Shia view of the Quran

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This is a sub-article to Shī‘a Islam and the Qur'an

The Shī‘ah view of the Qur'an has some differences from the Sunni view, but the text of the Qur'an is exactly identical. While there is a belief that the Shī‘ah disputed the canonical validity of the Uthmanic codex,[1] there are studies that show the Shī‘ah Imams always rejected the idea of alteration of Qur'an's text.[2] Since 10th AD century, only a total of seven Shī‘ah scholars believed in omissions in the Uthmanic codex.[2]


The Shī‘ah use the same Qur'an as Sunni Muslims, however they do not believe that it was first compiled by Uthman ibn Affan.[3] The Shī‘ah believe that the Qur'an was gathered and compiled by Muhammad during his lifetime.[4][5][6] This completed version of the Qur'an was kept next to the pulpit of Muhammad within the Mosque of Madinah, where scholars would come to transcribe more copies.[3] Furthermore, Grand Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei believed that Ali possessed a Quran of his own, which included the divinely revealed commentary of the Quran.[7]

According to orientalist professor Etan Kohlberg, Twelver Shia believed in the distortion of the Quran up to the era of the Buyids.[8] When 11th century Muslim scholar Ibn Hazm argued the Muslim claim that the gospels had been corrupted, one Christian counter-argument was "that the Rawafid maintain that the Companions of your Prophet altered the Koran by way of omissions and additions." This accusation of tabdil (alteration)—a result of Shi'ite distrust towards the companions—was scathingly refuted by Ibn Hazm.[9]

Shia scholars who supported Qur'anic distortion[edit]

Some Shia scholars who supported the view that the Qur'anic text had been distorted were:


The Shī‘ah tafsīr on several verses are different from the traditional Sunni view either through a totally different interpretation or by giving the same interpretation, but giving that interpretation a larger impact on their jurisprudence. Shia also tend to interpret the Quran more allegorically (Batin) and less literally than Sunnis.[10]


Hadith of The Cloak


4:24, or an-Nisa, 24, also called as "the verse of Mut‘ah", is the Qur'anic verse that some Shī'ites use to prove the legality of temporary marriages (Arabic: Nikah Mut'ah‎).




There are some common misconceptions and accusations about the Shī‘ah.

While Sunnis and the Shī‘ah accept the same text of the Qur'an, some, such as Muhibb-ud-Deen Al-Khatib,[11] claim that Shī‘ah dispute the current version, including that they add two additional sūratayn, an-Nūrayn and al-Wilāya.[12] This accusation of tahrīf "tampering" is antithetical to scholars and is considered polemical.[13][14] The above sūratayn are considered forgeries and do not appear in published Qur'ans.

Shī‘ah Muslims consider the accusation that they are using a different Qur'an as one of the misconceptions about the Shi'a. The Shī‘ah recite the Qur'an according to the Qira’t of Hafs on authority of ‘Asim, which is the prevalent Qira’t in the Islamic world.[15]

The issue of Tahreef [tampering] has been a matter of disagreement between many classical Shia scholars. It has been mentioned that the likes of Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (author of Bihar al-Anwar), Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni (author of Kitab al-Kafi), Ni'matullah Al Jazaa'iri (author of Anwar Al Nu'maniyyah, d. 1701[16]) and Al Ayyaashi (author of Tafsir Ayyashi) among others were of the view that the present Qur'an is not the same as was revealed to Muhammad ibn Abdullah and omission/corruption has taken place. Overall, it is claimed that the Shia have more than 1,000 hadiths ascribed to the Shia Imams which indicate the distortion of the Quran.[17]

According to Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, the difference of opinion among the scholars and jurists was as follows:

