بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
صلى الله على سيدنا ومولانا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم
A countless number of scholars have written works on this topic. And these include: “Abu ‘Ubaid al-Qasim b. Sallam, Imam Abu Dawud al-Sijistani, Abu Ja’far al-Nahhas, Ibn al-Anbari, Makki, Ibn al-Arabi, and others. The learned elders have said: “No one is allowed to interpret the Book of Allah except after he is thoroughly familiar with Ayaat that abrogate or have been abrogated. Sayyidina Ali (karramallahu wajhahu) once asked a judge: “Are you familiar with Ayaat that abrogate or have been abrogated?” The judge replied: “No!” Ali then said: “You ruin yourself and others!” This section deals with several issues.
First: the word naskh may be used in the following contexts: To obliterate as in the Ayah: ” …but Allah obliterates that which the devil casts and then establishes His Ayaat…” (22:52)
- To replace, as in the Ayah: “When We replace one Ayah with another…” (16:101)
- To change hands, as occurs in matters of succession, where the inheritance changes hands from one person to another.
- To transcribe from place to place. Thus it is said: “I have transferred the book.” that is, “I have transcribed its words and its text to another location.” Makki maintains that it is incorrect to include this category in the Qur’an, and he has strongly criticized al-Nahhas for allowing it. He argued that the abrogator in this case, appears not in the words of the abrogated but in words that are different. And al-Sa’idi has argued that al-Nahhas’s assertion is supported by the Ayah: “We have been recording what you were doing”(45:29); and the Ayah: “It is indeed, with us, in the Mother of all Books, it is exalted and full of wisdom” (43:4) It is well known that that which appears as a summary in the Qur’an exists in its entirety in the Well Preserved Tablet, as the Almighty says: “In a Book, well preserved; which none but the pure ones may touch.” (56:78-79)
Second: “Abrogation which, for many a sound reason, Allah has made exclusive to this community. One such reason is to facilitate things. Whilst all Muslims think this is permissible, Jews do not, arguing instead that this portrays Allah as indecisive, as one who holds one opinion, and then changes it. This however, is baseless because abrogation is no more than a sequence of events like life after death, sickness, after health, poverty after wealth and vice versa. Now, just as none of the foregoing examples can be construed as the results of indecisiveness, so too is the case with acts that are first disallowed and subsequently allowed.
Scholars differ on whether the Qur’an is abrogated by anything other than the Qur’an. Some, citing the Ayah: “Those revelations that we abrogate or cause to forget , we replace with something better, or at least equal thereto” (2:106) say: “No! Nothing is equal to or better than the Qur’an .”
Other scholars contend that the Sunnah, given that it too comes from Allah, can also abrogate the Qur’an. Allah Almighty says: “He speaks not vainly.” (53:3) An example of this, one which appears hereunder, is the Ayah dealing with testaments.
A third view, cited by Ibn Habib al-Naisapuri in his exegesis, argues that this is permissible only if such a Sunnah is itself a revealed command of Allah, and not the personal judgment of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). al-Shafi’i says in this regard: “Whenever the Sunnah abrogates the Qur’an there will always be found another Ayah from the Qur’an itself in support thereof, and wherever the Qur’an abrogates the Sunnah there will always be found another Sunnah in support thereof.” This is to show congruity between the Qur’an and the Sunnah. I have dealt extensively with this topic in my commentary on the work on jurisprudence Manzumat Jam’ al-Jawami‘.
Third: Abrogation occurs only in Ayaat dealing with commands and prohibitions albeit in the form of an report. But this will not apply if the report is not in the form of a demand. In this category belong Ayaat that promise and threaten. Having said that, it’s obvious that the numerous works dealing with abrogation that happen to include the foregoing category of Ayaat have no basis.
Fourth: Abrogations comprise of several categories. These include:
1. The abrogation of an order before its implementation as in the Ayah dealing with secret conversations. This is an actual case of abrogation.
2. Abrogation of laws that applied to earlier communities. This is the case with the Ayah dealing with retaliation and blood wit. Other examples are of laws that are collectively abrogated such as those that changed the direction of prayer from the Bait al-Maqdis to the Ka’ba, and fasting the first 10 days of the month of Muharram. These however, are abrogations in a manner of speaking only.
