Chapter Five: Analyzing some of the Shia reports about Tahreef


In this chapter we shall examine those Shia traditions that infer tahreef. After citing such hadiths we will present the views of Shia scholars about them and shall evidence that they are insufficient to prove distortion of Quran. Having cited the interpretations, reasonings and rejections presented by Shia Ulema about some of the hadiths on the topic it will be very easy for a person to decide about other such traditions. There are different groups of hadiths which suggest a distortion in the Quran.

First Group of hadith about Tahreef

The first group of hadiths are those that contain the word “Tahreef” in them.
Here we see first one from Al Kafi:

“It has been narrated from Ali Ibn Suweed that Imam Musa Kazim (as) was in prison when I wrote a letter to him. The Imam (as) replied to it and amidst his reply he wrote this sentence: “They were declared Ameen over the book of Allah but they have committed Tahreef and made changes to it”

We see another hadith of this group which has been recorded by Ibn Shehr Ashob in ‘Manaqib’. The sermon of Imam Hussain (as) that he delivered on the day of Ashura has been recorded in the following manner.

“No doubt you are counted amongst those people from the ummah of my grandfather who are disobedient and rebellious, who have left the bounds determined by Allah, who have thrown away the Book of Allah, and talk with the satanic intuition. Verily you are amongst the same people whose faces are black on account of your sins and have committed the dangerous crime of making Tahreef with the Book of Allah”.


The word ‘Tahreef’ used in these traditions does not mean that a certain part of Quran has been lessened rather the meaning of word ‘Tahreef’ used in these traditions refers to:

  • the practice of changing and twisting the meaning of verses so that they differ from their original meanings
  • willfully abandoning the actual meanings of the verses
  • ignoring the circumstances that caused the verse to descend
  • concocting absurd reasonings without any evidence to corroborate their stance.

Our position can be evidenced from the letter of Imam Baqir (as) to Sa’ad wherein he wrote:

“Those people about whom my ancestor Imam Hussain (as) said had committed Tahreef to the Quran meant that whilst these people had kept the words of the Quran they present absurd interpretations and reasoning’s in them”.
Al Kafi, Volume 8 page 53

Regarding the first tradition, Al-Khoie stated in his book Al-Bayan, page 229:

المراد بالتحريف حمل الآيات على غير معانيها

“By Tahreef, it meant to interpret the verse against its actual meanings”.

Nevertheless Shaykh Bahboodi in his book Sahih al-Kafi has declared the first tradition as weak. While the second tradition has been recorded without any chain of narration. Thus, its useless. Yet we present this tradition back to our opponents since it can also be found in famed Sunni work Tarikh Dimashq by Hafiz Ibn Asakir, Volume 14 page 21.

Second Group of hadith about Tahreef

The second group of hadiths are those that suggest that the names of Imams of Ahlulbait (as) were present in the Quran but were deleted at a later date.

We read in Al-Kafi regarding the verse 2:23:

‘Jabir said: Gebrail revealed this verse to Muhammad in this manner: ‘And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed in favor of Ali to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it’
Al-Kafi, Volume 1 page 417 Hadith 26

In second tradition of this group of hadiths Abu Baseer narrated the revelation of the verse 33:71 from Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) in the following manner:

Abu Abdullah (as) said: ‘Allah almighty said: ‘and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger in the guardianship of Ali and the Imams after him, he indeed achieves a mighty success’. It was revealed in this manner’
Al-Kafi, Volume 1 page 414

The third tradition of this group has been narrated by Manhal from Imam Jaffar Sadiq (as) the verse 4:47 was revealed in the following manner:

Abu Abdullah said: ‘Gabriel (as) revealed upon Muhammad (s) this verse: ‘O you who have been given the Book! believe that which We have revealed in Ali’s favor a clear light’.’

