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The strongest and most “authentic” hadeeth that has circled around the internet that might allude to the Qur’aan undergoing some sort of “taHreef” (distortion) is a hadeeth narrated in Al-Kaafi. But is it really “authentic”?
Here is the hadeeth:
عَلِيُّ بْنُ الْحَكَمِ عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ سَالِمٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ إِنَّ الْقُرْآنَ الَّذِي جَاءَ بِهِ جَبْرَئِيلُ ع إِلَى مُحَمَّدٍ ص سَبْعَةَ عَشَرَ أَلْفَ آيَةٍ
Aboo `Abd Allaah (عليه السلام) said: “The Qur’aan that Jibra’eel brought to Muhammad (صلى الله عليه واله وسلم) had 17,000 verses”
1. Al-Kulayni, Al-Kaafi, vol. 2, Kitaab FaDl Al-Qur’aan, Ch. Rare Traditions, pg. 634, hadeeth # 28
1. Al-Majlisi said this hadeeth is Muwaththaq (Reliable)
--> Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 12, pg. 525
--> Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 12, pg. 525
2. Al-Majlisi I (Al-Majlisi’s Father) said this hadeeth is SaHeeH (Authentic)
--> RawDah Al-Muttaqoon, vol. 10, pg. 21
3. Hoor Al-`Aamilee said this hadeeth is SaHeeH (Authentic)
--> Al-Fuwaa’id Al-Toosiyyah, topic # 96, pg. 483
Here are Al-Majlisi’s comments after he has graded this hadeeth in his Mir’aat Al-`Uqool:
فالخبر صحيح و لا يخفى أن هذا الخبر و كثير من الأخبار الصحيحة صريحة في نقص القرآن و تغييره، و عندي أن الأخبار في هذا الباب متواترة معنى، و طرح جميعها يوجب رفع الاعتماد عن الأخبار رأسا
"The khabar (hadeeth) is SaHeeH and it is obvious that this khabar (hadeeth) and other SaHeeH ones like it are clear about the Qur'aan being shortened and changed, and in my opinion, this is mutaawatir in meaning, and discarding these narrations would lead us to rejecting all akhbaar (narrations) in general."
1. Al-Majlisi, Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 12, pg. 525
Al-Majlisi has unfortunately erred in his ijtihaad (opinion), and may Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive him inshaa’Allaah. Now inshaa’Allaah we will dissect this Hadeeth in depth and we will show that this hadeeth is actually considered da`eef (weak).
From the look of this hadeeth alone it seems that it is Da`eef (weak), because there are only two narrators (`Alee bin Al-Hakam & Hishaam bin Saalim) before Abaa `Abd Allaah (عليه السلام), our sixth Imaam. But this is not the case. Al-Kulayni has been known to do this, he truncates an isnaad if the previous hadeeth’s isnaad is relatively the same. So what we will need to do is go to the previous hadeeth. Here is the chain to the Previous hadeeth.
مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ فَرْقَدٍ وَ الْمُعَلَّى بْنِ خُنَيْسٍ قَالا
As you can see the commonality between the isnaad is there, that being `Alee bin Al-Hakam, so the Hadeeth’s isnaad would actually look like this.
محمد بن يحيى عن أحمد بن محمد عن علي بن الحكم عن هشام بن سالم عن أبي عبد الله ع قال
Any rijaal scholar or muHadithoon (hadeeth scholar) will look at this hadeeeth, and say, “Wow, Great chain.” But in actuality this hadeeth is Da`eef.
The fault in what Al-Majlisi and other hadeeth scholars have done is with aHmad bin Muhammad (in red) in the chain. By looking at this hadeeth and the tareeq (pathway) that `Alee bin Al-Hakam narrates to, the hadeeth scholars automatically assumed that the aHmad bin Muhammad is aHmad bin Muhammad bin `Eesaa. This is incorrect. It is actually aHmad bin Muhammad bin Sayyaar (Al-Sayyaaree), a known da`eef (weak) person.
Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Sayyaar is Da`eef Jiddan, Ghuluww, Faasid Madhhab (Very Weak, Exaggerator, and Corrupt beliefs) according to:
1. Ibn Al-GhaDaa’iree, Kitaab Al-Du`afaa, pg. 40, person # 11
2. Al-Najaashee, Rijaal, pg. 80, person # 192
3. Al-Toosi, Fihrist, pg. 57, person # 70
4. Al-Hillee, Al-KhulaaSah, pg. 203, person # 9 & pg. 268, person # 27
5. Al-Khoei, Mu`jam Rijaal Al-Hadeeth, vol. 2, pg. 282, person # 871
This is what it said in Al-Toosi’s Fihrist under aHmad bin Muhammad bin Sayyaar’s name:
و صنف كتبا منها: كتاب ثواب القرآن كتاب الطب كتاب القراءات كتاب النوادر. أخبرنا بالنوادر خاصة الحسين بن عبيد الله عن أحمد بن محمد بن يحيى قال: حدثنا أبي قال: حدثنا السياري إلا بما كان فيه من غلو أو تخليط
“And he compiled these books: Kitaab Thawaab Al-Qur’aan (Rewards of the Qur’aan), Kitaab Al-Tibb (Medicine), Kitaab Al-Qiraa’aat (Recitations), and Kitaab Al-Nawaadir (Rare (hadeeth)). al-Husayn b. `Ubaydullah reported to us an-Nawadir specifically, from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Yahya. He said: My father (Muhammad bin YaHya) narrated to us. He said: as-Sayyari narrated to us except for what was in it of ghuluww (exaggeration) or confusion.”
