Did Ali (ra) say that the Quran was distorted?

The Details of the Question

- There is an excerpt in al-Khulafa ar-Rashidun book and in some websites attributed to Ali (ra) stating that the Quran was distorted. Is it in the book and if yes, is it sound?
- Did Ali (ra) say, “I have sworn that I will not go out and wear clothes unless I compile the Quran.”

- Abu Muhammad bin Muslim bin Qutayba bin Amr al-Bahili ad-Dinawari, who was officially a judge in the city of Dinawar and died in 276 H, explains the Thaqifa Incident in detail in his book called “Tarikhu Khulafa ar-Rashidin wa Dawlati Amawiyya” (and is generally known as al-Imamah was-Siyasah) and starts the issue as follows in Volume 1 Page 13:
“When Abu Bakr heard that a group of Companions did not pay allegiance and that they gathered in Ali’s house, he asked Umar to remove them from the house out to pay allegiance. However, they were afraid to go out. When Umar saw their behavior, he had some wood collected and said, “By Allah, in whose hand Umar’s life is, you will either go out or I will burn the house together with those inside.” The people said: “O Abu Hafs (Umar)! The Prophet’s daughter Fatima (ra) is also in this house.” Umar, “I will burn the house down even if she is inside.” said. Meanwhile, the people in the house went out and paid allegiance. However, Ali avoided allegiance and said: “I have sworn that I will not go out and wear clothes unless I compile the Quran.” Umar still refused. However, upon Fatima’s crying and people’s condemnation, Umar returned to Abu Bakr and provoked Abu Bakr to take allegiance from Ali. Abu Bakr sent Qunfudh to Ali’s house several times, but he received a negative answer each time. Finally, Umar went to Fatima’s house with a group of people and knocked on the door. When Fatima (pbuh) heard their voices, she cried out with a loud voice: “O Daddy! O Messenger of Allah! We suffer so much from Umar bin Khattab and Abu Bakr bin Abu Quhafa after you?” When the people heard Fatima crying and lamenting, they returned by weeping. However, Umar stayed there with a few people and forcibly took Ali to Abu Bakr. They said to Ali, Pay allegiance to Abu Bakr.” Ali said, “What will you do if I do not pay allegiance?” They said, “In that case, by Allah, we will kill you.” Ali said, “Are you going to kill the servant of Allah and the brother of the Messenger of Allah?” Umar said, “You are not the brother of the Messenger of Allah!” Abu Bakr kept silent and said nothing in the face of his words. Umar turned to Abu Bakr and said, “Are we not doing all these things upon your command?” Abu Bakr said: “As long as Fatima is involved, we will not force him.” Ali went to the grave of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and said to the Prophet by weeping what Harun said to his brother Musa. Allah Almighty states in the Quran that Harun said to Musa, “O son of my mother! This group weakened me (they made me weak and almost killed me.)”
- After describing the event in detail, Dinawari states the following:

“Ali returned home without paying allegiance. Then, Abu Bakr and Umar went to Fatima’s house to obtain her consent. Fatima said to them: ‘By Allah! You two have hurt me; I will curse you in every prayer until I meet my father; I will report you to my father.’” (Itqaan Fee Ulum Al-Quran, by Jalaluddin Al-Suyuty, Al-Azhareyyah Press, Cairo, Egypt, 1318 AH, page 59)

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There is no information mentioned in the question in Suyuti’s work named al-Itqan, which is given as a source at the end of the question.

It is understood that a bad custom of some Shiites and their followers are in question here. When some Shiites and their supporters see a fact in a book belonging to Ahl as-Sunnah, they add many lies and slanders to it and write ideas that are suitable for Shia thought; then, they put that source belonging to Ahl as-Sunnah under it.

For example, “If I am someone’s mawla (friend), Ali is his mawla (friend) too.” The hadith above is mentioned in many sources belonging to Ahl as-Sunnah. Some Shiites, who took advantage of this, added “He is my successor; follow him after me.” They add some information that does not belong to the Prophet (pbuh), such as the one above, and add the sources of Ahl as-Sunnah under it.

Similarly, it is not possible to find the information given in the question in the work named al-Itqan, which is given as a source at the end of the question.

Answer 2:

The source mentioned at the beginning of the question is the work named “al-Imama was-Siyasa”, which is attributed to Ibn Qutayba ed-Dinawari.

In fact, the author of this work has not been determined definitely. However, in some places it is attributed to Ibn Qutayba (d. 276/889).