3. The abrogation of a law based on a particular circumstance that subsequently disappears. This is the case with the call to patience and forgiveness during times of weakness or numerical disadvantages. This was abrogated when fighting became obligatory. In actual fact, this is not a case of abrogation but a case of “being made to forget”, as Allah Almighty Himself says in the case of war: “…or We cause it to be forgotten”, that is, the duty to do battle, until Muslims become stronger. During times of weakness however, the rule is to forbear in the face of persecution. This then puts paid to the arguments claiming that all such Ayaat have been abrogated by the Averse of the sword”, when in fact, this is not the case. Rather, it belongs to the ‘made to forget’ category, to which belongs every order that is meant to be executed whenever the circumstances so demand, but which gets moved elsewhere when those same circumstances are changed. This is not abrogation, because abrogation effaces a ruling and makes its subsequent application illegal. Makki thus points out that in the view of some scholars Ayaat such as: “Forgive and overlook till Allah brings forward His decree.” (2:109) should be considered qualified and not abrogated, because they allude to the deferment of time or purpose. And that which has been deferred to some future time is not abrogated.
Fifth, some scholars have classified the chapters in the Qur’an with regard to abrogation, in the following categories:
- 43 chapters that contain no Ayah that abrogates or is abrogated. They are: al-Fatiha, Yusuf, Yasin, al-Hujarat, al-Rahman, al-Hadid, al-Saff, al-Jumu’a, al-Tahrim, al-Mulk, al-H¬aqqa, Nuh, al-Jinn, al-Mursalat, ‘Amma, al-Nazi’at, al-Infitar, and the three thereafter, al-Fajr, and the chapters that follow till the end of the Qur’an, except for al-‘Asr, al-Tin, and al-Kafirun.
- 25 chapters that contain Ayaat which abrogate or have been abrogated. They are: “l-Baqara, and the three chapters that follow, al-Hajj, al-Nur, and the two that follow, al¬-Ahzab, Sab’, al-Mu’min, Shura, al-Dhariyat, al-Tur, al-Waqi’a, al-Mujadila, al-Muzzammil, al-Muddaththir, Kuwwirat, al-‘Asr.
- 6 chapters that contain only Ayaat that abrogate: “al-Fath, al-Hashr, al-Munafiqun, al-Taghabun, al-Talaq, al-A’la. The remaining 40 chapters only contain Ayaat that have been abrogated. This view is objectionable on grounds that will be discussed hereunder.
Sixth, Makki says that the Ayaat that abrogate may be classified in the following order:
- An ordinance that abrogates another ordinance, such that it is no longer permissible to act upon the latter. An example is the law prescribing the imprisonment of a fornicator which is abrogated by the ordinance of flogging.
- An ordinance that abrogates another ordinance such that it is still permissible to act upon the latter. Such as is the case with the verse prescribing the exercise of patience (instead of fighting against the pagans).
- An ordinance that abrogates an act such as fighting, which at first was optional and later became obligatory.
- An optional act that abrogates an ordinance such as the night prayer which was abrogated by the order to recite, in the verse:“Recite of the Qur’an whatever comes easy” (73:20)
Seventh: Abrogation in the Qur’an appears in three forms:
Ayaat whose recitation and ordinance is abrogated. The Shaikhan (Buhkari and Muslim) report that ‘A’isha said: “Initially 10 separate suckings were required (to establish parentage between the baby and the wet nurse) but this was abrogated (by the Ayah stipulating) 5 suckings. At the death of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) the Ayah continued to be recited as part of the Qur’an (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1402). There has been talk about the statement “…continued to be recited…” for apparently, it implies that the Ayah is still recited, whilst it is not. One explanation is that the abrogation occurred just prior to the death of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Another is that at the time the recitation too was abrogated except that this had not quite reached all people until after the death of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Thus, he died and there were still people around who recited the Ayah. Abu Musa al-Ash’ari said: “It was revealed and later removed.” Makki said: “This is an example, the only one I know of, where both the Ayah abrogated and the Ayah abrogating are not recited” b-Ayaat whose ordinances have been abrogated but not their recitations: Much has been written in this category, and people have included herein many Ayaat, even though the actual number of Ayaat are few indeed. The more meticulous scholars such as the judge, Abu Bakr b. al-‘Arabi have explained and confirmed this. I maintain that the material that the former group included may be classified as follows:
- Ayaat that are neither abrogated nor qualified, and have no connection to these categories whatsoever. This is true for Ayaat such as: “…and spend of that which We gave them” (2:1) and “…spend of that which We have given you” (2:254) which some say have been abrogated by the Ayah that prescribed zakat. But this is not the case. The first Ayah in fact is a report showcasing charity, which may allude to zakat, to spending on the family, or to other praiseworthy acts such as hospitality or providing aid. Nothing in the Ayah seems to point to spending other than zakat which might be compulsory. The second Ayah, as indeed some have explained, may allude to the payment of zakat. Some consider the Ayah: “Is not Allah the most decisive of all judges.” (95:8) to be abrogated by the “verse of the sword”, but this is not so, because Allah Almighty is forever the most decisive of judges. This statement cannot support abrogation even though it implies an order to leave matters to Allah and to forgo retaliation. Some consider the Ayah “…and speak kindly to people” (2:83) abrogated but Ibn Hassar considered this incorrect, arguing instead that it is an account of the pledge taken from the Children of Israel; it is merely a report and not an abrogation. Now apply the same logic to the other Ayah as well.
