Is Abrogation of the Qur’an a false doctrine?

“We do not abrogate an ayat or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?” (Qur’an 2:106)

“And when We substitute an ayat in place of an ayat – and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, “You, [O Muhammed], are but an inventor [of lies].” But most of them do not know.” (Qur’an 16:101)

This entry looks at the concept of ‘Abrogation’ as espoused by our brothers from the Ahl Sunnah.  

I find that it holds doctrines that are not consistent, and in fact, are tenuous at best.

I have recently done a review of the book ‘Abrogation in the Qur’an and Islamic Law’ by Dr. Louay Fatoohi.  To me, this is an absolute must-have addition to your library.

The above two verses are often quoted by the proponents of abrogation for advancing its claims.

Let us first talk about some difficulties in understanding these verses in the way that some have understood them.

If you understand “ayat” above to mean both a verse of the Qur’an and its ruling than we need to ask the following:

How is it that some verses  (words of Allah) become better than other verses (words of Allah)?   The concept of a verse being better than another verse is alien to the Qur’an.

Though the reply will be, ‘what is meant is the ruling, but the ruling is being expressed through new wordings‘.  So this is simple semantics that advocates of the doctrine will use to salvage their doctrine.

For those who advocate that the Qur’an is the Speech of Allah and therefore an attribute of Allah (swt) the following question needs to be put forward.

Can Allah (swt) be improved upon?  I think we all know that the answer to that question is absolutely not.

Does the term ‘ayat’ need of necessity refer to a verse in the Qur’an?

The answer is no.

“We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?” (Qur’an 41:53)

 

We also have scholars who affirm that the Sunnah can abrogate the Qur’an.  Such a concept as you can imagine is anathema to Prima-Qur’an!

The Sunnah of the Blessed Messenger (saw) is not called an “ayat”.

Next, if we understand “ayat” in the above verses of the Qur’an to mean what some of the traditionalists tell us, in relationship to abrogation than it could mean the following at any given time:

What is abrogated 

the wording of the verse and its ruling

 the wording of the verse but not it’s ruling

the ruling of the verse but not it’s the wording.

Next, almost all scholars agree that verse 16:101 of the Qur’an was revealed in Mecca. Yet, “No Muslim scholar has alleged that any instance of naskh affecting Islamic enactments occurred during the Meccan period of the Prophet’s ministry.” Source: (Burton, The Sources of Islamic Law: Islamic Theories of Abrogation, page 190)

I think first it is important for the readers to understand three distinct terminologies.  As this web site uses English as a medium, I will use English definitions.  I would strongly encourage you to consult with the Arabic source text.

“It should be pointed out that the salaf did not use the term ‘naskh’ to refer exclusively to abrogation. They also used the term to apply to specification (takhsees) and initiation (badaa’ah). The first person to limit the meaning of the word nask to apply to abrogation only was Imam Ash Shafi’i, in his famous treaties on usul al-fiqh ar-Risalah.” (page 234  An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an by Yasir Qadhi)

1) Abrogation is defined as To abolish, do away with, or annul.

2) The specification is defined as Making something specified, or the act of making it specific.

3) Initiation.  The right or act of being admitted.

Now because Sheikh Yasir Qadhi belongs to a sect that believes in abrogation he was careful in the way he worded the sentence. He says, “did not use the term ‘naskh’ to refer exclusively to abrogation”.  That was a rather clever way to word it.

“The vast majority of scholars have upheld the validity of naskh. Only some Shi’a and Mutazalite scholars (such as Abu Muslim Al-Isfahani, d.322 A.H.), have raised objections concerning naskh. Abu Muslim claims that, while it is not inconceivable that naskh can occur, there are no rulings to demonstrate it. However, as Ibn Al Jawzi mentioned, Abu Muslim was the first scholar to deny the validity of naskh, and in this, he went against the consensus (ijma’) of all the scholars before him. Source:  (page 235 An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an by Yasir Qadhi)

As far as ‘Abu Muslim was the first scholar to deny the validity of naskh’  this is not true.

Ibn Abbas reports that Umar bin Al Khattab has said: “The best expert of the Qur’an is Ubayy and the best legal expert among us is Ali. But we ignore some of what Ubayy states because he says: “I will never abandon anything I heard from the Messenger of Allah.” yet Allah has said: “Whatever aya we nasakh (abrogate) or cause to be forgotten (nunsiha).”

