Understanding the Principle of Abrogation in Islam

OK, rather than take pot shots at each other in the commentary of a thread that is not directly related to the topic at hand, let’s just face this head-on in a thread dedicated to the issue.

The topic at hand is the existence of “abrogation” in the Islamic religion. Abrogation is the understanding that the revelations that came later in Muhammad’s life supersede or cancel out those that came before. Melfamy has challenged me, claiming that I am deliberately misleading RNL readers. His source is that Muslim clerics have disagreed as to how abrogation works and what verses were abrogated. He has linked to various sources where this issue is discussed between these clerics.

I would like to first point out that this is one of the main contentions between myself and those who claim I am bashing Islam and ignoring what they see as similar or parallel passages in the Bible. They like to point to the Bible and say that men have used the Bible to justify atrocity since Christianity began. They then claim that the “radical” Muslims are doing the same thing: perverting Islam.

Now, here’s the difference. In the past, when people used the Bible to justify atrocity, they had to ignore major passages of scripture. Had they taken the entire Bible as a whole, they could NEVER have claimed that the Bible supported their actions because the Bible does not teach murder or world domination. HOWEVER, if we look to the Qur’an as a whole, it DOES teach murder, subjugation and world domination. Claims that this is “open to interpretation” are NOT in accord with Muhammad’s law and the Qur’an.

Now, to support my assertions, I will do something Melfamy will not because he cannot do. Instead of going to an outside source, I will go straight to Muhammad and the Qur’an.

The establishment of abrogation by Muhammad (Qur’an 2:106 – from a collection of 5 authorative translations – as in, these are Muslims translating the Qur’an)

AA When We cancel a message (sent to an earlier prophet) or throw it into
oblivion, We replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that
God has power over all things?

NQ Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We
bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allâh is able to do all

PK 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. Knowest thou
not that Allah is Able to do all things?

SH 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

YU None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We
substitute something

Now that we have established that abrogation IS part of the Qur’an, and therefore part of Islamic law, let’s look at what the Qur’an says about obeying Muhammad (Qur’an 4:80):

AA He who obeys the Apostle obeys God; and if some turn away (remember) We
have not sent you as warden over them.

NQ He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), has indeed obeyed Allâh,
but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (O Muhammad SAW) as a
watcher over them.[]

PK Whoso obeyeth the messenger hath obeyed Allah, and whoso turneth away:
We have not sent thee as a warder over them.

SH Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah, and whoever turns
back, so We have not sent you as a keeper over them.

YU He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah: But if any turn away, We have not
sent thee to watch over their (evil deeds).

And, in the very next verse, Muhammad addresses those who claim to follow and obey him, but who discuss changes to what he says after they leave his presence (Qur’an 4:81):

AA They say: “We obey;” but when they leave your company, a section of them
discuss at night other things than you had said; but God takes note of what
they discuss. So turn aside from them and trust in God; and God is sufficient
as protector.

NQ They say: “We are obedient,” but when they leave you (Muhammad SAW), a
section of them spend all night in planning other than what you say. But Allâh
records their nightly (plots). So turn aside from them (do not punish them),
and put your trust in Allâh. And Allâh is Ever AllSufficient as a Disposer of

PK And they say: (It is) obedience; but when they have gone forth from thee a
party of them spend the night in planning other than what thou sayest. Allah
recordeth what they plan by night. So oppose them and put thy trust in Allah.
Allah is sufficient as Trustee.

SH And they say: Obedience. But when they go out from your presence, a party
of them decide by night upon doing otherwise than what you say; and Allah
writes down what they decide by night, therefore turn aside from them and
trust in Allah, and Allah is sufficient as a protector.

YU They have “Obedience” on their lips; but when they leave thee, a section of
them Meditate all night on things very different from what thou tellest them.
But Allah records their nightly (plots): So keep clear of them, and put thy
trust in Allah, and enough is Allah as a disposer of affairs.

