by Dr Hossein Rahnamaei
thanking Sara Sohrabi for translation
Quran Majid is the greatest evidence of the truth of Islam and the most important source of understanding of Islam and actually is deemed the constitution of Islam. This book on the one hand is Prophet’s (PBUH) miracle and the proving reason of his prophecy and on the other hand is deemed his content of prophecy. Without doubt the continuity to use this book as a resource of understanding of the teachings of Islam and an immortal reason to prove the truth of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is dependent on the originality of this book and or its non-distortion or loss.
Most of the Muslim scholars, both Shiite and Sunni, consider the present text of Quran as the sending down text on prophet and do not tolerate any distortion in it and defend its originality and Authenticity. The so-called scholars have mentioned some reasons to prove their claim that we refer to some of them:
First: historical reason
Because of the emphasis of Quran’s verses on studying and reciting the divine verses and also with regarding to the great advice of the prophet and Imams and other Muslim leaders, the preservation of Quran’s verses progressed from the beginning in the Islamic society and always some people were present beside the god’s prophet that had divine verses in their heart and were expecting the sending down of a new verse in order to keep it in chest. Every day was holding the meetings of reciting, studying and discussing about the concepts of Quran’s verses. The sent down revelation was registering by scribers of revelation on gazelle’s skin, clay tablet or camel’s bone as soon as possible.
Shortly after the death of the Prophet, by the order of the first caliph, the writings of the scriber were gathered and the complete book was prepared.
A few years later, at the time of the third caliph, according to aforementioned book, several copies prepared and were sent to the big cities at that time in order to use in Quranic meetings which especially were held in the days of holy Ramadan month. Thus, unlike the Jewish Bible (which at least in two sections were missing and the first time it was rewritten based on elders’ of Israel memories after forty years), in the history of Quran’s recording, there is no interval in which Quran was casting away from access of people. And with regarding to generality of memorizing and reciting of Quran which were common among Muslims as a great virtue, no opportunity was prepared for distortion of Quran at all.
Second: traditional reason
God’s himself has informed about the reservation of Quran where he says:
"نحن نزلنا الذکر وانا له لحافظون"
“This is we who sent down the remembrance and we watch over it”
The majority of scholars from different factions has rejected the word of distortion of Quran from old to new and has emphasized on its truth and Reliability.
In some Sunni books and Treatise and especially Wahhabis were said that Shiite believes in distortion of Quran and based on this accusation have issued wrongdoing and even disbelief of Shiite. The main pretext of these treaties is some traditions from imams that apparently refer to elimination of some keywords (for example name of Imam Ali (AS)) from the Quran, including the following narratives:
Quoting from Abi Abdullah, talking about Allah's saying: Be aware that whenever you loot anything then 1/5 of it is for Allah and for the messenger and the relatives. The commander of the faithful said: and the Imams. Koleini, Kafi
Quoting from Abi Ja’far: God revealed to his prophet. So hold thou fast unto that which has been revealed unto thee, surely thou art upon a straight path, said: surely you have custody on Ali and Ali is on the right path.
At first from the authenticity of the document and the text should say the accuracy of many distorted-like narratives, because of the existence of the name of person by the name of Seif Ibn Omar in most of them, don’t have reliability from Rijal scholars’ point of view and is doubtful.
So firstly because of poor documentation and lack of integrity of the traditions cannot attribute this charge certainly to the Shiite.
Being more careful in the narratives can lead us to an interesting point. Due to the lack of common punctuation (such as points, commas, quotation marks, etc.) and lack of a reliable audit and observer in the publication of a book as well as the fact that many of the Imams’ traditions faced with the time interval between listening and writing and perhaps the listener narrated it to his son and his son transferred to his grandson until the third or fourth was writing it.
These factors caused that the scribers of the narratives wrote what he heard through some intermediate, without observing edit tips. Therefore about the so-called narratives perhaps the scriber was writing the Quran’s verses and imam’s description with a special style that caused misunderstanding. The readers of these texts wrongly assumed an interpretation of a verse as an original text of the verse before occurring distortion and little by little it is deemed that Shiite Imams believed in distortion of Quran.