1. Al-Toosi, Fihrist, pg. 57, person # 70
I will talk about the book Kitaab Al-Qiraa’aat (Recitations) that is in green a little later. Notice the chain of narrates that Al-Toosi has received the books of Al-Sayyaaree from. He is narrating to the same person (Muhammad bin YaHya) as is stated in the isnaad of the 17,000 verses hadeeth.
محمد بن يحيى عن أحمد بن محمد
This is what is stated in Al-Najaashee’s Rijaal under aHmad bin Muhammad bin Sayyaar’s name:
كتاب ثواب القرآن كتاب الطب كتاب القراءات كتاب النوادر كتاب الغارات أخبرنا الحسين بن عبيد الله قال: حدثنا أحمد بن محمد بن يحيى و أخبرنا أبو عبد الله القزويني قال: حدثنا أحمد بن محمد بن يحيى عن أبيه قال: حدثنا السياري إلا ما كان من غلو و تخليط.
“Kitaab Thawaab Al-Qur’aan (Rewards of the Qur’aan), Kitaab Al-Tibb (Medicine), Kitaab Al-Qiraa’aat (Recitations), and Kitaab Al-Nawaadir (Rare (hadeeth)), Kitaab Al-Ghaaraat (Military Invasions): Reported to us Al-Hussayn bin `Ubayd Allaah He said: aHmad bin Muhammad bin YaHya narrated to us and Aboo `Abd Allaah Al-Qazweenee reported to us. He said: aHmad bin Muhammad bin YaHya narrated to us from his father (Muhammad bin YaHya). He said: Al-Sayyaaree narrated to us except what was in it of ghuluww or confusion"
1. Al-Najaashee, Rijaal, pg. 80, person # 192
Once again, Al-Najaashee gives the chain of narrates to the books that he has received that has been authored by Al-Sayyaaree. And in this chain of narrator, you can see again, that he has mentioned the same person (Muhammad bin YaHya) whom he has narrated the 17,000 verses in the Qur’aan hadeeth to.
Now, in one of aHmad bin Muhammad bin Sayyaar’s books (Kitaab Al-Qaraa’aat) he has narrated this EXACT same hadeeth, same wording with the same chain that is presented in Al-Kaafi.
Al-Nooree had the book Kitaab Al-Qaraa’aat of aHmad bin Muhammad bin Sayyaar, and he has narrated this hadeeth in one of his books with the same chain.
احمد بن محمد السياري في كتاب القراءات عن علي بن الحكم عن هشام بن سالم قال قال أبو عبدالله عليه السلام : القرآن الذي جاء به جبرئيل(ع) إلى محمد صلى الله عليه وآله عشرة الف آية
“aHmad bin Muhammad Al-Sayyaaree in his Kitaab Al-Qaraa’at (narrates) from `Alee bin Al-Hakam from Hishaam bin Saalim he said that Aboo `Abd Allaah (عليه السلام) said: “The Qur’aan that Jibra’eel brought to Muhammad (SAWAS) had 10,000 verses”
1. Al-Nooree, FaSl Al-Kitaab, pg. 235
Here is what Al-Nooree has said after the hadeeth:
كذا في نسختي وهي سقيمة والظاهر سقوط كلمة سبعة قبل عشرة لاتحاده متناً وسنداً لما في الكافي
“So in my copy it is ill (wrong) and apparently the word saba`ah (seven) has been dropped before the `ashrah (ten). The same matn (content) and sanad (chain of narrators) that is in Al-Kaafi”
This shows that, Al-Nooree has said for some reason the seven before the ten was dropped from his copy of Al-Sayyaaree’s book, but he said that it is actually suppose to have the seven before the ten, making it 17,000 verses and not 10,000 verses.
Al-Sayyaar’s book is still in our possession, alHamdulillaah, and I will present to you a scanned copy of the Front image of the book and this EXACT hadeeth with the same sanad that is in his book.
