Al-Hurr al-`Amili and Tahreef

The heavyweight of the Shia, their leader and the author of one of their eight main Hadith books, al-Hurr al-`Amili is no doubt from the top Shia scholars of Hadith and has earned the utmost respect by the followers of this sect.

This man comes as no surprise since he is the most outspoken of all Akhbari Twelver Shia scholars and we all know their stance regarding Allah’s book.

Let’s dive right into his books and expose his deviance to the world.

In his book “Ithbat-ul-Hudat”, after mentioning three reports where the Imams claim their names were present in the Qur’an before it was changed, he commented saying:

أقول: هذه الأحاديث و أمثالها دالة على أن النص على الأئمة عليهم السّلام و كذا التصريح بأسمائهم و قد تواترت الأخبار بأن القرآن نقص منه كثير و سقط منه آيات لما تكتب، و بعضهم يحمل تلك الأخبار، على أن ما نقص و سقط كان تأويلا نزل مع التنزيل، و بعضهم على أنه وحي لا قرآن، و على كل حال فهو حجة في النص و تلك الأخبار متواترة من طريق العامة و الخاصة

[I say: These narrations and their likes are evidence that the textual appointment of the Imams (as) in addition to their names (were present), and the narrations have reached mass transmission (Tawatur) in declaring that much was lost from the Qur’an and that verses from it were dropped without being written. Some consider these reports to be referring to explanations that descended alongside the revelation while some consider it as revelation but not a part of the Qur’an. Either-way, the text is valid proof and those narrations are mass transmitted by the general Muslims and the Shia.]

Source: Ithbat-ul-Hudat 2/206

Above, he is saying that some verses were lost and removed for sure. Then he gives some of the interpretations of those who don’t believe in its corruption. Finally, he concludes that no matter what the case, the Qur’anic text is still valid even if some verses are missing, and that the reports of corruption are mass-transmitted thus undeniable.

In the same book while copying some texts from Rabi`-ul-Abrar by al-Zamakhshari, he writes the story of how the Qur’anic verses were lost:

و روى أيضا أحاديث كثيرة في الطعن على عثمان، تركناها اختصارا، منها: ما تضمن أنه جمع الناس على قراءة زيد بن ثابت خاصة، و أحرق المصاحف، و أبطل ما لا شك فيه أنه منزل من القرآن‏

[And he (i.e al-Zamakhshari) narrated many reports criticizing `Uthman but we left it for the sake of brevity. From them: Is that he gathered the people upon the recitation of Zayd bin Thabit and burned the Masahif thus destroying what were undoubtedly revealed Qur’anic texts]

Source: Ithbat-ul-Hudat 3/380

When he says “destroying” he means that those verses are lost to no return because of `Uthman. Indeed, the fact that `Uthman compiled the Qur’an into book form has turned many Shia away from it due to their hatred of Umayyads.

In order to learn more about his belief, we turn towards a more specialized book. A treatise by the name of “Tawatur al-Qur’an” written by al-`Amili.

Now you’re going to find it odd, that a person who believes in Tahrif would have a book aiming to prove the corruption of the Qur’an. The title of the book “Tawatur al-Qur’an” implies that the author wouldn’t be from those who believe in Tahrif, nonetheless let’s read what the researcher of the book al-Sayyid Muhammad Hadi Karami says in the introduction pg.21 while discussing the contents of the book:

[Then the Shaykh (i.e al-`Amili) mentioned that the presence of deletion (in the Qur’an) does not oppose the fact that what’s present from it (today) is mass transmitted nor does believing in this (i.e deletion) cause harm. What opposes the mass transmission (of the Qur’an) is the presence of additions and distortions.]

There you have it folks! According to the researcher’s summary, al-`Amili proves that the Qur’an is mass transmitted even though the Companions removed verses of `Ali’s merits. The deletion of verses does not constitute any harm when it comes to Tawatur, only additions are problematic.

Moreover, when al-`Amili is talking about Tawatur, he isn’t talking about the mass transmission of the Qur’an as it was revealed to prophet Muhammad (saw). Since as you know he believes verses are missing, he’s mainly talking about the mass transmission of `Uthman’s official Qur’an after those verses were dropped and after the official version was spread in the lands.

The researcher makes sure to highlight this point on the same page:

[It’s no secret, that the debate revolves around the mass transmission of this Qur’an from the Prophet (saw) not its mass transmission from those who had later collected it.]

Let’s move to al-`Amili’s own words and see if the researcher got it right, he says on pg.31:

[Combining both additions and deletion when discussing this matter is not good. Because the deletions, in case they did actually occur, do not oppose the mass transmission of what is present today. We are only discussing the amount that is found in the Book now, is it mass transmitted or not? Does it contain additions, distortions and alterations or not? No doubt it is mass transmitted today.]

Notice the author refuses to discuss deletions, he says they aren’t harmful and the discussion is only concerning the verses that survived today in the Qur’an, have they reached us through Tawatur or not? He says if they did, then it is evidence that no additions or distortions took place in our Qur’an, yet he never mentions deletions as if it isn’t a big deal if our Qur’an lost verses.

