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Is There Abrogation in the Qur'an?

10 January 2019

Written by: Dr. Mozammel Haque

People generally wanted to know about the abrogation in the Qur’an. Actually the same argument was happened with the Jewish theologians long time ago before Islam. Majority scholars except a few accepted abrogation happened in the Qur’an. But there is no abrogation in some parts, such as about i) the stories or historical facts as told by Allah Subhanahu wa Taala, ii) about Tawheed, the Oneness of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala, iii) Manners and iv) Allah’s names and abilities, shifat and asma.

So only in one part, abrogation is made; Abrogation only in rituals and instructions. Allah Subhanahu wa Taala Himself said in the Holy Qur’an in verse 106 of chapter Al-Baqara: Allah Subhanahu wa Taala said when I changed the verse in the Qur’an I replaced it with something similar or even better. In the Qur’an Ayah in Arabic is used. Ayah has different meanings: it means, i) verse; ii) signs of nature and miracles.

Thus we see Allah Subhanahu wa Taala when changes verse HE replaces it for something better or easier; we can see this in the case of i) Fasting; ii) change of Qibla; iii) visit to cemeteries and graveyards and iv) Nikah or Muta marriage.

Thus, abrogation happened – gradual instructions from one stage to another stage, such as in case of wine and Alcohol.

What the scholars say about the abrogation in the Qur’an. Majority accepts abrogation happened in the Qur’an. Even the Shia believes in it. But very few in the old days said there is no abrogation in the Qur’an.

Now the next question is: How many verses have been changed or abrogated. Scholars have different opinions. In the whole Qur’an, there are 6,300 verses. Out of 6,300 verses of the  Qur’an, there are only few verses abrogated. It is between five and 15; the maximum 20 out of 6,300 verses of the Qur’an.

Abrogation in the Qur'an
At the Islamic Cultural Centre
This important topic – Abrogation in the Qur’an was lectured by Dr. Ahmad Al-Dubayan, Director General of the London Central Mosque Trust and Islamic Cultural Centre, London, on Saturday, the 5th of January, 2019. The above is a summary of the whole lecture.
Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan:
Abrogation in the Qur’an
The following is the Lecture of Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan on abrogation in the Qur’an.

Dr. al-Dubayan started by saying, “The subject or the theme requested to talk about is the Abrogation in the Qur’an. Is there any abrogation in the Qur’an? What we mean by the abrogation? I think abrogation has another meaning. What does abrogation mean here? When the scholars talk about the abrogation in the Qur’an or something it abrogates in the Qur’an, the first idea we know, of course, by all that is the Qur’an. Is there anything in the Qur’an abrogated or omitted or dropped outright? Now all that’s one thing but when the scholars talk about abrogation they don’t mean this.”

“The scholars mean in general, i.e. there is a verse revealed talking about something; after sometime another verse was revealed to cancel or abrogate the first meaning or the previous verse; that means to change the instructions in the first one. This is the abrogation of the Qur’an. Is this happened in the Qur’an? Or this did not happen in the Qur’an? Actually the same argument happened with the Jewish theologians long time ago before Islam; whether there is some abrogated in the Torah or is it all valid hundred percent as it is revealed. It is the same question now,” mentioned Dr. al-Dubayan.

There are some scholars who said that it is difficult to happen. Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned, “Those who say it is difficult to happen that Allah Subhanahu wa Taala say something HE will never change it; then if HE change something then why HE changes it; is it something new for HIM that’s why he changes it His orders or His instructions or Allah the Almighty all knowing everything then when He says something He means something then He, may be, change it to be better or to be easier later on. This is the argument actually in the Islamic theology and it actually happened with the Jewish theology before.”

Majority of scholars say yes,
abrogation happened
Dr. al-Dubayan said, “The majority of scholars in Islam, majority, except a few, actually said: yes, it happened. Because they said when Allah Subhanahu wa Taala revealed or instructed us to do something; HE wants us to do it, may be, for a certain time. Then after that because of the change of the circumstances in the society, Allah then made another judgement or another instruction for something new or He will make it easier by writing what he said before. There is another verse coming to tell us about the judgement or new instruction.”

“HE is the one who instructed the first; HE is the one who instructed the second; so there is no contradiction at all because it is from the same source; that is Allah Subhanahu wa Taala for whom we do our prayer and other worship. So there is no contradiction as long as it comes from the same source. You cannot explain this because Allah forgets or Allah knew something new. No; HE knows everything but it comes like stages; for this stage HE gives us instructions for that time and after some time then HE gives us some new instruction another stage,” explained Dr. al-Dubayan.

No abrogation in some parts of the Qur’an
But there are some parts where there is no abrogation. In order to understand this properly, Dr. al-Dubayan divide the Qur’an according to the themes. He said, “First of all, there is no abrogation in that part of the Qur’an when Qur’an talks about the historical stories; because these are facts; and when the Qur’an talks about Jesus or Moses, for example, or talk about Adam or other stories or Joseph; there is no abrogation in this because Allah told us some facts happened already; so there will be no change already happened or took place.”

