Understanding Islam – Part 68 – Abrogation


Abrogation – this is a practice that I just do not see God doing.  How can an omnipotent and omniscient God that predestines events change his mind?   This would make God changeable, yet he is never changing.  He is to be expected to do as he says and remain as He is.  Why would God suggest in one section, those earlier, of His holy book something different in a later part of His holy book?  God can do anything; after all, we are dealing with God, but not this.  God does not abrogate!  How could we be guided by God, use him as our guide, our roadmap, GPS, to the eternal kingdom, knowing he could change things in the future.  What might he change?  If on the right Way, can that become wrong?  Never.  The wrong way to start can remain so, unless your heart for God is changed, then you simply take the right Way – as was and will always be the path to God’s eternal kingdom.

Abrogation means to end an agreement, a contract, formally or publically.  God’s covenants have and will always remain in tact – what he promised, he will deliver.  In the Quran passages that were first written and understood were changed later.  If this is the book of God, God made the changes.  But it is more likely that this is the book of many men, not just Muhammad, and they made changes to suit their needs, at their convenience.  Rewrites were as laws of expediency, more to enable Muhammad to act in deference to what was written, and have become then what is written.

Sura 2.106 (Maulana Muhammad Ali translation, 1917) reads (paraphrased): Whatever verses We (God) cancel or cause you to forget, We bring a better or its like.  The number of verses in this holy book, claimed to be God speaking, the Quran, that were changed, much from revelations in Mecca to revelations in Medina, are estimated at 500.  Now understand that a Quran you may purchase off the shelf at Barnes and Noble is written from the longest chapters, ‘suras’, to the shortest, and not in chronological order.  The compilers, post Muhammad’s death, choose to arrange the book as it is – longest to shortest.  The eternal word of God cannot be bound by time, changed from one period (Meccan) to another (Medina).  But in the Quran it is.  In the Bible it is not.  The Word of God biblically stands without change – God’s inspiration remains paramount to all that transpires.

Ali Dashti, his book, Twenty-three Years – A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, 1985, London, writes (pg. 155), “On the assumption that the Quran is God’s word, there ought to be no trace of human intellectual imperfection in anything that God says.”

Ibn Warraq, his book, Why I Am Not A Muslim, 2003, Prometheus Books, NY, writes (pg. 115), “The doctrine of abrogation…makes a mockery of the Muslim dogma that the Koran is a faithful and unalterable reproduction of the original scriptures that are preserved in heaven.  If God’s words are eternal, uncreated, and of universal significance, then how can we talk of God’s words being superseded or becoming obsolete?”

A few examples – on alcohol – Early verse – “…of the fruits and palms you obtain intoxicants (sakar), goodly provisions.”[1]  First they are good – wine is good.  But what God once permitted has since been disputed – the later verse reads,”about intoxicants and games of chance…in both of them is a great sin….”[2]

Passages that preach tolerance – the religion of peace so to say – are from the dreams in Mecca, early suras.  Those passages calling for killing, beheading (8:12), and maiming are from Medina dreams.  The later verse 9:5 (worth remembering), “…slay the idolaters, wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush….”  Thus a word to the wise – at least to the non-Muslims – BEWARE!!!  Ibn Warraq notes (pg. 115) that 124 verses considered tolerant were cancelled.  Is this what God would do?  Ask yourself.

God does not abrogate!

Another example:  Muhammad visiting his adopted son – Zaid (the 3rd convert to Islam), a man most loyal to his new father – he was not home.  His wife, Zaynab bint Jahah answered the door.  She was lightly clad, as it was hot and she was alone, and her physical attributes were obvious. She was most beautiful.  Muhammad was attracted. When he saw her beauty he exclaimed, “Gracious Lord!  Good Heavens!  How you do turn the hearts of men.” To avoid a problem, however, since this was the wife of a ‘son’ of his, he left.   When Zaynad saw her husband later, she repeated Muhammad’s words.  Zaid, loyal, went to Muhammad and offered to divorce his wife (Wow!).  Muhammad said no, Zaid did it anyway.  BUT – Muhammad knew it was wrong to marry her, according to his own recitations (the Quran) as an adopted son was the same as a natural son.  Incest was a no-no.  What then – a revelation, new and reforming.  Let’s abrogate – change things.  Warraq notes (pg. 99) Muhammad was thus enabled to “cast his scruples to the wind.”  Before his prepubescent wife, Aisha, he went into one of his (possible) epileptic fits (called a ‘swoon’), and when he came out of it, he proclaimed, “Who will do and congratulate Zaynab and say that the Lord has joined her to me in marriage?”  (Another – Wow!)  Sura 3:37 thus reads, “So when Zaid dissolved her marriage-tie, We gave he to thee as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers about the wives of their adopted sons, when they have dissolved their marriage-tie.  And Allah’s command is ever performed.”