- Ayaat that qualify rather than abrogate: Ibn ‘Arabi has performed a superb task in recording such Ayaat, including the following: “Man is indeed at a loss; except those who believe…” (103:2-3); “As for the poets, only those in error follow them. Do you see how they stumble in every valley, and how they speak about what they know not–except for those who believe…” (2:224-227); “forgive and overlook, till Allah brings forward His decree” (2:109) These, and other such Ayah that are qualified by clauses of exception or objective have been wrongly itemized as abrogations. The Ayah: “Wed not idolatresses until they believe…” (2:221) for example, is said to have been abrogated by the Ayah “. . .and virtuous women of those who received the Book” (5:5) when in fact it has only been qualified.
- Ayaat that abrogate those customs and conventions of early Islam that do not appear in the Qur’an, Pre-Islamic Arabia, or the laws of the earlier communities. Thus the Ayah invalidating marriage with step-mothers, is one such example, as are the Ayaat prescribing requital or blood money for injuries incurred, and restricting divorce pronouncements to three. The inclusion of such Ayaat in the abrogation category might be appropriate, but as Makki and others besides him countenance, it is even more appropriate that they be excluded there from. They explain that if the forgoing Ayaat are included in the abrogation category then the same can be said for the entire Qur’an, because it lifts most, if not all the practices common to the disbelievers and the people of the Book.. Furthermore, abrogation correctly speaking, only occurs when one Ayah of the Qur’an abrogates another.” Yes, it does seem that the third of these categories, the lifting of early Islamic practices makes more sense than the other two. If therefore, we contend that the Ayah to take up arms does not abrogate the Ayaat of ‘forgiveness and generosity’, then most of the Ayaat that have been lumped into this category will be excluded. Of that which appropriately falls into this category only a small number remain. In a separate work I have discussed this particular topic; hereunder I provide a concise synopsis of these Ayaat.
The statement of the Almighty “It is prescribed upon you when death comes to one of you. ..” (2:180) is said to abrogated by the Ayah of succession. or by the tradition: “Hear! There is no testament in favor of an heir!” or as Ibn `Arabi has said, by way of consensus. And according to some the statement of the Almighty “…and those who have the ability (but choose not to) must pay a ransom” (2:184) has been abrogated by the Ayah: “…and whosoever is present, let him fast the month…” (2:185) But others hold that it is still binding, because of the implied presence of ala’ in the former Ayah. The Ayah “It is permissible for you to cohabit with your wives during the nights of the fast…” (2:187) abrogates the Ayah “…as it was prescribed upon those before you…” (2:183) because compliance with the latter Ayah would require that they comply fully with every regulation that they complied with. This would include the prohibition of eating, and maintaining sexual contact at night. Ibn al-Arabi reports, this view as well as another which states that the Ayah was abrogated by the Sunnah. Ibn Jarir reports on the authority of `Ata’ b. Maysara that the Ayah: “They ask you about the sacred months…” (2:217) is abrogated by the Ayah: “…and wage war, altogether, on the pagans…” (9:36); The Ayaat: “Those of you who die… provisions for a year…” (2:240) is abrogated by the Ayah: “…four months and ten days…” (2:234) Testamentary distribution has been abrogated by the laws of inheritance, whilst the need to provide accommodation some maintain has been abrogated by the Hadith “there need not be accommodation”, whilst others say that it is still binding. The Ayah: “…and whether you openly declare what is on your minds or conceal it Allah will bring you to account for it.” (2:284) has been abrogated by “And Allah burdens not any soul beyond its capacity…” (2:286);
Whilst some say that the Ayah “…and be conscious of Allah to the full extent possible” (3:102); is abrogated by the Ayah “…and be conscious of Allah the best you can…” (64:16), others maintain that it is still binding. Apart from this Ayah, no other in this chapter can be claimed to have been abrogated.
