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Uthman bin Madhun

Thiqat-Al-Islam Kulayni and distortion of Quran

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There are some who allege that the author of Al Kafi , Al-Kulayni believed in Tahreef of the Quran. Among these are not only detractors of the Jafferi madhab but some major scholars, such as Sayed al-Khui'. However, there is not a single statement from Kulayni whereby he affirms his belief. In his introduction when speaking about the Quran he never mentions nor details at any time that there are missing verses or that it had undergone Tahreef, nor that the true Quran that has all of the verses is with the Aimmah. Instead this is inferred indirectly from the narrations he includes in his own book stating that certain verses had been revealed in a certain way, namely to include the nams of Ali , Hasan and Hussain [peace be upon them all] but were not in the Quran available to most muslims They allege that the Shia of old believed that many of their key beliefs were not in the Quran and so amongst themselves proposed a theory: the companions deviously removed aspects in these verses - particularly those which were supposed to name Ali ibn Abi Talib as the successor.

If we move the discussion on and claim that al-Kulayni did not affirm everything in his book was authentic, and that we should place everything according to the Quran and reject what is not inline with it, they will then come to us and say that he is not asking us to place this criteria in his book, but claiming he himself had applied it and the result is Al Kafi. Therefore they contend that the inclusion of narrations in the book is akin to his affirmation of the veracity of these narrations.

Let us examine the discussion in the following three stages:

1. Are there any narrations implying Tahreef, in such a way that the names of Ali ibn Abi Talib was supposed to be in the Quran but was removed?

2. Are there any narrations which actually equivocally show that the names were not in the Q'uran and thus contradicting those narrations.

3. Conclusion

Are there any narrations implying Tahreef, in such a way that the names of Ali ibn Abi Talib was supposed to be in the Quran but was removed?

The reality is that there indeed are several narrations among which some which imply that the names of Ali ibn Abi Talib and some of the other Imams had been in the Quran, but were removed. These are weak and solitary single chained narrations, and were rejected by scholars such as Mufid, Saduq and Tusi. 

Al-Kafi 1/414:[(with his chain) Abu Basir, from abi `Abdillah (as), regarding Allah’s saying: “And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger in loving `Ali and loving of the leaders after him has certainly attained a great attainment” He (as) said: “This is how it was revealed.”]Whereas the verse in our Qur’an today only says: {And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment} [33:71]

Al-Kafi 1/416:[(with his chain) from `Abdullah bin Sinan, from abi `Abdillah (as) regarding Allah’s saying: “And We had already taken a promise from Adam concerning Muhammad, `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, Husayn and the leaders from their progeny, but he forgot” He (as) said: “By Allah, this is the way it was revealed upon Muhammad (saw).”] Whereas the verse in our Qur’an today only says: {And We had already taken a promise from Adam before, but he forgot; and We found not in him determination.} [20:115]

Al-Kafi 1/417:[(with his chain) from Jabir, from abi Ja`far (as), he said: “Jibril (as) revealed this verse to Muhammad (saw) like this: How wretched is that for which they sold themselves – that they would disbelieve in what Allah has revealed about `Ali through [their] outrage.”] Whereas the verse in our Qur’an today only says{How wretched is that for which they sold themselves – that they would disbelieve in what Allah has revealed through [their] outrage} [2:90]

Looking at these traditions , it is therefore assumed al-Kulayni believed that these verses were originally part of the Quran and then removed. The verses above concern the name of Amirulmu'mineen in the Quran.  So they conclude that the early shia and al-Kulayni believed that the name of Ali was originally part of the Quran under the command of divine leadership, and that these were al-Kulayni's beliefs because of the supposed argument he affirmed everything in his book as true , or would at least refute what which he did not accept.

Are there any narrations which actually equivocally show that the names were not in the Q'uran and thus contradicting those narrations.

If al-Kulayni really did believe everything he put into al-Kafi, which is an enormous work of traditions more numerous than almost all of the major Sunni books combined, then we would expect in this palicular instance only those traditions affirming the Quran had been removed from and originally included the names of Ali, Hasan and Hussain [peace be on them all]. If we were to find a tradition which explicitly demonstrates that the names were not part of the original Quran, it would be strong evidence that Kulayni neither affirmed nor denied that the verses had originally been part of the Quran containing their names, and then subsequently removed. In fact one could argue this just shows he collected everything in his book he could generally find and felt was of importance, including the various views about the Quran and its preservation. We do not have many books from al-Kulayni in existence now and the only one that has really survived among the many he authored is Al Kafi. It would have been interesting to have his book on Rijal, as well as other ones that may have discussed Aqeedah in further depth. 

in Usool Al-Kafi (اصول الكافي), By Sheikh Al-Kulaini ( للكليني) . Volume 1, Page  # 172-173 [from two authentic chains of narrators]:

Alee ibn Ibraheem has narrated from Muhammad ibn Isa from Yunus and Alee ibn Muhammad from Sahl ibn Ziyad, Abu Sa‘id from Muhammad ibn ‘sa from Younis from ibn Muskan from Aboo Basir (r.a) who has said the following: “I asked Aboo Abd Allah (a.s) about the words of Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High: ‘Believers, obey Allah, His Messenger, and your leaders (who possess Divine Authority). . . .’ (Qur'aan 4:59). “The Imam (a.s) said, ‘This was sent from the heavens about Alee ibn Aboo Talib, Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain, (peace be upon them all).’ I then said, ‘People say, “Why did He not specify Alee (a.s) and his family by their names in the Book of Allah , the Most Holy, the Most High?’ “The Imam said, ‘Say to them, “The command for prayer came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) but He has not specified (the number of the Rak‘ats) for them as being three or four. It, in fact, was the Messenger of Allah (saw) who explained to them this matter. The command for Zakat (a form of income tax) came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and there was no specific taxable number such as one Dirham on every forty Dirham. It was the Messenger of Allah (saw) who explained it for them. The command for Hajj came to the Messenger of Allah (saw). It did not say walk seven times around the Ka‘ba. It was the Messenger of Allah (saw) who explained it for them. The verse about obedience came, ‘Believers, Obey Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, His Messenger and your leaders (who possess Divine Authority)...’ (Qur'aan 4:59)

