Abrogation in the Qur’an


Abrogation.  This is how a religion can talk about peace, incite violence, and claim no contradiction in what it teaches.

Some in Islam say there is no such thing as abrogation.  We’ll shortly see that the Qur’an itself puts the lie to this statement.

Others say abrogation is the key to understanding Islam.

If you’ve read the previous articles in this series, then you understand the importance of 

[68:48] You shall steadfastly persevere in carrying out the commands of your Lord. Do not be like (Jonah) who called from inside the fish.

 But that verse was abrogated!

This article will look at abrogation – what it means- and what is the impact of having verses abrogated.  Then, we’ll return to the Jonah question, so see how it fits in with the first paragraph above.

This is a difficult topic.
It’s the difference between what is called (in the west at least) moderate and radical Islam.
Both have a reason for what they believe.
Both have a reason for what they preach.
Both have a reason for what they do.

However –
one must ask – can they both be right?

There’s a lot of Christians that “think” they know what the Bible says.
But they really don’t.
Many have a view that’s toned down –
turned into a “prosperity gospel” (for example) –
that has views that are nowhere to be found in the Bible.
Others are all fire and brimstone –
with no love –
which is also not to be found in the Bible –
since it clearly says that God is LOVE.

Even the Old Testament talks about the time the Israelites didn’t even know what their own law said.  When they found out they had it all wrong – they immediately turned around.  There was a time when the Book of The Law (which had been lost) was found -and the people found out that the rights they thought they knew were all wrong!

Why should Islam be any different?
Let’s be honest, there’s just no way that the various views put out for Islam can all be true.  Different sects of Islam consider each other apostates (people with wrong views).  And we’re not talking about minor differences.  We’re talking about the difference between (a) peacefully living with and (b) killing people of other religions, even to the point of justifying the killing of anyone who doesn’t believe in the same interpretation of Islam.  In other words – killing other Muslims!
Honestly – these two extremes cannot reasonably come from the same book.  Can they?  Is something is causing one (or both?) of them to be wrong?  Or are they both really there?

To me – this topic of abrogation is a major part of the problem.

As I’ve said in earlier articles –
what Muhammad started with was a religion where the people did in fact co-exist with both Jews and Christians, not to mention that all Muslims got along.  But things changed.  Verses were “abrogated”.  Early verses were replaced with newer verses.  And these newer verses had very different meanings.  In many cases 180 degrees opposite of the original.

What follows here is an explanation of how that happens –
what it means –
and an example of some abrogated verses.

The remainder of this series will consider each Sura from this point of view, showing both the original Sura and the impact of abrogation on that Sura.


As always – and maybe even more than ever –
I can’t stress enough the importance of praying to the God of Abraham.
The God who heard Hagar.
The God who protected Ishmael.
That you will have understanding of what is happening with these Suras.
Both the original and the modified versions.
May you also look closely at yourself.
Which version you believe in.
Which version is the true version.
Which version is from God.
And make decisions according to whether you can / want to live with Islam as it truly is in it’s final form.

This is a life and death decision –
maybe in this life – depending on where you live –
but most importantly for eternity.

I pray that you give it proper consideration –
and when you’re able – ask Isa as well.
He loves you and wants to help you.

He’s standing at the door to your soul –
waiting for you to open it.
It’s the most important door you will ever open.
Please open it.

So – here we go –

Abrogation defined

 Let’s start off with a generic definition – since it’s not a word used in most people’s day to day conversations. From dictionary.com we find –

noun

1. the act or an instance of abrogating, or repealing:
abrogation of the treaty’s responsibility.

So – in ordinary English, it’s about taking something away that was previously there / not doing something any more that was previously done / essentially replacing one thing with another thing, where the other thing may in fact be nothing at all.

Just as a point of reference, this word (according to dictionary.com) didn’t come into existence until the 1530’s. This would be about 900 years after the time of Muhammad. Although this is the word used today to describe what (may) happen with verses in the Qur’an that (appear to) conflict with each other – there must have been some other word used at that time.

