Taḥrīfnāpadhīrī-yi Qurʾān

Author: Fatḥullāh Najjārzādigān
Reviewed by: Morteza Karimi

Fatḥullāh Najjārzādigān, Taḥrīfnāpadhīrī-yi Qurʾān (Non-Distortion of the Qurʾān), 1st ed., 1 vol., Tehran: Mashʿar Publication, 1384, 256 pp.

Distortion or non-distortion of the Qurʾān is one of the important topics in Qurʾānic studies. The vast majority of Shiʿa and Sunni scholars believe that the Qurʾān has been immune to any distortion throughout history, and that the Book that is now available to everyone is exactly the same Book revealed to the Prophet (s) by Gabriel, and nothing has been reduced from it as nothing has been added to it. However, there have always been questions and doubts about the non-distortion of the Qurʾān, which has led to the writing of numerous books by Muslim scholars. Taḥrīfnāpadhīrī-yi Qurʾān (Non-Distortion of the Qurʾān) in Persian by Fatḥullāh Najjārzādigān is one of the newest works on this topic.

Born in 1337 (solar) in Isfahan, Iran, Fatḥullāh Najjārzādigān is a contemporary Shiʿa scholar and a faculty member of the University of Tehran. He is an expert in Qurʾānic studies and his Salāmat al-Qurʾān min al-Taḥrīf (The Immunity of the Qurʾān from Distortion) in Arabic was chosen as the Book of the Year of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2013. Among his other works, mention can be made of Barrasī-yi Taṭbīqī-yi Tafsīr-i Āyāt-i Wilāyat-i Ahl-i Bayt (a) dar Dīdgāh-i Farīqayn (A Comparative Study of the Interpretation of the Verses of the Authority of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) from the Shiʿa and Sunni Point of View) and Rahyāftī bi Makātib-i Tafsīrī (An Approach to Interpretation Schools).

Taḥrīfnāpadhīrī-yi Qurʾān consists of an introduction and 2 chapters. According to the author in the introduction, more than 300 Shiʿa and Sunni sources have been referred to in writing this book.

The first chapter consists of an introduction and two parts. The definition of distortion and its types and the course of the historical thought of not-distortion of the Qurʾān are explained in the introduction. In the first part, Fatḥullāh Najjārzādigān answers 6 important questions about the distortion of the Qurʾān, including what verses, narrations, and historical evidence have been cited to prove that the Qurʾān is not distorted? The author discusses these reasons in detail and quotes numerous Shiʿa and Sunni sources. The rational reason for the Qurʾān’s immunity from distortion and the Shiite view on distortion are among the other topics of this part.

Taḥrīfnāpadhīrī-yi QurʾānSince there are narrations in Shiʿa and Sunni ḥadīth sources that some have cited to prove distortion, the second and third parts of this chapter examine these narrations in detail. In the second part, eleven questions are answered about the basis of criticism of citing these ḥadīths, including what is the root of the belief in the distortion of the Qurʾān? Considering that the Qurʾān is one of the criteria for the correctness of the narrations, what are the results of this point in the discussion of distortion from the point of view of Shiʿa and Sunni scholars? What effect does the analysis of the key words in the narrations related to distortion have on the correct understanding of these narrations? Are these ḥadīths the same in Shiʿa and Sunni sources? Is there a difference in Shiʿa and Sunni opinion in examining and criticizing the chains of these narrations?

In the third part, which contains 30 questions and answers, first, the narrations related to distortion in Shiʿa sources are examined and divided into 6 groups, and each one is examined separately: narrations related to Imām Ali’s Muaf, narrations in which the phrase “distortion of the Qurʾān” has been used, recitations attributed to the Imāms (a), narrations of fasāṭīṭ, narrations based on which the names of the Imāms (a) were in the Qurʾān, and narrations that indicate the distortion of the Qurʾān due to the omission of some verses. Then, the ḥadīths related to distortion in Sunni sources are examined and divided into 5 categories and each one is examined separately: ḥadīths that indicate errors in the writing of the Holy Qurʾān, ḥadīths that are about distortion in the Qurʾān through addition of some verses, ḥadīths that are about the role of Satan in adding some of the verses and then their abrogation by God, the narrations that indicate the change of some of the words of the Qurʾān by some rulers, and the ḥadīths that speak of the distortion of the Qurʾān due to the omission of some verses.

The second chapter of Taḥrīfnāpadhīrī-yi Qurʾān, which answers some questions and doubts about the distortion of the Qurʾān, consists of two parts. The first part is mainly about Faṣl al-Khiṭāb written by Muḥaddith Nūrī, in which the distortion of the Qurʾān is proven. Fatḥullāh Najjārzādigān explains in detail the reasons of Muḥaddith Nūrī and criticizes them, and then introduces the books written to refute his views. In the second part, which contains 20 questions and answers, the views of those who have made wrong claims based on false reasons are answered, including in connection with the Sūrahs of Nūrayn and Wilāya, Muṣḥaf of Lady Fāṭima (a), the narrations related to distortion in the book of Sulaym b. Qays al-Hilālī, the views of famous Shiʿa scholars (including Shaykh Kulaynī, Shaykh Ṣadūq, Shaykh Mufīd and Sayyid Murtaḍā) about distortion, and the views related to the abrogation of recitation (naskh al-tilāwa).

Taḥrīfnāpadhīrī-yi Qurʾān has comprehensively answered many questions related to the distortion of the Qurʾān with a clear and fluent text and with a question-and-answer method, and its translation into English is highly recommended.