Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Qur'an and the Problem of Abrogation

According to the Qur'an, no one can change Allah's words (6:115; 18:27). Yet Allah himself frequently changes his words by revealing a verse that abrogates (or cancels) an earlier verse (see 2:106; 16:101). Since the Qur'an is supposedly eternal, our Muslim friends have a problem. From all eternity, the Qur'an contained (a) verses that contradict the commands of other verses, and (b) a verse claiming that, if the Qur'an were from anyone other than Allah, it would contain "much discrepancy" (4:82). Because the eternal Qur'an does contain much discrepancy (numerous contradictory commands), it cannot be the word of Allah, according to 4:82.


For those who would like to take a closer look at the Qur'an verses on abrogation, here are 2:106 and 16:101, along with three Muslim commentaries on these verses.

Surah 2:106—“Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?”
Tafsir al-Jalalayn on 2:106—When the disbelievers began to deride the matter of abrogation, saying that one day Muhammad enjoins his Companions to one thing and then the next day he forbids it, God revealed: And whatever verse (mā is the conditional particle), that has been revealed containing a judgement, We abrogate, either together with its recital or not [that is only its judgement, but its recital continues]; there is a variant reading, nunsikh, meaning ‘[Whatever verse] We command you or Gabriel to abrogate’, or postpone, so that We do not reveal the judgement contained in it, and We withhold its recital or retain it in the Preserved Tablet; a variant reading [of nunsi’hā] is nunsihā, from ‘to forget’: so ‘[Whatever verse We abrogate] or We make you forget, that is, We erase from your heart’; the response to the conditional sentence [begun with mā] is: We bring [in place] a better, one that is more beneficial for [Our] servants, either because it is easier [to implement] or contains much reward; or the like of it, in terms of religious obligation and reward; do you not know that God has power over all things?, including abrogating and substituting [verses]? (the interrogative here is meant as an affirmative).

Tafsir Ibn Abbas on 16:101—Then Allah mentions what was abrogated of the Qur’an and that which was not abrogated, as a direct reference to the claim of the Quraysh who said to the Prophet: O Muhammad! Why do you command us to do something and then forbid it, saying: (Such of Our revelations as We abrogate) We do not erase a verse that was acted upon before and which is now not acted upon (or cause to be forgotten) or leave unabrogated so that it is acted upon, (We bring one better) We send Gabriel with that which more profitable and easier to act upon (or the like) in reward, benefit and action. (Knowest thou not) O Muhammad (that Allah is Able to do all things?) of the abrogated and unabrogated.

Al-Wahidi on 16:101—(Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof) [2:106]. The commentators of the Qur’an said: “The idolaters said: ‘Do you not see that Muhammad commands his Companions with something and then forbids them from the same and commands them to the exact opposite. One day he says something and the following day he retracts it. This Qur’an is nothing but the speech of Muhammad who has invented it. It is a speech that contradicts itself’. Allah, exalted is He, therefore revealed this verse (And when We put a revelation in place of (another)…) [16:101] and also (Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof…)”.
Surah 16:101—“And when We change (one) communication for (another) communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say: You are only a forger. Nay, most of them do not know.”
Tafsir al-Jalalayn on 16:101—And when We exchange a verse in place of a [different] verse, by abrogating it and revealing another, for the welfare of [God’s] servants — and God knows best what He reveals — they say, that is, the disbelievers [say] to the Prophet (s): ‘You are just a fabricator’, a liar, making it up yourself. Nay, most of them do not know, the true nature of the Qur’ān and the benefit [to God’s servants] of abrogation.

Tafsir Ibn Abbas on 16:101—(And when We put a revelation) when We send Gabriel with an abrogating verse (in place of (another) revelation) in place of another abrogated verse, (and Allah knoweth best what He revealeth) and Allah knows the probity of that with which He commands His servants, (they say) the disbelievers of Mecca say: (Lo! thou art but inventing) from yourself, O Muhammad. (Most of them know not) that Allah commands His servants with that which is good for them.

