The lie of "Quranic Abrogation"
(The Greatest Lie against the Quran)
By : A. Muhammed
The abrogation of Quranic verses, arguably the greatest lie against the Quran, was originally invented during the fourth century A.H. (late 10th century A.D.) by a number of Muslim scholars, notably Ahmed Bin Ishaq Al-Dinary (died 318 A.H.), Mohamad Bin Bahr Al-Asbahany (died 322 A.H.), Hebat Allah Bin Salamah (died 410 A.H.) and Mohamad Bin Mousa Al-Hazmy (died 548 A.H.), whose book about Al-Nasekh and Al-Mansoukh is regarded as one of the leading references in the subject.
According to this concept, it is claimed that some verses in the Quran are abrogated and invalidated by other verses!
The verse that is the abrogator they call (Al-Nasekh) while the abrogated verse they call (Al-Mansoukh).
These scholars have come up with hundreds of cases of abrogated verses to the extent that they have formulated a whole science of the subject filling lengthy books and references.
Although the concept was originally invented by Muslim scholars as a result of their poor understanding of the Quran, yet it has been widely exploited by anti-Quranic writers to tarnish the perfection and divinity of the book.
Abrogations or Contradictions?
As mentioned, the abrogation concept implies that some Quranic verses have been abrogated by other verses. On the other hand, the anti-Quranic writers claim that these cases, and other cases they put forward, are in fact contradictions inside the Quran. Consequently, they use these cases to deny the divinity of the Quran.
It is noted that the examples used by Muslim scholars as 'abrogated verses' are not always the verses used by non-Muslim writers and which they simply refer to as 'contradictions in the Quran'.
Although it can be said that the common aspect shared by the two groups is their poor understanding of the Quran, yet it can also be added that in the case of the non-Muslim writers, and particularly those who are not familiar with the Arabic language, we often find many of their claims for contradictions to be a product of their acquisition of inaccurate and misleading translations of the Quran.
Both of these types of false claims can be dealt with in the light of the Quran. It can be demonstrated that these claims are no more than cases of poor understanding of the book.
Abrogation claims of Muslim Scholars
A.L.R. A Book whose verses have been perfected. 11:1
The is no changing the words of God. 10:64
These Quranic verses state clearly that God's words have been perfected and cannot be abrogated, yet sadly these Muslim scholars have invented the greatest lie about the Quran, claiming that there are verses in the Quran that abrogate and invalidate other verses.
They base their claim on a corrupted interpretation of two verses:
First Verse 2:106
Whichever 'ayat' (sign/miracle) We instate or cause to be forgotten, We replace it with that which is better than it or similar to it. Did you not know that God is Capable of all things? 2:106
The abrogation advocates claim that this verse confirms that some Quranic verses are invalidated by others. They interpret 'ayat' in this verse to mean a verse in the Quran. And they interpret the word 'nansakh' to mean: to abrogate. It can be shown that on both counts they are in error. To demonstarte their error, it is necessary to examine the correct meanings of both words, 'ayat' and 'nansakh' as used in 2:106
The word 'ayat'
The word 'ayat', as used in various verses in the Quran, can have one of four different meanings:
a- It could mean a miracle from God as in:
We gave Moses nine clear 'ayat' (miracles). 17:101
b- It could also mean an example for people to take heed from as in:
And when the people of Noah rejected the messengers We drowned them and We set them up as an 'ayat' (example) for the people. 25:37
c- It could also mean a sign as in:
He said, "My Lord, appoint for me an 'ayat' (sign)." He said, "Your 'ayat' is that you will not speak to the people for three nights. 19:10
d- Finally, it could mean a verse in the Quran, as in:
A blessed Book which We brought down to you so that they would reflect on its 'ayat' (verses). 38:29
Now if we consider verse 106 of Sura 2, it can easily be shown that the word 'ayat' in this particular verse could not mean a verse in the Quran. It can mean any of the other meanings (miracle, example or sign), but not a verse in the Quran, for the following reasons:
1- The words "cause to be forgotten" could not be applicable if the word 'ayat' in this verse meant a verse in the Quran. How can a verse in the Quran become forgotten? For even if the verse was invalidated by another (as the interpreters falsely claim) it will still be part of the Quran and thus could never be forgotten.
