Ahmed, New Age Islam
22 March 2019
any part of the Quran abrogated? If the answer is yes, then the question arises
why does the abrogated part find a place in the Quran? Logically speaking, when
is it necessary to consider whether any verse is abrogated or not? The answer
is, when one verse of the Quran contradicts another. Are there verses that
contradict other verses? The answer is no. Logically speaking therefore, there
is no need even to consider any verse as abrogated. If the Quran were to
contain abrogated verses, then its claim that it is a Book without crookedness
is a false claim, because the presence of an abrogated verse could mislead
many. So either we reject the theory of abrogated verses being present in the
Quran or accept that the Quran is a Book of crookedness and misguidance.
are two exceptions to what is said above and will now be discussed. There is
one verse that makes clear that the instruction is for the time being until it
is abrogated by a subsequent revelation. In this case, if there was a
subsequent revelation covering the same subject, then we know what is abrogated
by what and there is no confusion or misguidance. The verse is as follows:
If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four
(Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify,
confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some
4:15 is about lesbianism and is saying that the punishment prescribed is for
the time being and likely to be abrogated by a subsequent revelation. Now
consider the verse about male homosexuality:
If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent
and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.
Allah accept the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon
afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: For Allah is full of knowledge
What is the punishment for male homosexuals?
It is an undefined punishment and also made clear that they are to be left
alone if they repent and amend. What if they do not repent and make amends? Nothing
is said on this. Also, what if they do their act in privacy? There is then no
punishment. Male homosexuality is therefore to be strongly discouraged but
nothing more. Since both are about homosexual relationships, why is the
punishment different for the women and the men? The plausible answer is as
was a long period during which human population growth was slow and sometimes
negative when entire populations were wiped out by disease and pestilence.
Procreation was therefore considered among the greatest virtues to ensure
survival of the family, clan, tribe, nation and species. If men are lost to the
procreative process through war or homosexuality, it makes little difference to
population growth but if women are lost, the impact is tangible and direct.
Population growth is a function of the fertility of women and not a function of
the virility of men as long as there are enough virile men to impregnate the
women population. There is therefore a
huge redundancy of men in the population considering only the procreative
function. Crime is any act that harms society and the punishment is
commensurate with the harm caused and need for deterrence. Lesbianism was
therefore discouraged through harsh punishment while homosexuality among men
mattered little to society. As far as the sin is concerned, the two acts are
equal and will attract equal punishment in the Hereafter.
then could be the revised treatment for lesbians since Allah has not ordained
some other way? With the world population having grown to 7 billion and with
there being no danger to human extinction, loss of female fertility to the
procreative process because of lesbianism is no longer an issue. Their punishment can therefore now be identical
to the punishment for male homosexuals which means nothing beyond strong social
Fuqaha who have ruled that verse 24:2 which prescribes the punishment for
adultery is the new ruling abrogating 4:15 are in error. The two crimes/sins
are not identical. While a male adulterer is punished with 100 stripes, a male
homosexual can get away with a warning. How can the Fuqaha then equate a female
adulterer with a lesbian? The punishment or lack of it for male homosexuality
in verses 4:16, 17 is not subject to revision and yet our Fuqaha have
prescribed the death punishment following the previous scriptures apparently.
other exception of an apparent contradiction is also from the same Surah. They
are the following two verses:
If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither
ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the
two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; .....
They ask thee for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (thus) about those who
leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs. If it is a man that dies, leaving
a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance: If (such a deceased
was) a woman, who left no child, Her brother takes her inheritance: If there
are two sisters, they shall have two-thirds of the inheritance (between them):
if there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the
share of the female. Thus doth Allah make clear to you (His law), lest ye err.
And Allah hath knowledge of all things.
clearly both verses cover the same subject differently and contradict each
other. Verse 4:176 was the very last verse revealed most reluctantly to solve a
difficulty faced by the people because of their lack of knowledge of logic and
mathematics. Notice that the share of the brother/sister in the absence of
children of the deceased is now revised to equal that of son/daughter in 4:11.
Allah (thus) directs you as regards your Children´s (Inheritance): to the male,
a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two or more, their
share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the
inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the
parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased Left
brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth....
laws of inheritance protect some relationships with fixed shares and the
children are residuary or they take what is left after those with fixed shares
get their share. In such a case, the division is simple. However, when there
are no children, then no one is a residuary and every inheritor has a fixed
share. The sum of the shares expressed as a fraction, will not in general then
add up to 1 and the people then and even many today, do not know how to deal
with the situation although it involves simple logic and mathematics. There
were therefore incessant demands for guidance. Very reluctantly therefore, the
last verse revealed was 4:176 making the siblings residuary on par with own
children in the absence of children.
