Al-Sayyari and Tahreef

The Twelver Shia don’t really have much to offer when it comes to Qur’anic sciences whether Tafseer, I`raab, Lughaat, Naskh, Qira’at etc… Those who read about the early Twelver Shia authors will see that they never paid much attention to the Qur’an, even if one were to find books that are related to the Qur’an among their writings, the main topic would be how many verses were revealed concerning the virtues of Ahlul-Bayt or condemning their enemies. From the earliest Shia books of Qur’anic sciences we have Tafseer al-Qummi, a book written by `Ali bin Ibrahim (d.329AH) the book of course was filled with narrations of Tahreef to the extent that today’s Twelvers are so embarrassed by it that they act as if they reject it. Another early Twelver book is Tafseer Furat al-Koufi written by abu al-Qasim Furat bin Ibrahim al-Koufi (d.352AH) also a book filled with Tahreef that they claim to disown when it suites them.

Another rare early book we came across written by a Twelver about the Qur’anic sciences was called “Kitab-ul-Qira’at” or “Al-Tanzil wal-Tahreef” by abi `Abdillah Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Sayyari (d.267AH). A very early book which makes it very valuable, of course when we opened the book and looked inside, it was no surprise, this extremist Shia scholar filled its pages with narrations of Tahreef.

Al-Sayyari was one of the top Twelver Shia narrators in the time of al-`Askari, in fact `Ali bin Ibrahim al-Qummi himself narrates from him in his book 2/409:

علي بن إبراهيم القمي : حدثنا محمد بن جعفر قال حدثنا محمد بن أحمد عن أحمد بن محمد السياري عن فلان عن أبي الحسن  قال :  إن الله جعل قلوب الأئمة موردا لإرادته فإذا شاء الله شيئا شاؤه وهو قوله وما تشاؤن إلا يشاء الله رب العالمين

It is also known that a group of Shia scholars have authenticated anybody whose name was mentioned in the chains of al-Qummi’s Tafseer.

Al-Sayyari however is considered a weak narrator and an extremist by al-Tusi, al-Najashi and Ibn al-Ghada’iri. Other Shia scholars of Hadith did not agree, they believed the man was unjustly branded as weak due to the nature of his reports.

Shia Muhaddith and the author of one of the eight main Shia Hadith books, al-Noori al-Tabrasi says about the man and his book: “In general, we can say that after the grand scholars narrated from him, such as: Al-Himyari, al-Saffar, abi `Ali al-Ash`ari, Musa bin al-Hasan al-Ash`ari and al-Hussayn bin Muhammad bin `Amir who are from the top reliable scholars, as well as the reliance of Thiqat-ul-Islam al-Kulayni on him (in al-Kafi). I add, also based on the fact that his book is devoid of any extremism or confusion and the reliance of the top scholars on him, then we should ignore what was said about him and shouldn’t doubt his book.”

Source: Conclusion of Al-Mustadrak 1/114, second benefit #23.

Al-Kulayni even considered him from his companions, he referred to him in al-Kafi vol.1 “Bab-ul-Fay'” #5:

علي بن محمد بن عبد الله ، عن بعض أصحابنا أظنه السياري

[`Ali bin Muhammad bin `Abdullah, from some of our companions, as I recall al-Sayyari…]

Which is also no surprise, since al-Kulayni did believe in Tahreef like al-Qummi and al-Sayyari, he has an entire chapter in his book about this.

The author of Wasa’il al-Shi`ah, one of the eight main Shia books of Hadith, the popular leader of the Shia, al-Hurr al-`Amili himself considered al-Sayyari’s books from the accepted reliable sources. He said: “As for the relied upon books which we have copied from through an intermediary since we did not possess them. However, al-Saduq, al-Shaykh, al-Muhaqqiq, Ibn Idris, al-Shahid, al-`Allamah, Ibn Tawous, `Ali bin `Isa and others from the authors of the previous books have copied from them and here we list a group of these books which they have declared quoting from: (…etc…) The book of abi `Abdillah al-Sayyari.]

Source: Wasa’il al-Shi`ah 30/160-161.

Without further ado, let’s browse this early Shia Tafseer book and provide some samples of what it contains.

The copy relied upon is the 2009 edition, researched and presented by Ethan Kohlberg and Muhammad `Ali Ameer Mu`azzi.

pg.9: [Hammad bin `Isa, from Ibrahim bin `Umar, he said: abu `Abdillah (as) said: “The Qur’an contains the news of the past, the present events and what is to come; it (also) contained the names of men but they were removed.”]

pg.9: [`Ali bin al-Nu`man from `Abdullah bin Muskan (…) from abi Ja`far (as), he said: “If it wasn’t for the additions and subtractions that have taken place in the Qur’an, our right would not have been hidden from one with intellect. When our Qa’im rises his speech will be affirmed by the Qur’an.”]

pg.9: [`Ali bin al-Hakam, from Hisham bin Salim, he said: aba `Abdillah (as) said: “The Qur’an brought forth by Jibreel (as) to Muhammad (saw) was seventeen-thousand verses.”]

pg.9: [Ibn Faddal, from Dawoud bin abi Yazid, from abi `Abdillah (as): “The Qur’an was revealed with the names of seven, Quraysh erased six and left aba Lahab.”]

Notice dear reader we’re still at the very beginning yet we have proved our point clearly, if the book begins with such narrations then Allah help us all.

pg.20 [Ibn Sinan, from `Ammar, from al-Munakhkhil, from Jabir, from abu Ja`far (as), he said: “Jibreel (as) came down with this verse like this: How wretched is that for which they sold themselves – that they would disbelieve in what was revealed concerning `Ali.”]

Of course the verse in the Qur’an says:

{How wretched is that for which they sold themselves – that they would disbelieve in what Allah has revealed} [2:90]

pg.20: [Al-Husayn bin Sayf, from his brother, from his father, from Zayd al-Shahham, from abi Ja`far (as), he said: “Jibreel descended with the following verse as such: But those who wronged changed the right of Muhammad’s family, to a statement other than that which had been said to them, so We sent down upon those who wronged the family of Muhammad a punishment.”]

Of course the verse in the Qur’an says:

{But those who wronged changed [those words] to a statement other than that which had been said to them, so We sent down upon those who wronged a punishment} [2:59]

Okay now let’s take some samples from the last pages.

pg.181: [Muhammad bin Awramah, from al-Rabi` bin Zakariya, from a man, from Yunus bin Dhabiyan, he said: abu `Abdillah (as) recited: “By the night when it covers – And [by] the day when it appears – ِGod created the male and female, and to `Ali belongs the hereafter and the first life.” He said: “This is how it was revealed.”]

Of course the verses are like this:

{By the night when it covers (1) And [by] the day when it appears (2) And [by] He who created the male and female, (3) Indeed, your efforts are diverse.} [92:1-4]

pg.165: [Al-Barqi, from Muhammad bin Sulayman, from his father, from abi Basir, from abi `Abdillah (as) about Allah’s words: “A supplicant asked for a punishment bound to happen – To those who disbelieve in loving `Ali ; of it there is no preventer.” He (as) said: “By Allah this is how Jibreel (as) revealed it to Muhammad (saw) and that’s how it is recorded in Fatimah’s (as) Mushaf.”]

Of course verse [70:2] does not contain the part “in loving `Ali”.

And the book contains plenty of other narrations of corruption but what we have presented from the first pages is sufficient and there is no need for more to prove that this guy believed in the corruption of the Qur’an just like the majority of early Imami Shia.

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