The fourth tradition is in this manner which has also been quoted by Nasibi site. stated:

Allah says in Surah Taha (115): “And We had given Adam an order before, but he forgot and We did not find any resolve in him (to disobey the order).”
Imam Ja’far is reported to have said that Allah had revealed this verse with the following words: “We had ordered Adam before with some words about Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hassan, Hussain and the Imams from their offspring but he (Adam) forgot.” Ja’far said: ‘By Allah, these were the words which were revealed to Muhammad.’ (Usul Kafi: 1:416 and the footnotes of Maqbool’s translation: 637)


Shaykh Bahboodi in his book Sahih al-Kafi have declaredall these traditions as weak. Similarly Muhaddith Kashani in Al-Waafi, Volume 2 page 273 has also graded such hadiths as unauthentic [not Sahih]. There is therefore no need to examine the chain of each and every tradition that falls under this category. Sheikh Bahai states:

“A matter that is common amongst people, [namely] that the name of Ali has been deleted from Quran is unreliable in the eyes of Shia Ulema”
Aala e Rehman, Volume 1 page 26

Even if such hadiths were for arguments sake accepted as Sahih they would still be subject to interpretation. Those traditions that state that Gebrail had also brought the name of Ali in a specific verse or it was revealed in that manner on Holy Prophet (s) does not mean that Ali was meant in the meaning of the verse nor do such traditions imply that his name was mentioned in the verse and subsequently deleted. Renowned Shia researcher Al-Khoie [rh] states:

“Allah has also revealed the tafseer of some of the parts of Quran on the Holy Prophet (s) but such tafseer are not the part of Quran. Therefore the traditions which suggest that the names of the Imams (as) were present in the verses , should be considered on the basis of the meaning of tafseer. If the words and sentences of such traditions do not allow such consideration/interpretation then there is no other way than to abandon such traditions because these traditions contradict the Quran and Sunah whilst in these two entities it has been proved that Quran is exempt from Tahreef”
Al-Bayan fi Tafseer al Quran, page 230

Even if such traditions are not considered and interpreted in terms of their tafseer they remain unreliable as they contradict the Sahih tradition of Abu Baseer. In Al Kafi, Abu Baseer has narrated from Imam Jaffar Sadiq (as):

“I asked Imam Jaffar (as) about the verse 4:59. The Imam (as) replied that this verse was revealed in the honor of Ali and Hasnayn. I asked him: People want to know why the names of Ali and other Ahlebayt are not mentioned in the Quran? The Imam (as) replied: “Respond to such people’s objections by pointing out that Allah revealed five prayer times to the Prophet (s) but why did He not stipulate whether the prayers are four Rakats or three? When the Quran remains silent in this regard, then the Holy Prophet (s) set out the tafseer and explained the numbers of Rakats in prayers”.
Al Kafi, Volume 1 page 286 Hadith 1

This tradition explains all those traditions that imply that the names of the Imams of Ahlulayt (as) were mentioned in the Quran. It is clear from this tradition that the names of the Imams (as) being in Quran should be understood in the same way that the Holy Prophet (s) mentioned the number of units of prayers, in the form of tafseer.

Another proof to negate the authenticity of such traditions can be evidenced by the fact that those famed personalities that refused to give bayah to Abu Bakar never advanced the notion that the name of Ali (as) was ever mentioned in the Quran to disprove the reign of Abu Bakar and advance the right of Ali (as). Had the name of Ali (as) was mentioned in the Quran, those who refused to give oath to Abu Bakar would have never missed the opportunity to cite such a solid concrete evidence in favour of Ali (as).

Two more traditions about the second group of hadiths

It has been narrated on the authority of Asbagh bin Nabata that Ameer al Momineen (as) said: One part of the Quran is about us Ahlebayt and our friends, and another part is about incidents and traditions while one part is about obligations and instructions”

We also read in Tafseer al Ayashi that Imam Jaffar Sadiq (as) said:

“If the Quran were recited in the manner in which it was revealed then our name(s) would have appeared in it.
Tafseer Al Ayashi, Volume page 17 Hadith 4


Regarding the first hadith Allamah Majlisi has termed it as ‘Majhul’ due to the fact that the truthfulness and authenticity of some of the narrators in the chain are not known while Shaykh Bahboodi in his book Sahih al-Kafi has declared it weak. As for the second tradition, it has been recorded by Ayashi as Mursal that means there is no mention of all the narrators leading up to Imam Jaffar (as).

