The current essay centers on a significant issue in the Quran, over which critics and scholars have engaged in an endless debate over the years. This issue is known by al-Nasikh wa al-Mansukh, which means Abrogating and Abrogating. The cause of debate lies in the difference of opinion between the scholars, a majority of them believe that there are a vast number of abrogated verses while the minority holds different views. The critics, on the other hand, make use of polemic arguments and assert that there are tens of verses that are contradictory to one another.
This essay aims at exploring the different views held by scholars on abrogation. It also highlights the most sensitive verses that have been debated throughout the centuries. In addition to this, the essay will focus on those verses, that were alleged as abrogated, and reassess some of them in line with the scholars’ views to ascertain whether they are convincing or not. Throughout the history of Islam, scholars have highlighted various conflicts in the Quran, and have attempted to find out the solution.
Therefore, the differences in the views of the scholars have created a narrative that can rebut criticism of the Quran, and the evidence that they have provided is based on the data that they have gathered. The critics claimed that some verses were peaceful until a certain time as when the Muslims gained power their attitude changed and so did the verses of the Quran. It should be noted that Islamic scholars have formulated these ideas. For instance, some scholars believe that Surah al-Kafirun is entirely abrogated by the fifth verse of Surah al-Tawba, which is known by the verse of ‘Sword’, thus a group of Jihadists used this verse and they do not believe in peace. The verse of Sword is one of the critical issues for the critics while other Muslims believe in Sura al-Kafirun is valid to the present day.
The essay has laid out many significant questions to the scholars, in the form of a solo polemic debate. The questions are: what do the Muslims have to do with those verses, which are corresponding, to the abrogation in the Quran? Can Muslims accept the facts provided by the Quran? Should Muslims reject the abrogation of the Quran? If yes, how do they deal with the verses, which do not correspond, with the modern time? Should Muslims accept the abrogation but reassess some of the verses to deal with modern times?
The essay also examines some other verses in Quran, which have not been claimed yet even if they coincide with abrogation, or not. In addition, there are other conflicts that scholars have not highlighted yet. The reason behind it is that the scholars have established the rule of abrogation, they believe that abrogation is only found in those verses which are changing the lawful to prohibited or vice versa, and abrogation is not corresponding to reports or stories of the Quran. However, the different information in the Quran leads to the contradiction in the principles of Islam. Then, the question arises if the scholars accept the abrogation as a fact, should they reconsider the principle of the abrogation which is set in the past? If they do not update this rule of abrogation, then how do they answer to those conflicts in the Quran?
Furthermore, the essay defines the terms of the Nasikh wal Mansukh, both in terms of the literal meaning and theological meaning. It also discusses some of the influential scholars who were experts in Quranic exegeses such as al-Tabari, al-Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, and Jalal al-Din Suite. In addition to this, the essay explains the three modes of abrogation with one other mode, developed by scholars, that the Hadith could abrogate the verses of the Quran while others rejected this mode.
In the Arabic language, the word Nāsikh is derived from the verb Naskh and this word has different literary meanings. According to the dictionary of Al-Munjid, the word Naskh means: abrogate, remove, annulment and deformation. In addition, using this word in a different context will give it a different meaning, for example, ‘Naskh the book’ means copying; ‘Nashk the soul’ stands for reincarnation. In Lisan al-Arab, the word Naskh means: abrogating something by replacing it with a different thing or transforming the states of something into a new form. As the Arabs have an expression ‘Nasakhat al-Shamsu al-Dhil’ which means, the sun removed the shad, also they have another expression ‘Nasakhat al-Rihu athar al-diary, it means, the wind changed the traces of the houses. The meaning of Naskh as abrogating is confirmed by the Quranic verses (2.106 and 22.52). While the word Naskh in verse 7.154 has a meaning recorded or transcribe.
Nasisk and Mansukh in Quran
According to the majority of the scholars, the Nasisk is abrogating the rule of the verse or Surah in Quran and replacing it with a new context and orders, a new verse called Nasikh, and the previous verse, which was abrogated, called Mansukh. There are enormous verses in Quran that are not abided by the Muslims because they believe that those verses nullified its rule. The evidence of scholars is based on the Quran itself, Hadith, and the biography of Prophet Muhammad. The verses that are applied to abrogating are verse 2:106, verse 13:39, verse 16:101, and verse 22:52. In the next section, we will focus on the first three verses in light of the scholars’ commentary then we are going to conduct an in-depth analysis of other verses which relate to the concept of Abrogation.
