Memorizing the Qur'an
Among the blessings of Allah on mankind is that He, Himself, has guaranteed to guard this everlasting Divine Message against any form of distortion, forgery and disfigurement, in such a way that falsehood cannot approach it from any direction.
Remarkably, the Qur'an, today, is the same text which was revealed fourteen centuries ago to the Prophet, and is free from any additions or deletions.
The religious scholars (ulama) and researchers, in the school of Ahlul-Bait, certify this great fact. We mention only what Sheikh Tabarasi (one of the prominent interpreters and great Shi'ite scholars of the sixth century A.H.) (may Allah bless him) said:
He also said:
Sheikh al-Balaghi (may Allah glorify his status) said:
"Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardians."
Holy Qur'an (15:9)
"Surely on Us (devolves) the collecting of it and the reciting of it."
Holy Qur'an (75:17)
In a chapter titled 'The Imamiya's opinion rejecting deletions in the Qur'an', Balaghi further states in his 'Tafsir'. "It is no secret that Saduq (may Allah bless him) who is known for the great care he took in what he narrated, says in his book 'Iqtiqad'. Our belief in the Qur'an, which was sent down by Allah to His Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w.), is that it consists of all that is in between its two covers, and it is what is in circulation among the people, no more...Whoever ascribes to us that we say it was more than that, is but a liar."
Another great Shi'iti scholar, Sheikh Mufid, writes in his book 'Maqalat' that:
In 'Kashf al-Ghita fi kittab al-Qur'an', chapter eight, concerning the deletion, it is said:
Sheikh Bahauddin Amili says:
Muqaddas Baghdadi, in 'Sharh al-Wafiya' says:
The late contemporary scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Husein Aal Kashif al-Ghita', in his book 'Asl al-Shi'a wa Usuliha', says:
Tas his is the position of the Shi'ati scholars, regarding the Qur'an now in the hands of the Muslims. It is, it was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and it will remain pure and unadulterated, as long as man remains on the face of the earth, guiding humanity towards virtue and happiness.
Certain dubious narrations which allegedly speak about deletions in the holy text, and, sometimes, claim of a Qur'an other than this, have been exploited by purposeful offenders and have obviously misled some people. These simple-minded souls cite the following narration from Imam Ja'far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq to support their misconstrued views:
They have misunderstood the Imam, and without going into the lexical meaning of the word Mashaf thought that he was indicating a Qur'an other than the one in circulation. It was a grave mistake on the part of these people.
However, a careful scrutiny of the narrative, will help reveal the actual meaning of the word Mashaf:
By looking up the word Mashaf in Arabic lexicons, we discover what Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) actually meant.
Raghib Isfahani says:
"'Suhuf' of Abraham and Moses, and also...receiving pure 'Suhuf' (pages) wherein are all the correct books."
Holy Qur'an (87:19)
It is said that it means the Qur'an and that by using the plural Suhuf in which are 'Books', it is meant to say that they include more than what is in Allah's Books. Hence, a Mashaf is a collection of written Suhuf, and its plural form is Masahif.(36)
Therefore, the word Mashaf means any book and is not a special term for "the Book of Allah". It can mean any collection of Suhuf (leaves of paper or skin), and only in this context can the Qur'an also be called Mashaf because it is a collection of Suhuf.
The exclusive names for the Book of Allah are: Al-Qur'an, al-Dhikr, al-Furqan and al-Kitab(37), as mentioned in the holy text, itself. Allah did not call it "Mashaf", but, it were the later Muslims who named it so, after having compiled it on leaves or sheets.
Thus, it is clear that the mistake arose from the linguistic use of the word during the early days of Islam, when people did not take 'Mashaf' to mean Qur'an, as it may imply in present day usage.
A closer look at Imam al-Sadiq's narration, itself, will help clarify the misconception. He says that:
"In Fatima's Mashaf there are none of the verses of Allah's Book"
It obviously means that it is neither the Qur'an nor any part of it. Nor is it a divine revelation, but it is a dictation of the Messenger of Allah written in Imam Ali's handwriting.
According to some scholars 'the Mashaf Fatima' was a collection of supplications and instructions which Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) dictated for the benefit of his beloved daughter Fatima (ass.).