Source: (Al Bukhari vol. 3 no. 4300, pg 8)

So Ubay is the best expert on the  Qur’an, but never mind his position on such and such a matter!

This is flatly contradicted by the following hadith

“Umar said, “Ubay ibn Ka‘b is the most knowledgeable among us on abrogation.” Source: (Ibn al-Jawzī, Nawāsikh, p.19)

Also the statement above, “and in this, he went against the consensus (ijma’) of all the scholars before him.”  Again this is clearly a sectarian statement; because the author just said that some Shi’a and Mutazalite scholars do not agree with the concept!

So please keep in mind when someone tells you to ‘take knowledge from the scholars’ often than not they mean to take from their denomination only!

Apparently, we also have this statement attributed to Ali

“Alī asked a storyteller to tell him rather he was aware of the abrogating (al-nāsikh) and the abrogated (al-mansūkh). When he answered in the negative, ‘Alī warned him: You destroyed yourself as well as others” Souce:(Ibn Al-Jawzi, Nawasikh, p.29-31)

In other words, those people who are not aware of what abrogates what. What is canceled and what is now in vogue are ‘destroying themselves and destroying others‘.

Well, keep that in mind when looking at the following charts:

When we look at these tables it becomes blatantly obvious that this is not sound doctrine.  This is not a doctrine that I personally wish to place my faith. The huge disparity between the statements of the scholars on this issue speaks volumes.

Table - 1

The first table* above is taken from (pg 251 An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an by Yasir Qadhi)

The author goes on to say on the same page,

“It can be seen from this table that there is a very wide difference of opinion regarding the exact number of cases of naskh in the Qur’an. The opinions range from 214 for Ibn Hazm, all the way down to only five for ad-Dehlawi.”

“The reason that such a diverse opinion exists is that many verses are considered examples of naskh, when in fact they are examples of takhsees, or do not fall under naskh, at all. In particular, with regards to those who have over a hundred examples of naskh, they all consider the ‘Verse of the Sword’ as having abrogated dozens of verses.”

 

 

Table - 2

The table* above  is taken from (pg 131 Abrogation in the Qur’an and Islamic Law by Louay Fatoohi)

* (special thanks to brother Joseph Islam who provided a professional and polished look for the tables)

Dr. Louay Fatoohi makes the following powerful observation

“The fact that the total number of verses and the total number of chapters do not increase in the same proportion for each scholar must mean that scholars often did not report the same number of verses from the same chapter. For instance, Ibn Hazm who reported a total of 213 verses, had 26 of them from chapter 2, whereas  Nahhas who reported almost half of the total of Ibn Hazm had as many as 30 verses from chapter 2.”

“The differences do not stop here. Even when scholars report the same number of verses from any one chapter, they at times, identified different verses! This is why, for instance, although the highest number of identified verses in chapter 2 is 37, the number of different verses is actually 42. Because of this, although the highest number of abrogated verses reported by anyone scholar is 247, the total number of different verses from these nine scholars is as many as 294. Incredibly, this is as much as 4.7% of the mushafs 6,236 verses!

“What is significant is the scale of the scholar’s disagreement on the number of supposedly abrogated verses, the number of these in each chapter, and what these verses are. It is clear from the broad range of figures that some of those who accept the authenticity of abrogation think that many scholars have highly exaggerated its scale.”  (pgs 132-133 Abrogation in the Qur’an and Islamic Law by Louay Fatoohi)

Though it may seem rather harsh in light of the statement attributed to Ali,  ‘You destroyed yourself as well as others‘, which of these scholars are ‘destroying themselves and destroying others’ in the process?  Consensus -ijma’?  I think not!

We could stop right here but it gets even worse.

Accordingly, the following can happen:

1) Qur’an can abrogate Qur’an (The founders of the four remaining Sunni schools of jurisprudence agree; however as we have seen above, the specifics of this is a disjointed mess.)

2) Qur’an can abrogate the Sunnah (Imam Shafi’i dislikes this view, though he escapes a major contradiction in his Usul by a form of verbal camouflage. )

3) Sunnah can abrogate the Sunnah (The founders of the four remaining Sunni schools of jurisprudence agree, however, there is great divergence in this area as well.)