The Ayah “…and give to those you have made the pledge to their due measure…” (4:33) is abrogated by “and some of the blood relatives are closer to each other than others, by Allah’s decree…” (8:75). Some say that the Ayah “…and if they attend the distribution…” (4:8) has been abrogated whilst others say no: people have simply neglected to apply it. The Ayah: “as for those women who indulged in promiscuous acts…” (4:15) is abrogated by the Ayah that appears in the Surah an-Nur.
The Ayah: “…nor the sacred months…” (5:2) is abrogated by the injunction permitting battle therein. The Ayah: “If then, they come to you judge between them or disclaim jurisdiction” (5:42) is abrogated by “Now therefore, judge between them in light of that which Allah hath revealed…” (5:49) The Ayah “…or two others besides you…” (5:106) is abrogated by “And let two just persons from among you bear testimony” (65:2).
The Ayah “…if there be of you twenty, steadfast…” (8:65) has been abrogated by the Ayah that follows.
The Ayah “Set out, armed lightly or heavily… “(9:41)is abrogated by the following Ayaat that mention the excuses: “There is no blame on the blind…” (24:61); “there is no blame on the weak ones…” (9:91); and the Ayah: “Not all believers should go out to fight…” (9:122)
The Almighty’s statement: “An adulterer shall marry only an adulteress…” (24:3) is abrogated by the Ayah: “And marry the single person from among you” (24:32). And some say that the Ayah: “Let your slaves seek your permission…” (24:58) is abrogated while others maintain that people have neglected to apply it.
The Ayah: “Unlawful to you are women…” (33:52) is abrogated by “We have made lawful for you your wives” (33:33).
The statement of the Almighty: “When consulting the Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم)…” (58:12) is abrogated by the Ayah that follows.
And some say that the Ayah: “And grant to those whose wives have left the like of what they have spent” (60:11) has been abrogated by the Averse of the sword”. Others say it is abrogated by the Ayah of ‘the spoils of war’ and others still, maintain that it is still binding.
The Ayah “Keep vigil all night except for a part thereof…” (73:2) is said to be abrogated by the end of the chapter, which in turn is abrogated by the five daily prayers. These twenty one Ayaat, give or take a few, are the ones that have been abrogated; no acceptable claim for the remaining Ayaat’s abrogation can be made. This number drops to 19 however if, as is correct, the Ayah requiring permission to enter and the Ayah of distribution of inheritance are considered binding. Add to this the view of Ibn Abbas that the Ayah: “Wherever you turn there is the countenance of Allah.” is abrogated by: “So turn your face in the direction of Sacred Mosque” and the number goes up to twenty. I have arranged these Ayaat into the following Ayah form:
People exaggerate the number of abrogations and add thereto countless Ayaat this is a tally of them, twenty all told, no more as penned by scholars, wise and old the Ayah of direction, which way to face, and the need for a testament when death cometh when not to eat, and cohabit after sleep and the penalty for not fasting despite ability the call to fear Allah as behooves Him, the ban on fighting disbelievers in the sacred months the bequest for widows, a year of waiting and that man is accountable for his thoughts the Ayah of oath, detaining fornicators, rejecting the disbeliever’s testimony, and to persevere, being armed for battle lightly or heavily Barring from marriage, male and female fornicators the Chosen One is not restricted in marriage paying the mahr to those who have come Approaching the Prophet Similarly, the one on the Night Prayer Also, the servant’s need for permission and giving to those present for the distribution
What is the use of maintaining the recitation of a Ayah that is no longer enforceable?” some ask. To this question there are two answers. Firstly, inasmuch as the Qur’an is consulted to determine rules and its performance, so too is it recited as Allah’s words filled with rewards for those who simply recite it. Thus the recitation has remained. Secondly, seeing that abrogation in most cases is meant to ease hardship Muslims are reminded, by the retention of such Ayaat, of the many bounties bestowed on them and the hardships that have been removed. As for the abrogation of pre-Islamic practices or the laws of other divine systems, or in early Islam, these are few in number. In the book mentioned earlier I have recorded examples of the various cases of abrogation including: facing towards Jerusalem, which was abrogated by the Ayah of the Qibla, and the fast of Ashura by the fast of Ramadan.