The first verse regarding the abrogation that the word ‘Naskh’ specifically has mentioned, which is in the second chapter so-called Surah al-Baqara, verse 106, says: “None of our revelations does We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?”
This verse is written in three important clauses, which refer to abrogation. The key of these clauses is: abrogate, forgotten, and substitute. In order to give a clear idea, we have to explain each clause individually according to the scholars’ views.
First clause: ‘None of our revelations does We abrogate’; According to al-Tabari (839 AD-923AD), who is one of the Jurist and scholars of Islam, has said, Allah changes the verse by replacing it with different verses, thus the lawful transfers to the forbidden and vice versa. Furthermore, in Tafsir, al-Tabari stated that the Nasikh is only implemented by the command of Allah and is made forbidden by Allah. It is not found in any reports or stories in Quran. Furthermore, the Naskh is abrogation and changes the context by giving a new wording and new law. In addition, al-Tabari has shown so many different views that are based on Prophet’s companion. For example, Ibn Abbas stated on this clause that is, replacing the verse with another verse, and Abdullah bin Masud said the verse would remain the same but only the rule would change while al-Tabari mentioned several companions of Ibn Masud, who said that the verse would remain as it is.
The second famous jurist is Al-Qurubi (1214AD-1274 Ad), who explained this clause in light of the views of the Prophet’s companion that Allah keeps the verse as it is but abrogates the rule of the verses.
The third jurist is Ibn Kathir (1300 AD- 1373 Ad), who illustrated plenty of scholars that narrated from authentic companions, for example, Ibn Talhah narrated from Ibn Abbas said the meaning of this clause, is abrogated the verse, while Ibn Jurayi narrated from Mujahid who stated that the verse erases. However, Ibn Abi Najih narrated from Mujahid a bit different from Ibn Abi Najih by saying ‘”We keep the words, but change the meaning.”
Ibn Kathir referred to other scholars ‘Ibn Abi Hatim’, ‘Abu Al-Aliyah’ and ‘Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi’ that all narrated to ‘As-Suddi’, that the meaning of this clause is, ‘We erase the verse’.
However, Ibn Jarir stated that it means “Whatever ruling we repeal in an Ayah by making the allowed unlawful and the unlawful allowed.”
The second clause ‘cause to be forgotten, according to al-Tabari in brief terms, that this clause has many interpretations by scholars, some of them believe that certain verses were forgotten when they were revealed to Prophet, then Allah abrogated them while other mentioned that Prophet himself forgot the verses that were revealed to him. Aside from this, al-Tabari narrated from another companion that means that this clause is to remain the verse and its rule.
Al-Qurtubi, also narrated by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, and Ibn Ka’ib that the abrogation of the verse will be delayed, and some agreed on this point but added that the delay was for a certain time only. Others say the verse is neither abrogated nor replaced, instead, it remains the same.
Ibn Kathir referred to Ibn Mas`ud and said that it means, “We uphold its wording and change its ruling.” While other companions such as Ubayd bin Umayr, Mujahid, Ata, Sadi, and Atiya al-Awifi said, it means, “We delay it, do not abrogate it.
In the third clause, ‘but We substitute something better or similar”, al-Tabari, narrated from Ibn Abbas, that Allah will send a better verse which will be more beneficial and soft to you. Also narrated from Qatada, is that Allah sent a new verse, which was more merciful and soft in nature but showed command.
Al-Qurtubi, believes that Allah’s word is all same there is no preferable in his word, and the word better is like a word which was used in this verse 89 of Surah al-Tamil which says ” If any do good, good will (accrue) to them therefrom.”
Ibn Kathir referred to Ali bin Abi Talhah that Ibn Abbas said means “We bring forth a more beneficial ruling, that is also easier for you.”, then Ibn Kathir narrated from As-Suddi who said in regards to this clause, that the better or the similar verse was brought for the abrogation of verses. However, Qatada said it means the verse will be replaced by a more mitigation, permitting, commanding, and prohibiting verse.
Two significant writers Jalal al-Din al-Suite (1445–1505 AD) and Jalal al-Din al-Mohali (1389-1459 AD) have written Tafsir al-Jalalyain. The suite had a very concise exegesis of the three clauses:
For the first clause, he has two readings of the word of the verse, in each reading gives a different meaning:
- The first reading, Allah has revealed the Judgement either with its Word (new verse) or not.
