Can You Elaborate on the Claim That Abdullah Ibn Sarh Has Distorted the Quran?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel

Question

Can you please elaborate on Christians’ claim that Abdullah ibn Sarh has distorted the Quran? On the internet, there is a claim that the scribe of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made changes to the verses and that our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) accepted it, and then he apostatized. I am afraid that if unanswered, it will affect my faith (iman).

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Abdullah Ibn Sad ibn Sarh (Allah be pleased with him)

The conclusion is that there is no authentic (sahih) hadith or even weak (daif ) in the books of hadith that mention Abdullah Ibn Sad ibn Abi Sarh’s distortion of the Qur’an. All narratives mentioned in the books of hadith and associated with him do not refer to his distortion of the Qur’an. [Abdulrehman Mohammad Spendari, ‘Abdullah ibn Saad ibn Abi Sarh’s Distortion of the Quranic Text in the Light of Tafsir Literature: A Critical Analysis]

Abdullah Ibn Sad ibn Sarh (Allah be pleased with him) embraced Islam after the Muslims had immigrated to Madina. He took the trouble to migrate to Madina, where he became one of the scribes of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). For an unknown reason, he apostatized and went back to Makka.

He is supposed to have told the Makkans that he changed the Quran according to his own will. This looks pretty predictable for someone in his situation seeking the favors of the Makkans whom he betrayed not long before.

He converted back to Islam during the conquest of Makka, and his Islam was acceptable; later, his behavior was beyond reproach. He was among the wise and the noble from Quraysh and was the knight of Bani ‘Aamir Ibn Luay was respected among them. Later, ‘Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) named him to govern Egypt in the year 25H.

He conquered Africa in the year 27H and conquered Nubia (Ancient Sudan) in the year 31H, and he was the one who signed with the Nubians the armistice that is still valid today. He defeated the Romans in the battle of as-Sawary in the year 34 H. When he returned from his advent, he was prevented from entering Fustat [the capital of Egypt], so he went to ‘Asqalan, where he lived until the murder of Uthman (Allah be pleased with him).

It was also said he lived in Ramla until he died away from the turmoil. And he prayed to Allah Most High, saying: “O Allah make the prayer of fajr the last of my deeds. So, he performed wudu and prayed; he read Sura Fatiha and Adiyat in the first raka’ and read Fatiha and another sura in the second raka’ and made salam on his right and died before he made salam on the left side.

Yazid Ibn Abi Habib and others conveyed all this report. He didn’t pledge allegiance to Ali (Allah be pleased with him) nor to Muawiya (Allah be pleased with him. His death was before the people agreed on Muawiya. It was also said that he died in Africa, but the correct opinion is that he died in ‘Asqalan in the year 36H or 37H, and it was instead said 36H. [Qurtubi, Ahkam al-Quran]

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I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

He started his early education in UK. He went onto complete hifz of Qur’an in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in UK where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then travelled to Karachi, Pakistan.

He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.

He currently resides in UK with his wife. His personal interest is love of books and gardening.