2- The words "We replace it with that which is better than it or similar to it" would be meaningless if the word 'ayat'’ in this verse meant a Quranic verse, simply because it would make no sense for God to invalidate one verse then replace it with one that is identical to it!
3- If the word 'ayat' in verse 106 meant a miracle, an example or a sign, then all the words of the verse would make perfect sense. The words "cause to be forgotten" can apply to all three meanings and that is what actually happens with the passing of time. The miracles of Moses and Jesus have long been forgotten. We only believe in them because they are mentioned in the Quran.
Similarly the words "We replace it with that which is better than it or similar to it" are in line with the miracles of God. God indeed replaces one miracle with its equal or with one that is greater than it. Consider the following verse :
The word 'nansakh'
The word "nansakh" which is used in 2:106 comes from the verb "nasakha". It has been claimed that this word in 2:106 means abrogate. However, on closer inspection of all the Quranic verses which use this word it can be found that this word means quite the opposite! As used in the Quran, the word 'nasakha' means to record or write down, it does not mean substitute nor abrogate.
1- The Quranic word used for substitute is 'baddala'. The following is one example:
When We 'badalna' (substitute) one ayat in place of another, and God knows best about what He brings down, they say, "You are merely a fabricator!" Indeed, most of them do not know. 6:101
2- The Quranic word used for anuul or invalidate is yubtil, the following is one example:
O you who believe, do not 'tubtilu' (nullify/invalidate) your charities through insult and harm. 2:264
For the full details about the Quranic meaning of the word 'nasakha', please check the following page: The word 'nasakha'
Second Verse 16:101
When We 'badalna' (substitute) one ayat in place of another, and God knows best about what He brings down, they say, "You are merely a fabricator!" Indeed, most of them do not know. 16:101
The substitution spoken of here is concerned with one of two things:
a- The substitution of one Scripture in place of another.
This first meaning is given evidence to in the following verse:
And We brought down to you the Book, truthfully, confirming what is present of the Scripture, and superseding it. 5:48
Here, the words "superseding it" confirm that the previous scripture were superceded with the Quran.
b- The substitution of one law within one Scripture with another in a subsequent Scripture
This second meaning is also given evidence to in the Quran where various issues that were prohibited to the previous People of the Book were made lawful in the Quran.
As an example, we read in 2:187 that sexual intercourse between married couples during the nights of the fasting month was made lawful, while it was prohibited previously.
We are read in 6:146 that God prohibited for the Jews all animals with undivided hoofs, and of the cattle and sheep the fat was prohibited. These were made lawful in the Quran.
The words in 16:101 do not speak about the substitution of one verse in the Quran with another. The evidence for the correct meaning of 16:101 is found in the same verse. The following key words shed light on this matter:
They say, "You are merely a fabricator."
Here we must stop and ask, who is likely to tell the messenger "You are merely a fabricator", and why? For sure it cannot be his followers. It could have only been those who rejected him and the Quran that was revealed to him. This would have applied to the disbelievers in general and also the followers of previous Scriptures who undoubtedly feared that their Scriptures were in danger of being replaced by the Quran. Until this day, the Jews and Christians accuse Muhammad that he fabricated the Quran himself!
Once it is established that this verse speaks of the reaction and words of the rejectors of Muhammad and the Quran, the next question would be:
Are they accusing Muhammad of substituting one verse in the Quran with another? The Jews and Christians do not care if one verse in the Quran is substituted for another, after all they do not believe in the whole book! They will not complain that one verse in the Quran is being substituted with another!
However, if they fear that their Scripture is being substituted by the Quran, they will immediately accuse the messenger that the Scripture he brings (Quran) is not from God but that he merely fabricated it.
These glorious words "You merely fabricated it" indeed stand as a true indicator from God Almighty that the substitution spoken of in this verse is not related to one within the Quran, but indeed a substitution between one Scripture and another.
As mentioned before, the substitution of the previous Scripture with the Quran is confirmed in 5:48
As a result of the misinterpretation of 2:106 and 16:101, and the false claim that some Quranic verses invalidate other verses, the interpreters have demonstrated their failure to uphold two main characteristics of the Quran, those being that the Quran is perfect and harbours no contradictions (11:1) and also that the words of God are unchangeable (10:64).
