The similarity of Mushaf Fatimah with those that the Ahl al-Sunnah count (amongst their corpus)—such as those of A'ishah, Hafsah, and 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud—is in name only. The similarity is in name only because their Mushafs are replete with Quranic verses and additional material where as Mushaf Fatimah does not contain a single verse of Quran. Its name Mushaf is only in reference to it being a bound book. It is only by way of ignorance and self-serving interests that the Shi'ah have been libelously accused of distorting the Quran.1
Their libel is based on the hadith in which Imam al-Sadiq(a.s) says that Mushaf Fatimah is “three times larger than the Quran.” However, he continues to say, “by Allah, there is not a single word from the Quran in it.” The libel of corruption aimed towards the Shia is curious given that in the Sunni Mushafs there are verses of the Quran omitted and other (verses) that have extra words!
There is a narration in the Sunni books which says, “The Quran in A'ishah's possession contained deficiencies not presently found (in the Quran that all Muslims universally agree is authentic and free of errors of omission or commission). For example, after 'Truly Allah and the angels send their blessings unto the prophet,”(33:54) was added, 'and those who pray in the first row2 (of communal prayer).'”3 (In another hadith it says) “After 'Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the middle prayer'(2:238) she had, 'and the late afternoon prayer.'”4 This same matter appears in Hafsah's and Umm Salaamah's Mushafs. We will refrain from mentioning other examples.
As recorded by the Sunnis, as per their own authentic sources, and according to Suyuti's interpretation, it says that Ibn Mas'ud believed tat surahs al-Falaq (113:1-5) and al-Naass (114:1-5) were not part of the Quran
In place of ”lilaldheen yu'lun” [Ubai] would recite, “lilldheen yaqsimun”, and instead of “falaa jannaaH 'alahi inn yaTuf bihuma” he would recite, “illa yaTuf bihuma”, etc.7
In the Sunni resources it has been said that some of the canonical verses are deficient. For example, “the verse of rijm (16:98),8 the verse of jihad (9:29),9 the verse of shahaadah (5:67),1011 the verse of wilayaayah of 'Ali (5:55),12 etc.
It is important to note that both the Shi'i and Sunni sects consider the Quran to be free from distortion or error. The unusual or conflicting hadith are not reliable (in their authenticity). Among the Sunnis, 'Abd al-Rahmaan Jaziri in Al-fiqh 'ala al-madhhab al-arba'aah13 and Zarkushi in
Al-Burhaan fi 'ulum al-Quran,14 and… This matter has already been discussed. The Shi'i scholars also don't accept that the Quran is deficient or has been distorted. Once can point to Sheikh al-Sadduq in Al-'Itiqaadaat15 and Sheikh al-Mufid in Awaa'il al-maqaalaat,16 etc.
Regarding that of which we spoke, there are many phrases and passages in the Qurna that have a meaning beneath the external meaning. It is the explanation of these phrases that we call tafsir, or, exegesis.
Imam Husayn(a.s) said to his enemies, “You have made tahrif (distorted) on the book of Allah (i.e. the Quran).” What he meant by this is the meaning of the Book (had been distorted) against the Divine intent.
Occasionally speeches were recorded that were hadith qudsi, (Divine speech), but were not counted as verses of the Quran.17
- 1. Al-Seraa’ bayn al-Islaam wa al-muthniyyah, v.1, p.D, Matba’a al-Salafiyyah, Cairo, 1354.
- 2. The first row of communal prayer is reserved for those with greater knowledge and piety. The reason for this is that if the prayer leader were to suddenly fall ill, or, make a mistake in the prayer, or, loose his ritual purity (tahharah), someone in the front row would have to fill in and continue the prayer without any discontinuity. It is likely that people like A’ishah’s father, Abu Bakr, as an early covert to Islam and wealthy benefactor of the religion, sat in the front row of prayer.
- 3. Al-Masaahif, p.34, Matba’ah al-Rahmaaniyyah, 1st edition, and, Aalusi, Ruh al-ma’aani, v.1, p.25, Daar Ahyaa’ al-taraath al-‘Arabi, and, Al-Durr al-manthur, v.5, p.220, Mohammad Amin Damaj publication.
- 4. Al-musannaf, v.1, p.537, hadith #2201, Al-majlis al-‘a’lami publication, and, Al-durr al-manthur, v.1, p.302.
- 5. Uthmaan bin ‘Affaan was the 3rd Caliph. It is widely and incorrectly considered that Uthmaan was the first to collect the Quran in a bound manuscript. Imam Ali(a.s) was the first to do so. We will mention the relevant hadith later in the text. Uthmaan, however, was the first to collect all extant Qurans, fragmentary or whole, destroy them and issue an authoritative Quran compiled and approved by a “blue ribbon panel” which was then copied and distributed to various centers around the Islamic world which has growing rapidly in all directions away from Medina.
- 6. Al-durr al-manthur, v.4, p.414, “A discussion on the history of the Quran and its sciences”, and, Majlisi M, Bihaar al-Anwaar, v.92, p343.
- 7. Al-Mushaf, v.1, p.131, and, Al-Itiqaan, v.1, p.47, Daar al-Fikr, and, Ruh al-Ma’aani, v.1, p.25.
- 8. Al-Masaahif, p.33; Akdabubah, Tahrif al-Quraan, p.43, and, Al-I’tiqaan, v.1, p.41.
- 9. Al-I’tiqaan, v.2, p.25.
- 10. Muslim, A. Sahih Muslim, tr. A.H. Siddiqui, v.2, p.724, Kitab Bhavan; 2000.
- 11. The author appears to be referring to hadiths no. 438-440. They are similar in content; no. 438 reads in part, “…[Uthman said] By Allah, I am narrating to you a hadith. If there were not a verse in the Book of Allah, I would have never narrated it to you…”
- 12. Al-durr al-manthur, v.2, p.293.
- 13. Jaziri, AR, Al-fiqh ‘ala al-madhhab al-arba’aah, v.4, p.24, Daar Ahyaa’ al-taraath al-‘Arabi publications, Beirut.
- 14. Zarkushi. Al-Burhaan fi ‘ulum al-Quran, v.2, p.253, Daar al-Ma’rifah, Beirut.
- 15. Al-Sadduq, Al-‘Itiqaadaat, p.84, Al-Mu’tamar al-‘Aalamin, Qom.
- 16. Mufid, Awaa’il al-maqaalaat, p.81, Al-Mu’tamar al-‘Aalamin, Qom.
- 17. Sayyid Sharif Jurjani says: “[Hadith-i qudsi] is from God, the Most Exalted, from the point of view of meaning, and from the Prophet(s.a.w) from the viewpoint of actual wording. It constitutes what God has communicated to the Prophet(s.a.w) through revelation or in dreams. The Prophet(s.a.w) informed others of its meaning in his own words. Accordingly, the Qur'an is superior to the hadith-i qudsi, because it is the actual Word of God.” Quoted in Outlines of the development of the science of hadith, M. Awliya’I, Al-Towhid, vols.1-3.