There would have been no need for 4:176 if
people knew the mathematics and logic involved. Today, this later verse can be
treated as superfluous or abrogated retaining 4:12 exactly as it is in which
case, brothers and sisters of the deceased in absence of children, will get
equal share with no one getting more than 1/6 and together their share not
exceeding 1/3. How have the Fuqaha explained the contradiction? They have said
that 4:12 is about uterine siblings (born to the same mother but different
father) and 4:176 about agnate siblings or those born to the same father and
full siblings. This is sheer nonsense. Verse 4:12 is an early Medinian verse
whereas 4:176 is the very last verse revealed and the gap between the two is 8
to 9 years. Why would there be ruling covering uterine siblings but not full
siblings for 8 years or more? What difference is there between uterine, agnate
and full siblings that the Quran should make a distinction between them in
inheritance? The Quran makes no distinction between uterine, agnate and full
above are only two cases of a verse meant to be abrogated (4:15), and a
superfluous verse (4:176) that can be abrogated once people learn how to deal
with 4:12. What about the common misconception that the peaceful Meccan verses
are abrogated by the Medinian war verses? This is absolute nonsense. The
Medinian war verses are about fighting an enemy on the battle field. During the
Meccan pre-migration period there was no enemy to fight with on the battle
field. There is no verse during the Meccan period about war either asking the
prophet to wage war or not to wage war. The Meccan kind of peaceful verses are
also found in the Medinian period. There are verses on who to fight and how to
fight on the battle field and verses on how to deal with people you are not
fighting with. Nor, is war a permanent condition. As a matter of fact, after
the battle of Badr, the verse:
Say to the kafaru, if (now) they desist (from Religious persecution), their
past would be forgiven them; ....)”
is an offer to end hostilities and go back to peaceful co-existence.
The treaty of Hudaybiyyah for a period of 10 years is another attempt to end
There Are As Many If Not More
Peaceful Medinian Verses As There Are In The Meccan Period Such As:
5:2 ….Help ye one another in
righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancour: fear
Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment.
(5:8) O ye who believe! stand
out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of
others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that
is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye
(5:13) ….but forgive them, and
overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind.
(5:32) …if any one slew a
person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it
would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would
be as if he saved the life of the whole people…
(5:48) …To each among you have
we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made
you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you:
so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is
He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;
(5:69) Those who believe (in
the Qur´an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the
Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work
righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
(49:13) O mankind! We created
you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and
tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other).
Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most
righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all
Verses of Peaceful Preaching
Continue In the Medinian Period
(2:21) O ye people! Adore your
Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have
the chance to learn righteousness;
(2:168) O ye people! Eat of
what is on earth, Lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of the evil
one, for he is to you an avowed enemy.
(4:1) O mankind! reverence your
Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature,
His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;-
reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence)
the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.
(4:170) O Mankind! The
Messenger hath come to you in truth from Allah: believe in him: It is best for
you. But if ye reject Faith, to Allah belong all things in the heavens and on
earth: And Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.
(4:174) O mankind! verily there
hath come to you a convincing proof from your Lord: For We have sent unto you a
light (that is) manifest.
(22:1) O mankind! fear your
Lord! for the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgment) will be a thing terrible!
(22:5) O mankind! if ye have a
doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then
out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh,
partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (our power) to
you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then
do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of
full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the
feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much), and
(further), thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain
on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of
beautiful growth (in pairs).
(22:49) Say: "O men! I am
(sent) to you only to give a Clear Warning:
(22:73) O men! Here is a
parable set forth! listen to it! Those on whom, besides Allah, ye call, cannot
create (even) a fly, if they all met together for the purpose! and if the fly
should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it
from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition!
should be clear to everyone that even in the Medinian period covering war,
peaceful preaching continued with those against whom there was no fighting and
verses of peace, tolerance, justice and even pluralism were revealed during
this phase. There is therefore no question of abrogation of Meccan verses which
are of the same nature.
What Then Is Abrogated?
(2:105) It is never the wish of
those without Faith among the People of the Book, nor of the Pagans, that
anything good should come down to you from your Lord. But Allah will choose for
His special Mercy whom He will - for Allah is Lord of grace abounding.(106)
None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We
substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power
over all things?