Now, you will find that all the peaceful and loving passages in the Qur’an are the result of Muhammad’s earliest revelations. Later in his life, Muhammad handed down this revelation, and it has NEVER been abrogated (Qur’an 2:216):

AA Enjoined on you is fighting, and this you abhor. You may dislike a thing yet it
may be good for you; or a thing may haply please you but may be bad for
you. Only God has knowledge, and you do not know.

NQ Jihâd[] (holy fighting in Allâh’s Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though
you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and
that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allâh knows but you do not know.

PK Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen
that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a
thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.

SH Fighting is enjoined on you, and it is an object of dislike to you; and it may be
that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a
thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.

YU Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye
dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for
you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.

Now, Muhammad also commanded Muslims to fight against non-believers until they all submit to Sharia law and live as Dhimmi and pay the jizyat (poll) tax, or kill them. Muhammad said Muslims had to fight until there is ONLY Islam. This was never abrogated.

Muhammad and the Qur’an also say that Muhammad is an excellent (i.e. THE) example of how to live a perfect and pious life. This is where the Sirah (biography of Muhammad) and the Ahadith (sayings and deeds of Muhammad, held to be divine and second only to the Qur’an) come into play. When you start reading these texts, you will see that the Muslims we call “radical” are NOT radical. They are actually following the teachings of Muhammad as laid out in the Qur’an. The reason they need the Sirah and Ahadith is because the Qur’an is an incomplete work, and is filled with errors, contradictions and – many times – absurdities. You need these other works to make Islam into a religion.


Then there is this little extra command from Muhammad.  If any Muslim tries to change what he said, or they try to “interpret” the Qur’an in a way other than what Muhammad said it meant, they are considered “hypocrites.”  The Qur’an says that such Muslims are not protected by the Qur’an.  In many cases — specifically those where a Muslim rejects or renounces Islam — the Qur’an and Hadith sanction their murder.  This is why it is very unlikely we will ever see anything in Islam like the Protestant Reformation: because it would probably get the leaders of such a movement killed.

THIS is why I place no stock in Melfamy’s objections: because they are born of ignorance and rely on half-truths and intentional deception propagated specifically for consumption by Westerners who do not know any better. But then, Melfay rejects the FACT that Islam teaches Muslims it is OK to lie to Kafir (non-Muslims).

(I can provide the necessary citations to support any of my claims upon request because I have been reading them and studying the history of Islam for about 2 years now. I make no claim to being any sort of expert, but I do claim to be more informed than most Westerners and – in many cases – most Muslims. Just as with most Christians, they do not read the Qur’an for themselves. They rely on their cleric/imam to tell them what it says and means and THAT is where you get “peaceful” Islam: from clerics/imams who ignore the actual text of the Qur’an and other Islamic scriptures such as the Ahadith and Sirah.)

48 thoughts on “Understanding the Principle of Abrogation in Islam

  1. B, you said…

    I can provide the necessary citations to support any of my claims upon request because I have been reading them and studying the history of Islam for about 2 years now.

    However, what do you do when I ask for your proof? You claim that you have already provided it, that ypou are tired of providing it, and that I should just read the Quran until I agree with you.

    Just tell me if the following verse has been abrogated, and with what was it replaced?

    “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”
    (Qur’an, 2:190)

    • No, to the best of my knowledge, it has not been abrogated.

      But then, you just proved your ignorance because you do not understand what Muslims consider “hostilities.” You might want to look into that sometime. You might just find that looking at a Muslim the wrong way constitutes a transgression worthy of death. And before you tell me I am wrong or exaggerating, you need to look into the Battle of Nahkra and it’s aftermath. That is where the revelation that slander and insult of Muslims is worse than killing during the holy month. You will also find that Muhammad taught ANYTHING that is considered “good” for Islam is permissible.

      So, you see, where you “think” you have me, you do not — BECAUSE YOU DO NOT KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THIS RELIGION. And you never will — not until you stop taking shortcuts and start doing your own homework.

