The Shiites and other people of innovation have been misconstruing a statement of Shaykh Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri and allege that he said there has been textual tampering with the Qur’an. The statement is actually a comment to a hadith from Sahih Bukhari.
To understand the thing fully it is important to first read the hadith to which he commented. It goes as;
عن عبد الله بن عباس رضي الله عنهما، قال: ” يا معشر المسلمين، كيف تسألون أهل الكتاب، وكتابكم الذي أنزل على نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم أحدث الأخبار بالله، تقرءونه لم يشب، وقد حدثكم الله أن أهل الكتاب بدلوا ما كتب الله وغيروا بأيديهم الكتاب، فقالوا: هو من عند الله ليشتروا به ثمنا قليلا، أفلا ينهاكم ما جاءكم من العلم عن مساءلتهم، ولا والله ما رأينا منهم رجلا قط يسألكم عن الذي أنزل عليكم “
Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “O assembly of Muslims! How do you ask the people of the Scriptures, though your Book (i.e. the Quran) which was revealed to His Prophet is the most recent information from Allah and you recite it, (the Qur’an) that has not been distorted? Allah has informed you that the people of the Scriptures distorted and changed what was revealed to them, with their own hands and they have said (as regards their changed Scriptures): ‘This is from Allah,’ in order to get some worldly benefit thereby.” Ibn Abbas added: “Isn’t the knowledge revealed to you sufficient to prevent you from asking them? By Allah I have never seen any one of them asking (Muslims) about what has been revealed to you.”
[See, Sahih Bukhari, Book 48, Hadith 850. (It is Hadith No. 2685 according to Fath al-Bari numbering system)]
Clearly, here is the subject is tampering with the Scriptures of the Jews and the Christians. Commenting on this hadith Shaykh al-Kashmiri (rahmatullah alayh) said:
واعلم أن في التحريف ثلاثة مذاهب: ذهب جماعة إلى أن التحريف في الكتب السماوية قد وقع بكل نحو في اللفظ والمعنى جميعا، وهو الذي مال إليه ابن حزم؛ وذهب جماعة إلى أن التحريف قليل، ولعل الحافظ ابن تيمية جنح إليه؛ وذهب جماعة إلى إنكار التحريف اللفظي رأسا، فالتحريف عندهم كله معنوي. قلت: يلزم على هذا المذهب أن يكون القرآن أيضا محرفا، فإن التحريف المعنوي غير قليل فيه أيضا، والذي تحقق عندي أن التحريف فيه لفظي أيضا، أما إنه عن عمد منهم، لمغلطة. فا لله تعالى أعلم به.
“And know that there are three opinions regarding the tampering (with the previous Scriptures): A group (of scholars) said that tampering was done with the earlier revealed scriptures in every way; both in text and meanings. This is what Ibn Hazm (also) said. Another group said that (textual) tampering is minimal and seemingly Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah inclined to this opinion. A group altogether denied (occurrence of) textual tampering. According to them all tampering was by the meaning alone. I say: Going by this opinion entails there is tampering with the Qur’an as well, for tampering by the way of meaning is not less in its case either. What is established in my opinion is that there was textual tampering as well. Either they have done it intentionally or it happened by error. And Allah knows the best!”
[See, Faid al-Bari ‘ala Sahih al-Bukhari, Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 2005 vol.4 p.98]
Clearly, the entire discussion is about the tampering with the previous scriptures only. The mention of Qur’an is only in the comment to the third opinion. Maulana Kashmiri says that if the previous nations tampered with the scriptures only by the way of meaning and yet we say they are tampered then it would mean Qur’an is also tampered for tampering by the way of meaning is also a fact with regards to Qur’an (as the deviants like the shias/bidatis misuse the verses to justify their deviation). By saying so he meant to show the weakness of the third opinion that limits tampering of previous scriptures only to the meanings. Also it goes against the very spirit of the narration of Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) to which the comment was made.
Thereafter, he gives his own opinion that the previously revealed scriptures have indeed suffered textual tampering, whether deliberate or otherwise.
It is ironical that such an allegation is made against a scholar who was very cautious with regards to Qur’an. In fact some of his students had the feeling that he intentionally did not make any elaborate comments about the Qur’an for the respect and honor of the Word of Allah.
[See, Syed Manazir Ahsan Gilani’s memoirs, “Ihata-e-Darul ‘Uloom me bête Huwe Din“, Idara Talifat Ashrafia, Multan, 1425 AH, pp.93-94]
May Allah guide those who for some reasons keep spreading such lies against the scholars of Sunnah.
And Allah knows the best!
— Yahya Ja’far