- Second reading, Allah commands you (Prophet) or Gabriel to abrogate the verse.
The second clause also has two different readings, which mean:
- First reading: ‘We delay and We do not reveal the Judgment and withdraw the wording (recite)’. Or, ‘We delay (to reveal a new rule) in the Preserved Tablet.
- Second reading: Or ‘We erase from your heart’.
The third clause says to bring a new verse to be more beneficial for our servants that would be easier to implement or have many rewards for them. Moreover, regarding the last bit of the verse, which is ‘similar to’ it means the religious obligation and reward.
The second verse, which is relating to the abrogation in verse 39 of Surah Ra’d, the verse says, “Allah doth blot out or confirm what He pleaseth: with Him is the Mother of the Book.”
Although the verse is very clear that it does not need any interpretation, however, I would like to highlight the most common exegete of the verse. In Tafsir al-Tabari, there are enormous narrations from companions of the Prophet; al-Tabari said that there is a difference in the explanation of this verse. He stated that Ibn Abbas said that Allah erases everything except misery and happiness. In addition, many companions and scholars concentrate on the misery and happiness that Allah confirmed to his servants. Furthermore, Ibn Abbas reported that Allah has two books, one of the books is for erasing and is used to rewrite while the other book, which is Mother of the Book, is immutable. It seems that this report presents Ibn Abbas’s view because there is no indication that the report was narrated by Prophet or his companions.
Al-Qurtubi has almost the same narrations as al-Tabari mentioned, however, he shows his Tafsir to be different from al-Tabari, due to the addition of a few views of the Prophet’s companions, such as Ali bin Abi Talib, who said, that Allah blots out the centuries and create a new century. Also referred to Hadith, which was narrated from Abu Huraira, the Prophet said “He who is desirous that his means of sustenance should be expanded for him or his age may be lengthened, should join the tie of relationship”, It is clear that this Hadith has no relation to this verse.
In Tafsir Ibn Kathir, there is a similar narration but there is a crucial aspect that makes this essay unique, which is Ibn Kathir indicated to Qatada, who was Prophet’s companion. He said that this verse is similar to verse 106 of Surah al-Baqara. That means this verse is the same as the verse of abrogation, which was mentioned in the previous section.
In Tafsir Jalalyain, only a short explanation has been given, which states that Allah erases rules or other matter whatever His will and confirm it. And having with Him the Mother of the Book which is immutable and He wrote this book in pre-eternity.
The third verse is stated “When We substitute one revelation for another, – and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages), – they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.”
Al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir, and Jalalayin stated in their Tafsirs that if we (Allah) abrogate the rule of the verse we replace it with a new rule. In addition, al-Tabari indicated to Qitada that he said this verse is same as the verse 106 al-Baqara. Al-Qurtabi had the same view that if we abrogate the Shari’a, it is replaced by a new Shari’a.
The First abrogation that is occurred in Quran
According to Islamic tradition, when Prophet migrated to Medina, after 18 months, Allah revealed verse 2.144 to Prophet to change the direction of prayer from Jerusalem toward Mecca. It seems this is the verse in which abrogation occurred in the Quran while a minority of scholars believe that this verse is not related to abrogation. According to Fathi,  the verse has no link to the abrogation; because there was no verse, which stated that, the Muslim faced Jerusalem, which Allah changed later. Thus, it means that the verse abrogated Sunna, which is another mode of Abrogation called the Quran by Sunna. This matter will be discussed later.
The Modes of Abrogation
There are three modes of Nasikh and Mansukh in the Quran:
First: The first mode is referred to those verses, which withdraw the wording from Quran, and its rule is no more valid in Islamic law. That means those verses are not found in the Quran.
Anas bin Malik said, we recited the Surah and its verses were about Surah Al-Tuba. I only remember one verse which said ‘If the son of Adam had a valley of wealth he would seek a second, and if he had a second he would seek a third, and if he had a third he would seek a fourth and nothing fills the belly of the son of Adam except dirt. And Allah pardons those who repent. Also, Ibn Masud said that when Muhammad read out a verse, I had to write it down. The next day the paper was blank and I went to see Prophet tell him that there is nothing on the paper. The prophet said, yesterday, Allah took the verse back.
