Al-Fayd al-Kashani and Tahreef


In this article I will discuss al-Fayd al-Kashani and his belief in Tahreef, I had seen that the Shia were debating this topic with some of Ahlul-Sunnah on their forum, and our popular Shi`ee brother Nader Zaveri wrote:

“Only someone who is ignorant of Arabic or a purposeful liar would claim al-Fayd al-Kashani believed in tahrif after reading his introduction.”

Here I assume he is talking about the famous introduction written by the Safavid scholar al-Kashani in which he discusses his opinion concerning this matter, the sixth introduction.

Al-Kashani begins on page 40 by quoting the narrations from Tafseer al-Qummi & al-Kafi on how `Ali collected the Qur’an after Rasul-Allah (saw) passed away, then how the Companions rejected his collection. He also quotes narrations of how the companions of al-Sadiq recited the Qur’an in a manner contrary to the rest of the nation, then al-Sadiq tells them to recite it like the nation does until the Mahdi rises and teaches people the truth. He quoted quite a bit of narrations some of which are very clear in declaring Tahreef, such as on page 41:

وبإسناده عن البزنطي قال: دفع أبو الحسن (عليه السلام) مصحفا وقال: لا تنظر فيه ففتحته وقرأت فيه لم يكن الذين كفروا فوجدت فيه اسم سبعين رجلا من قريش بأسمائهم وأسماء آبائهم. قال: فبعث إلي ابعث إلي بالمصحف.
وفي تفسير العياشي عن أبي جعفر (عليه السلام) قال: لولا إنه زيد في كتاب الله ونقص ما خفي حقنا على ذي حجى ولو قد قام قائمنا فنطق صدقه القرآن.

[With his chain from al-Bazanti, he said: abu al-Hasan (as) passed me a Mushaf and said: “Don’t look into it.” But I opened it and I read in it the verse {Those who disbelieved}[98:1] so I found in it the names of seventy men and their fathers’ names all from Quraysh. He (as) then told me: “Give me back the Mushaf.”
And in Tafseer al-`Ayyashi from abu Ja`far (as): If they hadn’t added to the book of Allah and deleted from it, our right would not have been hidden from any sane man…]

Finally on page 49, after he quoted around 9 pages of clear narrations of Tahreef as well as the statement of al-Tabrasi author of al-Ihtijaj which is also full of clear Tahreef, finally he gives us his own opinion on page 49:

أقول: المستفاد من مجمع هذه الأخبار وغيرها من الروايات من طريق أهل البيت (عيهم السلام) إن القرآن الذي بين أظهرنا ليس بتمامه كما انزل على محمد (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) منه ما هو خلاف ما أنزل الله ومنه ما هو مغير ومحرف وإنه قد حذف عنه أشياء كثيرة منها اسم علي (عليه السلام) في كثير من المواضع ومنها غير ذلك وأنه ليس أيضا على الترتيب المرضي عند الله وعند رسوله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).

[I say: What we benefit from all these reports and the narrations that have reached us through the path of Ahlul-Bayt (as), is that the Qur’an which is in our hands is incomplete nor like it was revealed to Muhammad (saw). Parts of it oppose what Allah has revealed, parts of it were corrupted and altered and many things were erased from it such as the name “`Ali” (as) in many locations, as well as other things. The Qur’an is also not compiled in the order that pleases Allah and his Messenger (saw).]

This above text is the famous statement by al-Kashani, it is found on many websites today and is clearly in favor of Tahreef. This is listed after 9 long pages of statements and narrations from Ahlul-Bayt that are explicit in declaring Tahreef.

We won’t stop here, of course we have to continue otherwise we could be accused of “cherry picking”, something which our opponents are experts at.

Al-Kashani continues on the same page saying:

وبه قال علي بن إبراهيم قال في تفسيره: وأما ما كان خلاف ما أنزل الله

[And this is the opinion of `Ali bin Ibraheem (al-Qummi) in his Tafseer, he says: As for what opposes what was originally revealed by Allah, it is {You were the best nation}…]

al-Kashani quotes the words of `Ali bin Ibraheem from his Tafseer, where he tells us which parts were opposed to the true revelation, which parts were erased and removed, and which parts were placed out of order and out of context, all while giving us examples from our current Mushaf.

