Sunday, 8 August 2010

Abrogation In The Qur'an

Great confusion exists in the minds of many Muslims regarding abrogation (Nasikh, Manssokh) of the verses of the Holy Qur’an, the final message from the Creator for mankind. Invariably, even the so-called educated class, casually admit during drawing room discussions that certain verses of the Qur’an stand cancelled or replaced by other verses. This amounts to inventing a lie against Allah! Let us see exactly which verse is at the heart of their misunderstanding.

While Ibn Arabi reduced such abrogated verses considerably, Suyuti brought them down to twenty-one, Shah Waliullah down to only five:

Cancelled 2: 180, replaced by 4: 11, 12
Cancelled 2:240, replaced by 2: 234.
Cancelled 8:65, replaced by 8: 62.
Cancelled 58: 12, replaced by 58: 13.

Now let us see what the Qur’an itself says in 2:106:
“Any message which, We annul or consign to oblivion We replace with a better or a similar ones. Dost thou not know that God has the power to will anything?”

Reproduced below is the commentary by Dr. Muhammad Asad for 2: 106, and which explains the problem with the misunderstood ‘doctrine of abrogation’ because today the unbelievers use it as a beating stick against the Muslims:

“The principal laid down in this passage—relating to the suppression of the Biblical dispensation by that of the Qur'an—has given rise to an erroneous interpretation by many Muslim theologians. The word ayah (‘message’) occurring in this context is also used to denote a ‘verse’ of the Qur'an (because every one of these verses contains a message). Taking this restricted meaning of the term ayah, some scholars conclude from the above passage that certain verses of the Qur'an have been ‘abrogated’ by God’s command before the revelation of Qur'an was completed. Apart from the fancifulness of this assertion—which calls to mind the image of a human author correcting, on second thought, the proofs of his manuscript deleting one passage and replacing it with another—there does not exist a single reliable Tradition to the effect that the Prophet ever declared a verse of the Qur'an to have been ‘abrogated’.

At the root of the so-called ‘doctrine of abrogation’ may lie the inability of some of the early Commentators to reconcile one Qur’anic passage with another: a difficulty which was overcome by declaring that one of the verses in question had been ‘abrogated’.

This arbitrary procedure explains also why there is no unanimity whatsoever among the upholders of the ‘doctrine of abrogation’ as to which, and how many, Qur'an-verses have been affected by it, and, furthermore, as to whether this alleged abrogation implies a total elimination of the verse in question from the context of the Qur'an, or only a cancellation of the specific ordinance or statement contains on it. In short, the ‘doctrine of abrogation’ has no basis whatsoever in historical fact, and must be rejected. On the other hand, the apparent difficulty in interpreting the above Qur'anic passage disappears immediately if the term ayah is understood, correctly, as ‘message’, and if we read this verse in conjunction with the preceding one, which states that the Jews and the Christians refuse to accept any revelation which might supersede that of the Bible; for, if read in this way, the abrogation relates to the earlier divine messages and not to any part of the Qur'an itself.”

Please carefully read what the Qur'an says about 'strong drinks and games of chance'.

The ayahs concerning drinking and usury came in two stages: initially as mild prohibitions (to make the unbelievers-turning-into-believers feel repulsed) and finally as firm commands (to make real believers want to give up the vices entirely). Indeed Allah knows that alcohol contains ‘some benefit’ for mankind but notice how drunkards allow themselves the benefit of the doubt (doubt and confusion within themselves) by misusing the merciful revelation to ruin their lungs or to look good amongst drinking buddies. As human beings we possess the potential to justify all our demands, and in this ability resides our TEST.

The changes or the annulments actually refer to entire revelations (Torah, Zaboor, Injeel), one following the other through God’s prophets and meant for different times and nations. Stoning to death was prescribed for scores of spiritual and social offences in the Old Testament but a lenient view was taken in the final revelation, the Qur’an, keeping in view mankind’s material and spiritual states.

May Allah have mercy on those who think He sits on the heavenly throne changing His mind or that He cancels ayahs (messages) midstream during revelation.

And in 35:43, Allah says:
Thus [it is]: no change wilt thou ever find in God's way (sunnah Allah); yea, no deviation wilt thou ever find in God's way!

Indeed Allah is neither like us, nor thinks or acts like us.

15 comments:

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  2. Posted by mulayamyadav on Sunday August 8, 2010 06:46 am
    QURANIC VERSES SUPPORTING THE DOCTRINE OF ABROGATION

    Here are the actual Quranic verses that reference abrogation. All quotes are from Dawood's English Translation of the Quran.[7]

    2:106: "If We abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, We will replace it by a better one or one similar...."