Read the Sahih Muslim, which shows that there are two verses, which are remembered as two different Surahs in the Quran, although the name of the Surahs has been forgotten. First: The verse ‘Son of Adam’ which was in a Surah resembled in length Surah Bara’at. The second verse was in Surah which resembled in length Surah Musabbihat, only one verse is remembered which says “Oh people who believe, why do you say that which you do not practice” and” that is recorded in your necks as a witness (against you) and you would be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection.” The second verse is mentioned in Tafsir al-Qurtubi too. 
In Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Abi Kaib and Ai’ish claimed that Surah al-Ahzab was as long as Surah al-Baqara, which means that 113 verse of al-Ahzab has been withdrawn in the Quran. Also, al-Qurtubi narrated from Suhail bin Hanif that a man came to Prophet and said “I tried to recite a Surah of Qur’an but I do not remember”, another two men also stated that they did not remember the Surah, and then the Prophet said that Surah had been abrogated the previous day.
Second: The second mode referred to those verses which have withdrawn the wording but the rule remains the same. It then implies that those verses are not in Quran, yet their rules are still active in Islamic Law. Umar son of al-Khattāb one day said,
“I am afraid that with the lapse of time, the people (may forget it) and may say: ‘We do not find the punishment of stoning in the Book of Allah, I swear by Allah, we recite the verse said: Do not deny your fathers (i.e. claim to be the sons of persons other than your fathers), and whoever denies his father, is charged with disbelief, the married adulterer and the married adulteress should be stoned certainly. This is the punishment decreed by Allah. He is the all-knower.
In Hadith Muwatta al-Malik, has confirmed that this verse had been recited by Umar al-Khattab.
According to the Hadiths, there were two verses, Stoning and Suckling to adult males, which were written on a piece of paper but they were eaten by a sheep. It says “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.”
There is another verse that was narrated by Umar bin Khattab which is not found in the Quran as it says “Do not deny your fathers (i.e. claim to be the sons of persons other than your fathers), and whoever denies his father, is charged with disbelief.”
Third: The third Mode is about those verses, which were found in the Quran, but their rule has been abrogated. It implies that those verses are found in Quran but they are not applicable. In addition to this, there are a vast number of verses that can be found in the 63 Surahs of the Quran.
Abrogates the Quran by Sunna
The scholars developed another three modes of abrogation: the Sunna could abrogate the verses of the Quran, Quran can abrogate the Sunna and Sunna can abrogate the Sunna. Their evidence is based on verse 53.3, it says ‘Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire.” Thus, the Hadith could abrogate the verse of the Quran because Prophet’s speech is Allah’s word. However, other scholars believe that the Sunna cannot abrogate the Quran. Shafi’i believed that the Sunna did not abrogate the Quran. According to Fatoohi, Shafi’i and Ibn Hanbal believe that Sunna can abrogate Sunna but not the Quran while other scholars believe that Sunna may abrogate the Quran.
There are some verses that are abrogated by the Sunna, Fatoohi has illustrated a few Sunna which was abrogated by the Quran, such as changing the direction of the Qibla, Fasting of ‘Ashura, Prohibiting Speaking during Prayer, and Sexual Intercourse in Ramadan. Also, he illustrated a few Sunna that had been abrogated by Sunna. It has been noticed that Prophet changed his rules routinely, for example, he banned Muslims to visit the graveyard the Prophet allowed them to visit it. Also, there are other examples such as Praying Standing instead of Sitting, Preserving the Meat of Pilgrimage Sacrifices, and Making Juices in Certain Vessels. Fatoohi has made a great point and said it might be the time the Prophet changed instructions that he had earlier; however, this kind of abrogation has no role in establishing abrogation in Quran.
The scholars alleged that the Sunna abrogated the verses of the Quran, for example, verse 4.24 regarding the Mut’a, temporarily of marriage, had been abrogated by the Hadith of the Prophet.
There are various Hadith, which indicate that the Prophet prohibited this kind of marriage. While other Hadith indicated that, this verse has not been abrogated.
Verse 4.24 says “…Seeing that ye derive benefit from them (women), give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed….” the scholars believe that this temporary marriage was allowed during the Prophet’s time but after the war of Khaibar, the verse had been abrogated. In both Sahih Muslim and Sunan Abi Dawud, it was stated, “The Prophet prohibited the contracting of temporary marriage.”