In any case – regardless of the actual word – the controversy comes down to –

  • Whether or not certain verses in the Qur’an contradict each other outright
  • Whether or not certain verses in the Qur’an override other verses
  • If you believe that some verses override others – to what extent? Do they outright replace the previous ones – or do they make incremental changes – or do they merely make the meaning of previous verses more clear?

Let’s take a look at various points of view – in no particular order, other than when I came across them during the research.

Are the differences between original and abrogating verses significant?

From ilmgate.org – a page titled Abrogation in the Quran

First – a definition.

By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani

Translated by Dr. Swaleh Siddiqui

Abrogation is translated from the Arabic word naskh which literally means “to erase; to compensate.” Its technical definition is “to repeal a legal order through legal argument”. In other words, sometimes Allah enforces a legal edict that is relevant only to a particular situation. Later, in His infinite wisdom, He annuls the order and enforces a new one in its place. This action is known as “abrogation” (naskh), and the replaced order is then termed “abrogated” (mansukh) while the new replacing order is called the “abrogator” (nasikh).

So – this site agrees with those who say something old has been replaced with something new.

It goes on to talk about how Jews thought this wasn’t possible, because it would mean that God changed His mind. It then says the objection is superficial, and poses no problem at all. The reason –

Abrogation, in reality, does not imply a change in views but rather the issuance of orders according to the needs of a particular time. It is not that the abrogator declares the abrogated as wrong, but rather he fixes the time limit for the enforcement of the first order to explain that it was just and proper for the time it remained under the circumstances.

Whoever ponders with a reasonable frame of mind will find no difficulty in arriving at the conclusion that this change is exactly in keeping with the infinite wisdom of Allah and cannot be questioned in any way. Truly, he is not a doctor in the true sense who uses the same prescription under all the circumstances and for every disease. An adept physician makes necessary changes in his prescriptions according to the changing condition of the patient.

So – he claims – it’s not God changing His mind –
it’s God adapting to people.

Interesting.

However – one can see where Jewish people would have a problem with this – (as would Christians)
who take the view that the God of the Bible has been – and continues to be – entirely consistent. He doesn’t have changing rules for people – He has a very clearly defined set of rules that cover the past, the present, and the future.

There’s also the issue if one of my favorite verses –

Isa 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.

This is hardly something one would expect to hear from a God who couldn’t be questioned – the infinite wisdom of Allah and cannot be questioned in any way

And then, of course, there are all manner of God’s prophets who did question Him in the Old Testament.  For instance – Jonah, who we’re in the middle of studying.

Yes – this kind of statement about God would totally go against the teachings of both Jews and Christians.

What does the Old Testament say about “The Law”?

Throughout the Old Testament – One sees God saying some form of “They will be my people and I will be their God”.

The first instance of this comes with God talking to Abraham – In Genesis 17:7-9 –

Ge 17:7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

Ge 17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.

This is pretty straightforward –
God will do His part –
Abraham and his descendants will do their part.

Obviously – as with any agreement where two parties must do something – there has to be a statement as to what happens when one party fails to hold up their part of the agreement.

Given that God is God – and will in no way fail to hold up His end of this – no statement needs to be made for the impossible event where He fails to fulfill His word.

However – given that people are people – and will invariably fail to hold up our side of this agreement – it’s just as obvious that a penalty needs to be included for us.  We see that in Leviticus 26:9-26 (and even further)

Lev 26:9 “ ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. 11 I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.

Punishment for Disobedience

Lev 26:14 “ ‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, 15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. 17 I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.

Lev 26:18 “ ‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. 19 I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. 20 Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit.

Lev 26:21 “ ‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve. 22 I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.

Lev 26:23 “ ‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, 24 I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over. 25 And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands. 26 When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied.

The down side to not keeping up our part of the agreement continues –
but I think the point is made.

God is perfectly capable of making Himself clear for whatever comes from us.
After all – He created us – He knows us –
He already knows what is going to happen.

He has no reason to say something today –
and modify it for people of tomorrow –
because His words already cover whatever we have done / are doing / will do.

Did the New Testament abolish and replace the Old Testament Law?

