Some Reflections On Alleged Tbvelver S h 7’ ite Attitudes Toward the Integrity of the Qur%n*
“Gratitude toward God teaches Man to see with the heart’seye the blessings veiled in affliction.” Annemarie Schimmel MysficalDimensionso f hlam

Muhammad Ismail Marcinkowski
Z B e 1ntmationaZlmtituteo f hkzmic ZBougbt and CiMization (ISTAAC)
K w h Lurnpt; M a l a y s s t i z his essay focuses on allegations against Twelver Shicites*concerning their attitude toward the integrity of Qur’anic text. Those accusations include the issue of tabdfiwhich refers in the present context to Sunnite accusations against Shicitesof having produced ‘additions’to the f the Qur’Pn in order to promote the rights of the Household of the text o Prophet (AbZaf-Bayt)to the leadership of the Islamic community. Moreover, the Shi‘ites have been accused of rejecting the present text of the Qur’Pn because of supposed manipulations that are said to have been carried out during the time of the third caliph, ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan, in order to diminish those respective rights.* These allegations had been made in the past and have been repeatedly put forward up to our own times. I stress here that this paper is not concerned with the Twelvers’ beliefs with regard to the very natureof the Qur’Pn. Hence, I will exclude discussion of the question of whether or not it has to be regarded as ‘created.’ Rather, I would like to present some of those allegations as they appear in major Muslim heresiographical works. Thereafter, we will look to some selected Twelver Shi‘ite sources. The present contribution is not intended to show ‘who is right’ and ‘who is wrong’ but aims at a rational and balanced deliberation of the subject. In order to get an idea of the nature of




V O L U M E 91


the accusations that have been made by Sunnite writers in the past against f certain verses or the Twelvers concerning interpolations or omissions o entire surahs of the Qur’an, we must look at the way the Twelvers are dealt with in the eminent Sunnite works offihq

Alleged Twlver ShHte Attitudes Regarding the Queanic Text inthe Mirror o fMajor Muslim HeresiographicalWorks
Al-Ash‘m{ 260-324/873-935) AbC al-Ijasan ‘Ali b. Isma‘il al-Ash‘ari, the famous eponym among the f theology, was also the compiler o f Sunnites’ now prevalent school o M q a h t al-L&nzyp-n w-Zkbtih~af-.~al&., one of the earliest heresiographical works which has come down to us. Al-Ash‘ari’s work was the most comprehensive of those I consulted.3 His work, although biased, is in a way appealing since it provides information on the predominant theological views, whereas other works of this genre are mostly confined to listing names of the alleged heads o f the various divisions. Al-Ash‘ari, also mentions the who refers to the Twelvers by the term af-Qzf&yah, names of their imams.* But thereafter, he discusses the beliefs held by the Imamites on the extent of the Qur’an. In regard to this issue, he cites three distinctive views as prevalent among the ShTites in general. The first group is said to adhere to the belief that the ‘original’text of the Qur’2n had been altered by the opponents of Ablal-Bay~~ However, we are not able to determine the views held by the second group from the M q d h t a s a part of the extant manuscripts of the M q d k t a p p e a r s to be missinga6Nonetheless, with regard to the third group, al-Ash‘ari’s statement is quite remarkable. (Please bear in mind that al-Ash‘ari is a scholar regarded by the Sunnites as ‘orthodox’):
And there is the third division from among them [the Shi‘itesl, and they are the proponents of the Mu‘tazilah and the Imamate, who maintain, that there had been nothing omitted or added to the Qur’iin and that it is [the same] that Allah had sent to His Prophet, un-modified and unchanged and that it is still [in the same condition] as it was at his [time].’

Despite the above mentioned missing part of the manuscript, it is, in f the quoted passage, quite obvious that &zMiZis not a view held by light o the entire Shi‘ite community. It is possible that some ‘extremists’(alG b u W d i d in fact adhere to such ideas, but, as we see later, Twelvers in no way think of them as Muslims, let alone regard these extremists as belonging to their group, Aberrations toward one side or another are also



not unknown within the Sunnite context, as exemplified by the highly controversial issue of 'Vision of G o d (af-mwb)in the Hereafter, in which the Sunnites do believe, but whose possibility is categorically denied by the Shfites as amounting to anthropomorphism &z&ibJ8 f the missing passage from the Maqdbt is unfortuThe circumstance o nate. But we shall see that there had been fewer differences in regard to the extent of the Qur'Pn between Twelver theologians, such as al-Mufid, who had been accused of affiliations with the Mu'tazilites? on the one hand, and al-$aduq, a traditionalist of the school of Qumm, on the other.

A I m (aend of4WlOtf1century) The next author we come across is Abu 'AM AllPh Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Khwarizmi. He is known for his contributions in the area of natural sciences rather than in the genre of heresiography. Nevertheless, his Maf?ti&af-cUhz, which he compiled as a kind of reference work or manual for secretaries, also contains a section on the various religions prevalent during his lifetime.1° The divisions of Muslims are also dealt with therein. However, al-Khwilrizmi's contribution stays within the limits of a mere enumeration of names of sects, without touching thoroughly on the actual beliefs held. With regard to the Twelvers, only the names of their Imams are mentioned." Twelver beliefs concerning the Qur'iln, its extent as well as a discussion of its nature, are not treated at all. Hence, the Mafazii aZ-cU&z is not of much help for our purposes. Nonetheless, it has been referred to here as a typical example of an uncritical adoption of previous heresiographical material.
Abii Manqiir =AbdaI-QWral-BaghdrSd-(d. 4 29/103 7) AbO Manyir (Abd al-Qilhir al-Baghdadi, the famous Ash'arite theolof the Shi'ite Buyids, was the compiler gian who flourished during the rule o of Af-Farqbayn af-Firi,which is considered by Sunnites to be a standard among heresiographical works.12 Al-Baghdgdi begins his presentation of various sects by quoting traditions on the alleged division of the Muslim f the Prophet. The Sunnites, the last o f those community after the demise o 'sects' he mentions, are, in his interpretation, the only guided ones and are therefore saved from the torments of hell in the Hereafter.13 In spite of this obvious bias, al-Baghdadi's account is quite useful, since it also touches upon theological questions. In particular, his presentation of the Raw34 (a term prevalent among Sunnite writers when referring to ShiCites)l4 is worth notice: he divides Shi'ites into four main groups, namely the Zaydtjyai, the Im-rtzr&yai,the Kaysannrwai and the 'Extremists' (XGb~Aal).'~ He divides the Imamites, in turn, into fifteen groups.16 He