This is another confusion by Islamic scholars, for that reason Shia doctrine still believes in the temporary contract marriage while the Suni are seen to be refuting such a marriage by Sunna.
The Denying of the Abrogation.
As was mentioned in the previous section, the majority of Scholars believe in the existence of Abrogation and they classified it while also setting rules of the abrogation. However, there is a minority of scholars who deny its existence and they believe that there are no verses in Quran that have been abrogated. The first scholar of Islam Abu Muslim al-Asfahani denied the abrogation in the Quran, unfortunately, his entire work was collected and burnt by other scholars. Professor Zalmi said a few ignorant burnt his work to keep the people from finding out the truth. However, other scholars such as al-Razi, Al-Tusi, and al-Tusi had kept some of his work safe. There is a vague idea based on his belief about some of the verses which were abrogated. According to Dr. Khzhir who collected some of his work and he composed a book which was titled Tafsir al-Asfahani. Khzhir gave a brief description of Naskh and underlined a few verses of explanation of al-Asfahani, for example, al-Asfahani believed the verse so-called ‘Bequest verse’ was not abrogated by the verse called ‘Succession verse’. Al-Asfahani believed that the Succession Verse is more detailed while the Bequest Verse is concise; therefore, Al-Tusi who was an exegete had the same views. Also, al-Razi referred to verse 2.15 saying it is not abrogated by the “Succession” verse as his view is based on the view of al-Asfahani. He explained this verse and said, it is obligatory for someone to give maintenance to his parents and his kin; the kin meant in the verse is, his children and children of his children. If the verse is abrogated then it means the maintenance will be obliged after the death of this person, in other words it will be succession, not maintenance.
According to Khzhir, al-Asfahani referred to two other verses, 8:66 & 58:12, which have not been abrogated, while Khzhir did not give any further explanation.
Professor Zalmi is another scholar, who believed that there is no abrogation in Quran, and I will point out only two of his great aspects, he said:
First, I believed that there is no wisdom in abrogation, if there is abrogation without wisdom we alleged a frivolity to Allah, but Allah is perfect and infallible, therefore, there is no more than any of this hypothesis:
I: Ether Allah did not know when He legislates the rule that will be abrogated and the new legislation will be better, thus that would be alleged as the ignorance of Allah, which is not acceptable.
II: Or, Allah did know but He was unable to bring a new rule, thus will allege the inability of Allah, which is not acceptable too.
III: Or, If Allah did know that abrogating is better than the abrogated rule, and he was able to, but still he preferred to bring the legislation that would be abrogated in the future. This is frivolity to Allah, and this will not acceptable because Allah is infallible.
IIII: If the position of Muslims is weak therefore Quran is allowed to deal with non-Muslims gradually and to be kind to them, so they tried to convince them by argument and debates, but when their position became stronger, thus, they used force. Therefore, the messages of Muhammed changed from peace to violence as the West believed, this is also not true; because the message is Allah’s message not Muslim’s, and Allah is not weak.
Second: Those people who believe in abrogation, that the verses are changed according to the people’s benefit. If that is so, we have to believe that the Quran is not compatible with the modern day or be applied in the future. Those how to believe in abrogation, believe that 250 verses were abrogated during the 23 years of the prophecy. If the abrogation has occurred, based on, the benefits of the ignorant Arabian Peninsula, during the prophecy then we cannot apply the teachings of the Quran in the modern day because the situation of humans has changed a hundred times more than in the 23 years of the prophecy. This is unacceptable because the Quran’s integrity is not affected by time and location.
An argument between Critics and Scholar who deny Abrogation
The critics are against both scholars who believe in abrogation in the Quran and those who do not because they believe that Allah knows the future and He abrogates, or if the abrogation does not exist in the Quran then the conflict will be found among the verse of the Quran. However, the scholars like Zalmi had the same view that Allah knows the future. And, Allah does not send the verse or abrogate it, therefore, Zalmi tried to find a solution and nullify the conflict in Quran.
Med who is a critic, in regards to the abrogation, raised a question about that statement when a verse revealed for one day then Allah elevated the same day. He asked why would Allah send a verse for a day and take it back the next day. Nobody knows what the benefits of this verse were and what humanity gained from that verse.
As we can see, Zalmi also has similar views, but he believes that scholars fabricated this statement.