It is well worth inquiring here into the motive behind the interpreters corruption of the meaning of 2:106 and 16:101.
Perhaps the major reason is not connected to the Quran at all but to the hadith. It is well accepted among the hadith scholars that the concept of abrogation applies to the hadith since it is found that many hadith contradict one another. The examples of these are too numerous. The following are only some examples:
P.S. (the first number is the number of the book (chapter), and second number is the number of hadith. For example Muslim 18/58 means the 58th hadith in the 18th book of Muslim. In other quotations the name of the chapter is given instead of its number.
1- "I am the most honourable messenger" (Bukhari 97/36).
This hadith contradicts the following hadith:
"Do not make any distinction among the messengers; I am not even better than Jonah" (Bukhari 65/4,5; Hanbel 1/205,242,440).
2- "The Prophet never urinated in standing position" (Hanbel 6/136,192,213). This contradicts:
"The Prophet urinated in standing position" (Bukhari 4/60,62).
P.S. May we wonder, has God sent Prophet Muhammad in order to guide us into the appropriate position for urinating?
3- "The Prophet said, 'The sun was eclipsed the day Ibrahim (the Prophet's son) died'…(Bukhari 7/page 118)
"The Prophet said, 'the sun and moon are signs from God, they are not eclipsed for the death or life of any one" (Bukhari 2/page 24)
4- "If two Muslims fight each other with their swords, the killer and the killed will go to hell" (Bukhari 1/page 13, Muslim 18/page 10).
This hadith contradicts the hadith of the ten who were foretold that they will go to Heaven by the Prophet (Ahmad 1/page 187-188, also narrated by Abu Dawood and Al-Tarmazy). This is because among those ten there were two who actually fought and killed one another in battle. They were Ali, Talha and Al-Zobair. According to the first hadith they will go to Hell but accoding to the second hadith they are foretold Paradise!
5- In various hadith, specifically in the chapters of the ‘Hereafter’ in the books of Bukhari and Muslim, we read numerous predictions by the Prophet detailing what will take place there. This contradicts the hadith by Aisha, the Prophet's wife where she said, "Anybody who says that Muhammad knows the future is a liar" (Bukhari 8/ page 166, Muslim 3/ page 9-10)
6- "The Prophet said, 'Take your religion from the words of Aisha" (the Prophet's wife).
This contradicts: "The Prophet said, 'Aisha is immature in mind and faith" (Bukhari and others).
These were some of the numerous contradictions in hadith, now we read in the Quran the following words:
Will they not ponder on the Quran? If it were from other than God, they would have found in it numerous contradictions. 4:82
This words in 4:82 confirm that anything that contains contradictions cannot be from God, and since the hadith contains numerous contradictions, as shown, it cannot be from God nor inspired by God. God does not inspire contradictions! Still, the hadith advocates claim that the hadith was inspired by God and that the hadith Al-Qudsy in particular is God's own words spoken to Muhammad! If that is so, how could they explain the contradictions in hadith?
To wiggle out of this tricky situation, the hadith advocates devised the concept of the abrogation of Quranic verses.
The ploy was as such: If the Quran can be shown to contain contradictory verses, yet no one will dispute that it is from God, then the hadith with its contradictions can also be described to be inspired by God! Quite a sly plot except for one minor detail; THE QURAN CONTAINS NO CONTRADICTIONS!
To follow, is a review of some of the better known cases of abrogation, as well as a demonstration of how each of these cases is either based upon poor understanding of the Quran, or simply on the unwillingness to believe the words of the Quran which confirm that God's words are perfect and are never abrogated.
CLAIMS OF ABROGATION
The first case is concerned with the following verses:
Whether you reveal your innermost thoughts, or keep them hidden, God holds you accountable to them. 2:284
God never assigns to any person except what is within his capacity; to his credit is what he earns and against him is what he commits. 2:286
The first verse states that God holds people accountable to their intentions while as the second verse indicates that we are only accountable to our deeds. Faced with this apparent contradiction, the scholars resolved the issue by declaring that verse 286 invalidates and cancels out verse 284. In other words, what the scholars do not understand, or what gives them problems in interpreting, they simply obliterate!
