Islam and jihad
7) The doctrine of abrogation
patience with what [unbelievers] say and leave them with dignity"
"...I will cast dread
into the hearts of the unbelievers. Strike off their heads, then, and
strike off all of their fingertips."
or Nasikh wa Mansukh
Qur'an is a collection of Muhammad's sayings which were heard and memorized
over a twenty-three year period, and subject to the rewritings and compilations
As such the Qur'an has ended up arranged by subject, not by chronology.
More than a few of those sayings conflict in areas ranging from alcohol
consumption to how Muslims are to interact with non-Muslims. This not only
caused endless disputes over who possessed the better recollection of what
Muhammad said, it posed and still poses another problem.
most Muslims today believe the quranic sayings are all recorded accurately,
even contradictory ones, how do they distinguish which verses to believe
determination is made by the process of nasikh wa mansukh which is
basically translated as 'abrogating from abrogated'. Essentially, certain
commands in the Qur'an abrogate or cancel out others.
website author Hajj
the verses in the Qur'an containing orders or laws there are verses
that abrogate verses previously revealed and acted upon. These abrogating
verse are called _nasikh_ and those whose validity they terminate are
called _mansukh_. The common notion of abrogation, that is, canceling
of one law or code by another, is based on the idea that a new law is
needed because of a mistake or shortcoming in the previous one. It is
clearly inappropriate to ascribe a mistake in law-making to God, Who is
perfect, and whose creation admit of no flaws.
the Qur'an, the abrogating verses mark the end of the validity of the
abrogated verses because their heed and effect was of a temporary or limited
nature. In time the new law appears and announces the end of the validity
of the earlier law. Considering that Qur'an was revealed over a period
of twenty-three years in ever-changing circumstances, it is not
difficult to imagine the necessity of such laws.
is a science on its own in Islam to know the Nasikh and Mansukh.
guidelines for abrogation surprisingly don't concern which statement is
more consistent with others, or which might have been recollected more reliably,
or even which statement is true. The
standard for determining the verse(s) in effect for today is "What did Muhammad
to the children's game 'Simon Says', the conflicting quranic verse to follow
is simply whichever one Muhammad said last. The latter statement always
abrogates the prior.
important as were the pre-Islamic
Arabian conditions to the formation of Islam, so is abrogation to
its execution. Anyone who flips open the Qur'an to find a phrase akin to
'have patience with Jews', and then slams it closed with the expectation
of delivering world peace, is in serious error.
go forward with some specific examples of abrogation. This is key to understanding
both historical jihad and the escalating violence today. Faruq Sherif writes:
there are cases of abrogation in the Qur'an is undisputed, but the authorities
differ widely in identifying the abrogated verses...
far the greatest number of verses held to have been abrogated are those
which counsel the Prophet to be patient with the unbelievers and to remember
that he is no more than a warner, leaving the punishment of recalcitrants
to God. The abrogating verses, on the other hand, are those which command
the Prophet and the faithful to fight and kill. Below are cited by way
of illustration, a few verses of both kinds: the abrogated as well as
abrogated: "Say 'O men, I am sent to you only to give a clear warning"'
(32.48). "If they contend with you, say, 'God knows best what you are
doing"' (32.67). "Repel evil with that which is best" (23.98). "Leave
them (the unbelievers) in their confused ignorance for a time" (33.56).
"Be patient at what they say" (20.130, 38.16). "All are waiting, so you
too wait if you will" (20.135). "Have patience with what they say and
leave them with dignity" (73. 10). "Make no haste against them (19.87).
"Warn them of the Day of Distress" (19.40). "Forgive and overlook" (2.103).
abrogating: "Fighting is prescribed for you" (2.212). "Fight those
who do not believe" (9.29). "Fight the unbelievers whom you find round
about you" (9.124). "Fight them (the unbelievers) until Allah's faith
prevails" (2.189). "Slay the pagans wherever you find them" (9.5). "Slay
them wherever you catch them" (2.187).
are the abrogating verses consistently the more violent and less tolerant
look back on Muhammed's life is in order here. Earlier and more lenient
verses were ones dictated during Muhammed's life
in Mecca. Recall that there he was affluent, popular, and hopeful
of his newfound belief system. The
latter verses, i.e. the latter version of Muhammadan morality, came after
years of little progress in attracting followers, after being dishonorably
ousted from his hometown, the death of his first wife and all but one child,
and after confrontation with even more adamant rejection from the Jewish
and Christian audience in
the Bible full of abrogations like the Qur'an?