In the book in question, which contains different and extensive information from the narrations in other sources, the process of each caliph’s coming to power, the political and military struggles regarding the issue, if any, are explained, the events are analyzed, and some Companions are criticized. There are also inaccuracies and fabricated narrations in the book, which contains statements in favor of the Umayyads. One of the most striking mistakes is that the first Abbasid caliph, Abul-Abbas as-Saffah, is described as two separate persons as Saffah and Abul-Abbas.

Abu Bakr Ibnul-Arabi regards the attribution of the book called al-Imama was-Siyasa to Ibn Qutayba as doubtful and criticizes the book severely. [Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi, al-Awasim minal Qawasim (published by Muhibbuddin al-Khatib), Cairo 1399, p. 248]

Muhibbuddin al-Khatib also states that the work does not belong to Ibn Qutayba (Awasim, footnote of the publisher, p. 248)

Many orientalists including Gayangos, Reinhart Dozy, Michael Jan de Goeje and Brockelmann and many historians claim that the book in question does not belong to Ibn Qutayba due to the following reasons and similar ones:

- None of those who wrote about Ibn Qutayba’s life mentioned a book written by him with that name;
- The style of the work is not similar to his other works;
- He started a paragraph including his own views with the phrase “Qala Abu Muhammad” in his previous books, but in the book in question, the phrase “Qala Abdullah” is used;
- Although he mentions his other books by referring to them from time to time in his books, none of his books are mentioned in al-Imama;
-Although he does not include the history of Africa, Maghrib and Andalusia in his other books, the conquest of those regions - though irrelevant - are mentioned in the book;

-Nobody except for Ibnush-Shabbat (d. 681/1282), who lived much later than him, quoted from the book in question;  

- The Abbasids caliphs are criticized in al-Imama but there is no such criticism in Ibn Qutayba’s other books.

Based on the fact that forty pages were allocated for the conquest of North Africa and Andalusia, it was stated that the book might belong to an Andalusian or Egyptian author, a contemporary of Ibn Qutayba. The name of Ibn al-Qutiyya, who wrote a book on the history of Andalusia, is also mentioned among them [G. Lecomte, Ibn Qutayba, EI2 (Eng.), III, 845]

While some scholars such as Jibril Jabbur attribute al-Imama to Ibn Hazm, some others insist that it belongs to Ibn Qutayba. According to them, by criticizing Ibn Qutayba, Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi accepted that the book belonged to him but he doubted whether the entire book belonged to him. Therefore, it is stated that the mistakes in the book, the part that is not related to the topic and purpose of the book may have been added by others, not by the author. (Fahri Demir, “el-İmame ve’s-Siyase Adlı Eser Üzerine”, Diyanet İlmî Dergi, XXXI/1, Ankara 1995, pp. 31-44)

To sum up, the claim that the source in the question belongs to Ibn Kutayba ad-Dinawari is doubtful. Even if it is assumed that it belongs to him, both the claims about the Companions and the information in the question can never belong to him.

Answer 3:

Most of those who narrate this issue are Shiites and Rafidis. The information in the sources referenced in the question was reported from Rafidis and liars.

We could not find any statement by Ali that the Quran was distorted. Although some of the previous Shiites said so, the sane ones among the current Shia scholars do not accept it.

The following is stated in an article dealing with the issue in a journal:

“Although some of our previous Shia scholars said so, it is unacceptable because the following verse is very clear: ‘We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).’ (al-Hijr, 15/9) The views contrary to it mean unbelief.”

Did Ali (ra) no know this verse, God forbid?

To sum up, according to our research, it is seen that the issue is distorted and the names of the Sunnis are mentioned but the names of the Shiites who give the real information are kept secret; there are liars who openly slander. We regard it as appropriate to give a few examples without lengthening the issue:

Shia claim:

Shahristani reports the following in “al-Milal wan-Nihal” Vol. 1 p. 57: “Umar hit Fatima in the stomach on the day of allegiance and caused her to suffer a miscarriage.”


The information in question does not belong to Shahristani, but was reported from Nazzam, who was a Mutazilite. (see al-Milal wan-Nihal, 3/57)

Shia Claim:

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani reports the following in in his book “Lisanul Mizan” Vol. 1, p. 268: Umar hit Fatima in the stomach and caused Muhsin to drop. (adh-Dhahabi, “Mizanul-Itidal”, Vol. 1, p.139)


Ibn Hajar states that Abubakr Ahmad b. Muhammad, who reported the narration above is a liar. (see Ibn Hajar, Lisanul-Mizan, ibid)

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