      • No, I did not just prove my ignorance, you arrogant fool. And your answers to me and to others who dare question your assumptions shows that you are afraid of being found out as a pseudo-intellectual who has no arguments, just a handful of nasty retorts

        • LOL, nice try, Greg, but I gave you a truthful and accurate answer. That does not make me arrogant — just better informed about this issue than you. The sad part is that it doesn’t have to be that way because I keep telling you where to go so you can learn this on your own. But no, you’d rather keep spouting the PC propaganda that will — if allowed to continue — lead to the end of the entire Western way of life.

          But, hey, if that’s what you want, OK. It just means Augger may be correct about your faith after all.


        • Melfamy,
          You are a self professed atheist, correct?

          Why do you appear to always take the side of Islam? Why do you feel it necessary to take up, or be apologetic for Islam?
          Why do you care for a political ideology falsely cloaked as a religion?

          • I take up for the truth, that is all. And it’s the People who follow allah that are my concern not their bull crap fables, (although the Quran seems far more accurate as an historical account than does the Bible), because the ignorant anti-muslim drumbeat that is a constant background noise in here reminds of the ignorant fear and hate directed towards my Italian immigrant great-grandparents.

            Your last sentence is a total debate-killer, and shows that you have no interest in an honest inquiry.

            a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

            Islam fits the bill, so let’s move on to the next diversional attack, please

            • The Qur’an is more accurate than the Bible?

              Greg, even skeptics have been forced to admit the Bible is the single, most accurate, most complete history book known to man. It has NEVER been contradicted by either science or archeology. So, for you to make that comment suggests that you’re not interested in “truth,” as you claim, but have — instead — a decidedly anti-Christian agenda.

              As for the rest of your comments: sour grapes and ad hominem/straw man…as usual.

  2. If a cleric/imam teaches to ignore jihad, and not abrogate, the earlier peaceful sections; then is he teaching heresy and must be killed?

    And this is why we never hear of peaceful protests denouncing acts of murder and terrorism against infidels?

    • Kells,

      That is part of the propblem here. There are NO “atrocities of the Christian faith.” There are atrocities committed in the name of Christianity, but you cannot get to those atrocities if you actually follow what Christ taught.

      You cannot say the same thing about Islam. In fact, it is precisely the opposite case as Muhammad set the example by declaring that Muslims should kill any Jew that falls into their hands.

      Until Greg can reconcile these two contradicting facts, he is doing nothing but apologizing for a religion he does not understand because he has not bothered to learn and understand it. Heck, he hasn’t even bothered to learn and understand Christianity. If he had, he wouldn’t make the ignorant claims about it that he does.

      • “There are atrocities committed in the name of Christianity.” Yeppers. And there are atrocities commited in the name of Islam. I reckon the Muslims I know listen to a different version of the Quran; just as I reckon Obama listened to a different version of Christianity. Put simply, politics and religion do not mix; they are separate entities.

      • B, a JEW was Mayor of Cordoba, for Pete’s sake!Jews were welcomed in muslim lands After they were kicked out of Christian countries.
        There is room for interpretation, B, that is why there are 3 main sects of Islam, and splinter groups here and there, whose main differences are doctrinal., much in the manner of how the christian church has been dividing like an amoeba ever since two guys fought over the funny hat.

        • MYTH! This does not agree with the true record of history, it is a mythos created for you in the West who have to be lulled into passivity until Islam is strong enough to attack again.

          You need to start reading the stuff former Muslims are telling the world. They are the best source of information as they — most times — left Islam AFTER they became educated and started to see the lies. Then they did their research and found that the stuff you believe — that they had believed — is not true.

          But truth has never mattered with you: only the closed-minded, PC mythos that support your myopic world view.

        • Well Greg, You ignored my other questions, and I suppose you will just simply ignore this one.

          Speaking of “dividing like Christians”, with over 284 “divided” sects of Islam that are now labeled terrorists organizations, can you really compare Islam’s “division” to that of the Christians?

          • augger, you are comparing apples to oranges. I have better things to do than go over old arguments with people too tied to their superstitions and idiotic fears to be rational. good day.

            • Greg, that honestly has to be about the most stupid, and incompetent attempt to side-step a pertinent question as I have ever seen.