Med carried out an in-depth analysis of verse 2.106, but I have concluded his concept in a brief form which is based on his comments on the three clauses. In his first clause, a question arises, “What is the wisdom behind that Allah abrogate the law which was active for a certain time?” Med brings an example, that drinking alcohol was allowed for a certain time, and if the drink is bad for the people why did Allah simply not forbid it in the first stage?
And for the second clause of verse 2.106, asking what Allah means by saying we bring a better verse. If Allah has the best eloquence ever why he did not bring the best verse in the first place?
For the third clause, he says, either the verse of the Quran has been forgotten or Allah subtitled it by a different verse, or the previous verse is not abrogated, therefore Allah sent a similar to it. Both of the views will be not capable of the ability of God. To bring the similar one means that Allah forgot to bring the exact verse which is forgotten by the people.
In addition, he illustrated another aspect by asking if the Prophet was alive and if the collection of the verses were equal to those verses of this Quran. If by the time of the 23 years prophecy so many verses had been abrogated, has Allah not abrogated other verses and created new ones?
Furthermore, Med, pointed out another aspect, if the chronology of the Quran is correct how would it be possible for verse 2.240 to be abrogated by verse 2.234? Why has Allah sent a verse which is already abrogated by the previous verse? This issue has become one of the most problematic issues for scholars. Fatoohi, in a long explanation, came to the conclusion that the problem is caused due to the Hadith which is linked to the Quran. He believes that reading the Quran underlines the Hadith which leads to misunderstanding the concept of the Quran.
The scholars have confused the entire Islamic world by having many differences in the verses of the Quran in relation to the subject to the abrogation. For instance, some scholars like Shukani stated that the Surah al-Kafirun is abrogated by verse 9.5, which is known by the ‘Verse of the Sword’, and some believe that it is not abrogated, whereas, Nisaburi stated the whole Surah is abrogated by the verse of the Sword. This confusion, on one hand, led critics to criticize Islam, on the other hand, Jihadists used the verse of the Sword to gain their aims.
As it was mentioned before, the majority of scholars believe in Abrogation in Quran and a minority of them deny it. In this section, I will have a solo debate and underline the scholars’ views, and I will illustrate an important aspect:
First: Those who deny the abrogation believe that verse 2.106 abrogated the Ahl-Kitab (Judaism and Christianity). Here, I will refer to the essential basic rule of abrogation which is set out by scholars. They believe that the abrogation only occurred on the prohibition and command, and the abrogation did not evolve in any report or any stories. Therefore, if we search the Gospel, it is the book of advisory and there is not a single Shari’a in Gospel which means Quran did not abrogate Christianity. Secondly, the Torah is based on Mosaic Law and history. It can be seen that some parts of the Mosaic Law are most compatible with the Quran. If the Quran is alleged to abrogate all Mosaic Law, it means the Quran abrogated itself. And, it is obvious, that Quran did not abrogate the history of the Torah. If the Quran partially abrogated the Mosaic Law, then the scholars should not reject the whole Torah as they do.
Second: Fatoohi, claims that verse 16:101 is revealed in Mecca and abrogation occurred in Media. For that reason, he rejected the verse to have a link with abrogation as he referred to many scholars that the abrogation occurred in Mecca. The question is, if we deal with the verse of the Quran in light of the two periods of the time of the prophecy, then we collapse the bridge between Mecca and Medina. Also, we eliminate the potential of the Quran that its verses never predicted the future. In addition to that, there is no evidence of when this verse was revealed in Mecca, as it is known in Islamic history, Prophet returned to Mecca after the conquest of Mecca in the year 8, then for two years, he performed the pilgrimage, Hajj. So that means, we don’t know when the verse was revealed or whether it was revealed before verse 2:106 or after.
Third: Zalmi used the term ‘Tadaruj’ for prohibiting alcohol. This term means Allah gradually forbade the custom of people because it is hard for people to accept the new law at once. For example, Allah did not forbid alcohol in the first place, and then He used the method of forbidding it gradually for Muslims. He believes that verse 5.90 says to Muslims not to pray while one is drunk. This verse has not been abrogated by verse 4.43 which says, to avoid alcohol. Here, two questions arise:
First, because verse 5.90 is not valid and the alcohol is forbidden, it means one verse is abrogated, what matters is the term which is, Zalmi, which avoided the term of abrogation and used the term Tadaruj ‘Gradually’, but the gist of the matter is same. Secondly, in the previous section we referred to the logic about the abrogation, he stated that the Message of Islam is Allah’s message, not Muslims, and Allah has the capability and is not weak to change His word, and His message applies to people of every era. Then in the same way, I will ask him then why Allah did not forbid alcohol in the first place as He is the almighty one.