4) Sunnah can abrogate the Qur’an. (Apparently, Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifa allow this in the case of mass transmitted sunnah, Imam Ahmad says no, and Imam Shafi’i says no; although we will show shortly his view is inconsistent)

The three different types of abrogation.

Apparently, there are three different types of abrogation. The disparity and arbitrary nature of this doctrine of abrogation are self-evident.

 

Example 1) The abrogation of the ruling and the verse ( Naskh al-Hukm wa at-Tilawah)

In this, the ruling is voided and the text is omitted.

 

Example 2) The abrogation of the ruling without the verse (Naskh al-Hukm duna at-Tilawah)

The ruling is voided but the text remains.

 

Example 3) The abrogation of the verse without the ruling (Naskh at-Tilawah duna al-Hukm)

The ruling remains but the text is omitted.

 

Now go and ask those who believe in such concepts the reasoning behind each of these.  Once they explain the reason for one of these so-called modes of abrogation then ask yourself it makes sense in relation to the other two.

Let’s take a look at two examples given above:

Example:  #2)  The ruling is voided but the text remains.  Why?  Well, if I may be blunt is it simply for decoration. Is it there so you can get blessings for reciting it?  But this obviously makes little sense when you look at Example #3.  Where the ruling remains but the text is omitted.  What would be the point of that?

The case of the infamous stoning “ayats”. 

Abdullah b Abbas reported that Umar bin Al Khattab sat on the pulpit of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Verily Allah sent Muhammad (may peace be upon him) with truth and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory, and understood it. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) awarded the punishment of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and, after him, we also awarded the punishment of stoning, 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 and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah. Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah’s Book for married men and women who commit adultery when the proof is established, or it there is pregnancy, or a confession.

Source: (Sahih Muslim Book 017, Number 4194)

In this case, the “ayats” of stoning were a part of the Qur’an.

“Ubay bin Ka’b asked me: “How do you recite the chapter of Ahzab” or “How do you count it?”  I said: “Thirty-seven verses.” He said: “Enough! I have seen it when it was as long as the chapter of Baqara. We recited in it this: ‘If the shaikh and the shaikha commit adultery then stone them, absolutely, as a punishment from Allah, and Allah is mighty, wise.”

Source: (Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, 36, n0 21207, page 134)

Compare that with the following:

“By the One in whose hands my soul is, was it not for fearing that people would say ‘Umar bin Al Khattab has added to the book of Allah, “I would have written it: “As for the shaikh and the shaikha, stone them, absolutely,” for we read it.”

Source:  (Muwatta, Imam Malik,5, no, 3044, page 1203)

So in the case of Ubay Ibn Kaab if we are to believe the report, he saw the “ayats” and he recited it.

Umar didn’t see the “ayats” but recited it.

Both of these conflicting reports make one wonder when the revelation was being revealed where the ayats penned down or not?

It makes no sense as to why these “ayats” IF indeed they are a revelation; and still in effect are not in the Qur’an.

This narration is a bit odd. Since when did Umar fear people?

Also was Umar not aware of the following verse?

Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:” This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.” (Qur’an 2:79)

Imam Shafi’i claims that the 100 lashes penalty (as per Qur’an 24:2) was abrogated for the non-virgins. (Al Shafi’, Al-Risala p 129)

This is a contradiction of his Usul ul fiqh which is that the Sunnah cannot abrogate the Qur’an!

If you read the hadiths carefully above it is obviously directed at Muslims who were not firm on believing the idea of stoning.   In my opinion, these hadith were created by a redactor who wanted to force this perspective on Muslim denominations who did not hold this perspective.  In fact, the hadiths hint very strongly that such people came short of actually superimposing such a text on the Qur’an.

Not only this but such hadith is ammunition for those who want to assail and attack the textual integrity and history of the Qur’an.

There is so much more we can add.  Those who uphold the doctrine of abrogation feel that all they have to do to prove their point is to convince you of one case of the Qur’an abrogating the Qur’an to prove their point.

