Dec 21 2012

Some thoughts on the Theory of Abrogation.

By Will Coley
December 2012

With the sudden popularity of Muslims 4 Liberty among the anti-Muslim looniverse, we thought it necessary to offer some articles discussing their favorite topics. There is a false dichotomy set up within the anti-Muslim loons message, and it is a convenient way to disregard the actions or views of Muslims that do not agree with their view of Muslims. You’ve heard the argument of “when you’re losing a debate, then just scream racist, and you shut down your opponent and then you win”. The use of the terms “taqiyya” and “abrogation” offers a similar effect in the debate world of the anti-Muslim loon.

The “theory of abrogation” for Qur’anic verses, arguably the greatest lie against the Qur’an, was originally invented during the fourth century A.H. (late 10th century A.D.) by some 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.  This concept invented by these scholars, claims that there are some verses in the Qur’an that have been abrogated and invalidated by other verses!

A 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 non-Muslim writers to tarnish the perfection and divinity of the book.


الَر كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ

[CH 11 : V 1]  Alef. Laam. Raa. (This is) a Book, with verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning), further explained in detail,- from One Who is Wise and Well-acquainted (with all things).

لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَى فِي الْحَياةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الآخِرَةِ لاَ تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

[CH 10 : V 64] For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity.


Abrogation claims of Muslim Scholars

Although God asserts, in the above two verses, that the Qur’an is perfect and harbors no contradictions, sadly these scholars have invented a great lie about the Qur’an. They claim that there are verses in the Quran that abrogate and invalidate other verses. They base their claim on a corrupted interpretation of two verses:



[CH 2 : V 106] “Whichever Ayah We relinquish or cause to be forgotten We replace it with its equal or with that which is greater, did you not know that God is capable of all things?”

What the interpreters claim is that this verse confirms that some Qur’anic verses are invalidated by others. They interpret ‘Ayah’ in this verse to mean a verse in the Qur’an.  However the word Ayah, as used in the Qur’an, can have one of four different meanings:

  1. It could mean a miracle from God as in:  “And We supported Moses with nine profound Ayah’s (miracles).” 17:101
  2. It could also mean an example for people to take heed from as in:  “And the folk of Noah, when they disbelieved the messengers, We have drowned them and set an Ayah (example) of them for all people.” 25:37
  3. The word ‘Ayah’ can also mean a sign as in:  “He said, ‘My Lord, give me an ‘Ayah’ (sign).’ He said, ‘Your Ayah is that you will not speak to people for three consecutive nights.” 19:10
  4. It could mean a verse in the Quran, as in:  “This is a book that We have sent down to you that is sacred, perhaps they will reflect on its ‘Ayah’s’ (verses).” 38:29

Now if we consider Verse 106 of Chapter 2, we can easily spot that the word ‘Ayah’ in this particular verse could not mean a verse in the Qur’an. It can mean any of the other meanings (miracle, example or sign) but not a verse in the Qur’an. This is because of the following reasons:

  1. The words “cause to be forgotten” could not be applicable if the word ‘Ayah’ in this verse meant a verse in the Qur’an. How can a verse in the Qur’an become forgotten? For even if the verse was invalidated by another (as the interpreters falsely claim) it will still be part of the Qur’an and thus could never be forgotten.
  2. The words “We replace it with its equal” would be meaningless if the word ‘Ayah’ in this verse meant a Qur’anic 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 ‘Ayah’ 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 Qur’an.

Similarly the words “We replace with its equal or with that which is greater” is 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 :  “And We have sent Moses with Our Ayah’s (miracles or signs) to Pharaoh and his elders proclaiming : ‘I am a messenger from the Lord of the universe’. When he brought them our Ayah’s they laughed at him. Every Ayah We showed them was greater than the one that preceded it.” 43:46-48


[CH 16 : V 101]  “When We substitute one Ayah (revelation) in place of another, and God is fully aware of what He reveals, they say ‘You made this up’. Indeed most of them do not know”

The substitution spoken of here is concerned with one of two things:

          1.  The substitution of one Scripture in place of another.
            The evidence for this is given in the following verse:  “Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them.” 5:48
            Here, the words “superseding them.” confirm that the previous scripture were substituted with the Qur’an
          2. The substitution of one verse or law within a Scripture with another in a subsequent Scripture.
            The evidence for this is also given in the Qur’an ,where various issues that were previously prohibited in the scriptures of the people of the book (Jews and Christians) were now made lawful in the Qur’an. As an example, we are told 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 also told 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 now made lawful in the Qur’an.

This verse 16:101 does not speak about the substitution of one verse in the Qur’an with another.  The evidence to that is given within the same verse (16:101): The key to the meaning of the verse lies in the words: “….they say ‘You made this up’ .”


Here we must stop and ask, who is likely to tell the Messenger (saws) “You made this up” ? And why? For sure it cannot be his followers, his followers are not likely to tell him “You have made it up”……  it has to be those who do not believe in him, which focuses on the followers of previous scripture who feared that their scripture was in danger of being “substituted” with the Qur’an…

Still to this day, the Jews and Christians accuse Muhammad(saws) that he fabricated the Qur’an himself! If this accusation is from the Jews and Christians we must then ask, are they accusing Muhammad(saws) of substituting one verse in the Qur’an with another?

The Jews and Christians do not care if one verse in the Qur’an is substituted for another, after all they do not believe in the whole book….. they would not complain that one verse in the Qur’an is being substituted with another. However, and if their Scripture is being substituted by the Qur’an, they will immediately accuse the Messenger(saws) that the Scripture he brings (Qur’an) is not from God but that he “made it up” himself.

These glorious words “You have made it up” indeed stand as true indicator from God Almighty that the substitution spoken of in this verse is not related to one within the Qur’an, but indeed a substitution between two scripture. As mentioned before, the substitution of the previous scripture with the Qur’an is confirmed in 5:48

As a result of the corruption of the meaning of 2:106 and 16:101, and the claim that some Quranic verses invalidate other verses, the interpreters have demonstrated their failure to uphold two main characteristics of the Qur’an, those being that the Qur’an is perfect and harbors no contradictions (11:1) and also that the words of God are unchangeable (10:64).

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