Some scholars have said that in all cases except the following two the abrogating Ayah appears before the abrogated: these Ayaat are the Ayah of the waiting period that appears in al-Baqara, and the Ayah: “Unlawful to you are women…” (33:52) which was examined previously. Others have added a third: the ‘spoils of war’ Ayah in chapter al-ashr said to have been abrogated by the Ayah: “Know that whatever spoils of war you capture…” (8:41) Some have added a fourth: “Show clemency…” (7:199) that is, by taking only the surplus of their possessions. This is according to those who believe that it has been abrogated by the Ayah ordaining zakat. Ibn al-`Arabi has said: “All Ayaat in the Qur’an advocating tolerance, clemency, and the avoidance of war with disbelievers has been abrogated by this ‘Ayah of the sword’ This Ayah: “And when the sacred months have passed fight the pagans…” (9:5), which abrogated 114 other Ayaat, was itself abrogated by its 2nd half. Reference to this has already been made. He also said: “How unusual a Ayah ‘Show clemency’ is: whilst its first part (‘Show clemency”) and last part (and steer clear of the ignorant) are abrogated, its middle (and enjoin the good) is not.” He also said: “Also unusual and unique is a Ayah whose first section is abrogated by its second section. The Ayah is: “Be concerned with your selves only! He who deviates cannot harm you, if you are steadfast.” (5:105) and the reference is to being steadfast in enjoining the good and censuring wrong. This then abrogates the call to be concerned with yourselves.
Al-Sa`idi has said: “No abrogated Ayah has remained in force for as long as the Ayah: “Say! I am not a novelty among Prophets…” (46:9), which had remained in force for 16 years until its abrogation by the opening Ayah of the Surah, Al-Fath, in the year of Hudaibiya
With regard to the verse: “…and they feed the indigent because of their love for Him…” (76:8) Hibat Allah b. Salama al-Darir maintained that the words ‘…and the prisoners of war” which refers to the prisoners from among the pagans, were abrogated. Once, however, when that section was recited to him in the presence of his daughter she remarked: “O! Father! You have erred!” He asked: Why?” She replied: “Muslims are unanimous in their view that a prisoner must be fed and cannot be killed through starvation.” He replied “You are correct.”
Shaidhala in his work al-Burhan said: “It does happen that the Ayah that abrogates is itself abrogated. An example is the Ayah: “Unto you is your religion and unto me, my religion.” (109:6), which was abrogated by the Ayah: “…fight the pagans…” (9:5). This Ayah in turn, was abrogated by “…until they pay the exemption tax.” (9:29). However, this, is questionable for two reasons: firstly, because of what was alluded to previously, and secondly, because the Ayah: “…until they pay the exemption tax” (9:29) qualifies the Ayah, but does not abrogate it. A more appropriate example however, is the last Ayah of the chapter, al-Muzzammil, which not only abrogates the beginning of the chapter but is abrogated itself by the Ayah that ordains the five daily prayers. Also, the Ayah “Set out, armed lightly or heavily” (9:41) abrogates the Ayah that ordains restraint, but is abrogated by the Ayah that sets out the valid excuses for not participating battle.
Abu `Ubaid reports that al-Hasan and Abu Maisara said: “No Ayah of the chapter al-Ma’eda has been abrogated, but this is problematic given the statement of Ibn `Abbas in the work al-Mustadrak that the Ayah: “Judge between them or disclaim jurisdiction” (5:42) is abrogated by the Ayah “So, judge between them in light of that which Allah had revealed” (5:49).
Abu `Ubaid and others report from Ibn `Abbas that the first Ayah to be abrogated in the Qur’an dealt with the direction of prayer. In his section on abrogations, Imam Abu Dawud quotes Ibn `Abbas through another source, as saying: “The first Ayah to be abrogated in the Qur’an dealt with the direction of prayer, followed by the first type of fasting.” “In light of this,” Makki concludes, “no Meccan Ayah was abrogated.” But, the fact is that abrogation of several of its Ayaat has occurred, such as the statement of the Almighty: “…while the angels sing the praises of their Lord and seek forgiveness for those who believe.” (:7) which is said to be abrogated by “…and seek forgiveness for those on earth” (25:5)” I believe that an even better example is the abrogating Ayah of the night vigil in the chapter al-Muzzammil, by its concluding Ayah, or the ordainment of the five daily prayers; and there is unanimity that both these events took place in Mecca.