Yet, as noted by the tables above what one accepts as abrogation another may not even see that to be the case at all. I personally have found it interesting that those who have seen the largest number of verses as a case for abrogation are those who belonged to schools of jurisprudence that were fond of taking the outward meaning of verses, like Ibn Hazm, or where thought to be closely associated with them, like Ibn Arabi.

I would like to quote Dr. Louay Fatoohi who has made some groundbreaking research into this matter:

“I do not think its an exaggeration to say that the subject of abrogation represents a major crisis in Islamic scholarship.” Source:  (Abrogation in the Quran and Islamic Law Dr. Louay Fatoohi page 358)

In conclusion:

We as Muslims know that Allah (swt) gave Moses the Torah.  Who did Moses give the Torah to?  It would make sense that he gave the Torah to his scholars, shyookh, imams.

We as Muslims know that Allah (swt) gave Jesus the Injeel. Who did Jesus give the Injeel to? It would make sense that he gave the Injeel to his scholars, shyookh, imams.

In other words, the corruption of the previous scriptures had to have come from within.  Yet in the case of the Qur’an Allah (swt) has promised to protect it.  However, don’t think that Iblis certainly didn’t try.

Those familiar with this web site and those who even have a cursory knowledge about the history of the hadith know full well how various factions would invite ahadith in order to advance a particular political position or viewpoint.   Not being content with this it is obvious to all and sundry that there were factions who tried to make the Qur’an subservient to the oral traditions-seeing that these could be crafted by men.

 

“And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord: none can change His Words, and none will you find as a refuge other than Him.” (Qur’an 18:27)

 

23 Comments

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23 responses to “Is Abrogation of the Qur’an a false doctrine?

  1. Ammar

    Hi,
    After reading this I have a question: What is your suggested understanding of the two ayas that talk about the replacement of Aya (16:101) and the one from Surah Baqarah (I forgot the aya)

    • Hello,

      Ammar,

      What would you suggest it to be? given the range of meanings of the term ‘aya’ and given the fact that the above entry proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the incredulous nature of the traditionalist view.

      Would you have any recommended suggestions? The goal of Prima-Qur’an is to try and get others involved, to get them to do their investigations. To start utilizing the sources we have at our disposal so that we can reclaim the narrative.

      • Ammar

        My understanding is as follows:
        1. Nothing has been removed from Quran. So no omissions have taken place
        2. The abrogation has to do with the rulings e.g. the systematic stopping of alcohol.

        The idea that Quran has removed ayas is tantamount to saying Quran has changed. The idea that the rulings changed

        I have to admit this is a tricky topic and may have been the reason why scholars backed up by hadith literature may have decided to accept ‘abrogation’ as a valid concept. I do feel it is intellectual dishonesty when we give ourselves the right to pick and choose on what abrogates what.

        The study continues.. I will order the book soon its bloody expensive though (99 euros)

      • I understand what your saying about the expense of the book. However, I can guarantee you it is a must have book! I would rate it in the top 10 books on the Holy Qur’an a person would need!
        However, if it makes you feel better, you can go to my Resources page, and I have given a link to yasir Qadhi’s ‘introduction to the sciences of the Qur’an.

        You can find that here: http://www.islamicsearchcenter.com/library/quran/Introduction-Sciences-of-the-Quran-Yasir-Qadhi.pdf

        He outlines traditionalist vies, and that link should be to a free pdf file.

        There is a copy of Burton Mack’s treatment of abrogation here: http://www.hadith-studies.com/Burton-Theories-Abrogation.pdf

        You may also look through the Risala of Imam Shafi’i and his passing comments on the matter here: http://www.kalamullah.com/risala.html

        “Nothing has been removed from Quran. So no omissions have taken place” Very good! So we now know that 16:101 cannot be in reference to abrogation.

        “The abrogation has to do with the rulings e.g. the systematic stopping of alcohol.” This is an example of takhsees (specification) and not naskh (abrogation). Even Yasir Qadhi makes this point clear in his book.It is usually cited as a ‘classic’ example of such.

        “I have to admit this is a tricky topic and may have been the reason why scholars BACKED UP BY HADITH LITERATURE may have decided to accept ‘abrogation’ as a valid concept.”

        Bingo! You see Allah (swt) has laid down a challenge to mankind to produce something like the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an has a falsification test, actually quite a few of them. Yet, the hadith literature do not.