Even with the New Testament – see what Isa (Jesus) says about the Law in Matthew 5:17-20 –

The Fulfillment of the Law

Mt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Notice that what Isa is talking about here is the Law – as given by God.
It does not however, include all the things the Jewish leaders had added to the law.

We see this in later in Matthew 16:5-12 –

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

Mt 16:5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Mt 16:7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

Mt 16:8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Isa is saying here that the “yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” is all of the regulations they added to God’s Law – and were making the people follow.
In this passage – Isa is saying telling people to watch out for these things.

In case that’s not clear – here’s an unmistakable message from Isa regarding the Jewish leaders of His time from Matthew 23:1-39 –

Seven Woes

Mt 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Mt 23:5 “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’

Mt 23:8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Mt 23:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Mt 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Mt 23:16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

Mt 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Mt 23:25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Mt 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Mt 23:29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!

Mt 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.

Mt 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’’”

Ouch!!

Obviously, He doesn’t think much of what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law have done to God’s people!

Therefore –
while some would say that Islam abrogated many parts of the Jewish Law that God had put in place – Isa clearly says that all these additions are not from God. In fact – the price to be paid by those who added to God’s law is going to be quite high!

Conclusion regarding “The Law”

The conclusion – there is no reason for God to have to change what He said. The words of God from the Bible were sufficient then – they are sufficient now – and will be sufficient until the end of time. In fact – while the End Times are different, they are also clearly spelled out for us – as they were given to John two thousand years ago.

The End will be a different time –
with people receiving the final punishment for not keeping our end of Abraham’s agreement –
but God was able to tell us that ahead of time.

Don’t you agree –
it’s much better for us to know these things now, as opposed to having them changed later, or find out too late what the new rules are?

I believe that if one follows what Isa says – His words are both true and complete.

There’s nothing missing.  There’s nothing changed from God’s original Word.  Only the removal of things added by people.
God’s word – from the beginning – has been – is – and continue’s to be – the unchanging truth – for all times.

What The Qur’an says about abrogation

From the Qur’an Sura 2:106

[2:106] When we abrogate any miracle, or cause it to be forgotten, we produce a better miracle, or at least an equal one. Do you not recognize the fact that GOD is Omnipotent?

This is from the translation that I’m generally using.

However –
from the ilmgate.org site –
keeping in mind that the Qur’an itself is considered to be a miracle, and in fact is said to be the only miracle at that time – since Muhammad never performed any miracles,
this verse is translated as –

Whichever revelation We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring one better than it or similar to it. Know you not that Allah has power over everything?

This falls in line with those who agree that abrogation does exist within the Qur’an
(at this point – it would appear to be hard to argue otherwise without contradicting the Qur’an itself – while trying to argue it has to contradictions!)

So now the question is –
are all instances of abrogation replacement with something better or similar?

To prove this would require examining every abrogated verse. Given that over 100 verses have been abrogated – this approach will not be taken.
Rather – to disprove the claim – it is necessary to show only one example where the replacement verses are not better or similar.

To this end –
let’s look at two verses from Sura 17 –
both of which have been abrogated by verses from Sura 9.

However – before doing that –
I should explain how something from Sura 9 can replace something from Sura 17.
While it could appear that 17 surely came after 9 – the reality is that the numbers 9 and 17 represent only the order in which the Sura’s were published. They do not represent the order in which they were revealed to Muhammad.

Sura 9 was 113th in order of revelation – which would make it the second to the last one.

Sura 17 was 50th in order of revelation – which would put in approximately midway in the order of revelation – considerably before Sura 9.

An example of abrogation

Now that that’s cleared up –
what are the Sura’s in question for this example?
First – let’s look at 17:23-24 (and surrounding relevant verses) –
which deal with family members of Muslims, where the family members are not Muslim.

From Sura 17: The Children of Israel

[17:22] You shall not set up any other god beside GOD, lest you end up despised and disgraced.