Ibn al-Assar said: “To establish abrogation references must be obtained from the Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) himself or from some Companion saying ‘Verse so and so has abrogated Ayah so and so.’” At times it is needed to reconcile a clear conflict in history, to know that is, what came first, and what later.” He said: “in matters pertaining to abrogation it is not permissible to seek recourse in the views of the run of the mill exegetes, or even to such rulings of the jurists, as are not corroborated by textual sources, in cases where there is no clear contradiction. This is because abrogation seeks to overturn a rule established by the Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) himself or to establish one where previously there was none. The authority for such action must be textual evidence or history, and not rational arguments.
In this regard there are two opposing views: the conservative view argues that even sound Ahad traditions are not acceptable, and the liberal view accepts the rulings of the exegetes and the jurists. The correct view goes against both these views.
Ayaat whose recitations have been abrogated but not their ordinance. Some have asked: “What purpose does the abrogation of the recitation and not the ordinance serve? And would it not have been more rewarding if the recitation of the Ayah had remained and been in consonance with the ordinance? The author of the work al-Funun replied: “This serves to express the speed at which this community complies with a divine command, without seeking definitive sources in the case of an ordinance that may even be presumptive. They hasten to obey as did Abraham when called upon, to slaughter his son, in a dream—and the latter by all accounts, is the weakest form of revelation.” Examples of this genre of abrogation are many.
Abu `Ubaid said: “Isma`il b. Ibrahim reported to us, from Ayyub, from Nafi`, from Ibn `Umar, who said: ‘None of you should say that he has full knowledge of the Qur’an; how could he know what full knowledge is!’ So much of the Qur’an has passed him by! Let him say instead: ‘I have taken of the Qur’an that which was present.’”
He also said: “Ibn Abu Maryam reported to us from Ibn Lahi`a, from Abu al-Aswad, from `Urwa b. al-Zubair, that A’isha said: “During the time of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) two hundred Ayaat of the chapter al-Ahzab were recited but when compiling the Qur’an `Uthman was only able to collect what now exists.”
He also said: Isma`il b. Ja`far reported to us from al-Mubarak b. Fudala, from `Asim b. Abu al-Nujud, from Zirr b. ubaish who said: “Ubayy b. Ka`b told me: ‘How many Ayaat do you count in the chapter al-Ahzab? I said: ‘72 or 73 Ayaat.’ He said: ‘At one time it had as many Ayaat as al-Baqara, including the Ayah on stoning which we used to recite.’ I said: “What is the Ayah of stoning?’ He said: ‘If a married man or woman fornicates, stone them without hesitation; a fitting punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, and all Wise.’”
He also said: “Abd Allah b.Salih reported to us, from al-Laith, from Khalid b. Yazid, from Sa`id b. Abu Hilal, from Marwan b. `Uthman, from Abu Umama b. Sahl who said that his aunt said: ‘The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) recited the Ayah of stoning to us: ‘A married man or woman should be stoned, without hesitation, for having given in to lust.’”
He also said: “Hajjaj reported to us from Ibn Juraij that Ibn Abu Hmaid informed me from Hmaida b. Abu Yunus, who said: ‘At the age of 80 my father recited to me, out of the mushaf of `A’isha: ‘Verily Allah and His angels send salutations to the Prophet. O! Ye who believe! Send salutations and greetings to him; and to those who pray in the first row.’ This was before Uthman altered the Scripture.”
He also said: “Abd Allah b. Salih reported to us, from Hisham b. Sa`d, from Zayd b. Aslam, from Ata’ b. Yasar, from Abu Waqid al-Laithi who said: ‘The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) as a rule would come teach us any revelation he received. One day he came to us and said: ‘Allah says: ‘We have sent down provisions for the establishment of prayer and the institution of zakat. The son of Adam however, if given one valley’s worth of wealth, would lust for a second, and if given a second he would lust for a third; nothing would fill his belly (to his satisfaction) except the dust of the grave. But Allah does forgive all who turn to him.’’”