Some accused Shī‘ah of alleging that Fatimah had her own Mus'haf (Qur'an), the Mushaf of Fatimah, which was allegedly three times larger than the current Qur'an. Again, Shī‘ahs reject this as a misrepresentation of facts aimed at discrediting them.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Shīʿism and the Qurʾān". Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. Leiden: Brill Publishers. 2004. 
  2. ^ a b Modarressi, Hossein (1993). "Early Debates on the Integrity of the Qur'ān: A Brief Survey". Studia Islamica (77): 5–39. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Shirazi, Muhammad (2004). The Qur'an made simple 10. London,UK: Fountain Books. pp. xxiv. 
  4. ^ Shirazi, Muhammad (2001). The Qur'an - When was it compiled?. London,UK: Fountain Books. pp. 5, 7. 
  5. ^ Shirazi, Muhammad (2004). The Qur'an made simple 10. London,UK: Fountain Books. pp. xxi, xxiv, xxv. 
  6. ^ Shirazi, Muhammad (2008). The Shi'a and their Beliefs. London,UK: Fountain Books. p. 29. 
  7. ^ Brunner, Rainer; Ende, Werner, eds. (1 Jan 2001). The Twelver Shia in Modern Times: Religious Culture and Political History (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 187. ISBN 9789004118034. 
  9. ^ Israel Friedlaender (1908). "The Heterodoxies of the Shiites in the Presentation of Ibn Hazm". Journal of the American Oriental Society (American Oriental Society) 29: 61—2. Retrieved 11 April 2015. As for their argument regarding the Rawafid and their contention that the Koran readings were interpolated, the Rawafid do not belong to the Muslims. They consist of a number of sects, the first of which arose twenty-five years after the Prophet's death. It was originally the response of some people abandoned by Allah to the call of those who beguiled Islam, a party which followed the course of the Jews and Christians as regards falsehood and heresy. They are divided into various sections. The most extravagant of them assume the divinity of Ali b. Abi Talib and of a number of people besides him. The least extravagant of them believe that the sun was twice turned backwards for Ali.' How can one be indignant over lies coming from people whose lowest rank in lying is such (as described)?" He then proceeds elaborately to refute this charge. He cleverly beats the Rawafid with their own weapons by pointing to the fact that Ali himself, "who according to most of them is a god, a creator, and, according to some of them, a prophet endowed with speech, while in the opinion of the rest he is an infallible Imam, the obedience to whom is a religious command imposed by Law," did not object to the Koran in its present shape and, while Caliph, did not fight the interpolators, which would have been his sacred duty. "Thus the mendacity of the Rawafid becomes evident, and praise be unto Allah, the Lord of (all) Created Beings!" A brief reference to the same subject is contained Ed. IV, 14615: "unless the Rawafid fall back on ignoring the Koran and (assuming) omissions and additions in it. This is something whereby becomes evident their impudence, ignorance and stupidity. 
  10. ^ Diane Morgan (2010). Essential Islam: A Comprehensive Guide to Belief and Practice. ABC-CLIO. p. 34. ISBN 9780313360251. 
  11. ^ Hassan Rezaee Haftador; Fath Allah NajarZadegan (July 2013). "An Investigation into the Earliest Historical Evidence on the Alleged Shia Forgery of Surahs Nurayn and Wilayat". European Journal of Scientific Research 106 (2): 230. ISSN 1450-216X. Another consequence of this false allegation against the Shia is that some radical Salafis, such as Muhibb al-Din al-Khatib, contend that Shias have two Qur’ans: there is the standard Qur’an, which they pretend to venerate so as to be accepted by other Muslims, and there is the peculiar Shia version of the Qur’an, which contains the false chapter regarding the virtues of Ali and which they hide from other Muslims (al-Khatib, 1999). 
  12. ^ The Shi'i Qur'an: an Examination of Western Scholarship by Jonah Winters
  13. ^ Tahríf refers to tampering with the letters or words of the verses of the Holy Qur'án, changing them from the original revealed form
  14. ^ Tahrif al-Qur'an
  15. ^ Is the Qur’an Corrupted? Shi’ites’ View
  16. ^ Sajjad H. Rizvi (2010). "Sayyid Niʿmat Allāh al-Jazāʾirī and his Anthologies: Anti-Sufism, Shiʿism and Jokes in the Safavid World". Die Welt des Islams (BRILL) 50: 224. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  18. ^ Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi, The Mirror of Intellects (Arabic: Mir'at ul-Oqool View)