Answering Islam Email Dialogs

Topic: Abrogation in the Qur'an

Received: 3 May 2005

Subject: abrogation

Assalamu alaikum,

Mr. webmaster or who so ever is going to be the respondent to my e-mail I greet you with the greeting of Islam which is peace be on you.

My name is ---- and am a muslim, and actually trying my best to be a good one indeed. I am dont believe in dogma that is why which ever verse I read from the quran or challenge received from people like you about islam I used to varify it by myself and see whether or not it is true with a strong promise to God that any day I discover that islam is not true i will change to a true religion because to me what matters is salvation.

In trying to always check the truth of islam infact your site played a very important role, i read several publications on your site but yet am not convinced whith alot of them. In line with the above i now decided to contact you hoping that you may assist to proove further your points that i dont agree with, probably you may convince me.

Among all the subjects which i read from your site, the one that has touched me most is that of abrogation and i would like us to discuss on this subject.

On your web page with address you have beautifully addressed many issues, also in in your web page Index/A/abrogation.html you also show alot of verses that were said to be abrogated.

Let me start my discussions with you now on the issue of abrogation. You mention that in quran 2:106 that Allah said that He abrogated some verses of the quran, also in some places like 16:101, and 13:39 you talk about Allah replaces or removes what He wills. All right, but my only problem with you and in fact that is where i need your more explanation is that i want you to show me from the same quran those verses that were abrogated or caused to be forgotten and those verses that replaces the abrogated ones. But take note thatthe only problem you may have with me is that I DONT BELIEVE IN HISTORY therefore i will not accept any person reporting to have the prophet SAW as saying such and such. Please i want you to base all your facts on the quran, because what i believe is that the best way to varify whether or not what the quran says that some of its verses were abrogated is true is by asking the quran to show you those verses in it that were abrogated, if the quran shows you then it is true if not then is a lie.

But if you fail to give me the verses from the quran, tell me i will easily poit the verses to you so that you can get out of the problem of handling the topic of abrogation if at all you are diong it without sentiment.

Remember that am just looking for somebody who can disproove islam as beeing a true religion to me and I promised that on that very day i will ceise to be a muslim.


Our answer:


Wa Aleikum Salama

Firstly, I want to apologize to you that this response has taken so long in coming. We had some mix-ups here at Answering-Islam and your letter got caught in the mix-up. But despite the delay, here we are. Thank you so much for your patience.

Okay ----, your question is regarding abrogation. What I understand you to be asking for is proof that the Quran indeed abrogates verses. You express that you would like us to show you some abrogated verses using only the Quran - without citing any hadith to do so. Sure, we'd be happy to. While many of the examples of abrogation in the Quran are indeed verified by the hadith literature, there are some examples from the Quran that are clear. For example, there is the abrogation regarding the Qibla. As you know the Qibla is the location/direction that the Muslims pray toward. At first the Qibla was toward Jerusalem, but then the Qibla was changed to Mecca. (Although the Quran does not mention either place by name, it states clearly that there was a change of location or direction that Allah wanted believers to pray towards.)

The Quranic reference to the first Qibla is mentioned in al-baqarah 2:142-3:

"The foolish of the people will say: What hath turned them from the qiblah which they formerly observed? Say: Unto Allah belong the East and the West. He guideth whom He will unto a straight path. Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you. And We appointed the qiblah which ye formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the messenger, from him who turneth on his heels. In truth it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided. But it was not Allah's purpose that your faith should be in vain, for Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful toward mankind."

And as we clearly see in the above verse ----, it seems as though Allah is defending himself, or Muhammad is defending Allah - whichever way one may look at it. The next verse, 2:144 speaks of the new Qibla:

"We have seen the turning of thy face to heaven (for guidance, O Muhammad). And now verily We shall make thee turn (in prayer) toward a qiblah which is dear to thee. So turn thy face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship, and ye (O Muslims), wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces (when ye pray) toward it. Lo! Those who have received the Scripture know that (this revelation) is the Truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do."

Next, if we turn to al-Azhab 33:50-52 we read:

"O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her -- specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

You may put off whom you please of them, and you may take to you whom you please, and whom you desire of those whom you had separated provisionally; no blame attaches to you; this is most proper, so that their eyes may be cool and they may not grieve, and that they should be pleased, all of them with what you give them, and Allah knows what is in your hearts; and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing.