As it is, they could have reversed the process and declared that verse 284 is the verse left standing and that verse 286 is the abrogated verse. Since there is no logical justification for which verse should be abrogated and which should remain valid, one cannot be blamed for wondering whether they may have tossed a coin to make their choice!
The anaylsis of the two verses confirm that both verses are valid and that there is no contradiction between the two. We only have to read the verse immediately before verse 284 to attain the correct understanding. The last words of verse 283 together with verse 284 read as follows:
By reading the two verses together it becomes apparent that the subject of verse 284 is very specifically "testimony" and not one's intentions in general.
Verse 284 confirms that God holds those who conceal a testimony accountable. Furthermore, the words used in verse 284 are 'reveal' and 'keep them hidden' while as the words used in verse 286 are "earn" and "commit". The words "reveal" and "keep hidden" are consistent with the subject of testimony. Testimony can indeed be revealed or kept hidden. On the other hand, the words "earn" and "commit" which are used in verse 286 speak of deeds.
Indeed verses 283 and 284 are related to the same subject (withholding testimony). This analysis makes it quite clear that there is not the slightest contradiction between verses 284 and 286.
Those who believe and those who are Jewish, the Nazarenes and the Sabians, the ones who believe in God and the Last Day and do good deeds; they will have their reward from their Lord and no fear will come upon them nor will they grieve. 2:62
Whoever seeks other than Islam for a religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. 3:85
Here, the claim is that while verse 2:62 says that some Jews and Christians will be rewarded, this was abrogated by 3:85 which states that all who are not Muslim will end up in Hell.
Once again, the misunderstanding and poor interpretation here stems from the inability to comprehend the simple meaning of the word Islam (Submission to God). In spite of the fact that God tells us in the Quran that Islam (Submission to God) is as old as Abraham who was the first Muslim (2:128, 2:131, 2:133), Muslim scholars today insist that Islam is confined to being the religion of Muhammad and the religion of the Quran!
In 3:67 we read that Abraham was neither Jewish nor Christian, but a monotheist Muslim. We read in 5:111 that Jesus and the Disciples were Muslim. In 27:44 we read that Solomon was a Muslim, and in 5:44 we read that all the Prophets who were given the Torah were Muslim.
What all these verses assert is that to be Muslim is simply to submit to God alone. Thus there are Christian Muslims (Submitters to God), and also Jewish Muslims (Submitters to God). The same verses also tell us that there are Muslims who followed the Torah and the Bible and who knew nothing about the Quran.
In effect the religion of Islam, which was originally given to Abraham, can be found, not only in the Quran, but also in the Torah and the Injeel.
Those among the Christians who believe in the Oneness of God and who do not worship Jesus as 'god on earth' or as 'son of God' are Muslim in the sight of God. Similarly those among any other religion who submit to God Alone and who do not set up any idols to partner Almighty God are Muslim in the sight of God.
All these have their recompense from their Lord and have nothing to fear (2:62). These people are also the subject of 3:85 since they chose to be Muslim (Submitters to God).
Consequently, there is no contradiction between 2:62 and 3:85
Some of the most irrational cases of abrogation are connected with the inability of some scholars to understand that various laws set by God also include allowance for exceptions to the rule, where the law becomes inapplicable. The exception allowed does not invalidate the law it relates to. Whenever these scholars saw a law that makes allowance for an exception, they construed it as a case of abrogation!
There are many cases throughout the Quran of this poor deduction and total irrationality, the following are some examples:
1- God addresses men in the following verse:
You shall not force them (women) to give up anything you had given them, unless they commit clear immorality. 4:19
Here the abrogation claim is that the first part of the verse "You shall not force them (women) to give up anything you have given them" has been abrogated by the second part of the verse "unless they commit clear immorality"!
Why does an exception to a rule that is made allowance for by God obliterate the rule? Obviously the rule still stands, because God states that for all women who have not committed adultery, their husbands do not have the right to regain anything they had previously given them.
The first part of the verse, which constitutes the general case has not been abrogated. The second part of the verse which constitutes the exception also stands.