Quran is a revelation from Allah about which those without faith from among the
People of the Book were envious as they did not like anything good coming down
to the Prophet (verse 105). In this context, Allah says that he chooses for His
special mercy whom He wills and sends down His revelations which may substitute
something better or similar to what came before. In any case, as discussed
above, there is no evidence of abrogation of any verse in the Quran. One clear
example of substituting what came before with what is better is the Golden Rule
in the previous scriptures is substituted by the Rule of Ahsan.
The Rule of Ahsan:
(23:96) Repel evil with that
which is best: We are well acquainted with the things they say.
(41:34) Nor can goodness and
Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and
thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!
we ask the question “How do we reciprocate good?” the answer that logically
follows from the above is “Reciprocate good with what is better/best”
we ask the question ‘how do we act with others or “do unto others”?’, the
answer that logically follows from the verses cited is “Do unto others what is
best or better than what you would have them do unto you” . This is an
improvement over the Golden Principle which says, “Do unto others what you
would have them do unto you”.
both rules are an ethic of reciprocity, it would be odd to include both in the
same Book. The Quran therefore has only the rule of Ahsan and abrogates the
Golden rule found in the previous Scriptures.
Quran is consistent with the principle of Ahsan in all contexts. It asks us not
to believe in evil said about other people and to put the best construction of
what we know as facts.
(24:12) Why did not the
believers - men and women - when ye heard of the affair,- put the best
construction on it in their own minds and say, "This (charge) is an
asks us to obey every command of Allah in the best possible manner:
(39:18) Those who listen to the
Word, and then follow the best thereof, those are the ones whom Allah has
guided, and those are the ones endued with understanding.
That Say Parts Of Previous Scriptures Are Abrogated
(5:15) O people of the Book! There hath come
to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book,
and passing over much (that is now unnecessary): There hath come to you from
Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book, -
The verse is saying to the people of the
Book that the Quran omits all that is no longer necessary or abrogated while
bringing forth what is still applicable which they hide. The People of the Book
are being invited to the Quran.
(13:37) Thus have We revealed it (the Quran) to be
a judgment of authority in Arabic. Wert thou to follow their (vain) desires
after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither
protector nor defender against Allah.
(13:38) We did send messengers before thee, and
appointed for them wives and children: and it was never the part of a messenger
to bring a sign except as Allah permitted (or commanded). For each period is a
(39) Allah doth blot out or confirm what He
pleaseth: with Him is the Mother of the Book.
The meaning is unmistakable. The
portions of the scriptures that are confirmed remain valid and the portions
replaced by what are better and the portions blotted out are abrogated. These
have served their purpose and time and all the previous scriptures were for
their times until a fresh revelation came.
The Quran also says that the earlier
people were given only a portion of the Book (3:23, 5:3, 4:44, 51,) and not the
complete Book and invites them to the Quran. All previous religions and
Scriptures were works in progress and the Scriptures valid only for a period.
The Quran is the final Book containing the “perfected and completed religion”
What Is There In the Previous
Scriptures and Completely Passed Over In the Quran and Therefore Abrogated?
The Quran, no longer sanctions war
against any people for their beliefs and explicitly proclaims:
(2:256) Let there be no compulsion in religion:
Truth stands out clear from Error
(109:6) To you (the rejecter of Islam) be your
religion and to me mine.
Therefore, all the verses in the previous
scriptures that are for fighting against nations simply because the people are
“godless”, are abrogated as this is no longer a justifiable reason. The
punishments for apostasy, heresy are also not found in the Quran and therefore
abrogated. The punishment for adultery is reduced from stoning to death to a
hundred lashes. The punishment for homosexuality is undefined and can be
reduced to strong social disapproval disallowing only open, brazen and wanton
is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant
after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible
positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to
New Age Islam, Islam
Muslim News, Arab
World News, South
Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World
Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism
range of behaviour for the believers ranges from Satan who is both
the perfect believer and also the perfect kafir to those who are both
perfect believers and perfect Muslims and in between there are
perfect Muslims who may not be perfect believers and perfect
believers who are imperfect Muslims and those who are both imperfect
believers and imperfect Muslims. This is proof that there is
absolutely no external compulsion and man is self-driven by the
choices that he makes.
about yourself and tell us in what way do you feel compelled to
behave like a Muslim because of the warnings in the Quran and if you are acting out of such compulsion, then who am I to argue that you are not compelled? You know best what is true for you.