mentions the Twelvers (al-fih~acmhanjyahJ whom he refers to as al@.fzjyab, as the tenth of these groups.17 He confines himself to mentioning the names of some of their Imams and to the question of the existence of their Twelfth Imam, who is believed by them to be hidden. Al-Baghdadi is silent about their beliefs and theological system, in particular about those points which would bring them, in his opinion, into opposition with the tenets of Islam. Furthermore, the question o f &zbdilwith regard to the Qur’an is not dealt with at a11.18

Ibn Hazm (384-456/994-1064) Ibn Hazm (AbO Muhammad ‘Ah b. Abmad b. Sa‘id b. Hazm b. Ghalib b. $alih),19 the famous Muslim thinker from al-Andalus, is of importance to our discussion. His heresiographical work, Al-F@al’al-Mzlal wa- YNibaZzoappears at first glance to be more balanced than AbG Man$Or alBaghdadi’sAl-Faty tMynal-Firq.Ibn Hazm states in his introduction to the description of Shrite sects that he intends to give justice to all of them by attributing no lies to them. In his own words “quoting in anyone’s name-be he an infidel, a heretic or a (mere) sinner-a statement which he did not make verbatim is equal to telling lies about him, and lying is not allowed against anybody.”21But a closer look at those parts of his F i a l concerned with the Twelvers reveals that he did not always adhere to those noble ideals. Without hesitation, he repeats the accusations of tabdihy stating:
One of the tenets of the Imamites-both ancient and modern-is that the Koran was interpolated by adding passages that were not in it, by removing a greater number (of verses) from it and altering a great number (of verses) in it.22

Meanwhile, the reader waits in vain for any evidence to back up these accusations from the works of the Twelvers themselves. There are many more examples of Ibn Hazm’s obvious bias throughout his work, the enumeration of which would exceed the framework of this paper.23 The value of his compilation as a source of information with regard to our topic is therefore doubtful. It should be added that Ibn Ijazm’s own quarrelsome character and the Jdhin-approach he takes in his other works caused difficulties for him throughout his life.24
A I - S h a h r a S t h i (d. 548/1153) AbO al-Fatb Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Karim b. Ahmad al-Shahrastani was the compiler of another work on religious divisions. His description of the al-Milalwa Y - ~ i a seems l ~ ~ to be based on the Muslim sects, in Kita&


previously mentioned accounts by al-Ash'ari, al-Baghdadi and Ibn Uazm, respectively. However, al-Shahrastani's compilation appears as the least polemical work among the non-Twelver heresiographies. There may be a surprising reason for this: Sunnites of the past had counted al-Shahras~ni among the most reliable authors of the Ash'arites. Recent research,26 however, seems to have shaken these beliefs. In the view of Professor f Oxford, it is possible to attribute to al-Shahrastani Wilferd Madelung o certain IsmP'ili beliefs2' According to Madelung, al-Shahrastani, who flourished under the rule of the staunch Sunnite Seljuqs, had to conceal his real views while compiling the Kitab aZ-MihZ wa Y i W i b a LThis theory appears to be plausible: al-Shahrastani presents an account of the divisions of the Shi'itesZ8which is by far the most detailed of all the non-Twelver sources I have consulted. He begins his presentation of the divisions of the f their views on the merits of 'Ali b. Abi Shi'ites with an enumeration o Talib. A more striking example of his pro-Shi'ite inclination is the chapter in which he gives a full which deals with the beliefs of the I~ma'ili's,~9 f the thought of wasan-i $abab,30the founder of the notorious exposition o Nizari-Isma'ili community of Mount Alamut in Northern Persia. This group was known in the West as the 'Assassins.' Furthermore, his presentation of the remaining divisions o f Shi(ites reveals 'insider-knowledge' on his part. The other non-Shi'ite authors mentioned in this paper lacked this specialized knowledge. AlShahrastAni's description of the beliefs of the I m a m i t e ~of , ~which ~ the Twelvers are a distinctive group, is penetrating. Moreover, al-Shahrastani also addresses theological questions while discussing the distinctive features in depth, whereas the other authors of this genre restricted themselves to giving lists o f names. Regarding the Twelvers, Shahrastani too provides his readers with a list of their Imams3*and concentrates on the Interestingly, the issue of issue of the occultation of the Twelfth alleged Shi'ite forgeries of Qur'anic verses is not raised. This is surprising in f al-Shahrastani's possible links with the Isma'ili's of Alamut, since light o the theological systems of the Isma'ili's and Twelvers are distinctively different from one another. The reader of the KiMb aZ-MihZ wa Y-NibaZ looks in vain for the usual polemic attribution of certain 'heretical' views to the opposite party. Accusations of such a nature would not have been surprising if we were to suppose that al-Shahrastaniwas actually a Sunnite. However, nowhere in his presentation of ShFite sects does he mention the issue of &&fL It is thus possible to assume that he himself did not consider those charges substantial.





