Revelation and Falsification
For all Muslims the Qur'an is the word of God. In the first centuries of Islam, however, many individuals and groups, and some Shi'is, believed that the generally accepted text of the Qur'an is corrupt. The Shi'is asserted that redactors had altered or deleted among other things all passages that supported the rights of 'Ali and his successors or that condemned his enemies. One of the fullest lists of these alleged changes and of other variant readings is to be found in the work of al-Sayyari (3rd/9th century), which is indeed among the earliest Shi'i books to have survived. In many cases the alternative readings that al-Sayyari presents substantially contribute to our understanding of early Shi'i doctrine and of the early and numerous debates about the Qur'an in general.