There is a rule in Islam that doesn’t get much attention in the West. The reason is because it undermines the agenda of Islam. It is called the Doctrine of Abrogation. All “good” Muslims recognize this doctrine, but conveniently avoid it to help make Islam more palatable to the Western mind. You can read it at The Straightway of Grace website. It is also available as an article in the front of the Generous Qur’an, which you can read about here.
The Doctrine of Abrogation is one of the amazing mysteries of the Qur’an. It is a doctrine that actually stands AGAINST the teaching of the Qur’an itself. Here is what verse 4:82 says, “Do they not consider the Qur’an? If it was from other than Allah they would have found in it many inconsistencies.” This verse clearly states that the Qur’an is free from any inconsistencies. Also, verse 6:34 says, “…no can change the words of Allah.” From such verses one might be led to think that the words of the Qu’ran are written consistently and without any contradiction or any change. But, how does one reconcile this concept with the numerous verses in the Qur’an which teach the doctrine of abrogation? For example, verse 2:106 says, “Whatever verse we abrogate, or cause to be forgotten, we bring a better [verse] than it or like it.” And similarly, verse 16:101 states, “And if we exchange one verse in a place of another verse, and Allah knows what he sent down…” Such verses teach that there is a change in the Qur’anic verses and abrogation truly exists. Abrogation in the Qur’an is actually the only way to explain the inconsistencies throughout.
So, what is Abrogation? It is defined as “the removal of a verse or the change of a verse with another (newer) verse or to make something lawful which was unlawful or vice versa.” (Ibn Kathir’s interpretation, part 1, page 134). There are 71 chapters in the Qur’an that contain abrogation (over 60%). Sometimes it is just one verse. For example, verse 9:5, which is called the verse of the sword by all Muslim scholars, abrogates 124 verses of the Qur’an that speak softly about other religions and other people such as Jews and Christians. There are three different types of abrogation.
The first type of abrogation is when a verse is removed from the Qur’an and Muslims are not required to practice it. These are verses that Muslims and Mohammed could no longer remember because Allah caused them to be forgotten. It should be noted that there was no effort to compile Mohammed’s recitations during his lifetime. Rather, they depended primarily on the memory of Mohammed and his followers, so it is not surprising that some of the verses are forgotten.
The second type of abrogation is when a verse exists but has been superseded by a newer verse and therefore is no longer practiced. This type of abrogated verse includes those verses that Muslims try hard to use in the West to prove that the Qur’an is not a hateful, barbaric book. These are typically the Meccan or early Medinan verses recited prior to Mohammed becoming a strong military leader. According to the Muslim scholars, the verses which Mohammed received later supersede the earlier verses if there is a contradiction. Here is an example:
Qur’an verse 2:62 says, “Surely those who believed (Muslim) and those who are Jews and the Nasara (Christians) and the Sabeen (idol worshipers), whoever believed in Allah and the last day and did good deed, so they will have heir ajoor (wage) with their lord and no fear on them, and they will not grieve.“
This verse teaches that Christians, Jews, and idol worshipers will have a place in heaven, but this verse is abrogated when Allah says in the Qur’an verse 3:85,
“And whoever desires any other religion except Islam, so it will not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he will be of the losers.”
Other examples of the Qur’an being an accepting religion is in verse 8:61
“If they lean toward peace (truce), so lean toward it…”
And again in verse 2:256:
“No compulsion in religion.”
These verses and many others will give the unknowing reader the impression that Qur’an is a kind book, but the fact is that all these verses have been abrogated by verse 9:5, which we saw earlier. Also, in verse 9:29, Allah says,
“Engage in war with those who do not believe in Allah nor in the last day… nor believe in the religion of the truth among those who have been given the book…” <—referring to Christians and Jews of the Bible.
Such newer verses abrogate the previous verses, and Muslims are commanded to live by the new verses, not the old verses. Therefore one comes to the conclusion that there is no such thing as soft, kind verses in the Qur’an because Allah has changed his mind and abrogated such verses.
The third type of abrogation is when the written verse is gone but Muslims are still commanded to practice such verses, as is the case in practicing the ordinance of stoning the adulterer. When women commit adultery in Islam, the Sharia (Islamic Law) commands them to be punished by stoning them to death even though the written verse of the Qur’an has been removed. What a strange god! And what strange words of this god!
In the One True God’s Word, Jesus says in Matthew 5:17-18 –
Think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the prohets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
What a difference the true Word of God makes!