To this point, w e have been concerned with the classical works of the genre 0fflm-q It appears that from al-Shahrastani’s time onward until the late eighteenth century, nothing significantly new was added to the allegations of the past concerning &zMfiHowever, the issue was revived during the second half of the eighteenth century. The locus of the discussion had shifted from the Middle East and the heartlands of Islam to the Indian subcontinent. Between 1055/1645 and 1068/1658,% there appeared in India (at that time under Mughal rule) an anonymous book written in Persian entitled &&k&z-iMdhahib(‘School of Religious Doctrines’). In this book, two additional surahs and verses are mentioned which are not to be found in the official text o f the Qur’Pn. The two surahs bear the names WWahiyah ” and ‘W-Nuruyz. ”35 The A d i s - M B attracted considerable attention in the West. The DabiMn-iMadhdhr’bhad been published for the first time in 1224/1809 in Cal~utta,3~ which was at that time already under the control of the British East India Company. The book describes life under Mughal rule in India in existing religious communities. It consists of twelve chapters, each of them dealing with a different group. Surprisingly, the author starts with the Parsis and continues with accounts of Hindus, Tibetans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Philosophers and Sufis.37 The account of the Parsis seems to be the most comprehensive of the whole work. Perhaps because of this unbalanced emphasis, the author preferred to remain unknown. The discovery of the h 6 k t u n had been ascribed to a Shicite,38however, without any specification of name or denomination. More recent research has shown that the author of the Dabis-fdnwas in fact not a Muslim at all, but rather a Parsi.39 In 1842, the aforementioned additional surahs from the A z h 3 M n - i Madhabibwere for the first time fully translated into a European language by the French orientalist Garcin De Ta~sy.~O Only a year after this, Mirza Alexandre Kazem-Beg, a professor at the University of Kazan and a Russian It ~is ~ interesting how subject, wrote a commentary on this t r a n ~ l a t i o n . much attention was paid to those alleged ShTite additions, particularly among Western scholars. Interesting in this regard is the publication and f translation of a manuscript which came to light in 1912 in the Indian city o Bankipore. Although it is said to contain the same surahs and other additions, no further information on the manuscript is provided. An English translation of that manuscript appeared in 1913 in i55eMi.m W0dd4* Subsequently, between 1961 and 1962, the same journal published a tripartite article by Daud Rahbar which contained serious accusations of forgery against the Shi‘ites in general.43 Both St. Clair Ti~da11:~ the transla142


tor of the Bankipore manuscript, and De T a s ~ y ? the ~ translator of the two “surahs”from the &&is~Zn,considered those machinations to be forgeries. However, in their view, the Shi‘ites had been responsible. A more balanced consideration o f the subject of alleged Shi‘ite manipulation of the Qur’iin is an article by Joseph Eliash in 1969 and published in the journal A r a & ~ c Eliash a ~ ~ is an eminent orientalist scholar. In his contribution, he focuses on the theological implications o f the respective issues, leaving aside secondary aspects, such as different variants of recitation (alqird+zhJ47 He categorically denies the supposed Twelver Shi‘ite origin of the aforesaid Bankipore manuscript by stating that its only connection with that sect is its supposed purchase from a Naw-bin Lucknow. In Eliash’s view, this alone is not sufficient ground for holding the Twelvers responsible for its f a b r i ~ a t i o nHe .~~ also states that the Ad&ki@z-i Madhdhibcannot be logically ascribed to the Twelvers, since the name of its author remains unkn0wn.~9“Hence, the Dzbisk2n cannot be referred to as an ImPmi STi source and nor can its author be called an Imami STi.”50

Selected Views of Early *elver on the Extent of the Qur’iin

ShFite Authorities

Al-@asan6 .M-si al-Nawbakhti(d before310/922)
Al-Hasan b. MUsii al-Nawbakhti was an eminent political figure in BaghdPd. He was also an Imamite scholar and was responsible for compiling the significant heresiographical work F i q al-Sh~~ah.~~ However, his work mainly concerns the question of Ihdmahand gives accounts of the various persons who laid claim to it. It does not contain a significant amount of information on the theological systems underlying the aforementioned divisions. The issue of #ba‘flis not dealt with at all. P i V a l Shz7ahhas been a primary source of information for Sunnite authors of similar works. A I - S h a y . . d - $ d O q (307-381/919-991) AbU Ja‘far Muhammad b. ‘Ah b. al-Husayn b. Biibawayh al-Qummi is known among the Shi‘ites by his nickname, al-Shaykh al-$adiiq (“the trustworthy”).His output o f scholarly works is said to have numbered 300, large texts among them as well as brief treatises on miscellaneous matters. Only around twenty of his works are known to be extant today.52He was born around 307/919 into a Twelver Shi‘ite family of scholars of Persian f Qumm. At that time, Qumm had aldescent in the central Iranian city o f outstanding Islamic scholars, most o f them ready produced a number o 143