2- In 2:159 we read:
Those who conceal the clear proofs and guidance that We have brought down, after We have clarified it for the people in the Scripture; these are cursed by God and cursed by those who curse. 2:159
They claim that this verse (159) has been abrogated by the verse that immediately follows it (160) which reads:
Except for those who repent, reform, and make things clear. Those I shall redeem: I am the Redeemer, the Merciful. 2:160
Once again, we see that verse 160 says that those who had concealed the revelation but then repented and reformed are redeemed by God. Verse 159 has not been abrogated. It still stands, since all those who concealed the revelations and have not repented and reformed are not redeemed.
3- Next, we read the following words:
The punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be granted respite. 3:88
The claim here is that these two verses have been abrogated by verse 89:
Except for those who repent after that and reform; God is Forgiver, Merciful. 3:89
Once again the claimed abrogation is non existent. Both verses stand and do not contradict nor abrogate one another.
Verses 86-88 are speaking about those who disbelieve after believing and then maintain their disbelieve until death. They are never reprieved in the Hereafter. In contrast, verse 89 speaks about a different category of people; they are the ones who repent and reform during their life.
The Quran confirms that only those who die as disbelievers are not pardoned:
The two categories of people are totally different, and thus it is natural that the are subject to different treatments. The treatment given to each category of people does not abrogate the treatment given to the other category. This is simple common sense, yet somehow these scholars are headless of it!
4- Another case of poor understanding is found in the following verse:
Also, you shall not be married to two sisters at the same time. 4:23
The claim is that this has been abrogated by the words that immediately follow:
Unless it happened in the past.
The Arabic words 'ila ma salaf' speak of what (happened in the past). What the words in 4:23 say is that a man should not marry two sisters at the same time. However if that marriage happened in the past (before the revelation of the Quran, or before a man adopted Islam), then the marriage is allowed to continue so as not to break up existing marriages and the families connected. Once again the abrogation is non existent.
The same is applies to :
The claim is that the underlined words in the following verse:
To God belongs the east and the west, so wherever you turn, you will be facing God. God is Immense, Knowledgeable. 2:115
have been abrogated by the underlined words in the following verse:
We now assign a Qiblah to you that is pleasing to you. Henceforth, you shall turn your face towards the Masjid Al-Haram. And wherever you may be, you shall all turn your faces towards it. 2:144
The claim is that in the beginning God made it lawful for the believers to face any direction during the Salat (2:115), but then later God cancelled that by appointing a set Qibla (2:144) for the believers. Therefore, the claim is that 2:144 invalidates 2:115
First, it was never made lawful for believers to face anywhere in their Salat. This claim has no Quranic evidence whatsoever. We are told in the Quran that the Qibla was changed, but nowhere are we told that there was no Qibla.
Second, the words in 2:115 do not speak about the Salat, nor is the word Salat mentioned!
We are told in the Quran that there was a Qibla that did not appeal to the Prophet, and that God changed it to one that is more pleasing to the Prophet (2:144)
The obvious misunderstanding here is that while verse 144 is speaking about Qiblah for the Salat, verse 115 is not speaking about Salat at all. Verse 115 is speaking about the fact that God is present everywhere, and thus wherever we may look or wherever we may go, we will always be facing God. Indeed God is Omnipresent. The subject of 2:115 is God's Presence and not the Salat.
Verse 144 does not abrogate verse 115. The subjects of the two verses are totally different.
Whether you seek forgiveness for them, or do not seek forgiveness for them, even if you seek forgiveness for them seventy times, God will not forgive them. This is because they disbelieved in God and His messenger. God does not guide the wicked people. 9:80
The claim is that the underlined words in 9:80 "even if you seek forgiveness for them seventy times, God will not forgive them" invalidate the underlined words in 4:64 "the messenger prayed for their forgiveness, they would have found God Redeemer, Merciful."
Once again, a case of poor understanding of the Quran.
Immediately it can be affirmed that these two verses speak about two different groups of people. In 4:64 God is speaking about those who have wronged their souls but have turned back to God and asked for His forgiveness. The fact that they asked forgiveness from God denotes that they believe in God, and for that we are told that they would have found God "Redeemer, Merciful."
In contrast, those spoken of in 9:80 are described by the words, "they disbelieved in God and His messenger". As they were disbelievers, it is natural that "God will not forgive them."
From these two verses we are reminded that forgiveness can be asked for any believer who repents and reforms, but may never be asked for disbelievers.