If we believe in Tadaruj to be flexible for the mentality of those people who lived at the time of the Prophet, then we have to ask why Allah did not use this method for other issues. For example, the people of Mecca challenged the Prophet and persecuted him only because he believed in the Oneness of Allah. Why Allah did not use Tadaruj for those people to allow them to associate with One God? Then by time, Allah forbids the association with One. If we accept the Tadaruj then it will not be hard to believe the story of Gharaniq.
Fourth: The verse about changing the direction to Mecca is believed to be the first of the verses which were abrogated. I believe this verse is chronologically wrong, because if Allah is the best knower why he did not delay the verse to the time after the conquest of Mecca? According to Islamic history, when Prophet migrated to Medina after a few months, Allah ordered him to change his direction to Kaaba in Mecca, while Ka’bba was the house of tens of idols of Arabs. After 8 years after his migration, Muslims began the conquest of Mecca and broke all idols. It means for almost eight years Muslims faced idols while they prayed, and that would be unacceptable. Therefore, this verse about changing direction to Mecca is chronologically wrong and it is not the first verse that was abrogated.
Fifth: If Muslims claim and challenge, that the entire Jinn and Human beings gathered together to bring a single verse like the verse of the Quran, they cannot. The question will arise, there are ten verses that are thought to have been abrogated or some are still valid but its word is withdrawn in the Quran. Are those verses having the same rhetoric as the Quran? There is no single scholar in the Islamic world who has any views about those verses whether the eloquence of those verses is comparable to the Quran or not. If they have that quality, then why they did not add to the Quran, while there are ten verses that were nullified and remain in the Quran? If those verses do have not the quality of the verses of the Quran then without any doubt those Hadiths are fabricated.
Sixth: According to Malik, Umar Khattab, the second Caliph, tried to add the Stoning verse to Mushaf, a short time before being assassinated. If the story is based on true events, why he did not add it to the Mushaf as he was capable of carrying out that mission because he was a close companion to the Prophet and he was in a high-level position? Another question will arise; the Mushaf was completed during the third Caliph, Uthman’s son Afan, why he did not add those verses to the Mushaf? What was the restriction for forbidding Uthman to not add to the Quran, as he was a close companion to Prophet too? If those verses were added to the Quran most issues of the abrogation had been resolved, as still the issue of the abrogation remains unsettled in the Islamic world.
Seventh: It is obvious, that most Arabic words have a different meaning, and for that reason, the exegetes have long Tafsir while we could see that some verses are very plain to be understood. Those who do not believe in Abrogation, they tried to have personal Tafsir, for example, the word Aya means verse while they believe that in verse 2.106 means ‘divining sing’ or Miracle; and the word Naskh means the copy not abrogate. I believe the matter of the abrogation is the fact of the Quran and it is hard to believe to have a different interpretation.
Eight: If the minority of scholars reject those Hadiths which alleged those verses are abrogated, that means those Hadiths are fabricated. The question is if some of the Hadiths are fabricated, how do we rely on the whole Hadiths which became part of Islamic Law and will be considered a primary source of Islam? In that case, we have to doubt the Imams why they added those verses. If those minority of scholars do not believe in abrogation then they should not believe in any single of the Hadiths which was narrated by those Imams. Otherwise, there is no logic behind believing some Hadith and rejecting others. In addition to that, the majority of scholars believe that the story of Gharaniq is fabricated. Again, why do other exegetes like al-Tabari include this story in his Tafsir? If we’re rejecting this story then we have to reassess the whole Tafsir al-Tabari and doubt his explanation. What was the aim of al-Tabari behind mentioning this story? Did he highlight it for the critics to criticize Islam?
Ninth: According to all scholars who believe in Abrogation, they believe that Abrogation should involve command and prohibition. However, there are some verses that are considered to be abrogated while there do not involve any kind of command and prohibition. In the previous section ‘The Modes of Abrogation’, I mentioned the verse ‘Son of Adam’ which was withdrawn in the Quran, its context is not related to any commands and prohibition. Surprisingly, the scholars classified this verse as the first of the mode of Abrogation.