charge the Bible is similarly conflicted; believing it, too, provides contradictory
example: the Old Testament (OT) prohibitions against eating pork, scavenger
birds, and bottom-dwelling sea creatures - all which stand in contrast to
the New Testament's (NT) acceptance of all foods providing that thanks is
given to God. Or
instances in the OT where God commanded a particular city to be wiped out
compared with Jesus' commands in the NT to love your enemies and bless those
who curse you. What's the answer?
both the above cases, the OT instructions cited were rare, temporal, and
extremely limited in both scope and purpose. I expand on that under "Objections",
but the point is that unlike quranic morality, biblical morality has
(Allah's) moral beliefs changed in 23 years, whereas Moses' (God's)
is still identical after 3,400 years. Moses' Ten Commandments are
our Ten Commandments. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is our Sermon on the Mount.
in Scripture is there a 'love your neighbor' that is later abrogated by
'behead your neighbor'. Nowhere
is there a 'think of others more highly than yourselves' that is later abrogated
by 'kill every outsider and claim 80% of their wealth as your own'.
so with Islamic morality. It's 'killing verses' are widesweeping in scope,
open-ended in occurrence, not confined to a tiny geographic spot, and generally
not reserved for only a highly specific infraction. Islam's morality shares
little in common with Judeo-Christian history and teachings, and for good
system of values is following the character of that from which it came.
Scripture reflects a God whose character does not change and is the same
from age to age. Thus God's instructions and exhortations given specifically
to shape our own character are well expected to be consistent from Genesis
to Revelation - and they are.
contrast, Islamic literature reflects a relativistic character. What was
true in Mecca was not necessarily true in Medina, in terms of character,
behavior, and more. From whomever Islam came, they were capricious and inconsistent
- certainly not immutable.
Scripture reflects a God who is patient and long-suffering, a God who
wishes none would perish but that all would come to him for eternal life.
That patience is not only a chief characteristic of all the New Testament,
but is also why the Old Testament's rare directed attacks only came centuries
after warnings and admonitions were given. God is loving, and will always
contrast, Islamic literature reflects a more short-tempered and intolerant
character. Whomever it is reflecting cannot be depended upon to act in any
predictable manner. Acceptance of Jews and Christians in Mecca did not continue
ten or twelve years later in Medina, nor has that former tolerance been
consistent ever since (if even present). Plus in the next chapter we'll
be looking at two more facets of Islam, al-Taqiyya and hudna, that are utterly
antithetical to biblical morality.
the God of Scripture is holy - utterly pure - and lack of belief
in him cannot be bought off with a stack of cash or stolen merchandise.
Whereas with Allah, belief in him after AD 630 dropped in importance as
long as you paid protection
money to Muhammad & Co.
fourth, with God, exemplary behavior always matters, always counts,
and you'll be judged in accordance with the love and forgiveness you have
shown others. If Muhammad's latter directives are to be believed as true
Islam, then with Allah almost anything goes when dealing with non-Muslims
(lies, rape, murder, beating, enslavement, etc.). That's not just historical
reality, that's conservative
Islam as it is practiced in many places today. In these nations,
as with terrorists, it's effectively held that Allah rewards you in proportion
to the pain and suffering you cause
others; in my opinion a despicable doctrine.
holiness, and purity are not characteristics of the Qur'an's author - not
even close. So if today's violent and intolerant adherents of Islam have
it as a goal to likewise exhibit an absence of love, holiness, and purity,
I congratulate them for succeeding.
death died the possibility that his sayings might return to his more tolerant
part of Islam is now like a machine with its love/kill switch broken off
and tragically set to the kill position when its programmer died. The problem
this poses for the world and for Islam is significant; and no palatable
political action on the part of the West is in sight.
speaking, legitimate fear of amputation and death may be keeping Muslims
from contemplating some very important questions concerning their beliefs.
A small minority believe that tradition can sometimes abrogate the Qur'an,
but the cost of deviating from the mainstream is painfully high.
communities function as a collective where mosque and state are one and
the same, and are practically family. Everyone prays, everyone prays together
aloud, and everyone bows together shoulder-to-shoulder, elbow-to-elbow when
they pray. No deviation, no autonomous persons; at least in theory.
who dare to stand against this in order to side with civilization need all
the help we can give them. They may be our best physical deterrent against
a spiritual level, I
say that those who have left Islam for Christ are heroes, most with stories
the likes of which you'll be glad aren't yours. Christians
need to thank God for them, and need to pray for all those still under Islam's
heavy, fatalistic enslavement. Jesus can and will save any and all who come
to him. They and we both need Jesus.
Muslims are not the enemy, they are slaves as we once were to the same one
who held us captive before we came to Christ.
you have not yet come to Christ, do so. If you have, pray for and help the
Muslim masses that they might be enabled to do the same.
The principle of al-Taqiyya