After many pages full of evidence for Tahreef, al-Kashani plays the devil’s advocate when he says on page 51:

أقول: ويرد على هذا كله إشكال وهو أنه على هذا التقدير لم يبق لنا اعتماد على شئ من القرآن إذ على هذا يحتمل كل آية منه أن يكون محرفا ومغيرا ويكون على خلاف ما أنزل الله فلم يبق لنا في القرآن حجة أصلا فتنتفي فائدته وفائدة الأمر باتباعه والوصية بالتمسك به إلى غير ذلك، وأيضا قال الله عز وجل: وإنه لكتاب عزيز لا يأتيه الباطل من بين يديه ولا من خلفه. وقال: إنا نحن نزلنا الذكر وإنا له لحافظون فكيف يتطرق إليه التحريف والتغيير، وأيضا قد استفاض عن النبي (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) والأئمة (عليهم السلام) حديث عرض الخبر المروي على كتاب الله ليعلم صحته بموافقته له وفساده بمخالفته فإذا كان القرآن الذي بأيدينا محرفا فما فائدة العرض مع أن خبر التحريف مخالف لكتاب الله مكذب له فيجب رده والحكم بفساده أو تأويله.

[I say: A problem arises from all of this, the problem is that based on the above we cannot rely on any verse from the Qur’an because it can be corrupted and in opposition to what Allah revealed, thus the entire Qur’an is no longer a proof(Hujjah) for us, it contains no benefit, there’s no purpose of holding on to it and so on. Also Allah says: {And indeed, it is a mighty Book. Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from a [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy.} [41:41-42] And Allah says: {Indeed, it is We who sent down the reminder and indeed, We will be its guardian.} [15:9] How then can it be corrupted and distorted?
Additionally, we find it reported in plenty of narrations by the Prophet (saw) and Imams (as), that one must present the narration to the Qur’an. Whatever agrees with it is taken while whatever contradicts it is rejected.
If what we have in our hands today is corrupted, then how can we present the narration to the Qur’an? While knowing that the narrations of Tahreef are in opposition to the book of Allah and contradict it, so either we reject these narrations or we give them a suitable interpretation.]

This makes sense, it is what any Muslim from Ahlul-Sunnah would probably say to a Rafidhi like al-Noori al-Tabrasi or Kulayni or `Ali bin Ibraheem. Does al-Kashani stop here though?

He doesn’t, he actually answers the problem above in a way that favors those who believe in Tahreef, he says on the same page 51:

ويخطر بالبال في دفع هذا الاشكال والعلم عند الله أن يقال: إن صحت هذه الأخبار فلعل التغيير إنما وقع فيما لا يخل بالمقصود كثير إخلال كحذف اسم علي وآل محمد (صلى الله عليهم)، وحذف أسماء المنافقين عليهم لعائن الله فإن الانتفاع بعموم اللفظ باق وكحذف بعض الآيات وكتمانه فان الانتفاع بالباقي باق مع أن الأوصياء كانوا يتداركون ما فاتنا منه من هذا القبيل ويدل على هذا قوله (عليه السلام) في حديث طلحة: إن أخذتم بما فيه نجوتم من النار ودخلتم الجنة فإن فيه حجتنا وبيان حقنا وفرض طاعتنا.

[What comes to mind in order to solve the above problem, and Allah knows best, is that we can say: If these narrations are authentic, then maybe these changes took place in a way that does not corrupt the general meaning much. Such as erasing the name of `Ali or Aal-Muhammad (as), and such as erasing the names of the hypocrites may Allah’s curses befall them, thus we can benefit from the general Qur’anic text always. Or it could be that some verses were removed and hidden, but we can still benefit from the rest, although the infallible ones used to collect that which was removed and this is proven from the Imam’s (as) words to Talhah: “If you adhere to what is already in it, you will be saved from the fire and you shall enter heaven, for in it is our argument and the obligation to obeying us.”]

