Doctrine of Abrogation

by Usama K. Dakdok
 

One of the amazing mysteries of the Qurán is the doctrine of abrogation which stands against the teaching of the Qurán itself which clearly says in Chapter 4:82, “Do they not consider the Qurán? If it were from other than Allah they would have found in it many inconsistencies.” A simple look at such a verse will cause us to think that the Qur’an is free from any inconsistencies. Verse 6:34 says “…no one can change the words of Allah,” and in verse 85:21-22 “yet it is a glorious Qurán on a guarded board.” (What is being said here is that the Qurán is written on a board in heaven and is being guarded from change) From such verses one might think that the words of the Qurán are written consistently and without contradiction or any change.

 

But what should one do with the verses in the Qurán which obviously teaches about the Doctrine of Abrogation as in Chapter 2:106? “Whatever verse we abrogate or cause it to be forgotten, we bring a better verse than it or like it.” Also, verse 16:101 states, “And if we exchange one verse in a place of another verse, and Allah knows what he sent down.” Such verses teach that there is a change in the Qurán’s verses and abrogation truly exists. Abrogation in the Qurán is actually the only way to explain the inconsistency throughout the Qurán.

What do we mean by abrogation? According to Ibn Kathir’s interpretation, part one, page 134, abrogation is defined as “the removal of a verse or the change of a verse with another (newer) verse or to make something lawful which was unlawful or vice versa.” How many chapters in the Qur’an contain Abrogation? Seventy-one chapters contain abrogation which is over 60 percent of the Qur’an. Sometimes it is just one verse. For example, verse 9:5 , which is called the verse of the sword by all Muslim scholars, abrogates 124 verses that are written in the Qurán that speak softly about other religions and other people such as the people of the book. (Christians and Jews) How many types of Abrogation are in the Qurán?

There are three different types of Abrogation in the Qurán. The first type is when the verse is removed from the Qurán and Muslims are not required to practice its teaching. This is found in such verses where Muslims and Mohammed could no longer remember them because Allah caused them to be forgotten.

The second type of Abrogation is when the verse exists but is no longer practiced. These are the verses Muslims try hard to use in the West to prove that the Qurán is not a hateful, barbaric book. These are the early Macca or Medina verses. For according to the Muslim scholars, the later verses which Mohammed received supersede the earlier verses if there is a contradiction. A sample of such verses is in verse 2:62 which says, “Surely those who believed (Muslims) and those who are Jews and the Nasara (Christian) and the Sabeen (Idol Worshippers) whoever believe in Allah and the last day and did a good deed so they will have their ajoor (wages) with their Lord and no fear on them, and they will not grieve.” Such a verse teaches that Christians and Jews and Idol Worshippers will have a place in heaven, but this verse was abrogated when Allah says in the Qurán in verse 3:85, “And whoever desire any other religion except Islam so it will not be accepted from him and in the hereafter he will be among the losers.” In verse 8:61,

“And if they lean toward peace, so lean toward it.” Chapter 2:256 states that “No compulsion in religion.” Such verses and many other verses will give the reader the impression that the Qur’an is a kind book, but the fact is all these verses have been abrogated with the Chapter 9:5 when Allah said, “So when the forbidden months are passed, so kill the polytheists wherever you find them and take them( as captives) and besiege them and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush so if they repent (and become Muslin) and perform prayer, and give the legal alms so leave their way free. Surely Allah is forgiving and merciful.” Also in verse 9:29 Allah says, “Engage in war with those who do not believe in Allah and the last day…and do not believe in the religion of truth among those who have been given the book (Jews and Christian)…” Such newer verses abrogate the previous verses, and Muslims are commanded to live by the new verses, not the old verses; therefore, one comes to the conclusion that there is no such kind of verses in the Qurán because Allah has changed his mind and abrogated such verses (soft, kind verses).

The third type of Abrogation is when the written verse is gone but Muslims are still commanded to practice such verses as we see in practicing the ordinance of stoning the adulterer. When women commit adultery in Islam, the Shira law (Islamic law) commands them to be punished by stoning them to death even though the written verse of the Qurán has been removed. What a strange god! And what strange words of this god – The Generous Qurán.

In God’s Word, Jesus, says in Matthew 5:17-18, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophet: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” What a difference the true Word of God makes!!