        Once we accept the view that the hadith can abrogate the Qur’an and in essence neutralize the words of Allah (swt) and if hadith can be forged and/or fabricated, back dated, redacted, obfuscated through tadlis, and so forth than what we have in effect is a doctrine that is easily manipulated by the scholarly class.

        Is it not an eye opener that the biggest cases for supposed abrogated verses come from Ibn Hazm (of the literalist school) and Ibn Arabi (who is alleged to be of the zahiri-literalist school as well).

        These people through their literalist approach saw a lot of irreconcilable text with in the Holy Qur’an; especially when you have a very literalist approach to the Holy Qur’an. The doctrine of naskh (abrogation) is dovetailed to take care of this ‘problem’.

  2. Ammar

    Thanks. will check out the pdfs.

  3. Ammar

    Just went through the Abrogation section of Yasir’s Qadhi’s book. Nothing new though. Although, the phrase, “cause it to be forgotten” [2:106] has got me thinking what it could mean.

    What I find inconsistent is the narrative that some of the ayas whose recitation is abrogated are available in hadith text while the others have been forgotten. Regardless, this type of abrogation doesn’t affect me as it has no implications on us. It can be taken as a theory that will remain theory

    Re takhsees being a separate concept: How do we distinguish it from what the abrogation in the context of Quran?, especially since the earlier generation didn’t distinguish between them. Maybe the Quran was including takhsees as part of abrogation but a later categorization meant that the scholars had to come up with new examples of abrogation. I may not have understood this point correctly but in my opinion takhsees is a valid way for abrogation

    BTW, Yasir Qdhi (on Page 256) is implying the same example of alcohol consumption as “naskh” or am I reading it wrong 🙂

    • Yes, (2:106) is text that the proponents of this false doctrine advocate. The idea of Allah replacing some of his supposedly ‘eternal and uncreated words’ with better ‘eternal and uncreated words’ should get anyone thinking!

      “What I find inconsistent is the narrative that some of the ayas whose recitation is abrogated are available in hadith text while the others have been forgotten. Regardless, this type of abrogation doesn’t affect me as it has no implications on us. It can be taken as a theory that will remain theory.”

      I couldn’t be further from this sentiment. If your a 12er Shi’a or Zaydi Shi’a perhaps this is not an issue theologically speaking; however for the Sunni sect it is taught as a doctrine. As you saw in Yasir Qadhi’s book it is not being taught as a theory.

      Also unless the hadith attributed to Ali are forgeries,(which could very well be the case) He is attributed with saying, that unless we know what is abrogated and what abrogates we are not even fit to teach Islam! We will end up ruining ourselves and running others. This is not a minor issue at all, and in this case is effects both the Shia and Sunni sects.

      The idea that the Qur’an we have is ‘only what Allah intended for us to have’ and not the entire Qur’an has huge implications. The distance between Prima-Qur’an and those who uphold such tenuous and inconsistent views is like the distance between galaxies.

      “Re takhsees being a separate concept: How do we distinguish it from what the abrogation in the context of Quran?, especially since the earlier generation didn’t distinguish between them. Maybe the Quran was including takhsees as part of abrogation but a later categorization meant that the scholars had to come up with new examples of abrogation. I may not have understood this point correctly but in my opinion takhsees is a valid way for abrogation.”

      As you now have Yasir Qadhi’s book my suggestion would be to re-read the section that defines takhsees. Takhsees is not a valid way for abrogation, as it is not abrogation at all. It is an extra Qur’anic term and machination of the scholars.

      You see that Yasir Qashi made that clear distinction on page 251 of his book where he says, “The reason that such a diverse opinion exist is that many verses are considered examples of naskh, when IN FACT they are examples of takhsees, or do not fall under naskh at all.” (page 251)

      Interestingly he says, “IN FACT” I am sure the many scholars who uphold their positions would strongly disagree with such a strong proclamation.

      “BTW, Yasir Qdhi (on Page 256) is implying the same example of alcohol consumption as “naskh” or am I reading it wrong :)”

      Actually it doesn’t seem that he is IMPLYING at all. On page 256 he says,

      “Therefore, in this case, the explicit text (mantooq) of the verse (i.e, ‘Do not approach prayers in a state of drunkenness”) was not abrogated, but the understanding (mahfoom) of the verse ( vis., it is permissible to drink, as long as one is not drunk during the time of prayer) was abrogated. THIS COMES UNDER NASKH.”