As you can see, he is refuting those who don’t believe in Tahreef, he continues on the next page 52:

ولا يبعد أيضا أن يقال إن بعض المحذوفات كان من قبيل التفسير والبيان ولم يكن من أجزاء القرآن فيكون التبديل من حيث المعنى أي حرفوه وغيروه في تفسيره وتأويله أعني حملوه على خلاف ما هو به، فمعنى قولهم (عليهم السلام) كذا نزلت أن المراد به ذلك لا أنها نزلت مع هذه الزيادة في لفظها فحذف منها ذلك اللفظ.

[It is also not far-fetched if we were to say, that some of the deletion was from the interpretation(Tafseer), and not from the Qur’an itself. This means that they altered it by corrupting its meanings and interpretations(Tafseer). Therefore, this is what they mean when they (as) say “This is how it (i.e the verse) was revealed” and not that it was actually revealed with these textual additions.]

Notice here he gives another secondary explanation, in that their saying “This is how it was revealed” is referring to its Tafseer, not that it came with additional words. This does not mean that he is rejecting Tahreef though, since he said that this can be the case with “Some of the deletion” meaning that other deletion has reached the actual verses but not in such a big number. All al-Kashani is trying to do here is to prove that a small amount can be corrupted but not in a way that the Qur’an becomes unusable, thus he tries to give another explanation to the expression of “This is how it was revealed”.

He quotes a narration from al-Kafi which might allude to this meaning. Then he quotes what Ahlul-Sunnah narrated by saying:

وما روته العامة أن عليا (عليه السلام) كتب في مصحفه الناسخ والمنسوخ ومعلوم أن الحكم بالنسخ لا يكون إلا من قبيل التفسير والبيان ولا يكون جزء من القرآن فيحتمل أن يكون بعض المحذوفات أيضا كذلك هذا ما عندي من التفصي عن الاشكال والله يعلم حقيقة الحال.

[And what al-`Aamah(Sunnies) narrated regarding `Ali (as), that he wrote in his Mushaf the abrogations, and it is known that the ruling of Naskh(abrogation) is nothing other than interpretation and clarification, not a part of the Qur’an. It’s  also a possibility that some of the deletion is from this type, this is all that I have in my research and Allah knows the truth.]

Be aware that all the author is doing is just trying to minimize the damage, the problem was that there are many Shi`ee narrations claiming the Qur’an is distorted, this great amount causes one to lose trust in the book of Allah. This places pressure on al-Kashani and all those who believe in Tahreef to admit they are wrong and renounce their opinions. Does al-Kashani do this? Of course he does not, instead he tries to solve this issue while sticking to his beliefs by providing the following counter-argument:

A- What was deleted from the Qur’an were only words and verses, but the Qur’an does not lose its value and one can still benefit from the general meaning of its verses even if some small parts are missing.

B- The words and verses that were removed are small in number, because many of the narrations of Tahreef are referring to Tafseer and Mansoukh, thus the majority of the Qur’an is still intact and can be useful to us.

What does al-Kashani speak of next? He lists the opinions of their scholars:

واما اعتقاد مشايخنا (ره) في ذلك فالظاهر من ثقة الاسلام محمد بن يعقوب الكليني طاب ثراه أنه كان يعتقد التحريف والنقصان في القرآن لأنه روى روايات في هذا المعنى في كتابه الكافي ولم يتعرض لقدح فيها مع أنه ذكر في أول الكتاب أنه كان يثق بما رواه فيه وكذلك أستاذه علي بن إبراهيم القمي (ره) فان تفسيره مملو منه وله غلو فيه، وكذلك الشيخ أحمد بن أبي طالب الطبرسي (رضي الله عنه) فإنه أيضا نسج على منوالهما في كتاب الاحتجاج. وأما الشيخ أبو علي الطبرسي فإنه قال في مجمع البيان: اما الزيادة فيه فمجمع على بطلانه وأما النقصان فيه فقد روى جماعة من أصحابنا وقوم من حشوية العامة أن في القرآن تغييرا ونقصانا والصحيح من مذهب أصحابنا خلافه وهو الذي نصره المرتضى (رضي الله عنه) واستوفى الكلام فيه غاية الاستيفاء في جواب المسائل الطرابلسيات.