              But let’s clear up two things:

              1. It is an old, tired argument. You are right about that. While it is not an argument I start, I damn sure will opine on the destructive history of radical Islamist, and if that causes a chap on your ass, so be it. I am not here to placate your metro-sexual sensitivities.

              2. Never understatement my lack of fear for Muslims, or yourself. Neither of you have that sort of power over me. Are we clear?

              And you have a fantastic day yourself. 🙂

              • Augger some of your comments ring the stupid bell loud and clear. For instance , you obviously have no idea that there is a difference between a sect and an organization.
                Your other challenges, unless I missed the smart one, are equally inane and unanswerable, due to your lack of command of the english language, give me something to bite, auggie, and will sink my teeth into

                But I am not hoiding my breath

  3. @Greg,

    “The topic at hand is the existence of “abrogation” in the Islamic religion. Abrogation is the understanding that the revelations that came later in Muhammad’s life supersede or cancel out those that came before. Melfamy has challenged me, claiming that I am deliberately misleading RNL readers. His source is that Muslim clerics have disagreed as to how abrogation works and what verses were abrogated. He has linked to various sources where this issue is discussed between these clerics.”

    – This is the assertion of the article, would you not agree Greg?

    And Joe provides the following to support his assertion …

    “When We cancel a message (sent to an earlier prophet) or throw it into
    oblivion, We replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that
    God has power over all things?”

    So I went to check his supporting quote, and I found one different, but essentially the same …

    al-Baqarah 2:106 “Any message which, We annul or consign to oblivion We replace with a better or a similar one. Dost thou not know that God has the power to will anything?”

    Now Greg, it seems pretty straight forward to me, but I’m not a good Muslim either, so I would ask:

    As an atheist, how is it not straight forward to you?
    And looking at it from a Muslim’s perspective, how would you rework the unworkable and trying to recast this ideology into some new mold by modifying it, softening it, making it acceptable?

    • Augger, I believe G. recognizes that their are those that will pervert their religion. Unfortunately, it seems to be rampant in the Middle East. (Personally, I think it is a political ploy.)

      • @Kells,

        How many times does this have to be explained to you before you understand it. This is not a “perversion” of the religion, the perversion is when you try to make a peaceful religion out of what Muhammad handed down.

        Look at it this way: IF I gave you NOTHING but the Bible, could you figure out what it meant and how to practice Christianity? I mean you come from another planet and I hand you the Bible, could you figure out what Christ taught all on your own without ANY guidance?

        Now, if I hand you the Qur’an, you cannot do this because — for one thing — the Qur’an doesn’t even define who Allah is! Did you know that? The Qur’an is one side of an historic narration written as though to a person who already knows the history and context of what is being discussed. Next, if I handed you the Qur’an and you went strictly by what is says — as in the quote Augger picked out — you simply cannot obey it and come up with anything “peaceful”…unless you assume that the world has already been reduced to nothing but Muslims.

        DO you understand the issue here, or are you still stuck in the PC mythology that tries to separate “moderate” from “radical” when MUHAMMAD said there is ONLY Islam?

        • C’mon! If we are to take the text literally, we would be stoning people to death. I believe there are Muslims who understand the metaphors of their religion. You may call it picking and choosing, but I believe it boils down to interpretation. Here’s a question for you, my sweet (it was posed at my son’s catechism class tonight) : How did Noah get all of the animals on the ark?

          • NO!

            First, Jesus put an end to the stoning by establishing the new covenant.

            Second, I have NOT found any “metaphors” in the Qur’an. Kells, stop thinking of the Qur’an like the Bible — IT ISN’T! The Qur’an is a series of commandments from Muhammad as given by Allah through Gabriel. They are literal and Muhammad says so in the Qur’an.

            You know, I realize it is no use talking to you about this. You and Greg have convinced yourself of something that is factually wrong and then closed yourselves off to my attempted correction by telling yourselves I am the one who is closed minded: me, the person who has actually taken time to investigate and learn this religion. Kells, I think you are probably listed somewhere in the lines of Ecclesiastes. 🙂

    • @Augger,

      if you change the meaning of the text, you become what Muhammad called a “hypocrite.” That is why I provided that quote from the Qur’an. Do that, and you transgress against Muhammad, thus against Allah and guess what?