      However, I noted on the previous page 255 he makes the following statements:

      “Another example in which there is a difference of opinion are the verses concerning the prohibition of alcoholic drink. This example is taken by the majority of scholars to be a CLASSIC CASE of naskh. Other scholars, however, held the opinion that THESE VERSES WERE NOT ‘ABROGATED’ as such.” (page 255)

      I confused his discussion of scholars disagreeing over this particular case as him agreeing with those who say it is not an example. Thank you for the correction respected brother.

      So this also helps to answer a question I had. In conclusion Yasir Qadhi states, “It seems, however, that the number of naskih/mansukh verses in the Qur’an doe snot exceed a dozen and Allah knows best.” (page 256)

      So he puts this example as one of the 12 that he personally finds. Because after all if classical Sunnism is going to uphold a doctrine, and the majority of scholars uphold it, you better find SOME examples of it!

      The author’s conclusion of 12 examples is a far cry from the table on page 251 with personalities such as Ibn Hazm, Ibn Al Jawzi, Abu Bakr ibn Al Arabi etc.

      However, I see the writing on the wall and I think many who investigate it do. This is why as we move forward in time less and less examples of ‘abrogation’ are being ‘found’ to be in the Qur’an at all.

      Prima Quran just might be one step ahead. Allah (swt) knows best and the help of Allah (swt) is sought.

  4. Ammar

    You maywanna check this out.. it makes a lot more sense
    http://www.ilmgate.org/abrogation-in-the-quran/

    • Ammar, I am also curious as to what the 12er Shi’a agree upon in regards to abrogation? Can you provide for myself and the readers any list of agreed upon material? Thank you.

  5. Ammar, if you have found something that makes sense to you than Al hamduillah.

    For me the ‘arguments’ are hardly the mark of scholarship.

    Peppering one’s arguments and imposing suppositions is the mark of someone desperate to prove a case rather than provide meaningful dialogue.

    For example:
    “Whoever studies this verse with an UNBIASED MIND shall deduce that abrogation had continued according to clear injunctions of the Quran itself.”

    This is really not the hallmarks of scholarship. Its a dishonest tool meant to shut down conversation.

    In fact John Burton (whom is not a Muslim) has stated:

    John Burton has stated “only a mind burdened with the ‘need to establish abrogation’ would fail to notice that these verses treat independent topics.”

    The fact that he choose the word ‘unbiased’ fails to impress. None of us is without bias!

    I note that the term unbiased means:

    “having no bias or prejudice; fair or impartial”

    Now I want you to think about the sincerity of employing such a term coming from someone who is upholding generations of scholarship that have championed the concept of abrogation.

    Seems a bit off to me.

    Two articles in support of abrogation (and i have read a number during my investigations) have been brought to my attention recently.

    I have not failed to note two interesting points.

    1) The lack of citation in classical works.

    2) No definite number of abrogated verses given; in fact in “traditional” Islam I was under the impression that a person needed to have sound knowledge before they spoke on the matter.

    So one wonders, why these people won’t give us a definite number?
    How many indeed are “abrogated” ?
    Could they give us a list?
    Is there a now agreed upon consensus?
    How long would it take in an age of e-mail, and lightning fast data transfer rates.
    Where scholars have greater communication than ever before?

    Also the article stated that

    “The fact of the matter, however, is that this viewpoint is weak and to adopt it one would have to draw FAR-FETCHED meanings in order to explain some verses, meanings that do not conform to the principles of exegesis (tafsir).”

    This comes across as desperate. Because now any and all examples in which we would show this is not a case of abrogation would come across as “far-fetched”. If your looking for a conversation killer, look no further than statements like this.

    In fact once we hop back on the merry go round we will find that examples he may think are cases of abrogation others would disagree with.

    In fact he himself states,

    “Then, amongst the latest of the scholars, Shah Wali Allah made a detailed analysis of all those nineteen verses and accepted only five of them to be abrogated ones. As for the rest of them, he preferred the commentaries and explanations according to which the verses would not be considered abrogated. The arguments given by Shah Wali Allah about many of these verses are the most appropriate and acceptable, YET SOME OF THEM MAY BE DISPUTED.”