As the first tradition is weak and the second tradition Mursal they cannot be submitted by our opponents as proof of tahreef. We should also point out that even if the tradition recorded by Ayashi was deemed reliable Taweel could be applied because the traditions demonstrate that the names of the Imams (as) existed in the Tafseer of certain, these names did not form a part of the Quran. Another Taweel of the cited tradition is that Imam Jaffar (as) was stating had the people applied the tafseer of the Quran in the manner that Allah (swt) revealed, it would have been free from the contamination of imbeciles, that had mixed incorrect beliefs the correct tafseer would have prevented the creation of doubts and suspicions since the names of the Imams would have present in the tafseer of Quran.

The third group of hadith about Tahreef

This group contain hadiths that demonstrate Tahreef in Quran in respect of additions or deletions.

First Hadith

“Narrated from Mesar that Imam Baqar (as) said: Had additions and deletions not been made in then Quran then our right would not have been hidden from those who possess minds. When the Qaim (as) rises, the Quran shall endorse every sentence uttered from his tongue”
Tafseer Al Ayashi, page 13 Hadith 6

Second Hadith stated:

Jabir reported that he heard Imam Baqir saying: ‘No one can claim that he has compiled the Quran as Allah revealed except a liar. The only person to compile it and memorise it according to its revelation was Ali ibn Abi Talib and the Imams who succeeded him. (Usole kafi 1:228) stated:

Kulyani, narrates the following statement which he attributes to Imam Baqir: “None among mankind but a great liar claims that he has compiled the whole Qur’an as it was revealed. No one compiled it nor memorized it as Allah revealed it, but Ali Bin Abi Talib and the Imams after him

Third Hadith

Imam Baqar (as) said: ‘Other than the actual successors of the Holy Prophet (s) no one can claim that he possesses the Quran with its internal and external meanings’
Al-Kafi, Volume 1 page 13 Hadith 4
Basair al Darjaat, page 213 Hadith 1


This group of Hadith do not prove that Tahreef has been done to the Quran. The first hadith is Mursal and therefore it cannot be advanced as proof. It also contradicts the Quran, Sunnah and the consensus of the Muslim that attests that no addition or deletion has taken place in this Quran whilst this tradition suggest that it has. There is an consensus among the prominent Shia scholars headed by and Sayed Razi [rh] and Sheikh Tusi [rh] that there has been no addition to the Quran. The lacking or deletion that has been suggested in this hadith actually means that there has been a lack of understanding in relation to the meanings, Taweel and internal aspects of the Quran. It does not mean that there has been a reduction in verses.

The words “Law Qad Qaam Qaimna…” mentioned in this tradition means that Imam Mahdi (as) will elaborate on the actual meanings of the Quran and tafseer in a manner that shall remove all doubts, so that all will be enlightened from it and will accept that the Quran itself endorses the words of Imam Mahdi (as). Even if (for arguments sake) we deem this tradition as Sahih it would still mean that the people have altered the actual meanings of the Quran have and have produced tafseers that have no correlation with the actual meaning verses that explains why the Ahlebayt (as) were deprived of their rights.

The words “Law Qad Qaam.” also mean that the affirmation of Qaim e Aal e Muhammad i.e Imam Mahdi (as) shall be provided by the Quran that in our hands, had there been any Tahreef in the present Quran then it would not concur with the words uttered by Imam of time (as). It is therefore clear that no Tahreef has been done with the present Quran.