ShTites. In particular, it has been a center for the transmission of hadith. Ibn BPbawayh is particularly known for his extensive journeys throughout Muslim countries to learn about authentic hadith. Because of this, he was referred to respectfully as r a . 6 aZ-mubadditbfi or “head o f hadith scholMan Zay&lzmh Y$iq&, one o f the four most a r ~ . He ”~ compiled ~ important Twelver Shrite collections of hadith (aZ-Kutuub aZ-Ah‘ah). AlShaykh al-$adtiq passed away in 381/991 at Ram. As a first-rank traditionist, he did not favor the works of the mukzkaZkmfn, among them his own disciple al-Mufid. Al-Sadtiq’s works are among the most authoritative sources on Twelver Shrite belief and law. His view on the extent of the Holy Qur’an is therefore highly significant. In his R&dhtal-Pt&d&the states,
Our belief is that the Qur’an, which Allah revealed to His Prophet Muhammad is (the same as) the one between the two covers (daffatayn). And it is that which is in the hands of the people, and it is not greater in extent than that. The number o f surahs as generally accepted is one hundred and fourteen [. . , I. And he who asserts that we say it is greater in extent than this (the present text) is a liar 1. . . I. What is related concerning the prohibition of reading the whole of the Qur’Bn in a single night, and that it is not permissible to complete the recitation of the Qur’an in less than three days is (also) a verification of what we have said.54

This statement by al-$addq is interesting for a number of reasons. First,
it shows that there must have been during the lifetime of the Shaykh, if not

earlier, accusations against the Twelvers regarding their alleged beliefs concerning the Qur’An’s extent which caused him to refute them in this drastic manner. Second, it shows the high regard which this distinguished authority paid to the text of the QurYin, a text considered by him as authentic, even in the redaction of the third “Rightly-guidedCaliph.”However, his viewpoint does not come as a surprise if we take into account his aforementioned fame as a traditionist of the school of Qumm. In order to arrive at a deeper understanding of the Twelvers’attitude on this topic, it is helpful to look at the views held by the mutakaZZimfnof that time. For this purpose, we will turn our attention to al-Saddq’s disciple, a l - M ~ f i d . ~ ~

Al-Shayfi al-Mmd (336-413/948-1022] Abti ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. Mubammad b. al-Nu‘man al-BaghdPdi al-Karkhi was of Arab descent and is said to have produced 200 works. Only little more than ten percent o f his works survive. He is perhaps the most famous of the Twelver scholars of the Boyid period, mostly because of his contributions in the field of kaZdmand his skill in polemical debate


with contemporary opponents such as al-BAqillani. He was also an eminent jurisprudent and, as we have seen above, had received excellent training by al-Shaykh al-Sadttq in the science of hadith. Al-Mufids theological expertise led him to criticize his teacher on a number of occasions. His treatise Th&fb al-IYiqdaZ4 56 a ‘correction’o f al-SadCq’s Risaht affi@&-4 must be seen in the context of those controversies. However, alMuRd did not restrict his criticism to matters of theology but, in his Tibfb, also vehemently rejected al-Sadttq’sfrequent refuge to single Traditions (a&bh-t-af4bad, particularly in the context of the issuing of legal statements. Nevertheless, al-MuRd, who found something to dispute in almost all of his teacher’s statements, did not object to the views held by al-$adttq concerning the extent o f the Qur’gn. In fact, al-Mufid’s Tqbfbdeals on two concernoccasions with the views expressed by al-$adaq in his Ri~akzd$~ ing the nature of the Qur’gn, but does not refer to his beliefs on its extent.58This is perhaps an indication of his concurrence on this matter. However, in another work, al-Mufid took a clear position. In his AwdW alMa@& he deals with the nature of the Q ~ r ’ a n : ~ ~
I say that detailed hadith have come from the Imams of the Family of Mubammad about the difference between the Qur’an and the curtailing and abridgement that some evil men have made in it. So, as for the way it is put together, what exists needs rearrangement, putting certain parts before and others after. N o one who knows anything about the abrogating and the abrogated (verses) and the Meccan and the Medinian (surahs) has any doubt about what we say. As for omission, reason does not deny that it (could have) happened. I have investigated the thesis of those who asserted it, have discussed it at length with the Mu‘tazilah and others, and have not heard from them a conclusive argument against this thesis. A number of the ImPmites have said that no word, verse, or surah is missing, but that what had been set down in the text of the Commander of the Faithful [the first Inxim ‘Ali b. Abi ‘Falib]has been omitted-namely, the interpretation and explanation of its meaning according to the truth of revelation. That too is confirmed and revealed, even though it does not belong to the collection of G o d s speech which is the inimitable Qur’an. For the interpretation of the Qur’an has also been called ”Qur’an.”God has said: “And hasten not with the Qur’an before its revelation has been completed to you, and say, My Lord! Increase my knowledge.”G0 So the interpretation o f the Qur’2n is [also]called Qur’Pn. There is no disagreement among the commentators about this. My opinion is that this thesis is more likely than that claiming omission of words from the Qur’an itself rather than just its interpretation. I lean towards this and ask G o d s help to what is right6’






Al-Mufid’sstatement is far more detailed than that of al-Sadtiq, and is significant in that it aims at a kind of Twelver ShTite/Sunnite rapprochement with regard to their respective views concerning the extent of the Qur’An. Moreover, it seems to signify a certain reconciliation with the Qumm school of ShPite traditionists, such as al-Shaykh al-Saduq.62Furtherf the arrangement of the Qur’an more, al-Mufid’s position on the question o is not surprising in the light of the fact that some of the “long”surahs o f the Qur’an contain verses which can be traced back to the Meccan as well as Medinan periods. Interesting also is his view concerning the version of the Qur’an which is said to have been with ‘Mi b. Abi Talib at the time of the demise of the Prophet and whose extent is, according to al-Mufid, not different from the edition of ‘UthmPn. Thus, from this presentation of the views of two of the most outstanding and authoritative personalities of the Twelvers (one in the field of hadith and the other in the field of speculative f the theology), we can conclude that Shi‘ite beliefs concerning the extent o Qur’an and the impossibility of the omission of certain parts of it are not significantly in opposition to those held by the Sunnites. But al-Mufid went even deeper into the subject, while referring to the question of possible additions to the Qur’an:
As for additions to it, that is certainly false from one aspect and possible from another. The respect in which it is certainly false is that anyone should be able to create an addition amounting to a surah that could pass for such in the eyes of the experts in eloquence. As to the respect in

which it is possible, one or two words may have been added, or one or two letters or the like, not amounting to the length required for inimitability. And this might pass even in the eyes of most o f the experts as the words of the Qur’2n. However, when this happens, God must show it and make the truth clear to His servants. I do not assert that it has happened. Rather I incline to the view that it has not, and that the Qur‘an is free of it. With me in that is a tradition from Ja‘far al-$adiq.@