Al-`Amili then quotes al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Damad on pg.40, al-Damad quotes the verse about Allah promising to protect the revelation and comments that it is an evidence against those who believe the Qur’an contains additions or that parts may be corrupted and replaced with others, also its order and arrangement. However, when he reaches the part about “deletion” Damad says:

[Regarding verses being left behind, or being dropped after they were revealed, the majority of our companions allow this and a few of the commoners as well. The majority of the mainstream (Muslims) prohibit this completely although the narrations in our books and theirs are plentiful in stating that these deletion did in fact take place generally.]

ِAl-`Amili then writes that the Muslims had unquestionably transmitted the Qur’an and that even if the Muslims had certain motivations to remove or hide certain verses, then this is restricted to a small portion of the Qur’an not all of it.

Al-`Amili then quotes two narrations about how `Ali collected the full Qur’an and how the Companions rejected it. Then `Umar began collecting the Qur’an by bringing at least two witnesses for every verse.

Al-`Amili comments on the narrations pg.68:

[I say: I learned from these two narrations and their likes, that they (as) ruled that this Qur’an is truthful, all of it is correct without any additions or distortion. However, what is understood from the two reports regarding the deletion, is possibly concerning the interpretation that descended alongside the revelation and there’s quite a few clues for this, Or it could be that it’s concerning the revelation that isn’t part of the Qur’an as al-Saduq previously stated. It is also possible that it refers to abrogation among other possibilities. What is apparent from the second report is that the deletion was related to what contained the scandals of those folks including the textual appointment of the Imams. The presence of those texts would have exposed their disobedience and so no doubt nothing more than these kinds of texts were dropped. This however does not negate the mass transmission of what was dropped (from verses) let alone what is still present. The reason that they (i.e Companions) requested two witnesses (for each verse) instead of one, was simply a ruse and a scheme on their part, due to the prevalence of Taqiyyah and the number of hypocrites who support them (i.e supported Abu Bakr and `Umar) as well as the small number of their opponents who were siding with the chief of believers (as). It’s sufficient for you to know that they were followed by countless thousands whereas the chief of believers (as) only had the support of four people, this makes things clear.]

In the above he lists various possibilities for what was dropped and that it might be interpretation or revelation. Then he says that the second narration hints that certain verses were indeed dropped and they would have exposed Abu Bakr and `Umar if they remained. This is why Abu Bakr and `Umar, when collecting the Qur’an, placed a condition that any verse that must be written needs two witnesses. By doing so, they got rid of all verses related to the Imam’s appointment as he and his supporters couldn’t speak since they were in Taqiyyah, thus those verses were not written due to the absence of witnesses.

Al-`Amili states that the Qur’an was mass transmitted during the time of the Prophet (saw) and that the Companions had all verses written, however he doesn’t mean that this proves that no verses were lost later, because he states right after that this was the case until `Uthman burned them as if to hint that it was mass transmitted until `Uthman destroyed the evidence by force. On pg.99:

[No doubt that the people had many copies written (of verses) and the original copies remained preserved in written form with those we mentioned out of precaution in order to guard the Qur’an at least until the reign of `Uthman.]

Below you will learn why al-`Amili was only addressing additions and distortions yet avoiding deletions.

In another book while disputing with another scholar’s evidences he said about the Qur’anic verses pertaining to lawful foods:

وقد تواترت الروايات بأنه لم يجمع القرآن كله الا الأئمة عليهم السلام وان من أدعى انه جمعه كله فهو كاذب. وورد النص الصحيح بأن القرآن الذي نزل على محمد صلى الله عليه واله كان سبعة عشر ألف آية. والموجود الان نحو الثلث باعتبار العدد. ويحتمل كون تلك الآيات أطول من الآيات الموجودة ويكون الموجود منه هو العشر او اقل وتواتر النص بأن المهدي عليه السلام اذا خرج يخرج القرآن بتمامه فينفر أكثر الناس منه ولا يقبله الا القليل. فكيف يقال : ان جميع المحرمات قد فصلت لنا في هذا القرآن الموجود ليمكن الحكم باباحة ما ليس فيه وهذا لا يتم الا على طريقة العامة وهذا الاستدلال لا يليق صدوره عن أحد من العقلاء فضلا عن الفضلاء

[The narrations mentioning that the entire Qur’an was only collected by the Imams (as) have reached mass transmission (Tawatur) and that whoever claims to have collected it has lied. The authentic text has also reached us that the Qur’an revealed to Muhammad (saw) was seventeen thousand verses whereas the one available today is only a third of this number. It is possible that those (missing) verses are longer than the ones present and so what’s available could be a tenth or less from the actual size. It’s also been mass transmitted that the Mahdi (as) when he emerges, shall bring out the complete Qur’an but the people will be repulsed by it while only a minority accept it. How then could it be said: “All prohibited foods have been specified for us in this present Qur’an and so everything not mentioned therein is lawful.” This can only be correct according to the methodology of the general Muslims (Sunnies) but this can’t be considered as binding proof to any sane person let alone a virtuous one.]

Source: Al-Fawa’id al-Tusiyyah pg.483-484.

And so al-Hurr al-`Amili holds the classic Shia belief that the Qur’anic text is a legitimate religious proof although it’s missing verses. Similar to al-Fayd al-Kashani and others.

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