Al-Hakim reports in the work al-Mustadrak , from Ubayy b. Ka`b who said that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) told him: ‘Allah has ordered me to recite to you the Qur’an.’ So he recited: “Those who disbelieve from among the people of the Book and the pagans were not…” (98:1) The rest of the recitation included: “If, on asking, the son of Adam was to be given one valley’s worth of wealth he would lust for a second, and if on asking, he was to be given a second he would lust for a third; nothing would fill his belly (to his satisfaction) except the dust of the grave. But Allah does forgive all who turn to him. True faith with Allah is that of the Hanifiyya, not that of Judaism or Christianity. And whosoever does any good will not have it denied.”
Abu Ubaid said: “Hujjaj informed us, from Hammad b. Salama, from `Ali b. Zaid, from Abu Harb b. Abu al-Aswad, that Abu Musa al-`Ash`ari said: “A chapter resembling Bara’a was revealed and then removed except for the following Ayah: ‘Allah will assist this religion even with a community that is good for nothing, And if the son of Adam possessed two valley’s worth of wealth he would lust for a third; nothing would fill his belly (to his satisfaction) except the dust of the grave. But Allah does forgive all who turn to him.’”
Ibn Abu Hatim reports that Abu Musa al-`Ash`ari said: “We used to recite a chapter that we compared to the musabbihat,2 but we were made to forget it, except for one Ayah which I memorized: ‘O! Ye who believe! Speak not of that upon which you act not, lest it be recorded against you, and you be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection.’”
Abu `Ubaid said: “Hajjaj informed us from Shu`ba, from , al-Hakam b. `Utaiba, from `Adiyy b. `Adiyy who said that `Umar said: “We used to recite: “Do not loath your parents for this on your part, is a form of disbelief.” He then turned to Zaid b. Thabit and said: ‘Is this so?’ He replied: ‘Yes’.”
He also said: Ibn Abu Maryam informed us, from Nafi` b. `Umar al-Jumahi who said: “Ibn Abu Mulaika informed me, from Miswar b. Makhrama who said: ‘Umar said to `Abd al-Rahman ibn Auf: ‘I have been unable to find a Ayah revealed to us ‘Strive now, as you have in the past.’’ Do you know of its whereabouts?’ He replied: ‘It was effaced along with everything else that was effaced from the Qur’an.’”
He also said: “Ibn Abu Maryam informed us, from Abu Lahi`a, from Yazid b. `Amr alMu`afiri , from Abu Sufyan al-Kala`i, that Maslama b. Makhlad al-Ansari one day said to him: “Inform me of the two Ayaat of the Qur’an that do not form part of the present text. Those present, including Abu al-Kunud Sa`d b. Malik, were unable to inform him.. Maslama then said: ‘Those who believe, migrate, and strive in the path of Allah with their possessions and their lives: Be ye joyful; you are the successful ones. As for those who protected and assisted them, and on their behalf, confronted those people who earned Allah’s wrath, for them is a gratifying reward about which no soul knows a thing. This is a reward for the way they acted.”
Al-Tabarani reports in the work al-Kabir that Ibn ‘Umar said: “Two men used to recite a chapter taught to them by the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). One night they awoke to pray only to find that they were unable to recall even one letter of that chapter. The next morning they went to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) to inform him of what had transpired. He said: ‘It is of those parts of the Qur’an that have been abrogated, so ignore it.”
The sahihain collection contains a report of Anas pertaining to the well of Ma’una group who were murdered and against whose murderers he had invoked the qunut prayer. Anas said: the following Ayah was revealed in regard to them, and we continued to recite it until it was lifted: “and inform our people that we have indeed met our Lord; He is pleased with us and we are pleased with Him.”
The Mustadrak contains a report from Hudhaifa where he says: “Of the chapter al-Bara’a you recite but one quarter.”
Al-Husain b. al-Munadi in his work al-Nasikh wa al-Mansukh said: “of the material that was removed from the Qur’an but not from memory are the two chapters of the Qunut supplications that are recited in the witr prayer; they were named al-Khal`a and al-Hafd.
Qadi Abu Bakr reports in the work al-Intisar that some scholars deny the occurrence of the foregoing category of abrogation because they are based on Ahad traditions. It is not permissible, they say, to make definitive pronouncements about the revelation or the abrogation of the Qur’an based on Ahad traditions.