Al-Wahidi on 16:101—(And when We put a revelation in place of (another) revelation…) [16:101-102]. This verse was revealed when the idolaters said: “Muhammad is mocking his Companions; one day he commands them to do something and the next day he forbids them from doing it, or brings instead something which is easier. He is nothing but a calumniator who says things of his own invention”, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse and the verse after it.
For more on the doctrine of abrogation, see:
Farooq Ibrahim, "The Problem of Abrogation in the Quran"
Robert Spencer, "The Islamic Doctrine of Abrogation"
Sam Shamoun, "Abrogated Verses of the Quran: Evidence from Islamic Sources"

10 comments:

Steve Dowling said...

Thank you, Mr. Wood and associates, for mentioning abrogation. Apparently the eternal Allah did some deep steam cleaning of His mind!

Being a human behavior realist myself, I think the actual reason for revision is related to the Hijra -- Muhammad's travelling -- after he had virtually no success converting at Mecca.

The early prophetic verses in favor of PEACEFUL behavior then had to change, so Muhammad could improve the scoreboard tally of newly acquired Muslims at his destination -- Medina.

Presto! Much better results, when he beheaded at least 700 male Jew captives.

Murdering all of an oppositional tribe does certainly put "persuasion" into the view of those persons who learn of such an acceptable Islamist recruitment method...

Plus, slaughtering Infidels comes in handy during centuries forward, not only to reduce available living resistance, but also to tell anyone else how to behave.

BM200032 said...

Not only do you have contradictions in the quran, but the very compilation of the quran itself was done in a manner that muhammed never approved of, muhammed never codified the quran nor gave any instructions for it, ibn masud who muhammed said was a recommended teacher of it had no say in the quranic compilation process and actually was against the quran that muslims use today, the quran rather than showing divine origins shows itself as being the work of human beings who had very little idea of what they where doing..

nicermannson said...

"The HOLY BIBLE IS The TRUTH
And IT Has NEVER Been CHANGED.
WHAT Has HAPPENED
Is THIS~
The VERY ONES
[WHO Call THEMSELVES “MUSLIMS”]
And Have ACCUSED IT Of “CORRUPTION”,
[AFTER THEY Have STOLEN
CERTAIN THINGS THEY WANTED
From The WORD Of
The ONE TRUE GOD, ΨâHûƜ‘âH ~
The HOLY BIBLE
Of The Jews And The Christians,]
And Have CHANGED The GOSPEL TRUTH
INTO A BIG LIE, In THEIR OWN Book.
THEN,
THEY LACED THEM
With DEADLY CYANIDE
To CONCOCT THEIR OWN
New [DIFFERENT, FALSE] "Scripture",
From Which
THEY NOW TEACH THEIR OWN CHILDREN
A MURDEROUS [FALSE] “DOCTRINE”
And THEY NOW PROMOTE
THIS [MOST UNHOLY] Book Of LIES,
Which THEY CALL "The Qura’an",
As
The FINAL, [DECEPTIVE, LYING]] “Word” Of
THIS FALSE SOCIO-POLITICAL IDEOLOGY Which POSES As A “Religion,”
Which THEY Call "ISLAM."
And THEY BASE IT UPON
The BLASPHEMOUS, HERETICAL LIES Of
THEIR DEAD [FALSE] “Prophet" Mohammed
WHOSE DEVOTED FOLLOWERS
OFFER [FALSE] “Worship”
To THEIR IDOL~ [FIVE TIMES EACH DAY]~
To THEIR Supreme “ROCK” [MOON] god,
Which THEY Call "ALLAH,"
[Which Is HOUSED Within
A FRAMED GOLD FACIMILE Of A VAGINA];
And THEY ALL KISS THEIR [BLACK BOX]
Which THEY Call The “Kaaba” [“CUBE”]
And Which THEY CIRCUMAMBULATE,
In A RITUALISTIC Fashion.
And,
Like THEIR FALSE god "ALLAH",
The GREATEST DECEIVER, The ACCUSER, The CORRUPTER [Ie. SATAN,]
THEY ACCUSE
The Virtuous
Of “CORRUPTION”;
The MURDERERS
ACCUSE
The Innocent
Of “MURDER”;
The HATERS
ACCUSE
The Righteous
Of “HATE”;
The WAR MONGERS
ACCUSE
The Peaceful
Of “STARTING WARS”;
And THEY FIGHT Us And Our Jewish Allies,
In The Name Of "Peace";
THESE SAME COWARDS
WHO Are LOVERS Of DEATH
CONTINUALLY ACCUSE
Us [The Lovers Of Life]
With “Cowardice”;
While COWARDS
WHO PROMOTE INSTANT DEATH
Are GIVEN The [FALSE] Title Of
"The Brave";
MURDERERS
Are NOW
"MARTYRS";
Their FUNERALS
Are CELEBRATED As
"Weddings"
And
THEIR Victims
Are CALLED
CRIMINALS
Unworthy Of Even A Funeral;
THEIR SAVAGERY
DEBAUCHERY
And
THEIR LIFESTYLE On THIS Earth
IS [MORE Like] HELL~
VOID Of [Even The Most Innocent] Music
Or The Joyous Sound Of Wedding Bells.
EVERYTHING IS UPSIDE DOWN!!!
BUT,
SADLY,
THEY CAN'T SEE ALL THIS…
UNTIL [Or UNLESS]
THEY Are
PERMITTED
To THINK
And
To Practice CRITICAL THINKING~
To THINK DEEPLY
And
UNTIL
THEY EXCHANGE
THEIR EVIL [FALSE] BELIEF SYSTEM
And
FILL THEIR HEARTS With LOVE
And LONG-SUFFERING
In Order To
OFFER UP THEIR LIVES
As
LIVING SACRIFICES,
And,
NO LONGER As
DEAD “SACRIFICES."
_/\_ PRAY For Our ENEMIES,
That THIS MIGHT HAPPEN
For THOSE WHO MIGHT REPENT~
That HE MIGHT “OPEN THEIR EYES”
And BRING THEM To
A KNOWLEDGE Of HIS TRUTH,
And A NEW LOVE For YaH’S Children.