      Yep, off with your head.

    • Augger, the Quran WAS re-written in order to make it more acceptable. The scary part is that it was made More misogynistic through the removal of verses relating to the existence of female angels, whose holiness was just under Allah’s. The populace rejected the notion of hmph!, women being exalted over any man, and Mohammed went up the mountain and came down sans the Satanic Verses.
      That is abrogation, my friend, when the verses are removed, there is no question.

      • Where did you get this garbage from? Muhammad REPEATEDLY said women are inferior to men and that angels cannot even be in the presence of an unclothed woman. In fact, that was the test to decide whether Gabriel was angel or demon. Muhammad also said that the majority of people in hell are women.

        Greg, I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but it is WRONG! And that is NOT me saying this, IT IS MUHAMMAD!

        But then, you have shown you are perfectly willing to argue with the person who creates something as to what he/she really created and meant by their creation, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise to me…but it does. 😦

        • look it up yourself, B, I tire of correcting you, as you are too proud to admit error,and too boring for my tastes

          • Greg,

            I have admitted mistakes and changed positions on this forum, the old News Herald forum and to you, personally. Heck, Kells just recently said it was one of the more noble aspects of my character on this very forum. So I find it interesting that you can never remember this. But what it DOES do is provide the neutral reader with a basis for evaluating between the two of us.

            One more thing: you actually had to admit I was correct about Islam on several occasions. In fact, I know of at least one record of this here on the RNL (I actually believe there are three, but I can only go straight to one, so…) But, after enough time passes, you go back to insisting I am the one in error. I think that is telling enough — to those who care.

            Frankly, the rest have already made up their minds and, likely, don’t care about what EITHER of us have to say.

            • You’re kiddin me, right? I can’t believe that I would’ve ever complimented you. You are my sweet, little whipping boy! Almost forgot…. 😉

              I say, I should like to know where I gave you such high accolades.

              • You did so in reference to the post I deleted when James pointed out that I didn’t quite have it correct. In fact, you complimented me, then defended me against James.

                How quickly you and Greg forget the many times you have been forced to admit I was correct about something 🙂

      • BTW:

        A “true prophet” cannot be controlled by Satan, yet Islam admits to the Satanic verses. Think on that one for a while.

  4. B., just out of curiosity, because I’m sure you didn’t go to my link, (which is really good) what say you on those naughty Muslims that started the Inquisition? Ooops! Wrong religion.

    “So come on you Muslims and you Jews,
    We’ve got big news for all of yous:
    You better change your point of views today!
    Cause the Inquisition’s here and it’s here to stay!”

    You’re a classic example.

  5. On abrogation.
    If God is perfectly all powerful than how could he send an incorrect message that would need clarification at a later date? Or be fickle in His opinions when the origins of absolute truth began with Him? Wouldn’t it require that a.) the conduit/prophet was interpreting and changing what had been revealed or b.) God was Not perfectly all powerful? Either way I think there is a major flaw here…

    • Muhammad covered that. 1) In some cases, Muslims were not “ready” for the later revelations, so they were given something else until they were ready and 2) Allah can change his mind.

        • NP, I’m glad someone is actually getting something out of it — no matter which side they come down on.

          Now, would you be interested in learning how Muhammad ruled out his eligibility to being a prophet? And see where the proof that he cannot be a prophet is in the Qur’an and Islamic text/tradition? 😉

          YES! It is actually in the Qur’an. There are several passages that literally make it impossible for Muhammad to claim to be a “true” prophet, and, in the event anyone tried to “correct” him to save him, Muhammad also handed down a revelation that would then testify that the Qur’an is NOT a true revelation/the word of god.

          See what you learn when you actually read the books 😉

  6. Pingback: Egypt’s President, from the Muslim Brotherhood, calls for Jihad upon Jerusalem & Israel | The Rio Norte Line

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