[17:23] Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship except Him, and your parents shall be honored. As long as one or both of them live, you shall never say to them, “Uff” (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them; you shall treat them amicably.
[17:24] And lower for them the wings of humility, and kindness, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, for they have raised me from infancy.”

[17:25] Your Lord is fully aware of your innermost thoughts. If you maintain righteousness, He is Forgiver of those who repent. [17:26] You shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor, and the traveling alien, but do not be excessive, extravagant.

So this is about family –
relatives who are not followers of Islam.

They are to be treated kindly –
not to be yelled at for being non-believers.

One is to ask mercy from the Lord for them –
presumably in their presence –
so they get the message in a kind way that they are not following God.

Given that verse 25 follows, and includes the relatives in the thought –
it would appear that non-believing relatives are to be treated in a manner similar to the needy, the poor, and travelers. At the very beginning, Islam taught kindness to widows, orphans, and the poor.

So far – so good.

But – two of these verses (23 & 24) – were replaced.

Is the replacement verse similar – or even better than – the original verses?

See for yourself –

From Sura 9: Ultimatum

<Note – even the title sounds ominous>

[9:113] Neither the prophet, nor those who believe shall ask forgiveness for the idol worshipers, even if they were their nearest of kin, once they realize that they are destined for Hell.

[9:114] The only reason Abraham asked forgiveness for his father was that he had promised him to do so. But as soon as he realized that he was an enemy of GOD, he disowned him. Abraham was extremely kind, clement.

[9:115] GOD does not send any people astray, after He had guided them, without first pointing out for them what to expect. GOD is fully aware of all things.

[9:116] To GOD belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He controls life and death. You have none beside GOD as a Lord and Master.

[9:117] GOD has redeemed the prophet, and the immigrants (Muhajireen) and the supporters who hosted them and gave them refuge (Ansar), who followed him during the difficult times. That is when the hearts of some of them almost wavered. But He has redeemed them, for He is Compassionate towards them, Most Merciful.

This is the same?

This is better?

In no way can this be considered the same.
In Sura 17 – the relatives were to be treated kindly.
In Sura 9 – they are to be disowned!

If I were the non-believing family – I’m not sure I’d think this is better.

If I were the believing son of the non-believing family – I’m not sure I’d think this is better,

For the moment –
let’s say that somehow the replacement verse is at least equivalent to, if not better than, the original from Sura 17.
If that were the case – why make the change halfway through the revelation?

What happened that Muslims are to go from not mistreating non-believing relatives to disowning them – even parents – because that’s what Abraham did with his own father?

We’re not talking a huge amount of time here.  Nor with any other abrogated verse, since all of these came to Muhammad after the age of 40.
What could possibly have happened to have God change the way relatives – even parents – disowned instead of treated with kindness and respect?

What happened with Abraham and his father?

Let’s start by examining what happened with Abraham and his father (Terah).
As with so many other cases in the Qur’an, we are expected to visit the Torah to discover the background behind the verse.  To find out what happened between Abraham and Terah, his father.

The first reference to Terah is in Genesis 11:24-32 –

Ge 11:24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

Ge 11:26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

Ge 11:27 This is the account of Terah.

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.

Ge 11:31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

Ge 11:32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

OK – this is just a genealogy.

Let’s keep going.

Immediately following the verses above, Genesis 12:1-9, we see where God calls Abram –

The Call of Abram

Ge 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

Ge 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

Ge 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

Ge 12:4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Ge 12:6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Ge 12:8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

OK – we sort of have something here.

Abram left the land of his father.
Le’s do a little math and see if Terah was still alive at that time.

Terah was somewhere around 70 when Abram was born – and he lived to 205 – which would be about 135 years after Abram was born.
(I say about, because of the wording in Ge 11:26)
Abram was 75 (Ge 12:4) when he set out after God’s command.
This means Terah was still alive.

However –
one must ask – did Abram decide to disown his father – or did he merely follow God’s command to leave the land he was in?

According to the abrogating verse in the Qur’an –

[9:114] The only reason Abraham asked forgiveness for his father was that he had promised him to do so. But as soon as he realized that he was an enemy of GOD, he disowned him. Abraham was extremely kind, clement.