Abu Bakr al-Razi maintains that: “the abrogation of the text as well as the recitation does occur when Allah makes them forget about it, and through His removal of it from their minds, He commands them to avoid reciting or writing it in the Holy Book. In time it gets relegated to the status of the other heavenly books that He speaks of in the Ayah: “All of this is in the earlier scriptures, the scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa.” (:18-19) Nothing is known of them today. This does not preclude its existence during the life of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), until his death, when it ceases to be recited. Or it may have been recited after his death except that Allah caused people to forget them and removed it from their consciousness. But it is not permissible for abrogation to take place after the death of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).”
And in the work Al-Burhan he commented on `Umar’s statement vis-a-vis the “Ayah of stoning”, namely: ‘Only the fear that people would say that ‘‘Umar has added to the Book’ prevented me from including it in the Book of Allah.” He said: “It appears that the inclusion of the Ayah in the Qur’an was permissible, and only the people’s objections stopped him. Thus it sometimes happens that something inherently permissible is blocked by extraneous factors. It is the nature of the written word that if it is permissible then it must of necessity be corroborated.”
But it has been said in response that if the recitation of the said Ayah was permissible then `Umar, the people’s objections notwithstanding, would have hastened to include it, because the mere sayings of people is not an acceptable impediment. In any case, this line of thought is problematic to say the least. Perhaps `Umar reasoned that the report was based on no more than an ahad tradition, which was not sufficient to establish the authenticity of the Qur’an, even if the ordinance may be so established. And it is for this reason that Ibn Zufr refused to count this Ayah in his work, al-Yanbu` as material that had been abrogated. He said: “An ahad tradition is not sufficient to establish the authenticity of any part of the Qur’an.” He said: “This in fact, is one of those ‘made to forget’ Ayaat and not an abrogation.” He went on to say that Athese two have a tendency to be confused, but the difference is that the words of a ‘made to forget’ Ayah is forgotten, whilst the rule remains.”
But the statement that `Umar reasoned that this was an ahad tradition is to be rejected because it has been authentically established that he received this directly from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) himself. Al-Hakim reports by way of Kathir b. Salt who said: “Zaid b. Thabit and Sa`id b. al-As who used to record the Qur’an, came across this Ayah, and Zaid said: “I heard the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) say: ‘‘If a married man or woman fornicates, stone them without hesitation.” `Umar then said: “When it was revealed I approached the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and said: Must I write this down?” But he seemed to dislike that. Do you now see why an old unmarried man guilty of fornication is whipped whilst a married young man guilty of fornication is stoned.”
In the work Sharh al-Minhaj, Ibn Hajr says: “We learn from this tradition the reason for the abrogation of its recitation: the practice is actually contrary to the literal interpretation of its general meaning.” It occurred to me that the above was done with a view to lessening the burden of reciting and writing in the Qur’an what is a rather difficult, and severe rule, and a harsh punishment, even though that law still applies. It also points to the virtue of concealing ills of this nature.
Al-Nasa’i reports that Marwan b. al-akam once said to Zaid b. Thabit: “Why don’t you include this Ayah in the Qur’an?” He replied: “Have you seen two young married people being stoned? Anyway, we did mention this, and `Umar said: “O Messenger of Allah! Allow me to write it?” He said: “You cannot!” By saying uktub li he meant “allow me to write it,” or “empower me to do so.”
Ibn al-Daris reports a tradition in the work Fada’il al-Qur’an from Ya`la b. Hakim from Zaid b. Aslam that `Umar addressed the people and said: “Do not have doubts about the rule of stoning for it is the truth. I was tempted to write it into the Qur’an and consulted Ubayy b. Ka`b who said: “Did you not come to me when I was still studying it with the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). You then hit me on the chest and said: “You study the Ayah of stoning whilst they cohabit with each other like donkeys do.” Ibn Hajr said this was an allusion to the fact that the recitation was removed because of controversy.
Ibn al-Hassar said: “In light of this it may be asked: “How did abrogation occur without a replacement, when Allah in fact says: ‘Those revelations that we abrogate or cause to forget , we replace with something better, or at least equal thereto” (2:106). And this material has no substitute! In reply it may be said that everything that presently appears in the Qur’an and is not abrogated is a replacement for material whose recitation has been abrogated. Everything in the Qur’an, that we know of, that Allah abrogated, He replaced by what he taught us, by what has come to us, in word and meaning, through tawatur sources.”