yohannbiimu said...

Ever since I began reading about Islam, the concept of abrogation of Islamic doctrine, while remaining "true" within the Quran's eternal aspect has always been utterly absurd to me. How can something that is eternal and true be abrogated, or how can it abrogate itself? I cannot imagine how abrogation does not shatter everything related with this so-called "religion," since Allah apparently can change his mind on any whim (because he is almighty).

What is to say that Allah cannot decide to change his mind about MUSLIMS, and put them all in hell, regardless of how faithfully they practice the "prophet's" doctrines. If Allah can do ANYTHING (even abrogate the true and eternal), then what is to say that he cannot decide to throw Muhammad himself into hell? What is to say that he cannot decide that the Jews are right, and everyone else is wrong? Or perhaps side with Christians?

With such a fickle, whimsical "god" being in charge, I'd be horrified to be in its psychotic hands. There could be no pleasing such an almighty that could change the very nature of truth and justness. It is pitiful.

Dan Canto said...

The abrogation verses alone prove that the Quran is a 7th century fabrication by M.

So Allah couldn't get it right the first time?! What nonsense and only the stupid can believe it.

Jc_Freak: said...

Hi. I have been following your ministry for about a month and I have a question regarding abrogation. Considering that whether a verse is abrogated is determined by when a surah came down, how does one determine the chronology of this? Does the Quran give such a chronology, is it determined by the Hadiths, or is it something more complex than that?

David Wood said...

The chronological order comes from the Hadith and Sira. If you Google "Chronological Quran," you can get a list of the order of Surahs.

Arwa Graf said...

Wow, sickening..... Carry on all you like. The Quran IS the true word of God, like it or not. The bible and Torah were once, but they were altered. And yes, again I repeat this: Islam is the true faith of God and the Quran is His word. Come up with all the different (false) reasons you want, Islam is truth and will prevail over all....

David Wood said...

Wow, Arwa! Thank you for proving that the Qur'an is wrong! You say that the Torah and the Gospel were the Word of Allah, but they were altered. But the Qur'an says that no one can alter Allah's words. Hence, the Qur'an is wrong, according to you. Thanks again for refuting Islam!

Sololeum said...

Thanks David for your insightful Ministry..Everyone both Muslim and Non-Muslim should be made aware of the doctrine of Abrogation - shine the light and darkness disappears...