Al-Alhmah d-HU (648-726/1250-1325)
Another eminent Twelver Shi‘ite scholar o f later medieval times is alHasan b. Ytisuf b. a1 Mutahhar al-Villi. He is more commonly referred to as al-Allamah al-Hilli and lived during the time of the Mongol flkhanids (654754/1256-1353), whose dominions encompassed most of Persia, Iraq and the Caucasus. Among his works we also find two exegetical works, the KiMb a L q a w l a l - ~ j ~ f i al-mflan ~ & ~ and the K i i b nubj’al-r’hzdnfi f which is extant todayVbl His theology had been & $ - f r a l - @ none ~ a ~o explored thoroughly in the doctoral dissertation of the German scholar



Sabine S ~ h m i d t k eWith . ~ ~ regard to al-Allamah’s thought concerning the miraculous character of the Qur’An, Dr. Schmidtke stresses his conviction of its inimitability. The Qur’an al-Hilli summarizes in his Manrfhyal-pq%fi zqt2laZdin represents the viewpoint o f the three Muslim scholars as follows:
The advocates of the doctrine of prevention disagreed among themselves. Some held that God deprived them o f the power for this [matching the Qur%inl. Others said that God deprived them of the motive for this together with the occasion h a & & ) necessitating its existence. Others held that He deprived them o f the knowledge by which they would have been able to match it. 66

Al-Allamah appears to entirely reject the concept of prevention from forgery, since this idea seems to diminish the unique character of the Qur’An:
If the miracle were the prevention the Qur’an would necessarily have to be at the height of weakness [in eloquence], since prevention from matching weak speech is a greater miracle than prevention from matching eloquent speech?’

This view is quite significant to our context. In al-villi’s view, the prevention from matching the Holy Book is n o evidence for its miraculous character. It is rather its eloquence and beauty that contributes to its uniqueness.

The Views o f Three Contemporary Scholars
A I - I . d-Khii21 (1899-1992) I would like to conclude with a brief look at the writings of three scholars of our own times. Al-Sayyid al-ImAm Abu al-QAsim al-Musgwi alKhWi (1899-1992), whom I had the honor of visiting in his home in Najaf in 1989, has been among the most eminent Twelver ShTite maraJi”al-#qZ&d of the twentieth century. His view concerning ‘extremism’ in terms of matters of belief as expressed in the book A M c b ofrskzmk AcQ an English translation of his Arabic work Tawdib aLMm&q a treatise on the practical obligations of Twelver Shi‘ite Muslims, seems to contribute considerably toward a more rational discussion of the actual theological convictions of the Shi‘ites. He states,
An infidel, i.e. a person who denies Allah or the Day of Judgement, or

associates anyone else with Allah, is impure. Similarly Ghuliit and Khawarij and Naw2sib are also impure. The People of the Book (Jews,






Christians and Sabaeans) are pure according to some well-known Mujtahids.@

The term Ghuldf is explained by the translator as “those [people], who believe an Imam to be ‘God’ or say ‘God has penetrated into an ImBm”’ whereas the meanings of Khawdnfand Nawciibin these contexts are given as “those, who are inimical towards the Holy ImAms.”@ Professor Dr. Abdoljavad Falaturi is a contemporary Iranian scholar who had been working extensively on the historical development of the Twelver Shi‘ah. Previously, Falaturi, who now bears the title emeritus, had been teaching Islamic Studies at Cologne University. He has contributed tremendously to the understanding and scientific study of the Twelver Shi‘ah in Europe by establishing the ‘ShTite Library’at his institute. Falaturi has also written an excellent introduction to the Twelver Shi‘ah faith, which can be counted as one of the most accurate in this field, in which he deals extensively with our subject:70 Toward the beginning of his elucidations, Falaturi recollects the opinions of al-$adOq and al-Mufid in order to c l a r i ~ the Twelvers’ view on the subject.71 Furthermore, he rejects the BzbkMn-i M a d h a M b y considering it to have been fabricated in India.’* In Falaturi’s view, most original evidence for the baselessness of all the allegations concerning fa&dii however, seems to be the Qur’An itself. Prof. Dr. Falaturi quotes the ninth verse from the fifteenth surah al-&.j!
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it [from c o r r ~ p t i o n l . ~ ~

In this way, Falaturi brings those who accuse the Twelvers into opposition with the Qur’an. Falaturi’s article, which he compiled more than thirty years ago, constitutes an important contribution in this area, since he was instrumental in changing erroneous conceptions, many of which still prevail among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, concerning the tenets of the Twelvers. In fact, Falaturi can be considered an advocate of interconfessional as well as intra-Islamic dialogue. His understanding of religion stretches the boundaries of narrow-mindedness and fanaticism. Finally, I would like to mention al-Shaykh Mahmud alShalt0t (18931963),74the late head of Al-Azhar University, the most respected institution of Islamic learning in the Sunnite world. Al-Shaltat had been famous for his Perhaps more important reformist ideas in terms of Islamic ed~cation.’~ was his role as an ardent advocate of cooperation and understanding between the various sects of Islam, between Sunnites and Twelver Shi‘ites, in particular. In this regard, he issued a declaring lawful the study of and adherence to theJa$vf rite, the school of jurisprudence of the