    Maybe Shah Wali Allah would counter and say my opponents arguments are ‘FAR-FETCHED’.

    We could surmise that classical scholars who had the backing of powerful military states would wonder if people like him, and his cohorts today are simply ‘watering down Islam’ by not admitting that the ‘verse of the sword’ in Surah 9 has come along and abolished Holy Qur’an 2:256 and others.

    In fact they may accuse this particular scholar of being a modernist wearing the garb of traditionalism! Allah knows best.

    I also found it interesting that the proponent of abrogation says,

    “Once it becomes clear to them that it is in fact not a fault but conforms to the will of Allah, they will adopt the same meanings to SUCH VERSES as are OBVIOUS and COMMONLY ADOPTED.”

    As I said, I would be most interested to see such a list of ‘such verses’ that are ‘obvious’ and ‘commonly adopted’ wouldn’t you?

    Also, “It is sometimes argued that it appears against Divine Expediency that a verse of the Quran should remain only as a sacred relic for recital and not be practiced upon.”

    Notice the argument against a shadow. Whom is the author talking about? Where are the quotations? It is not scholarship to invent a possible fictitious adversary and argue against it.

    Also note this is not my argument at all. I have stated:

    “#2) The ruling is voided but the text remains. Why? Well, if I maybe blunt simply for decoration. It is there so you can get blessings for reciting it. But this obviously makes little sense when you look at Example #3. Where the ruling remains but the text is omitted. What would be the point of that?”

    That was not answered, instead another conversation killer was introduced; which is the following example:

    “Moreover, can anyone claim that he knows the wisdom behind all actions of ALLAH or that he understands the expediency behind every Quranic verse and its revelation? If such a claim is not true, and it certainly is not true, HOW CAN ONE DENY AN ORDER OF ALLAH simply because one does not know the expediency behind it while its enforcement has been justified based upon religious principles?”

    Since when did tafsir, fiqh, and doctrine become a ‘denial of an order from Allah’ ?

    It would be mighty arrogant of me to claim a position, and than say that those who are against my positions are in effect against an order from the Most High!

    That’s quite a stretch.

    Those are just my thoughts, if you have made peace with the doctrine Al hamdulillah.

    Yet, for me It is not something upon which I would place my faith in.

    sincere regards.

  6. On a side note: I was happy to see this man sign a pledge that recognizes the 12er Shia school, the Zaydi Shi’a school, Zahiri school and Ibadi school as legitimate expressions of Islam. Meaning that if someone wanted to leave the Hanafi, Shafi’i, Hanbali, or Malikite schools and jump ship to one of them there should be absolutely no issue!

    http://ammanmessage.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=31 Please see the section under Pakistan.

    Also the message that the Amman accords endorses:

    http://ammanmessage.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=91&Itemid=74

    “1) Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (Mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali), the two Shi’i schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Ja`fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Islamic jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible. Verily his (or her) blood, honour, and property are inviolable. Moreover, in accordance with the Shaykh Al-Azhar’s fatwa, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ash`ari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate. Likewise, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate.
    Equally, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) and the pillars of faith, and acknowledges the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.”

    Of course some traditional Muslims see this as an attempt to water down Islam.

    I am however disappointed with this persons deliberate manipulations in his translation, of the Holy Qur’an, into English. That was simply dishonest; and it is hoped that this person would repent and amend their ways. Surely Allah (swt) is Most Forgiving, Full of Compassion.

  7. Pingback: Objections to ‘Abrogations in the Qur’an’ by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani | primaquran

  8. Salaamun aleikum.
    Here is a link to a blog post containing links to some articles refuting the doctrine of abrogation (naskh) by Israr Ahmad Khan, author of Authentication of Hadith: Redefining The Criteria:
    http://bandung2.blog.co.uk/2011/05/12/links-the-non-abrogation-of-the-qur-an-11141331/
    Fi amaan illah

  9. Pingback: Is the position of Imam Shaf’i on marrying Jews & Christians contra Qur’an? | primaquran

  10. Jimoh Adebayo Ibtahim

    Salamu aleikum waramotuLlahi.