Needless to say, no contradiction or invalidation exists between the two verses.
O you who believe, witnessing a will when one of you is dying shall be done by two equitable people from among you. If you are travelling in the land then two, who are not from amongst you, may do the witnessing if the disaster of death should strike you. If you have doubts about them let them swear after observing the Salat: "We will not use this to attain any gains, even if the testator is related to us. Nor will we conceal God's testimony, otherwise we would be sinners. 5:106
Then, once they fulfil their term, you may either keep them equitably, or part from them equitably. You shall have this witnessed by two just people from among you, and establish the testimony for God. 65:2
The claim is that in 5:106 any two witnesses, who are not necessarily relatives or close friends, can act as witnesses while in travel if relatives are not available, but this was invalidated by 65:2 which stated that the witnesses must be from among the relatives or close friends.
Once again, the claim is false for the following reasons:
1- The subject of 5:106 is witnessing the will of someone who is dying, or near death. The subject of 65:2 is witnessing a divorce.
2- In the situation of travel, a dying person may not have much time left, and since equitable relatives may not be available at the time, God wavered the condition of the witnesses being from among the relatives, so that the will is witnessed in time before the death of the person.
3- The case of divorce does not present such immediate urgency, and thus the condition of equitable witnesses from among the relatives stands.
4- It follows that 65:2 does not abrogate 5:106 in any way.
Say, "I fear, should I disobey my Lord, the punishment of a Great Day." 6:15
The claim is that the underlined words in 6:15 were abrogated later by the underlined words in 48:2
If the scholars state that the words "I fear, should I disobey my Lord, the punishment of a Great Day" are invalidated, are they saying that the Prophet no longer has to fear God?
To demonstrate the truth of these verses and their implications, it is necessary first to understand what can be forgiven by God, and thus can be included by the words in 48:2, as opposed to what can never be forgiven by God and thus can be included in the context of 6:15.
We read in the Quran that God forgives all sins except shirk (setting partners with God):
God does not forgive shirk (setting up of partners with Him), and He forgives other than that for whomever He wills. 4:48 and 4:116
We are also told that this warning applies to all people, including God’s messengers. Prophet Muhammad was not excluded from this warning, we see God specifically warning Muhammad against idolatry:
Now when we come to the claimed abrogation of 6:15, we read the following words:
However, when we read the words that immediately precede this verse, we read:
If we put the two verses next to one another (verses 14 and 15 of Surah 6), it becomes obvious that the messenger is to say (If I should ever disobey God and commit idol worship, then I would fear the retribution of an awesome day).
It is concluded that verse 48:2 which promises the messenger that his sins will be forgiven (past and future) is obviously connected to all sins, except the sin of shirk.
There is no contradiction or abrogation between the two verses.
God has pardoned you, but why did you give them permission before it became clear to you who were the truthful ones and until you knew who were the liars? 9:43
The true believers are those who believe in God and His messenger and when they are with him in a communal matter, they do not leave without taking his permission. The ones who ask your permission are the ones who do believe in God and His messenger. If they ask your permission, in order to tend to some of their affairs, you may grant permission to whomever you wish and ask God to forgive them. God is Forgiver, Merciful. 24:62
The claim here is that in 9:43 the Prophet was not allowed to give permission to the ones wanting to stay behind, before he could distinguish those who are truthful from the liars, while in 24:62 he was allowed to give permission to whomever he wished.
Once again, the error is quite obvious. Verse 9:43 is specifically speaking of the urgent case of going out for battle, while as 24:62 speaks of the more relaxed situation of someone leaving a community meeting to attend to some personal matters!
We read in the two verses preceding 9:43 the following:, namely 9:41 and 42:
The underlined words "march forth" and if it were a "short journey" indicate that the subject is mobilizing to go out for the purpose of battle.
However, the words "communal matter" in 24:62, denotes that the situation there is not one of battle but a normal community meeting where a request for permission to be excused for some personal matters would not exactly be classified as an unforgivable sin!
Once again 24:62 does not contradict or abrogate 9:43, the subjects of the two verses are totally different.
The above analysis hopefully demonstrates the poor logic, as well as poor Quranic understanding of the fabricators, as well as the supporters, of the false and balsphemous doctrine of Quranic abrogation.