Please!  How difficult it is to not be skeptical and see this as man (Muhammad) and not God allowing this provision?  So it became that adopted sons of Muslim men are not the same as natural sons.  So be it, says Allah (or says Muhammad).  Dream-on.

Last example – One of the most interesting, Sura 2:256, “There is no compulsion in religion…”  Many Muslim, Islamists, lay claim to this verse as there stated position of freedom of religion.  But they lie.  Which they are allowed to do (taqiyyah); the compulsion to deceive is permitted if it is for the advancement of Islam, and Allah is the best of deceivers (sura 3:54).[3]  Sura 9:3 states, “…Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters…”  Oaths – no need to honor as needed for keeping Islam, Islam.  In that same sura (2:256) it goes on to proclaim, “…the right way is indeed clearly distinct from error.”  And later verses make it obvious that the Quran, in labeling infidels and those of another religion, those not of the ‘right way’, even Muslims that are not in full agreement one with the other, the Islamists believe they are to be eliminated.  It is their way or the highway, Islam or nothing at all.  “Until…religion is only for Allah.” (sura 25:52).

If you do not have doubts in the Quran as the spoken word of God by now, then I am quite surprised.  If Muslim, it is clear that doubts are a problem.  In trying to erase such doubts there exists great fear, an obvious concern that another way to the eternal kingdom and salvation might prove truer.  So the Quran deals with that as well.  The Quran recognizes the problem of raising doubts as to its truth, (sura 4:137), “Those who believe then disbelieve, again believe then disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them nor guide them in the right way.” God would disagree.  This clarifies the concern that if a Muslim, objective, and open minded, is exposed to the Bible, where doubts are pursued, even in the secular world, the humanists and atheist thinking and writing, their disbelief in Islam can grow – this would upset (a warning) Allah.

The cry to all Muslims is then ‘remain ignorant to the truth, other truths, as you will be subject to death.’  The God of the Bible never killed a disbeliever, only encouraged, waiting patiently, for their return home.  The Quran does not want a Muslim to be a friend of a non-Muslim (sura 9:23), resistance is more desirable (sura 9:29), they are to doubt the Bible, and they are to view the Trinity as polytheism (Christians as pagans).  Even the Sufi (a Muslim religious sect) uses an intermediary (Muhammad) and has a center as their focus.  That center, for Christians, is Christ.   Tribe-to-tribe, even, there is cause to call another an apostate.  The Quran’s fear is stated in sura 2:217, “they (other than those accepted as Muslim) will not cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion…” If not Muslim then be prepared to die.  “whoever”, the sura continues, “turns back from his religion, then he dies…”  That is the extremist view, but it is what many non-Muslims witness, the apostates are killed, Christians in churches in Baghdad are attacked, Al Qaeda calls for the death of all Christians, church goers are attacked in Pakistan, a farm women in Pakistan is sentenced to death after local Muslims accused her of making derogatory comments against Islam’s prophet,  Shiite pilgrims in Karbala are slaughtered by Sunnis, a radical cleric says no permission is needed to kill Americans as they are from the “party of devils”, and so on.   This is not what God would want.

God never changes things on the go, nor allowed his people to change things.  God does not abrogate!  Muhammad makes statements in the Quran, thus how can it be just the word of Allah.  I am concerned for those fellow world travelers oppressed and compelled by a religion, Islam, that is more ideology, a way of life, than religion.  It is a poor excuse for a religion, unless it is the religion of thugs trying to capture the world for use as their own playground.  A cadre of misogynists in it for themselves, using Muhammad as their patron saint for doing what is good for the gander.   But it is not a free way of life.  Women, without question, should express their doubts and rise up to declare that they know the truth; they want to be free and desire to be equal.  That too is what God would desire.