Assessing other verses in the Quran
Despite assessing many verses in Quran by the scholars whether they had been abrogated or not, in my opinion, the Quran should be reassessed entirely. For example, there are many contradictions that will be found in the verses. In the past, the contradiction had been highlighted and then scholars underlined them in the law of Nasikh was Mansukh.
There are a number of verses are contradicted one another, for example, this verse 42.7 which is said: “Thus have We sent by inspiration to thee an Arabic Qur-an: that thou mayest warn the Mother of Cities and all around her, and warn (them) of the Day of Assembly, of which there is no doubt: (when) some will be in the Garden, and some in the Blazing Fire.”
The verse is very obvious that is sent to Arab people, as all scholars believe that the Mother of City is denoted to Mecca. Then the verse assures you that sent the book in the Arabic language to warn them. It means the prophecy revealed no beyond the surrounding Mecca. However, there is another verse 21.107 indicated that the Prophet sent to all human beings, “We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures.”
Therefore, it is clear that verse 21.107 is abrogated the verse 42.7.
To conclude the essay has highlighted the most critical issue regarding the conflict in the Quran. It has been noticed that throughout history scholars have not come to an explicit solution. They developed the abrogation to abolish the contradiction between the verses. Therefore, the majority has accepted the theory that Allah has changed his rule in the 23 years of the prophecy. In addition to that, the scholars whose views are based on the abrogation theory laid out rules by having three different modes of abrogation in the Quran. Because the scholars authorized themselves to set the rule in Islamic Law according to the principle of Islam, they developed another rule of abrogation that the Hadith has the capability to abrogate the Quran.
Contrary to accepting the abrogation in the Quran, a minority of the scholars have rejected the theory of abrogation; they believe that the scholar developed this theory to remove the contradiction among the verses of the Quran. As a matter of fact, Allah has never indicated any verses in the Quran that are alleged to be abrogated, whereas, scholars have noticed the conflict in the Quran, then they tried to classify those verses into abrogating and abrogated. Therefore, they tried to have a personal interpretation of the Quran, on the one hand, they avoid the conflict in Quran; on the other hand, they challenge the critics.
However, their views are hard to be accepted, because the verses are very clear in the Quran that indicate abrogation, therefore they developed two theory, first that the abrogation indicated to the Ahl-Kitab (Judaism and Christianity), is not relevant to the verses in Quran, secondly, the word Nasikh has a different meaning. The essay highlighted both theories that will not accept for many reasons. For instance, in Gospel has no law, as it is an advisory religion rather than a registration. And, regarding the Torah it consists of Law and history, the history cannot be abrogated and some of the laws are commensurate with Islamic law. In another word, if Quran abrogates some Judaism laws then it would be wise for those scholars to point out those laws rather than reject the whole book. Otherwise, this theory will reject the Islamic law itself, because how would it be possible for anyone to reject the whole book of Torah which has some element corresponding to Muslims’ faith?
The essay has highlighted the view of the critics by criticizing the scholars too, by questioning how it would be possible for Allah to change his rule according to the only situation of the 23 years of the prophecy while Almighty God is the best knower, and his rule should be valid for all the times, present and future. And if the abrogation is only a theory and not relevant to God’s Law, that means there are contradictions in the Quran and that would be not accepted. Here, is a critical issue that still scholars have not answered yet. The essay tried to find out the solution: First, the concept of abrogation should be accepted because this is the fact of the Quran and cannot be changed into plain words in Quran to have a different meaning. Second, reassess the verses of the Quran and change the fact of the history, in other words, we abrogate the abrogated verses by validating them. For example, to validate the Surah al-Kafirun and abrogate the verse of the Sword.
The essay has highlighted another important aspect there are certain verses in the Quran which are contradictory to one another. Therefore, scholars should reconsider the rule of abrogation, instead of abiding by the prohibited and the lawful verses.
Last and not least, the essay has pointed out, that those verses, which have been withdrawn, and their rules are valid, are they then God’s word? Because still, scholars are not yet able to evaluate those words that are consistent with the rhetoric of the Quran. The other question that is aimed at the scholars is why they do not add those verses to the Quran while they imposed the Islamic Law on them. If those verses are valid and up to date then what is the restriction to depose them from the Holy Quran?