From the above tradition, the Imam is asked why he did not specify Ali or his sons [peace be on them all] in the Quran by their names. The Imam then affirms that they were not specified by name, but neither were some of the other verses specifying in great detail other key branches of faith; it was upon the Prophet [peace be upon him] to elucidate and expound upon them. This tradition is in clear contradiction with the many single chained and weak narrations which imply their names were in the Quran. If al-Kulayni allegedly only included whatever he found authentic in his book, why did he include these traditions which give polar opposite views as to whether the names of were included in the Q'uran?


Al-Kulayni may well have believed in Tahreef [though the definition of what is Tahreef varies]. It also does seem to point towards this owing to certain narrations in his book. However, the presence of narrations in and of themselves does not prove anything definitely. Shaykh Saduq , who was born in the life time of  Kulayni, and was firmly against the belief in any addition or subtraction in the Quran himself included many traditions which seemed to imply Tahreef in his books of hadith. We can even find similar traditions in the works of Sunni's. It may have been the case that further study was required on them, or an interpretation given to them, or that they may have been good for reference.

If whatever al-Kulayni included in his book was a clear indicator of his belief, he would not have included clear contradictions in the belief of Tahreef. On one hand he records traditions implying that the names of the Imams were in numerous verses. On another he records multiple chains implying that they were not in the Quran and an elaborate explanation given behind the philosophy of the Quran to only mention fundamental aspects of Islam in a general sense and allow the Prophet [peace be upon him] to elucidate on them. We do not know al-Kulaynis actual belief in this regard and arguments made to try to prove he had the belief by what he recorded in al-Kafi fall apart when when critically examined. It is highly plausible given the volume of al-Kafi and the fact in it are contradictions at times to understand that it may have been al-Kafi playing the role of collecting all of the main traditions as a work that is then saved and preserved and can be examined in more detail by scholars of his age and later scholars.

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Part two:

What can we make of the following traditions?

Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from ibn Mahbub from ‘Amr ibn abu al-Miqdam from Jabir who has said that he heard abu Ja‘far (a.s.) say the following. "No one from the people has claimed to have collected the whole of the Holy Quran (in a book form) as it was revealed. If anyone would come up with such a claim, he is liar. No one collected this Holy Book and memorized as Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High revealed it except Ali ibn abu Talib (a.s.) and the Imams after him."

H 608, Ch. 35, h 2

Muhammad ibn al-Husayn has narrated from Muhammad ibn al-Hassan from Muhammad ibn Sinan from ‘Ammar ibn Marwan from al-Munakhkhal from Jabir from abu Ja‘far (a.s.) who has said the following. "No one is able to claim that with him is the whole of the Holy Quran; its apparent and hidden essence, except the executors of the will of the Holy Prophet (s.a.).

We know that Ali [alahisalam] is said to have had a Quran which was compiled exactly as it was revealed in the correct ordering. Such that the contents of the Quran itself were the same, but was collected in the exact manner as it was revealed by Ali ibn Abi Talib. We also know that there are two aspects of the Quran - the apparent and the hidden, and only the Prophet and his purified progeny possessed both of these. This is what is implied perhaps by the 'whole Quran' - someone who can encompass both the inner and outward, the clear and the Mutashabihat [unclear]. These are quite popular interpretations among the Shia who do not believe in Tahreef.

We find this supplication from the Prophet [peace be upon him] in Al Kafi: 

“The Messenger of Allah has said, ‘I like to instruct you with a supplication to help you not to forget the Holy Quran when you say, “O Lord, favor me to avoid, for ever, disobeying You, as long as You will keep me alive, favor me from being burdened with that which does not concern me, grant me beautiful appearance in that which pleases You from me, hold my heart on memorizing Your book as You have taught me. Confer upon me the opportunity to read the way it will please You with me. "

If the Quran was full of distortions in that the verses revealed were not as Allah [azawajal] had taught us, why would this supplication be included? The supplication is clear that we should recite the Quran with a supplication where we affirm we want to memorise it and that it is what Allah has taught [i.e revealed to us]. Would Allah be pleased if we read his words by taking out some of the things he revealed?

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18 hours ago, Uthman bin Madhun said:


Regarding thareef the view of Shia ulema is very clear that the completeness of quran is well established among shia ulema, like Sheikh Saduq , the greatest scholar of Shi’a in Hadith, Abu Jafar Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn Ibn Babwayh, known as "Shaykh Saduq”(309/919-381/991), wrote:

"Our belief is that the Qur’an which Allah revealed to His Prophet Muhammad is (the same as) the one between the two covers (daffatayn).

And it is the one which is in the hands of the people, and is not greater in extent than that. The number of surahs as generally accepted is one hundred and fourteen ...And he who asserts that we say that it is greater in extent than that, is a liar."

Shi’i reference: Shi’ite Creed (al-I’tiqadat al-Imamiyyah), by Shaykh Saduq, English version, p77.

It should be noted that Shaykh Saduq (ra) is the greatest scholar of Hadith among the Imami Shi’a and was given the name of Shaykh al-Muhaddithin (i.e., the most eminent of the scholars of Hadith). And since he wrote the above in a book with the name of "The beliefs of the Imami Shi’a,”it is quite impossible that there could be any authentic Hadith in contrary to it.


Edited by skyweb1987

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