ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْمَوْتِ ۖ فَأَوْلَىٰ لَهُمْ {20}

    “And say those who believe, ‘Why has not been sent a chapter (for us)?’ But when is sent down a decisive chapter, and mentioned therein is war, sees you those in whose hearts is a disease took unto you with a look of one whom has fallen the shadow of death. Woe unto them! Far better will certainly be for them.” (47:20)

    طَاعَةٌ وَقَوْلٌ مَعْرُوفٌ ۚ فَإِذَا عَزَمَ الْأَمْرُ فَلَوْ صَدَقُوا اللَّهَ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ {21}

    “Obedience and a fair word, but when the affair is determined, then if they be true to God, it would certainly be better of them.” (47:21).

    فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَنْ تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُوا أَرْحَامَكُمْ {22}

    “Then be like you are, if you hold authority, in which you make mischief on the earth and sever the ties of kinship!” (47:22)

    أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فَأَصَمَّهُمْ وَأَعْمَىٰ أَبْصَارَهُمْ {23}

    “Those are they whom has cursed God, and so has He made them deaf and blinded their eyes.” (47:23)

    أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ أَنْ لَنْ يُخْرِجَ اللَّهُ أَضْغَانَهُمْ {29}

    “Or deem those in whose hearts is a disease which never will God bring forth their spite?” (47:29)

    وَلَوْ نَشَاءُ لَأَرَيْنَاكَهُمْ فَلَعَرَفْتَهُمْ بِسِيمَاهُمْ ۚ وَلَتَعْرِفَنَّهُمْ فِي لَحْنِ الْقَوْلِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ أَعْمَالَكُمْ {30}
    وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتَّىٰ نَعْلَمَ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَنَبْلُوَ أَخْبَارَكُمْ {31}
    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَشَاقُّوا الرَّسُولَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الْهُدَىٰ لَنْ يَضُرُّوا اللَّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيُحْبِطُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ {32}

    “And certainly will We try you until We have known those who strive (fight) among you and the patient ones, and make your affairs known. Verily those who disbelieve and hinder (others) from the Path of God and oppose the Apostle after the guidance has been made unto them, can never harm God in any way, and he will make null their deeds.” (46:31 – 32)

  • 27. One should have the following example in view. Bukhari records the statement of Shi’ube who discredited most of the reports narrated form Ali, and Muslim in his Sahih says Ja‘far Ja‘ufi was in possession of a large number of the Holy Prophet’s sayings narrated by the fifth Imam Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Hussain al-Baqir but Ja‘far was discredited just because he believed in Raj’at (minor resurrection). These two examples threw sufficient light on the fact, that people were in possession of a very large number of sayings of the Holy Prophet narrated by the members of his House and their devoted give publicity to the reports received through the House and their devoted followers but the party in power and priestly satellites were adamant not to give publicity to the reports received through the House of the Prophet. Here it is worth noting that ibn Abbas, though one of the devoted disciples of Ali, and the advocate of the cause of the Ahl al-Bayt, is frequently quoted by contemporary compilers of traditions. The motive behind the prominence attached to ibn Abbas is nothing but please the Abbaside rulers of the time.
  • 28. The author does not agree with some of the most spurious reports mentioned by Bukhari about ‘Ayesha because Ali said about her after the Battle of Jamal she should be respected to the same degree and regarded as before. But the question is how does Bukhari record such damaging reports about her?
  • 29. See for instance, al-Kafi, Bihar al-Anwar, Tabqat ibn Sa‘d Khasis-e Nisa’t.
  • 30. It was revealed to the Prophet to warn his nearest kin to accept the religion of Allah. The Prophet invited them for lunch at Abu Talib’s house and after the meal announced, “I know of no one who has brought to his people better things than I have brought to you. God has commanded me to invite you to draw toward Him. Who is there who will assist me in this matter and be my brother and inheritor (wasi) and vicegerent (khalifah) among you?” All remained silent. Ali, the youngest of all, stood and exclaimed, “I shall be your deputy (vizier) and aide.” The Prophet put his arms around him and declared, “He is my brother, inheritor and vicegerent. You must obey him.” Then the guests began to depart laughing and remarking, “Abu Talib! Muhammad has ordered you to obey your son.” Ali did not fail to fulfil his promise on any occasion of war and peace during the 23 years of the ministry of the Prophet nor after his demise. This is the first declaration of Ali’s vicegerency by the Prophet in public in the third year of the Prophet’s ministry when Ali was only 14 years old. (Tarik-Abil-Fida, vol six, p. 116, and various sources, Shi‘ite Islam by Allama Tabataba’i.)
  • 31. Sahih Tirmidhi, Khasais-e Nasa’i, Tafsir Dur-e Mansur and Tafsir Nishapuri.