    13:39: "God abrogates and confirms what He pleases. His is the Decree Eternal."

    17:86: "If We pleased We could take away that which We have revealed to you:.."

    16:101 "When We change one verse for another (God knows best what He reveals), they say: "You are an impostor...."

    22:52: "Never have we sent a single prophet or apostle before you with whose wishes Satan did not tamper. But God abrogates the interjections of Satan and confirms His own revelations."

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  3. Posted by mulayamyadav on Sunday August 8, 2010 06:54 am
    LIST OF ABROGATING / ABROGATED QURANIC VERSES

    There are many cases of abrogation but for lack of space I limit my selection.

    In sura 2:142-144, we find the change of the "Qibla", the direction of prayer, from Jerusalem to Mecca.

    The change of punishment for adulteresses: life imprisonment (according to sura 4:15) was then changed to 100 strokes by flogging (according to sura 24:2). Yet, Islamic law prescribes stoning, based on the practice of Muhammad who commanded to stone those guilty of adultery. The punishment of stoning for adultery is seen as either an example of abrogation of the Quran by the Sunna, or as an example of a verse of which the reading has been abrogated (removed from the text of the Quran) but the meaning remains in force. On the other hand, verses 4:15 and 24:2 are abrogated in meaning while the text remains in the Quran for recitation.


    The fighting ability of victory for Muslims is also abrogated by one verse following the next....
    "Prophet, rouse the faithful to arms. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding. God has now lightened your burden, for He knows that you are weak. If there are a hundred steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a thousand, they shall, by God's will, defeat two thousand. God is with those that are steadfast." Sura 8:65, 66.


    The Sword verses: the Call to "fight and slay the pagan (idolaters) wherever you find them" (sura 9:5); or "strike off their heads in battle" (sura 47:5); or "make war on the unbeliever in Allah, until they pay tribute" (sura 9:29); or "Fight then... until the religion be all of it Allah's" (sura 8:39); or "a grievous penalty against those who reject faith" (sura 9:3). All of these contradict "There is no compulsion in religion" (sura 2:256). Note here that sura 9 was one of the last suras to be "revealed to Muhammad". Logically, it should abrogate "there is no compulsion in Islam".

    The night prayer performed by reciting the Quran ought to be more or less half the time of the night (Sura 73:2). This was changed to as much as may be easy for you (verse 20).

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  4. Posted by mulayamyadav on Sunday August 8, 2010 06:54 am
    LIST OF ABROGATING / ABROGATED QURANIC VERSES

    There are many cases of abrogation but for lack of space I limit my selection.

    In sura 2:142-144, we find the change of the "Qibla", the direction of prayer, from Jerusalem to Mecca.

    The change of punishment for adulteresses: life imprisonment (according to sura 4:15) was then changed to 100 strokes by flogging (according to sura 24:2). Yet, Islamic law prescribes stoning, based on the practice of Muhammad who commanded to stone those guilty of adultery. The punishment of stoning for adultery is seen as either an example of abrogation of the Quran by the Sunna, or as an example of a verse of which the reading has been abrogated (removed from the text of the Quran) but the meaning remains in force. On the other hand, verses 4:15 and 24:2 are abrogated in meaning while the text remains in the Quran for recitation.

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  5. Posted by mulayamyadav on Sunday August 8, 2010 06:54 am

    The fighting ability of victory for Muslims is also abrogated by one verse following the next....
    "Prophet, rouse the faithful to arms. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding. God has now lightened your burden, for He knows that you are weak. If there are a hundred steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a thousand, they shall, by God's will, defeat two thousand. God is with those that are steadfast." Sura 8:65, 66.


    The Sword verses: the Call to "fight and slay the pagan (idolaters) wherever you find them" (sura 9:5); or "strike off their heads in battle" (sura 47:5); or "make war on the unbeliever in Allah, until they pay tribute" (sura 9:29); or "Fight then... until the religion be all of it Allah's" (sura 8:39); or "a grievous penalty against those who reject faith" (sura 9:3). All of these contradict "There is no compulsion in religion" (sura 2:256). Note here that sura 9 was one of the last suras to be "revealed to Muhammad". Logically, it should abrogate "there is no compulsion in Islam".

    The night prayer performed by reciting the Quran ought to be more or less half the time of the night (Sura 73:2). This was changed to as much as may be easy for you (verse 20).