The second tradition of the third group has been declared weak by Shaykh Bahboodi and cannot be submitted as proof since one of the narrators on the chain Umer Ibn Abi Maqdam has been graded as weak. See
1. Majma Rijal, Volume 4 page 257
2. Rijal Ibn Daud, page 281- 516

The third tradition has been narrated from Sheikh Kuleni and Sheikh Saffar and has been declared weak by Shaykh Bahboodi. It is at the highest degree of being weak due to the fact that its chain of narration contains Makhal bin Jameel Asadi who has been termed by the scholars of Rijal as a person who is weak and a Ghali (extremist) who narrated baseless things and yet named them ‘Hadith’ and there exist a plethora of hadiths that he has attributed to Imams that are based on Ghulu. See
1. Majma Rijal, Volume 4 page 257 & Volume 7 page 139
2. Rijal Ibn Daud, page 281
3. Tanqeh al Maqal, Volume 2 page 247

Even if we deem this tradition reliable we could still interpret it in a manner that negates any hint of Tahreef in the Quran. Sayed Tabatabi [rh] for example offered the following comments about the words in this hadith:

“Although these words create a suspicion that there has been Tahreef in Quran, if we analyze the words “Zahira wa Batina” in a context, then it is clear that this hadith means that no one except the successors of the Holy Prophet (s) know the internal and external meanings of Quran and no one except the successors of the Holy Prophet (s) can claim that he is a scholar of the entire Quran”.
1. Al Tehqeeq fi Nafi e Tahreef, page 620
2. Hashiya Kafi, Volume 1 page 228

These two traditions of which Sayed Tabatabai [rh] has provides a sound reasoning, if one deems the traditions to Sahih and this can be supported by the fact that Syed Ali Ibn Masoom Madani has recorded both traditions alongside those traditions that prove that Ali (as) and Imams after him had a knowledge of the Quran and he has then claimed that Shia and Sunni hadiths on this topic have reached to the status of Tawatur (please see Sharh Saheefia Sajjadia, page 401.

A further explanation to both traditions is that the reference to addition means an addition to the tafseer that was revealed from Allah (swt) to elaborate on the meaning of the Quran whilst it was not a part of the Quran which is why it was deem an “additional” matter. Ultimately, both traditions evidence that no one except the successor of the Holy Prophet (s) has a complete knowledge with which to provided a correct tafseer of the Quran.

The fourth Group of Hadith about Tahreef

This group comprises of those tradtions that suggest that the names of some men and women were mentioned in the Quran but were deleted later on.

First Hadith

Imam Jaffar Sadiq (as) said: “The Quran contains the incidents of the past and future and it contained the names of some men which were deleted from it and one name was mentioned in many Surahs which on one knows except the actual successors of Holy Prophet (s).
Tafseer al Ayashi, Volume 1 page 12 Hadith 10

Second Hadith

Baznati narrates that Imam Raza (as) gave me a Quran and asked me not to see it, but I opened it and recited the first verse of Surah Baina. I found the names of 70 people from the Quraish along with their father’s names. The Imam (as) asked me to return the Quran to him.
Al Kafi, Volume 2 page 613 Hadith 16

Third Hadith

Abdullah bin Sanan narrated from Imam Jaffar (as) that said:Surah Ahzab contained the blemishes of men and women from the Quraish and non Quraish. O son of Sanaan this Surah alone used to expose the wrong deeds of the women of Quraish and it was lengthier than Surah Baqra but Tahreef and deletion was made to it”
Thawaab al A`maal, page 100
Bihar al Anwar, Volume 92 page 50


First of all we should point out that the reports accordig to which the names of some hypocrites had revealed in Quran is not exclusive to Shia books but Sunni sources too confirm the same. For example, Allamah Baghwi records in his Tafseer, Volume 4 page 68:

قال عبد الله بن عباس رضي الله عنهما: أنزل الله تعالى ذكر سبعين رجلا من المنافقين بأسمائهم وأسماء آبائهم ثم نسخ ذكر الأسماء رحمة للمؤمنين، لئلا يعير بعضهم بعضا، لأن أولادهم كانوا مؤمنين.

Abdullah bin Abbas (ra) said: ‘Allah almighty revealed the name of seventy hypocrite men but then the names were abrogated as a mercy upon the believers so that they don’t mock eachothers because their (hypocrites’) progeny were believers.’