Twelvers.” As did al-ImPm al-Khu’i, his Twelver Shi‘ite colleague, the late al-Shaykh Mabmud al-Shaltut also rejected any form of fanaticism. He issued the following famous statement concerning the Twelvers:
The madhhabknown as the Twelver Shi‘ah ImPmite is one in which worship Oaabbudlmay be legally performed on par with the madhhabs of the Sunnis. [. . . I Muslims should know this and refrain from fanaticism in favour of a particular madhhab. They are all earnest seekers of truth (mujtahidiin), rewarded and accepted by God.’*

Concluding Remarks
Material for this essay has been compiled with the intention of contributing some facts to a discussion which, in the past, had often tended toward irrationality. In the first part of this contribution, we focused on the allegations against the Twelver Shi‘ah concerning kzbdflwhich had been put forward by Sunnite compilers offrapliterature in the past and by other authors up to the present time. In the second part, I rejected these allegations as being without substance. It should thus be clear that the Qur’Pn of the Twelver Shi‘ites is the same which is in the hands of the Sunnites and accepted by them as authentic. In my personal understanding, the obtaining of knowledge from authentic sources is vital for peace and understanding between Muslims themselves as well as between Muslims and other religious communities. In order to achieve this goal, howledgablereligious scholars are indispensable, i.e. with respect to the Muslims, scholars who are able to express their views based on the revealed sources Qur’Pn and Sunnah. Perhaps, not all the Sunnite compilers offrtzq-literature are to be blamed for the numerous mistakes and misconceptions in their works, and not all of those accusations originated in hatred toward other theological systems within Islam. Some of those compilers may simply have lacked considerable knowledge. One of the most astonishing circumstances with regard to Muslim ‘heresiography’ is the seemingly unconcerned manner in which Muslims had been excluded by their respective opponents from the community of Islam. The ability to listen is therefore crucial for a deeper understanding of religion. For a Shi‘ite Muslim, for instance, there exist countless inconsistencies and misconceptions in Sunnite theology. But the sincerity and honesty of one’s opponent should not be easily questioned. The same is due to the eminent scholars of the Twelvers, such as al-Shaykh al-MuBd, perhaps the most significant scholastic theologian of his time, but whose distinguished and original works are almost unknown among the Sunnites.





* The author of the present contribution is Senior Research Fellow and teaches history at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 1. Throughout this paper the term Sbri‘abrefers exclusively to the Twelver Shi‘ah (a/-Sbi‘ataf-l&dm&yaf af-nbnd cmbanyyabJ After the Sunnites, the Twelvers constitute the second largest denomination within Islam. 2. The Qur’anic view on this item is clear and needs no elaboration here. Refer in particular to 2:23, lo:%, 11:13and (regarding ingratitude) 17:89 [English translations from the Qur9n are to ‘Abdullah YDsuf ‘Ali (ed., trans.), 78eMeaningo f tbeHo& New Edition with Revked Trambtion and Commentav(Brentwood, Maryland: Amana Corporation, 199411. 3. Abu ’I-Ijasan ‘Ali b. Isma‘il al-Ash‘ari, Maqd&ta/-lfdmijyin, ed. Hellmut Ritter (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag GmbH, 1980, third edition). For information on further eminent heresiographical material refer to Hellmut Ritter, ‘Muhammedanische Hiiresiographien (Philologika III),” D e r h l a m 28 (1929): 34-55. 4. Al-Ash‘ari, Mqdlat a/-h/dmi&yin, 17-18. 5. Zbid, 47. 6. fbid 7. lbid, English translation mine. Ma- Y-firqab a/-fba/itbab minhum wa-bum a/qd W n a bi-7-i Vizdf wa- ’/-im&mabYaz(amtina anna Y-QuFan m a nuqqqa minhu #a-/a zuyyidajbi wa-annabu ‘a/a m a anzafa Ylabu t a V h ‘a/a nabijyihi ‘akaybiY-sa&m /am pgbayyim wa-lamyukddilu wa-la zdlu ‘amma kdna ‘afaybg 8. Refer on this issue to Georges Vajda, “La ProblJme de la Vision de Dieu (Ruya) d’aprds quelques auteurs si‘ites duodecimains,” in Le Sbi<kme lmdmite. Colloqeiede Strmbourg 6-pMai1966:ed. T. Fahd (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1970),31-54. 9. Consult Al-Ash‘ari, Maqdkit af-Zsfdmiyyin, 225-26 on al-Ash‘ari’s presentation of the views of the Mu‘tazilites concerning the issue of tab41 10. An English translation of this part is to be found in Clifford Edmund Bosworth, “AI-KhwPrizmion Theology and Sects: The Chapter on Ka&m in the Mafdtfh a/-rU/um,” Bu//etin d c y gtudes onenta~‘ees39 (1977): 85-95. Al-Khwarizmi himself was a secretary, serving under the Samanids at Bukhara. 11. /bid, 89-90. 12. Aba Mansur ‘Abd al-Qahir b. Tihir al-Baghdadi, A/-Fa?q bayn a/-Firaq(Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1405/1985). On this heresiographical compilation consult also the article by Henri Laoust, “La classification des sects dans le F a r i d ’ al-Baghdadi,” Rewe des gtudes Mamiques29 (1961): 19-59. 13. Al-Baghdadi, A/-Farq bayn al-Firaq,244. 14. On the Shi‘ite application of this locution refer to Etan Kohlberg, “The Term Rapda in Imami Shi‘i Usage,”Jouma/of theAmerican Orierzta/Socie&- 99 (1979): 395-402. 15. Al-BaghdPdi, A-Farq bayn aL-Firag 16. 16. fhd, 36. 17. Zbid, 43. 18. AI-Baghdadi presents only a short credoof the Sunnite view on the nature of the Qur’an. Refer to ihd, 266-267. 19. For an interesting biography of Ibn Bazm refer to the excellent article by R. Amaldez, “Ibn ljazm,” Encydopaedia ofZs/am, New Edition, 3:790-799. 20. The Arabic text this had at the time of the compilation of this paper not been available to me. Ilcnce, I refer in the following to its English translation by Israel Friedlaender, “The Heterodoxies of the Shiites in the Presentation of Ibn ljazm”