[As for the belief of our teachers (rah), then what is apparent from Thiqat-ul-Islam al-Kulayni is that he believed in Tahreef and deletion in the Qur’an, because he narrated texts in this meaning in al-Kafi but never criticized them in any way, although he mentioned in the introduction of his book that he trusts its contents. The same can be said about his teacher `Ali bin Ibraheem al-Qummi (rah), his Tafseer is full of it and he goes to extremes in this, also the scholar Ahmad bin abi Talib al-Tabrasi (ra) he also followed their path.]

He also goes onto mentioning the names of their scholars who don’t believe in Tahreef, such as al-Tabrasi author of al-Bayan and al-Murtada and he quotes what they say concerning this and it is similar to the belief of Ahlul-Sunnah, that the Muslims took care of it and preserved it from the beginning and Sahabah like Ubay and ibn Mas`oud had memorized it and used to recite it in front of the Prophet (saw). They also said the Qur’an was popular and widespread between the people, so it’s not possible to corrupt it.

What does al-Kashani comment on this? He refutes it actually, he says on page 54:


أقول: لقائل أن يقول كما أن الدواعي كانت متوفرة على نقل القرآن وحراسته من المؤمنين كذلك كانت متوفرة على تغييره من المنافقين المبدلين للوصية المغيرين للخلافة لتضمنه ما يضاد رأيهم وهواهم والتغيير فيه إن وقع فإنما وقع قبل انتشاره في البلدان واستقراره على ما هو عليه الآن. والضبط الشديد إنما كان بعد ذلك فلا تنافي بينهما بل لقائل أن يقول إنه ما تغير في نفسه وإنما التغيير في كتابتهم إياه وتلفظهم به فإنهم ما حرفوا إلا عند نسخهم من الأصل وبقي الأصل على ما هو عليه عند أهله وهم العلماء به فما هو عند العلماء ليس بمحرف وإنما المحرف ما أظهروه لأتباعهم وأما كونه مجموعا في عهد النبي (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) على ما هو عليه الآن فلم يثبت وكيف كان مجموعا وإنما كان ينزل نجوما وكان لا يتم الا بتمام عمره.
وأما درسه وختمه فإنما كانوا يدرسون ويختمون ما كان عندهم منه لا تمامه.

[I say: A person can argue: Just as there were intentions to preserve the Qur’an and safeguard it by the believers, there were also intentions to distort it by the hypocrites who changed the Will (of the Prophet) and changed the Khilafah(leadership) because it opposed their views and desires. As for the change that took place in it, if it happened, then it took place before the Qur’an became widespread in the lands in the form we recognize today. As for the increased care and attention towards the Qur’an, this only happened after the Qur’an had been spread in its popular form so there’s no conflict. Rather a person can say that the Qur’an never changed, but they only changed it when copying it and reciting it, so the corruption took place when they copied from the original and this original remained un-tampered with its rightful people (i.e Imams), they are the ones who have its knowledge, and what these knowledgeable ones have is un-corrupted, whereas the corrupt one is what they (i.e Caliphs) presented to their followers. As for the claim that it was gathered in the time of the Prophet (saw) in the way it is now, this is baseless and lacks proof, because it was revealed piece by piece and it only finished with his death.
As for those (Sahabah) who studied it and finished it, they used to only study and finish what they had in their possession, not the full Qur’an.]

The reader can see that al-Kashani is doing his best to refute the arguments for the preservation of the Qur’an, his argument to the above statements about the popularity of the Qur’an, is that it became popular after the corruption took place. Observe also that he claims that the true Qur’an is with the ones who are knowledgeable, meaning the Imams according to Shi`ee Imami beliefs, and that the hypocrites only presented the corrupted version to their followers.

Then he lists the opinion of al-Saduq and al-Tusi who believe in its preservation, and comments on them with some very important words on page 55:

أقول: يكفي في وجوده في كل عصر وجوده جميعا كما أنزله الله محفوظا عند أهله ووجود ما احتجنا إليه منه عندنا وإن لم نقدر على الباقي كما أن الإمام (عليه السلام) كذلك فان الثقلين سيان في ذلك

[I say: It is sufficient for us, that the Qur’an is available at all times, all of it as Allah revealed it, preserved with its rightful people (i.e Imams), and (it is sufficient) that we have in our hands what we need from it, even if we couldn’t have the rest of it just like the Imam (as) as well, and so al-Thaqalayn are similar in this.]