    Though ve not go through the links but I red and understood your post, even some words are hard for me to understand I need to go through my dic for better understanding.

    The Qur’an 2-256 was not hard to understand cos am not convince at all with book of this, book of that. You refused to add your own opinions, suggestions, contributions to the topic. So to me I counted it as tricky topic to go against the Quran and of a lay man like me does not be extra careful he fall a victim. I red the verse before it and I see that its a simple case but Muslims we believed on our knowledge so much but weforgot that understanding is the best.
    Ma Salam.

    • walakum salam wr wb, Dear respected brother, I am not sure I follow. I myself do not have the best syntax and grammar. I will leave the comment as others maybe able to digest what you have stated. ” So to me I counted it as tricky topic to go against the Quran and of a lay man like me does not be extra careful he fall a victim.” I will say this in regards to one comment.

      I will say to this that to me it seems most Muslims are saying that a Christian should only leave Christianity if they are a scholar of the religion, In other words a lay Christian is not able to make an informed decision about rather or not they want to become a Muslim. So this argument does not seem to be very consistent. Not very consistent at all.

      Ma Salama.

  11. Ismail

    slmz
    excellent. pls email me copy of Dr. Louay Fatoohis book.

    wasslmz

  12. Mohd Adeeb

    Assalam alaykum. Nice article ,I actually loved it. There are some translators who translate this verse differently .
    2:106 When we abrogate any miracle, or cause it to be forgotten, we produce a better miracle, or at least an equal one. Do you not recognize the fact that GOD is Omnipotent?(Rashad Khalifa)
    2:106 We do not duplicate a sign, or make it forgotten, unless We bring one which is like it or even greater. Did you not know that God is capable of all things?(Edip-Layth)

    Footnote: By declaring the word of God to be vague and ambiguous, early scholars opened the gate for unlimited abuse and distortion. Furthermore, by distorting the meaning of 2:106, they claimed that many verses of the Quran had been abrogated (amended) by other verses or hadiths. By this “abrogation theory,” they amended verses which they did not understand, or which did not suit their interests, or which contradicted their hadiths. Repeating the same error committed by the Children of Israel (2:85), Muslims fulfilled the prophetic description of their action in 15:91. Some of them abrogated 5 Quranic verses, some 20 verses and some 50.

    They support this claim by distorting the meaning of this verse. The Quran has a peculiar language. The word Aya in its singular form occurs 84 times in the Quran and in all cases, means miracle, evidence, or lesson. However, its plural form, Ayat, is used both for miracle, evidence, lesson, AND/OR for the language of the revelation that entails or leads to those miracles, evidences, and lessons. The fact that a verse of the Quran does not demonstrate the miraculous characteristics of the Quran supports this peculiar usage or vise versa. There are short verses that are comprised of only one or two words and they were most likely frequently used in daily conversation, letters and poetries. For instance, the verse “Where are you going?” cannot be called AYAT (signs) since it is one verse. This is very appropriate, since that expression was and is used by Arabic speaking people daily, even before the revelation of the Quran.

    However, in its semantic and numerical context, that short question is one of the Ayat of the Quran. See 55:3; 69:1; 74; 4; 75:8; 80:28; 81:26. Furthermore, we are informed that the minimum unit that demonstrates the Quran’s miraculous nature is a chapter (10:38) and the shortest chapter consists of three verses (chapters 103, 108, and 110). The first verse of the Quran, commonly known as Basmalah, though containing independent features, may not be considered a divine evidence/miracle on its own. However, it gains a miraculous nature with its numerical network with other letters, words, verses and chapters of the Quran. By not using the singular form Aya for the verses of the Quran, God also made it possible to distinguish the miracles shown in the language and prophecies of the scripture from the miracles shown in nature. See 4:82 and 16:101 for further evidence that the Quranic verses do not abrogate each other.

    Since grammatically we can refer only to three verses with the plural word, ayat, and since we are not provided with a word to refer to a single or pair of verses, this unique use might have another implication: are we required to quote the Quranic verses in segments of at least three verses? Will this method eliminate the abuse of Quranic statements by taking them out of their context? I think this question needs to be studied and tested. If quoting verses of the Quran in minimums of three units reasonably eliminates the abuse, then we should adhere to such a rule.

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