It is not lawful to you to take women afterwards, nor that you should change them for other wives, though their beauty be pleasing to you, except what your right hand possesses and Allah is Watchful over all things."

Now, obviously the first verse and the last verse here cannot both be true at the same time. It is clear that one has to abrogate the other one. Which one do you think might still apply and which one would you think has been abrogated?

Some other examples:

Regarding spoils, al-anfal 8:1 says:

"They will ask thee about the spoils. Say, ‘The spoils are God's and the Apostle's; fear God and settle it amongst yourselves; obey God and the Apostle if ye do believe.’"

But then in 8:42, it says:

"And know that whatever you take as spoils in war, a fifth thereof is for ALLAH and for the Messenger and the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you believe in ALLAH and what WE sent down to Our servant on the Day of Distinction, - the day when the two armies met - and ALLAH has power to do all that HE wills."

Which verse do you think Muslim should adhere to?

Next is al-Kaffirun 109, which expresses great tolerance for the kaffir (unbelievers):

"Say, O ye misbelievers!
I do not serve what ye serve;
nor will ye serve what I serve;
nor will I serve what ye serve;
nor will ye serve what I serve;-
ye have your religion, and I have my religion!"

While at-Tawba 9:5 certainly expresses a much different approach and attitude toward unbelievers:

"But when the sacred months are passed away, kill the idolaters wherever ye may find them; and take them, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every place of observation; but if they repent, and are steadfast in prayer, and give alms, then let them go their way; verily, God is forgiving and merciful."

Then there are the verses concerning wine and the casting of lots. Baqarah 2:219 says

"They will ask thee about wine and lots, say, 'In them both is sin and profit to men; but the sin of both is greater than the profit of the same.' They will ask thee what they shall expend in alms: say, 'The surplus.' Thus does God manifest to you His signs; haply ye may reflect on this world and the next!"

Yet 5:90-91 says:

"O true believers, surely wine, and lots, and images, and divining arrows [are] an abomination of the work of Satan; therefore avoid them, that ye may prosper.
Satan only desires to place enmity and hatred between you by wine and lots, and to turn you from the remembrance of God and from prayer; but will ye not desist"

So in the first verse, wine and lots have both great sin and also great benefit to man. But in the second set of verses, both lots and wine are an absolute abomination and the work of Satan. Should we thus assume that something that is from Satan can be of great benefit or profit to man?

And what is the prescription for women who have committed adultery? 4:15-16 says this:

"Against those of your women who commit adultery, call witnesses four in number from among yourselves; and if these bear witness, then keep the women in houses until death release them, or God shall make for them a way.
And if two of you commit it, then hurt them both; but if they turn again and amend, leave them alone, verily, God is easily turned, compassionate."

While 24:2 has an entirely different prescription:

"The adulteress and the adulterer you shall whip each of them a hundred lashes. Do not be swayed by pity from carrying out GOD's law, if you truly believe in GOD and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their penalty."

Also there are the verses that deal with the proper treatment of Christians and Jews:

"Thou wilt surely find that the strongest in enmity against those who believe are the Jews and the idolaters; and thou wilt find the nearest in love to those who believe to be those who say, 'We are Christians;' that is because there are amongst them priests and monks, and because they are not proud." (5:82)

Yet in 5:51 we read the following command:

"O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."

And of course the famous verse which states that Muslims are to:

"Fight those who believe not in God and in the last day, and who forbid not what God and His Apostle have forbidden, and who do not practice the religion of truth from amongst those to whom the Book has been brought, until they pay the tribute by their hands and be as little ones." (9:29)

Of course by the phrase "Religion of Truth" this verses is referring to Islam, and "those to whom the Book has been brought" is referring to Jews and Christians.

Okay ----, I hope that some of these verses have helped you to see that indeed the Quran is not consistent. Of course I am surprised that you do not accept any hadith as this seems to be far from Orthodox - or what is considered to be pure Islam by most of the scholars / ulema of Islam. Of course if you did accept the hadith then it would be easier to demonstrate to you multiple other abrogations etc. But for now, I hope that this will make you think. We will be praying for you that God will open your eyes and that indeed God will guide you to the truth which is found in Jesus. If you would like to continue this conversation, then please do. We would love to help you in any way that we can.

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Bless You ----!


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