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  6. mulayamyadav:

    Please stop cutting and pasting without understanding anything about what God says and what the 'sayings' of the Prophet say.

    You are groping in the dark and I hope some day you will see the truth by reading the original texts and not what WikiIslam or Answering Islam prints.

    The case of stoning to death was for a Jewish couple who themselves came to the prophet for a decision, and he asked them what Mosaic Law prescribed. Obviously THEY stoned themselves to death by admitting what THEIR Law said! He did NOT pass a judgement according to the Qur'an and whosoever thinks death is prescribed by the Qur'an for all sorts of offences, he or she is entirely lost.

    Please refrain from referring to obscure 'sayings' if you wish to understand Islam.

    Shanti.

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  7. Posted by mulayamyadav on Sunday August 8, 2010 12:53 pm
    MAARIFUL TAFSIR by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi

    This commentary was made by a premier Pakistani scholar.

    On verses 2:106, 107

    At first, Muslims used to pray with their faces turned towards the Baytul-Maqdis at Jerusalem; later on, Allah commanded them to turn towards the Ka’bah. Similarly, certain other injunctions were abrogated altogether, or replaced by others. …



    The verse declares that if Allah chooses to abrogate an injunction contained in a certain verse, while retaining the verse itself as part of the Holy Quran, or chooses to remove a verse from the memories of men altogether, there is nothing objectionable in it, for Allah alone knows the wisdom that lies in His choice, and He makes these changes for the good of men. …

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  10. Posted by teshah on Monday August 9, 2010 05:59 pm
    @tahir

    Thank you dear for your kind response. As advised by you I read your blog on the subject but sorry to say it does not provide answer to my question,"whether one can 'read' (It is commonly called in the native language 'parhna')namaz when drunk".

    My view is, Quran is not a 'book' in the common sense but a sort of a journal, recording messages as were 'received' by the prophet, hence some apparent 'incongruities'.

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  11. TeShah:

    I cannot CONVERT you; not even prophets could do it when it came to hard-core unbelievers!

    Read the beginning of the second Surah (chapter) of the Qur'an to know that it indeed is a BOOK of guidance for those who seek help. It doesn't effect Allah if you disagree with Him.

    YOU need to take the right steps; the ball is in your court so don't waste your energy please.

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  12. @IGH

    You don't need to convert me as I am an ethnic Muslim, with Quran in my blood. The progeny of Hussain cannot be converted to become the prgeny of Yazeed Layeen.

    In any case the Author of the compilation called a Book does advise its readers to seek guidance only from Him - vide verse 5 of Surat Fatehah (The Opening)- by reciting several times daily 'Ehdina siratal mustaqimah' (Show us, 'O God', the straight path).

    Shanti

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  13. Shah sahib:

    "Hussein, Yazeed, Qur'an in my blood"...what are you talking about now? Not even the prophets spoke with such forceful pride. By Allah, I don't think like you do!

    Don't drink, always stay sober; plain and simple. Imagine how angry the messenger of Allah (not to forget Ali ibn Abi Talib) will be on Judgement Day with those who consume alcohol under various pretexts.

    5:90
    "O YOU who have attained to faith! Intoxicants, and games of chance, and idolatrous practices, and the divining of the future are but a loathsome evil of Satan's doing:105 shun it, then, so that you might attain to a happy state!"

    Peace, always.

    :)

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  14. Shah sahib, I forgot to give you the footnote 105:

    According to all the lexicographers, the word khamr (derived from the verb khamara, "he concealed" or "obscured") denotes every substance the use of which obscures the intellect, i.e., intoxicates. Hence, the prohibition of intoxicants laid down in this verse comprises not merely alcoholic drinks, but also drugs which have a similar effect. The only exception from this total prohibition arises in cases of "dire necessity" (in the strictest sense of these words), as stipulated in the last sentence of verse 3 of this surah: that is to say, in cases where illness or a bodily accident makes the administration of intoxicating drugs or of alcohol imperative and unavoidable. - As regards the expression "idolatrous practices" (ansab, lit., "idolatrous altars"), see note 8 of this surah. This term has, I believe, been used here metaphorically, and is meant to circumscribe all practices of an idolatrous nature - like saint-worship, the attribution of "magic" properties to certain inanimate objects, the observance of all manner of superstitious taboos, and so forth. - For an explanation of the expression rendered by me as "divining of the future" (al-azlam, lit., "divining-arrows"), see note 9 on the second paragraph of verse 3 of this surah.

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