[translation]f o u m f o f theAmen2an OnentafSociely28 (1907-08): 1-80 and idem, “The Heterodoxies of the Shiites in the Presentation of Ibn Ijazm” [commentaryl,foumaf o f the Amerzcan Onerztaf Sociep29 (1909-10): 1-183. Friedlaender’s translation comprises only that part of Ibn Ijazm’s F&a/whicb deals with the divisions of the Shi‘ites. 21. Friedlaender, op.cit [translation], 41. 22. /&id, 51. See also the Friedlaender’s notes to this passage: Friedlaender, op.cil, [commentary], 62-63. 23. Refer or instance to Friedlaender, 46. cit [translation], 53, regarding his remarks on the Shi‘ite marriage practices. 24. See R. Arnaldez, “Ibn vazm,” 792. 25. It had been available to me in an English translation: AbQ-Fath Muhammad b. AbO’l-Qasim ‘Abd al-Karim b. AbO Bakr al-Shahrastani, “Kitab al-Milal wa’l-Nifal,”trans. A. K.Kazi and J. G. Flynn, AbrNabmin8 (1969-1969): 36-68; 9 (1969-1970): 81-107; 10 (19701971): 48-75, 15 (1974-1975): 50-98. On his heresiographical work refer also to Dominique Sourdel, “La classification des sects islamiques dans le Kitdb af-Mihf d’al-Shahrastani,” Studia Zshtizica 31 (1970): 239-47. 26. Wilferd Madelung, “ASSahrastanisStreitschrift gegen Avicenna und ihre Widerlegung durch Nagir ad-Din atO, si,”&ten des U . 7 .Kongmsses furdrabatik und Zsfatizw&emchaJ, Cdttingen, 1 9 7 4 ed. Albert Dietrich (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1976, Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Gottingen, Phil.-hist. Klasse, Dritte Folge, 981, 250-59. 27. Refer in particular to ibid, 250-252 and 258. 28. See, AbrNahmin 15 (1974-1975): 50-98. 29. Zbid,90-97. 30. /bid, 94-97. On p. 94 he refers to the respective work of Hasan-i ‘$abah by a literal quotation from i t “We shall reproduce in Arabic what he has written in Persian, but the translator must not be censured. The one who succeeds is the one who follows truth and avoids falsehood, and it is God who gives success and help.” 31. Z’id, 64-75. 32. /bid, 75. 33. /bid, 71-75. 34. Fath-Allah Mojtaba’i, “Dabastan-e Madaheb,” EncycfopediaImnica, vol. 6 , fasc. 5, 532. See also J. Horovitz, [H. Massel, “Dabistan al-Madhahib,” Encycfowedia ofhhm, New Edition, 2:74. 35. W . St. Clair Tisdall, ’Shi‘a Additions to the Kor’an,” 73eMmfem Wodd 3 (1913): 228. 36. MojtabPi, “Dabastan-e Mabaheb,” 534. 37. Zbid, 533. 38. See for instance St. Clair Tisdall, “Shi‘a Additions to the Kor’an,” 227 a n d w i n . 39. Mojtaba’i, ”Dabastan-e Madaheb,” 533-34. 40. Garcin De Tassy, “Chapitre inconnu du Coran,”fourna/Asiatiquel3 (18421,431439. 41. Mirza Alexandre Kazem-Beg, ”Observations sur chapitre inconnu du Coran”, foumafmiatiiel4 (1843): 371-429. It becomes clear from his own statements that Kazem-Beg himself was a devout Christian. I was, however unable to find out whether he converted to that religion. The expression ‘Mimd,’ actually a Persian title, suggests Iranian or perhaps Caucasian origin. 42. St. Clair Tisddll, “Shi‘a Additions to the Kor’an,” 227-41. 43. Daud Rahbar, “Relation of Shi‘a Theology to the Qur’an,” 7BeMosfem Wodd 50, no. 2 (April 1961): 92-98; 52, no. 1 @an. 1962): 17-21; 52, no. 2 (April 1962, no. 2): 124-28.