(Front Cover – Kitaab Al-Qiraa’at by aHmad bin Muhammad bin Sayyaar)
(Hadeeth # 16 (Boxed in Black) – Pg. 9 of the book)
As you can see, this hadeeth that is in Al-Kaafi, is actually narrated from aHmad bin Muhammad bin Sayyaar, and not aHmad bin Muhammad bin `Eesaa, thus making this hadeeth da`eef (weak).
Now there are other aHaadeeth that might allude to some sort of taHreef, but the other aHaadeeth can all be reconciled easily.
1. The hadeeth is da`eef (weak)
2. The hadeeth is ta’wil (commentary) that has been added by our Imaams (عليه السلام) to explain a certain verse, such as, who was it narrated for, when was this narrated, etc.
You might find some people take out hadeeth in which it shows that our Imaams (عليه السلام) name is specifically mentioned in the Qur’aan, but those hadeeth are not only da`eef by sanad, but those aHaadeeth also go against a SaHeeH (authentic) hadeeth that is mentioned in our books.
In a lengthy tradition it states:
عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ يُونُسَ وَ عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ زِيَادٍ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ يُونُسَ عَنِ ابْنِ مُسْكَانَ عَنْ أَبِي بَصِيرٍ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع عَنْ قَوْلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَ أَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ (النساء -: 59 -) فَقَالَ نَزَلَتْ فِي عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ وَ الْحَسَنِ وَ الْحُسَيْنِ ع فَقُلْتُ لَهُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ يَقُولُونَ فَمَا لَهُ لَمْ يُسَمِّ عَلِيّاً وَ أَهْلَ بَيْتِهِ ع فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ قَالَ فَقَالَ قُولُوا لَهُمْ إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ص نَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَ لَمْ يُسَمِّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ ثَلَاثاً وَ لَا أَرْبَعاً حَتَّى كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص هُوَ الَّذِي فَسَّرَ ذَلِكَ لَهُمْ وَ نَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِ الزَّكَاةُ وَ لَمْ يُسَمِّ لَهُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَرْبَعِينَ دِرْهَماً دِرْهَمٌ حَتَّى كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص هُوَ الَّذِي فَسَّرَ ذَلِكَ لَهُمْ وَ نَزَلَ الْحَجُّ فَلَمْ يَقُلْ لَهُمْ طُوفُوا أُسْبُوعاً حَتَّى كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ …..
“I asked Aboo ‘Abd Allaah (عليه السلام) about the words of Allaah (عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ): ‘Believers, obey Allah, His Messenger, and your leaders (who possess Divine Authority). . . .’ (4:59) “The Imam said, ‘This was sent from the heavens about `Alee ibn Abee Taalib, Al-Hassan and Al-Hussayn (عليه السلام).’ I then said, ‘People say, “Why did He not specify Ali and his family by their names in the Book of Allaah (عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ)?’ “The Imam said, ‘Say to them, “The command for prayer came to the Messenger of Allah but He has not specified (the number of the Rak‘ats) for them as being three or four. It, in fact, was the Messenger of Allah who explained to them this matter. The command for Zakat (a form of income tax) came to the Messenger of Allah and there was no specific taxable number such as one Dirham on every forty Dirham. It was the Messenger of Allah who explained it for them. The command for Hajj came to the Messenger of Allah. It did not say walk seven times around the Ka‘ba. It was the Messenger of Allah who explained it for them…”
1. Al-Kulayni, Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, pg. 286 – 288, hadeeth # 1
1. Al-Majlisi said this hadeeth is SaHeeH (Authentic)
--> Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 3, pg. 213
--> Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 3, pg. 213
One thing to mention about this hadeeth is that it goes through 6 different routes, this add more emphasis to how SaHeeH (authentic) this narration truly is.
In this hadeeth it shows that Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) has said not specifically named the names of the Imaams (عليه السلام) merely because it is not the job of the Qur’aan to do so. Our 6th Imaam (عليه السلام) has given examples such how to pray salaah, pay zakaah, do Tawaaf seven times around the ka`bah. It was the job of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه واله وسلم) to fill in the details of these acts, just like it is the job of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه واله وسلم) to fill in the details regarding the Imaams (عليه السلام).
Any aHaadeeth that is taken out of Shee`ah books that shows the actual naming of the Imaams (عليه السلام) is either da`eef (weak) right away by isnaad, or that it is contradicting a highly SaHeeH hadeeth that goes through 6 different routes in the chain.
In conclusion, the most “authentic” hadeeth that alludes to some sort of taHreef, which is the 17,000 verses in the Qur’aan hadeeth is actually Da`eef (Weak), and all other Hadeeth can be reconciled as being either da`eef (weak) or ta’wil (commentary) on the verse.
I would like to thank Brother YaHya Seymour, who has compiled all this research for me, without him this article will not be possible. May Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) bless him and his family. Aameen.