One last mention – Sura 10:94.  If this be the word of God, or Allah, then read it carefully.  “But if thou art in doubt as to that which We have revealed to thee, ask those who read the Book before thee (reference to the Bible, the Bible).  Certainly the Truth has come to thee from they Lord, so be not of doubters.”   Muhammad with this verse places “the veracity of his words on par with the authenticity of the Bible as it was available in the seventh century,” according to Ergun Caner (pg. 231), Unveiling Islam, 2009, Kregel, Grand Rapids.  Thus logically Muslims should accept the Bible.    From Caner (pg. 232) – “The Bible, if the Word of God, cannot be changed (cannot be abrogated).  God does not abrogate!  If it were changed, then it was never the Word of God, something that is anathema to Islamic doctrine.  How can the Word of God be corrupted by man?  Is man greater than his Creator?  Did the Creator allow the corruption for some mystical reason?”  Why would the Creator, our God, ever change his mind?

Blessings to all who see the light and have had the truth revealed to them.  May his honor and glory be the code for your life and the purpose and rational for life.  Believing in the Risen Lord, living according to his commandments, obeying, provide the assurance of Salvation, freedom from laws, and a life in the world beyond our earthly dwelling place. Come home to God.

Grace and Peace,

[1] 16:67

[2] 2:219

3 thoughts on “Understanding Islam – Part 68 – Abrogation

  1. If you suggest that our God changed his nature in the Bible, I can only respectfully disagree. You note what “seem to be abrogations.” In the Quran it is clear, the oath of Allah changes, his promises to mankind are altered, his compassion for all becomes only for Allah. It is unclear the direction Allah wants his followers to go, except if you understand that the Revelations in Mecca, which may show tolerance, are not the same as the Revelations in Medina, which do not show tolerance – and the later verses are the stalwarts. They supercede the former.

    Even Muslims are confused. There are those that love Allah and cherish the verses that call for tolerance, even pluralism – but read on and the path they are to follow changes. Would God ever alter the Way?

    You mention Abraham bargaining with God. Don’t we attempt the same each time we pray – we petition God and ask his will be mindful of the request of the prayerful. But God does what he does, regardless of our petitions. It is for purposes he only knows. Where you note possible changes from ancient days to modern times with respect towards the treatment of woman, I am comfortable with Ephesians where a man is to love his wife, his wife to respect the husband – often gaining respect is much harder than loving. It does not call for beating a wife.

    On homosexual behavior, the Bible has not changed – society may have softened, more a secularist view, and churches may be welcoming of gays, yet if the position of God is understood, He will punish those not repentant for this sin. But we are not the judge, that is God’s arena.

    Every sin matters to God; it is the believer that accepts the Grace and Mercy of the sacrifice of the Son and the opportunity for salvation provided. We must be thankful, and know to believe is only the first step; to follow is paramount. God knows what is in our hearts and minds and knows the truth. He knows if a believer’s heart is for God – or not. No matter what the believer may tell another, only God knows the truth (the believer may also, just not admitting his lack of belief).

    The acceptance of others, the request for tolerance, love remains consistent in the Word. God does not ask you and me to kill those that do not believe in the Trinity. God does not compel us to thwart any attempt by someone not a Christian to proselytize. Christians recognize we may be ‘hated’ for what we believe, but do we protest as does a Muslim or organizations representing them such as C.A.I.R.?

    The Word for me remains the Book of the People inspired by God. The Quran appears a book inspired by man to satisfy needs and aspirations of man. It is the Babel story.

    As Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest…” (Jn 18:36). And for the faithful, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world….We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take capitive every thought to make it obedient to Christ….” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)

    The kingdom of Allah is manmade. The Quran does not correct the Bible, suggesting as it does that the Bible has been corrupted by man. Indeed it is itself, the Quran, a corruptive source. It attempts to Abrogate the true Word of God.

    Grace and Peace,


  2. ck end of Gen 18 , Abraham bargains w God.
    Also NT revelations, new understandings, could seem to be abrogations, e.g. Place of women in relation to God, men. Understanding of things outlawed in Lev codes, like deformities preventing men from entering Temple, women menstruating being unclean, homosexual behavior seen as unnatural (no concept of orientation, I.e., being created that way), etc.
    just a few thoughts. I don’t see Quran as holy scripture for me, but that doesn’t mean I should disrespect it.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s