Does Abrogration (Naskh) Exist in the Qur-ân?

A brother made some comment about abrogated verses in Al Qur'an Al Majeed. He said his beliefs are as explained by this person here (https://youtu.be/rnCtYSV6X7g). Could you please comment on whether the views espoused are compatible with our fiqh / aqeedah?

Answer: 

بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

Amongst other claims, the speaker (in the video link) makes the following claims:

  1. Abrogation is like "correcting" almost giving a human image to Allâh that He somehow says something and then changes it (Allâh forbid)
  2. There is no authentic Hadeeth which mentions that a particular verse has been abrogated by another
  3. Imam Fakhruddeen ar-Râzi (رحمه الله) was of the view that there is no Naskh in the Qur-ân
  4. He (the speaker) has the "audacity" to "side with the minority" in the view that there is no abrogation in the Qur-ân at all

This is not meant to be a complete and full rebuttal of the claims made which is why we will only address the 4 claims above. This should be more than sufficient to prove that abrogation (naskh) does exist in the Qur-ân.

Claim 1: Likening abrogation to correction

This is incorrect and a misunderstanding of the wisdom behind abrogation. Allâh is the All-Knowing and He knows which ruling is appropriate when. Sometimes a certain prohibition was eased upon the people rather being brought immediately at the beginning of the Revelation. Once the time was appropriate in the Wisdom of Allâh, the previous verses were replaced.

A prime example of this is the gradual prohibition of wine/alcohol. First, it was pointed out that the harms outweigh the benefits:

"They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, 'In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.'" 1

followed by prohibition of performing prayers while intoxicated:

"O you who believe! Do not approach the prayer while you are intoxicated..." 2

and finally the process of abrogation was completed by its total prohibition:

"O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, [...] are but defilement (abomination) from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you enmity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to hinder you from the remembrance of Allâh and from prayer. So will you not desist?" 3

Claim 2: No authentic Hadeeth

This is a bizarre claim to make. There are numerous narrations many of which are authentic including from Bukhari and Muslim. A single Hadeeth is presented as an example:

"The Messenger of Allâh (ﷺ) abrogated some of his commands by others, just as the Qur-ân abrogates some part with the other." 4

Claim 3: Imâm Râzi (رحمه الله) held this view

This does not hold true as Imâm Râzi not only affirms Naskh, but also refutes those who deny it and substantiates his claims with evidence.5

Even if, for the sake of argument, we accept that he held this view, it would be an isolated opinion which is not valid.

Claim 4: Siding with the minority view

The speaker himself admits that he has the "audacity" to leave the majority view in favour of the minority view. However, to state that it is a minority view is also incorrect.

Naskh is established through the Qur-ân (some of which he quotes and misinterprets), Sunnah and ijma' (consensus of the Ahlus Sunnah). Complete denial of Naskh is not simply a "minority view", but an isolated and extreme view.

Taking this path which contradicts clear verses of the Qur-ân and authentic narrations, the opinions of all major scholars of Tafseer, Hadeeth and Fiqh, and all schools of thought leads to error, deviation and misguidance. May Allâh protect.

And Allâh knows best

Answered by (Abu Yousuf) M. Suhail

  • 1. يسـٔلونك عن الخمر والميسر قل فيهما إثم كبير ومنٰفع للناس وإثمهما أكبر من نفعهما (Qur-ân 2:219)
  • 2. يٰأيها الذين اٰمنوا لا تقربوا الصلوٰة وأنتم سكٰرىٰ (Qur-ân 4:43)
  • 3. يٰأيها الذين اٰمنوا إنما الخمر والميسر والأنصاب والأزلٰم رجس من عمل الشيطٰن فاجتنبوه لعلكم تفلحون (Qur-ân 5:90)
  • 4. كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَنْسَخُ حَدِيثُهُ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضًا كَمَا يَنْسَخُ الْقُرْآنُ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضًا (Muslim)
  • 5. See Tafseer al-Kabeer (also known as Mafatih al-Ghayb), in particular the commentary under verse 2:106

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