44. St. Clair Tisdall, ‘Shi‘a Additions to the Kor’an,” 229. 45. Refer to De Tassy’s note in Kazem-Beg, “Observationssur chapitre inconnu du Coran,” 427-29. Shi‘ite Qur’an’. A Reconsideration o f Goldziher’s 46. Joseph Eliash, “‘The Interpretation,”Amblca 16, fasc. 1 (1969): 15-24. 47. Refer on this item to A. Jeffery, “The Qur’an Readings of Zaid b. ‘Ali,” Riv&& deglistudlorien/a/i16 (1936): 249-289. 48. Eliash, “‘The Shi‘ite Qur’an’. A Reconsideration of Goldziher’s Interpretation,” 19. 49. This was the state of knowledge at the time of the compilation of Eliash’s article. 50. Eliash, “‘The Shi‘ite Qur’an’. A Reconsideration o f Goldziher’s Interpretation,”20. 51. AbQ Mubarnmad al-Ijasan b. MOsa al-Nawbakhti, Flraqul-Sbirah (Najaf: AlMatba‘at a]-Ijaydariyyah, 1355 Iunar/1935). Refer also to Wilferd Madelung, ‘Bemerkungen zur ImAmitischen Firaq-Literatur,” DerZshn 43 (1967): 37-52. 52. For information on Ibn Babawayh, refer to Asaf A. A. Fyzee, ‘Ibn Babawayh(i),” Encyclopedia ofhhm, New Edition, 3:726-727 and ‘Ali Agghar Faqihi, AI-lBuyab (Tehran [?I: Chapkhanah-yi Diba, 1366 solar/1987), 278-279. 53. Faqihi, Al-iBayb, 278. 54. AbQJa‘far Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. Babawayh al-Qummi al-.$adQq, I ‘ t r i j d d t a l - z m d m r ~ b .A SbFite Cred trans. Asaf A. A. Fyzee (Tehran: World Organization for Islamic Services, WOFIS, 1402 lunar/1982, revised edition), 7. For the Arabic text consult idem, IViqddd[ai-Imami&yab (Rhdht al-ZVlqdddd (Najaf: Matba‘at alMurtaJawiyyah, 1343 lunar/1926), 132-133. 55. “Thebeneficial.” 56. On al-Mufid, refer to Wilferd Madelung, “Al-Mufid,”Encyclopdia ofZshm, New Edition, 7:312-13, and to my forthcoming article, “Selebed Aspects of the Life and Work of Al-Shaykh al-Mufid.” 57. AbO ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. Mubarnmad b. al-Nu‘man al-Baghdadi al-Karkhi al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Ti@,$al-ZTiqd&f (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Islami, 1983). 58. Al-Mufid, Th,@i,$ al-IYlqddaf,99-101 flnu&lal-m@land 102-5 flnuzti/alQuPanJ 5 9 . Refer to the above quotation from al-SddOq’sRkdlab . 60. For al-Mufids views on the character of the Qur’an, refer to Martin J. McDermott, Dar el-Machreq Editeurs, 1978) 7Be 7Balogy ofAl-Sbaykb A/-Mufidd 41’1022)(Beirut:

86-99. 61. @P“n, 20:114.
62. English translation, taken from McDermott, 7Be 7BeulogyofAl-SbaykbA/-M@d (d. 4 1 Y 2 0 2 2 ) , 96-97. For the Arabic text refer to al-Mufid, %Wd’zlal-Mqd& ” Muanmfdtal-Sbayhb al-Mufid 14 vols. (Tehran: Mu’tamar al-‘Ilami li-Alfiyyat al-Mufid [“Congressof the Millenium of al-Mufidl, 1413 lunad1993, 4BO-81. See also Dominique Sourdel, “L‘Imamismevu par le Cheikh al-Mufid,” Reyuedm &udes blamiqzies, 40 (1972): 217-296. 63. On selected issues pertaining to the Shi‘ite approach towards the Traditions, refer also to my forthcoming article “A Glance o n the first of the four canonical Naditb Collections of the Twelver-Shi‘ites: A/-Kafi by al-Kulayni (d. 328 or 329 A.H./940 or 941 C.E.).” 64. McDermott, 7Be 7BalouofAldbaykbA/-Mufd(d 42Y102!,97-98. For the Arabic text, consult al-Mufid, “Awa’il al-Maqil%t,” loc. cit., 4231-82. 65. Sabine Schmidtke, 7Be 7Bmlogy Ofal-Hlhmab al-&il..(d 726/1.2! (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 1991, Islamkundliche Untersuchungen Band 152),72. 66. See the previous note.



67. Quoted from Schmidtke, 7he i%mlou o f ul-‘A/kimabul-&ilk(d 726/1323, 152.

68. Quoted from ibM, 156. 69. Al-Sayyid al-Imam AbO ‘I-Qasim al-MOsawi al-Khti’i,Arficlmoffihmic Ac&OlFafdw& trans. M. Fazal Haq (London: Islamic Seminary, 1982),20. On issues pertaining to contemporary Twelver Shi‘ite fufifrrefer to Mahmoud Ayoub, “The Speaking Qur’an and the Silent Qur’an. A Study of the Principles and Development of Imami Shi‘i tafiftf in Appmcbesto tbeH&tory of fbe/nfepr?tafion o f fbeQur‘un, ed. Andrew Rippin (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 19881,177-198(186 and 191 on at-Kha’i’s approach). 70. Al-Khti’i, ArficlesoffildmicActS(Al-FufdMA trans. M . Fazal Haq, 20, n. 1 and 2. 71. Abdoljavad Falaturi, “Die Zwolfer-Schia aus der Sicht eines Schiiten: Probleme a . & $ @ Its: CmM, zum siebzlgsfen&bunwag ( 5Mu= 1966) ihrer Untersuchung,” in F gewidmet mn Fmnden undScbulm, ed. Erwin Graf (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1%8),91-95. 72. /&id,91. 73.- Ibid, 94-95. 74. Ibid,91. 75. For biographical information, consult Kate Zebiri, MubmridSbaltrifund1slumic Modern&m (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993),11-38. 76. F. R. C. Bagley, “The Azhar and Shi‘ism,” meMos&m World 50, no. 2 (1960): 122. 77. The original Arabic version had been published in MabmOd aldhalttit, “Fatwa,” i?zh$Lzf ul-fi&m, 11 (1959): 227-28. A complete English translation of al-Shaltat’sfafwrfis given in Bagley, “The k h a r and Shi‘ism,” 123-24. 78. Bagley, “The Azhar and Shi‘ism,” 124. 79. Ibid






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