This says that Abraham disowned his father after he found out he (Terah) was an enemy of God.

But – according to the Torah verses – upon which we must (and are expected to) rely

Ge 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

There’s nothing here of Abraham making a decision to disown his father after finding out he was an enemy of God.

It’s a command from God to pick up his family and go to the land that God would show him.

Leaving his father – whether disowned or not – wasn’t a decision made by Abram.
No – this was a decision made by God.
It was a command from God to Abram – and he followed it.

At this point, in case you haven’t read the previous articles, I need to reiterate something about the alleged inaccuracy of the Torah.  While this is a claim made by some Muslim scholars, it’s important to realize that there have been no changes to the Torah since the time of Muhammad.  Therefore – since the Torah (Old Testament) that we read today is exactly the same as the one Muhammad (and his followers) would have read – any claims to inaccuracies are quite irrelevant!  It’s not even necessary to get into a discussion of accuracy, since the book we read today is the same one that was read in Muhammad’s time.  What it said then, what it says now, is what the Qur’an is based on.  Plain and simple.  Period.

There’s also the issue of the Qur’an not acknowledging the difference between Abram and Abraham.
While it may appear to be only a minor change in the spelling of his name – it was in fact quite major.

Again – since there’s not a lot in the Qur’an about Abraham’s life –
and since People of The Book (Jews and Christians) were not considered infidels when the Qur’an was first being revealed – there was an expectation that Muslims would go to The Book (at least The Torah, the Psalms and the first three Gospels) for information.

When we do that – we find the significance of the name change.

Look again at the following verses from the Genesis quote –

Ge 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

Ge 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

Before leaving his father household – his name was Abram.

During the travels to the land that God would give his descendants –
God changed his name from Abram to Abraham.

This was – in essence – becoming a “new” person –
a person blessed by God.

What we see here then are two discrepancies between the Qur’an and the Torah –
1.   The absence of the name change – from Abram to Abraham – and therefore the significance of what that change represents – the blessing from God.
2.  The claim that Abraham decided to disown his father – ignoring the fact that he left his fathers household – not of his own accord – but because he was commanded by God to do so.

At first glance these may seem like minor issues.
If you stay with this series, I believe you will find out they are like the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more. And while this one shouldn’t set off any great disagreement or fireworks – some of the others will definitely be cause for much soul searching and reflection.

Not that this one is irrelevant – it isn’t.
The issue of how to deal with non-believers isn’t trivial.

However – there are two ways to look at this one.

[9:113] Neither the prophet, nor those who believe shall ask forgiveness for the idol worshipers, even if they were their nearest of kin, once they realize that they are destined for Hell.

[9:114] The only reason Abraham asked forgiveness for his father was that he had promised him to do so. But as soon as he realized that he was an enemy of GOD, he disowned him. Abraham was extremely kind, clement.

One could look only at 9:113 – and let non-believers go quietly to Hell. Not killing them – but letting them go without doing anything to help them.

One could also consider being like Abraham in 9:114 – asking forgiveness –
if not for all unbelievers –
then at least for family members who aren’t believers.

Yes – two ways to look at it.

But not diametrically opposed –
not a life or death issue (in this life – although it is in the next).

Summary

And so – that’s an introduction to abrogation.

The replacement of certain verses with other verses.

As I pointed out – not many, many years later – not generations later –
but a mere few years later.

One should stop –
take a pause –
and ask God –
Why?

Why did these verses change?

Maybe not right away –
but at some point –
ask Isa.

Maybe not right away –
but at some point –
ask were these abrogated verses from God –
or from man?

Why would God want you to just leave your parents and members of your family to go to Hell?

Abraham had a special purpose to fulfill.
He received a command from God – and he followed it.

The rest of us –
we have a different mission.
Why would we even want to leave our family to go to Hell without trying to help them?

And yet –

Isn’t that what the final version of the Qur’an says?

[17:22] You shall not set up any other god beside GOD, lest you end up despised and disgraced.