This needs some explanation as this is the man’s true belief, let me rephrase it to make it very simple and clear. He is saying: It is sufficient for us to know that the full complete Qur’an is with the Imam, he preserves it, on the other hand we have from it today only what we need since the Imams told us that if we read what is between the two covers we will be saved and it is sufficient, it does not harm us that parts of it were lost.

The final example he gives us is important, he says “The Thaqalayn are similar in this” meaning he is likening the Imam to the Qur’an, just like they had access to eleven Imams and the last one was lost and hidden, al-Kashani believes that the same can be said about the Qur’an, we have most of it but parts of it are missing, they will appear with the hidden Imam.

This is the end of his sixth introduction regarding Tahreef, and in this introduction we observe the following:

1- He always quotes the opinions of those who believe in Tahreef first, as if they are the Asl or the foundation, and then later he mentions those that oppose them.

2- He mentioned a great amount of evidence from Shi`ee Hadith that point to the corruption of the Qur’an, he barely mentions any evidence to counter this.

3- He lists the opinions of those who don’t believe in Tahreef and their arguments, then he makes sure to thoroughly refute them, while allowing those who believe in Tahreef to have the last word.

4- He mentions the believers in Tahreef with great respect and praises them and speaks about it as if it’s a regular point of view with no consequence.

5- He mentions narrations of Tahreef inside his Tafseer and never comments on them nor does he criticize them.

For Example:

Regarding this verse:

{[It was] so that Allah may punish the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the men and women who associate others with Him and that Allah may accept repentance from the believing men and believing women. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.} [33:73]

He writes in his Tafseer vol.4 pg.209:

في ثواب الأعمال والمجمع عن الصادق عليه السلام من كان كثير القراءة لسورة الأحزاب كان يوم القيامة في جوار محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وأزواجه وزاد في ثواب الأعمال ثم قال سورة الأحزاب فضحت نساء قريش من العرب وكانت أطول من سورة البقرة ولكن نقصوها وحرفوها

[In “Thawab al-A`maal” and in “al-Majma`” from al-Sadiq (as): He who recites Surat al-Ahzab a lot will be beside the Prophet (saw) on the final day. He added in “Thawab al-A`maal”: Surat al-Ahzab has exposed the women of Quraysh from among the Arabs, it was longer than Surat al-Baqarah but they erased it and corrupted it.]

This was the last thing he wrote concerning the final verse of Surat al-Ahzab and he never commented on this or clarified that this is related to “interpretation” or “abrogation” or any other excuse, he just left the readers with this statement and moved on to the next Surah.

Another example I give to show that this isn’t a coincidence, regarding this verse:

{And when We decreed for Solomon death, nothing indicated to the jinn his death except a creature of the earth eating his staff. But when he fell, it became clear to the jinn that if they had known the unseen, they would not have remained in humiliating punishment.} [34:14]

He writes in his book vol.4 pg.213:

ثم ذكر كالحديث السابق ثم قال فلما خر على وجهه تبينت الأنس أن الجن لو كانوا يعلمون الغيب ما لبثوا في العذاب المهين فهكذا نزلت هذه الآية

[Then he mentioned it like the previous narration, then he said: “But when he fell on his face, it became clear to the humans that if the jinn had known the unseen, they would not have remained in humiliating punishment.” So this is how this verse was revealed.]

As you can see the verse is altered and changed, but not by the “hypocrites” that al-Kashani was talking about, rather it was altered and corrupted by the true Hypocrites, the Rafidhah.

There are more examples from al-Kashani’s Tafseer, but they are similar to the above, in that he mentions narrations of Tahreef and doesn’t comment on them at all. I remind you that it was al-Kashani himself who claimed al-Kulayni believed in Tahreef because he mentioned several narrations of Tahreef in his book and never commented on them.

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