And since it is believed that Ali bin Abi Talib (as) in the copy of Quran compiled by him had included the abrogated verses as well, therefore there should’nt be any surprise if we see reports from Imams of Ahlulbayt (as) possessed some names of hypocrites.

Now if we talk about the authenticity of traditions suggesting that the names of men and women were present in Quran (which are not present today), then such traditions have been graded weak, Mursal and Marfu hence are unacceptable. The first hadith is Mursal. It has been taken from the traditions of Sheikh Saffar Qummi and Sheikh Ayashi and is narrated from Ibrahim bin Umer and there is a difference of opinion about him that whether he was weak or Mothiq [see Tanqeh al Maqal, Volume 1 page 27].

The second tradition which Sheikh Kuleni narrated from Baznati has been graded as Mursal by Allamah Majlisi and weak by Shaykh Bahboodi in his book Sahih al-Kaf. Moreover Muhhaddith Kashani states about this tradition:

“The names which were found in that Mushaf might have been written as the topic of the tafseer of the Kuffar and Mushrikeen and were known through revelation rather than there being a part of the Quran moreover this meaning applies to this and similar traditions narrated from the Imams (as).”
Al Waafi, Volume 1 page 273

In relation to the third tradition it contradicts the proven fact that Surah Ahzab had already been compiled during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (s) [see Majmal Bayan and Tafseer Dur e Manthur, Volume 5 page 179]. We would also like to ask those that deem such traditions as reliable how is it all those verses have been lost? How is it plausible that so many verses were not written in the Quran or were deliberately expunged without the Muslims of the time noticing? Did the Prophet (s) not teach every verse to the Sahaba at the time of descent so that it could be disseminated amongst all Muslims? How can it be believed that the Muslims collectively forgot to write those verses during the compilation of Quran?

Even if we deem such traditions as correct we could say that the names of men and women existed in the tafseer, but that specific tafseer cannot be located today. Such traditions do not imply that those names formed parts of the Quranic verses but not available now.

The prominent Shia ulema have rejected such hadiths as can be evidenced from the statements of Sayed Al-Khoie and Faiz Khashani. Our leading scholar Muhadith Sheikh Saduq [rh] recorded this type of hadith in his book “Thawaab al A’maal” and in his book “Al Eiteqaad” explicitly stated there had been no Tahreef in the Quran. The recording of this kind of hadith by Sheikh Saduq [rh] is no proof of authenticity at all as some Nawasib would argue. Many Shi’a ulema recorded such traditions in their books and did not deem them Sahih or reliable.

The fifth Group of Hadith about Tahreef

This group of hadiths contains those hadiths relating to a certain form of recitations [Qirat] that have been attributed to Imams (as).
One such tradition is where a man recited the verse 33 of Surah An`am before Ameer al Momineen (as) in this manner:


Umran bin Maytham narrated that Abu Abdullah said: ‘A man recited to Ameer al Momineen (as) ‘{but surely they do not call you a liar but the unjust deny the communications of Allah}’. He (Imam Ali) said: ‘By Allah they called him liar, but the verse (Yukathiboonaka) is not to be pronounced emphatically means that they cannot bring falsehood to reject your truthfulness’.
Al-Kafi, Volume 8 pages 200 – 241

Muhammad bin Suleman narrates from some Sahaba who from Imam Abul Hassan (as):
We hear some verses that have never been heard before from the Quran. Moreover we cannot recite [ do qirat] in such a beautiful manner as you do, so are we sinners? The Imam replied: No you are not sinners but you recite the Quran in the manner in which you have been taught and soon there will come a person to teach you”

Usool al-Kafi, Volume 2 page 453


The first Hadith has been graded weak by Shaykh Bahboodi in his book Sahih al-Kafi while the second tradition has been graded weak by both Shaykh Bahboodi and Shaykh Majlisi [rh] in his book Marat al-Aqool, Volume 12 page 523, moreover Muhhaddith Kashani whilst making Taweel of this tradition in his book Waafi stated that those verses were revealed not as a part of Quran but as a Tafseer and hence does not constitute tahreef.


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