The Traditions about Tahrif
It is imperative to investigate the correct interpretations of these reports and to clarify that they have different applications. The reports are of various types, and we must explain and comment on each type specifically.
The first type: These are traditions which speak of Tahrif in its literal meaning. They are twenty in all but we would confine ourselves to some, leaving out those which are repetitive.
1. Reported by Ali b. Ibrahim al‑Qummi, with his own chain of narrators from Abu Dharr: "When this ayah was revealed:
يوم تبيضّ وجوه وتسودّ وجوة ...
the Prophet (‘s) said:
"My people will come to me on the Day of Judgment under five banners". Then it mentions that the Prophet (‘s) will ask them about their dealings with thaqalayn (i.e. the Qur’an and Ahl ul-Bayt). The people of the first banner will say: "As for the greater one (i.e. the Qur’an), we tampered with it, and discarded it. And the smaller one, (i.e. Ahl ul-Bayt) we offended it, hated it and dealt with it unjustly". The second group will say: "As for the greater one, we tampered with it, tore it into pieces, and turned hostile to it. And the smaller one, we offended it and fought against it ...."
2. Reported by Ibn Ta'us and Sayyid al‑Muhaddith al Jaza’ari with their chains of narrators from Hasan bin al‑Hasan As Samarri, a lengthy tradition in which the Prophet (‘s) spoke to Hudhaifa about one who would desecrate the haram,
"He will lead people astray from the path of Allah, tamper with His Book and change my Sunnah".
3. Reported by Sa'ad b. Abdillah al‑Qummi with his chain of narrators from Jabir al Jufi' who reported from Abu Ja'far (Imam Muhammad Baqir (‘a).
"The Prophet (‘s) called people to assemble at Mina and announced: "O people! I leave behind two invaluable things; you will not go astray as long as you adhere to them: the Book of Allah, and my Ahl ul-Bayt ‑ and Ka'ba, the sacred House of God". Then Abu Ja'far (‘a) said: "As for the Book of Allah, they tampered with it, and Ka'ba, they demolished, and the Ahl ul-Bayt they massacred. They discarded every trust of God deposited with them, and dissociated themselves from it".
4. Reported by as Saduq in "al‑Khisaal" with his chain of narrators from Jabir who reported from the Prophet (‘s):
"On the Day of Judgement, three shall rise to complain: the Qur’an, the Mosque and the Ahl ul-Bayt. The Qur’an will say: "O Allah, they tampered with me, and they tore me apart. The Mosque will say: "O Allah, they left me idle, and they ruined me. And the Ahl ul-Bayt will say: "O Allah, they killed us, they discarded us and they drove us away.”
5. Reported in al-Kafi and by as‑Saduq with their chains of narrators from Ali b. Suwaid:
"I wrote a letter to Abul Hasan Musa (‘a) (i.e. Imam Musa b. Ja'far al‑Kadhim) ‑ when he was in prison". Then he proceeds to quote fully his reply in which he said: "They were entrusted with the Book of Allah, but they tampered with it and changed it"
6. Reported by Ibn Shahr Ashub with his chain of reporters from Abdullah who quoted the sermon of Imam Husayn (‘a) on the day of Ashura. In it, it is mentioned:
"Surely, you are the despots of the Ummah, a strange lot, insubordinate to the Book, inspired by Satan, league of sinners and corrupters of the Book".
7. Reported in Kamiluz Ziyarat by its chain of narrators from Hasan b. Atiyyah who reports from Abu Abdillah (Imam Ja’far as‑Sadiq (‘a)):
"When you enter al‑Haer (in the shrine of Imam Husayn (‘a)) say: "O Allah, curse those who disbelieved in your prophets, desecrated your Ka'bah, and tampered with your Book ."
8. Reported from al Hajjal who reports from Qatbah b. Maimun who reports from Abdul A'ala:
"Abu Abdillah (‘a) said: The scholars of Arabic language displace the words of Allah, Most High, from their rightful places".