[17:23] Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship except Him, and your parents shall be honored. As long as one or both of them live, you shall never say to them, “Uff” (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them; you shall treat them amicably.
[17:24] And lower for them the wings of humility, and kindness, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, for they have raised me from infancy.”

[9:113] Neither the prophet, nor those who believe shall ask forgiveness for the idol worshipers, even if they were their nearest of kin, once they realize that they are destined for Hell.

[9:114] The only reason Abraham asked forgiveness for his father was that he had promised him to do so. But as soon as he realized that he was an enemy of GOD, he disowned him. Abraham was extremely kind, clement.

[9:115] GOD does not send any people astray, after He had guided them, without first pointing out for them what to expect. GOD is fully aware of all things.

[9:116] To GOD belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He controls life and death. You have none beside GOD as a Lord and Master.

[9:117] GOD has redeemed the prophet, and the immigrants (Muhajireen) and the supporters who hosted them and gave them refuge (Ansar), who followed him during the difficult times. That is when the hearts of some of them almost wavered. But He has redeemed them, for He is Compassionate towards them, Most Merciful.

[17:25] Your Lord is fully aware of your innermost thoughts. If you maintain righteousness, He is Forgiver of those who repent. [17:26] You shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor, and the traveling alien, but do not be excessive, extravagant.

Look at those verses again –

Look at the abrogated verses –
look at whet replaces them –
and then look at 17:25 – which remains from the initial Sura –

[17:25] Your Lord is fully aware of your innermost thoughts. If you maintain righteousness, He is Forgiver of those who repent.

Again –

He is Forgiver of those who repent.

I ask you –
if you are to leave your family to go to Hell –
not to ask forgiveness for them –
just disown them and let them be –

Who is going to help them get to a point where they will even want to repent?

Consider this –

If you were that person who was about to be disowned –
would you want it to be that way?

Do you really believe that God would want this?

Do you really believe that God – in essence – would be disowning you?

Do you really believe that God is willing to just toss you into Hell without having someone want to help you?

This is what the Qur’an says in it’s abrogated (final) version –

[17:22] You shall not set up any other god beside GOD, lest you end up despised and disgraced.

[17:23] Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship except Him, and your parents shall be honored. As long as one or both of them live, you shall never say to them, “Uff” (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them; you shall treat them amicably.
[17:24] And lower for them the wings of humility, and kindness, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, for they have raised me from infancy.”

[9:113] Neither the prophet, nor those who believe shall ask forgiveness for the idol worshipers, even if they were their nearest of kin, once they realize that they are destined for Hell.

[9:114] The only reason Abraham asked forgiveness for his father was that he had promised him to do so. But as soon as he realized that he was an enemy of GOD, he disowned him. Abraham was extremely kind, clement.

[9:115] GOD does not send any people astray, after He had guided them, without first pointing out for them what to expect. GOD is fully aware of all things.

[9:116] To GOD belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He controls life and death. You have none beside GOD as a Lord and Master.

[9:117] GOD has redeemed the prophet, and the immigrants (Muhajireen) and the supporters who hosted them and gave them refuge (Ansar), who followed him during the difficult times. That is when the hearts of some of them almost wavered. But He has redeemed them, for He is Compassionate towards them, Most Merciful.

[17:25] Your Lord is fully aware of your innermost thoughts. If you maintain righteousness, He is Forgiver of those who repent. [17:26] You shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor, and the traveling alien, but do not be excessive, extravagant.

Conclusion

Now what?

Is that what you believe?

Is that what you want to believe?

As the site name asks –

Which God do you believe in?

The God who disowns people –
or
The God who is waiting for them to turn to Him and wants others to help them?

I pray for you on this journey.

It is life or death.

And I do want you to find the right way –
to answer the door that Isa is knocking on –
to experience Him and hear Him.

Amen.

 


This is part of a continuing series looking at The Qur’an and The Bible to see the relationship between Islam and Christianity.
Click here to see a page listing the current posts, with a short description of each.
The plan is to at least start by going through the Qur’an, in the order in which each of the Sura’s was revealed to the prophet Muhammad.

 

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