In terms of content it should be known for correct and fair deriving from sentences of each writer, the subject sentence should be compared with other parts of his book and if he has several related book, it should be denoted with regarding to his other writings. This is true even in the Qur'an.
Understanding of each verse is dependent on understanding of other related verses and perhaps applying one verse without caring the others arising harmful results for scholars. Basically, most schools diversions which were common among Muslims which is the effect of selective look to Quran and the narratives of Imams.
In understanding the distorted narratives, also In addition to checking its documents and texts which is necessary for their understanding of these traditions, it should be paid attention to works and traditions of Imams. Shiite Imams in judicial discussions, debates, verbal discussions and their training were citing to the present Quran verses and Suras.
And also ordered their supporters to recite the Qur'an among people and have announced reward and oblation for reading the verses of this Quran.
"Sofian bin Samt quoted that I asked from Imam Sadiq (as), about differences in readings of the Qur'an. He said that (like other people) and as you have been taught, recite Quran "_ (Kulayni Kafi, vol. 2, p. 631)
Without doubt if he assumed that Quran has another version, he shall not put the common and present Quran as the base of his words and votes and also it seemed nonsense if he expressed great oblation for the Quran which is not the same as god’s words.
Imam Sadigh expressed an answer in response to the doubt of nonmentioning the name of Imams which is very beneficial in our debate, The theme of his reply to the question why Imam Ali's name is not mentioned in the Quran is: God stated generalities of judgments and opinions in the Quran, but minute explanation, instances and details of by the Prophet explained the details of matters, for example just one or two verses have been stated about Hajj but the explanation of tens of Hajj legal interest should be sought in the Sunnah of the Prophet. About the importance of praying and Zakat was sent down but the quality and detail of the two is explained in the words of the Prophet.
Similarly, the principle of guardianship (Velayat) is stated in Qur'an but expressing its instance (Imam Ali (AS)) by the Prophet (PBUH) has been done on several occasions, including the day of Ghadir. (Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 35, p. 210). It turns out that Imam Sadiq (AS) himself have not known another Quran other than the Quran which is common among Muslims that the name of Imam Ali is not in it. Most of the great Islamic scholars such as Sheikh Saduq, Sheikh Mufid, Seyyed Morteza, Allameh Majlesi and from contemporaries, Allameh Tabatabai Ayatollah Khoei and Ayatollah Javadi Amoli have not tolerated the claim of distortion of the Quran and condemned it and assumed these narratives lacking sufficient accuracy and authenticity.
Sunnis are also suspected
If the existence of some weak and uncertain narrations is the reason for accusation of the claim of distortion to Shiite, also must realize that the same charge to Sunni. In their narrative texts also we saw the traditions that refer directly or indirectly to distortion of the Quran.
For example, subtilize to these the narratives: in Sahih Bukhari which is the most important and accurate book of Sunni traditions stated that the second caliph, says:
If there was not the fear from people saying that Omar manipulated Quran and added to something it, I add with my own hands stoning verse in the Quran (Sahih Bukhari, vol 8, p 113, with Dar al-fekr, Beirut) becomes clear that the second caliph believed that the Qur'an has been removed.
Elsewhere he announced the elimination of stoning verse from the Quran and expressed concern that if people rely on common Koran, the so-called verse will be deleted from minds in later years. (Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 26.)
The disappearance of the papers has been announced in which the text verses was written from Sura al-Ahzab and assumed this incident the reason for verses’ removal from the common Quran (Ibn al-Athir, Al-nahayh fi gharib Hadith, c, 2) Other references on this subject can be found in Sunni texts, including the elimination of a verse about Be’r Ma’une ( Sahih Bukhari, vol. 3, pp. 204 and 208; c. 5, p. 44) or companions’ doubt and disagreement about some of the verses are searchable. (Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 90, and vol. 7, p. 175) With no doubt Sunni scholars do not interpret such vague narratives as the reason for the distortion of the Quran. Now the question is that why about the Shiite, they have adopted the policy of discrimination and the same charges that have been done to themselves remarked to Shiite.