“That’s one. It is not possible; Allah Subhanahu wa Taala told us that Joseph said that and after that, may be, some verses said: No, Joseph did not say that he said this; because this is a story; it is a historical fact. All the stories in the Qur’an and all the historical facts which Allah mentioned about other people; there is no abrogation or no changing or no cancellation at all. That’s one,” explained Dr. al-Dubayan.

Secondly, Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned another part. He said, “The Divine Doctrine, the Tawheed, Monotheism. This is to belief Allah Subhanahu wa Taala is One and HE is the One who deserves to be worshipped and to give all kinds of worship, rituals for Allah. There is no abrogation in this because this is the core of the whole faith. If you change it, then the Faith does not exist any more. This is the second part.”

Explaining the other parts of the Qur’an where there is no abrogation, Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned, “The third part is about manners. When Allah told us that not to cheat, not to spy on other people; not to kill other people; not to harm your brothers and people around you; it is not possible that in another place somewhere in the Qur’an HE said: no, you can cheat, you can lie. Manners stay as they are. No abrogation at all. I am trying to make simple for you as much as I can.”

“When Allah Subhanahu wa Taala tells HIS names HIS abilities describing Himself; no abrogation about this; no cancellation; because they are facts as they are. When Allah says: HE is Almighty; All-Hearing; All-Seeing - these are objectives; these are qualities; descriptions of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala;  Shifat, the Shifat and Asma, names. No abrogation in this. They are valid eternally, always,” said the ICC Chief.

Dr. al-Dubayan then mentioned there is only one part of the Qur’an where there is abrogation. He said, “It is only one thing abrogation could happen according to the majority. The vast majority of the scholars, especially in the old generation; it is only about the rituals and instructions. This part could be abrogated if Allah Subhanahu wa Taala wanted this or wanted this to change, okay.”

Allah Himself said about Abrogation
In the Al-Qur’an
Allah the Almighty Himself said in the Qur’an whenever He changed He replaced it with another one. Dr. Al-Dubayan mentioned, “Allah Subhanahu wa Taala said in the verse106; chapter Baqara in the Qur’an about abrogation. It said: whenever we changed Ayah, then we replaced it with another or even with a better one. Now the problem with this verse, Allah mentioned the word Ayah. The problem with the word Ayah in the Qur’an has different meaning. One of the meanings is verse; we hold this meaning that means Allah Subhanahu wa Taala said when I changed the verse in the Qur’an; I replaced it with something similar or even better. But the word Ayah could mean sign any sign. When Allah Subhanahu wa Taala talks of His presence; sign of His Creation He called them Ayah; this is Ayah.”

“In the nature, there are all the signs of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala. When He said We come to bring this new verse When Allah change one of this sign then He will replace it. Has Allah changed natural sign? No. This is the second meaning,” he said.

Different meanings of Ayah in Arabic
Dr. al-Dubayan said about the third meaning of Ayah in Arabic. He said, “The third meaning; it could mean miracle. So the word Ayah in the Qur’an in Arabic has come for three meanings; all in the Qur’an, by the way. Ayah means verse in the Qur’an; Ayah means signs of nature, let us say the creation of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala and Ayah is a miracle. So the miracles of Moses, Jesus or Muhammad they are all Ayats, or Ayah. The Qur’an says this as an Ayah. The stick of Moses is an Ayah; it is the miracle; so this is the meaning.”

Dr. Al-Dubayan also explained Ayah and said, “This verse of the Qur’an if we come to this meaning it means when We changed one of the miracles I sent to you; I give you something similar or even better. So it does not talk about abrogation at all. It does talk about the miracles of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala when one finished then another one comes. This is with those who do not like or accept the change in the Qur’an, they say there is no abrogation in the Qur’an. They say Ayah means here miracle; it does not mean verse. Those who accept this abrogation, they say Ayah here means verse; that means Allah Subhanahu wa Taala when He needs change something; He is the one who told us and He is the  one who changed. Why He changed because now it is easier for us because there is a new development in the society. That’s why, Allah Subhanahu wa Taala told us something new. It was not like before.”

Allah Abrogates for something
Better or easier: First Fasting
Now in order to elaborate and to make it more clear, Dr. Al-Dubayan wanted to give some examples. He said, “Actually when we come to the Qur’an itself and we read it all and we come to places where it teaches us; we will find; there is lot of things actually have changed. One of them is the fasting. You go to the Qur’an, a verse of the Qur’an is saying: Those who can fast (a), instead of fasting, they can pay or give a meal for a poor person instead of fasting; fine. Then if we continued reading the Qur’an; we will find another verse which tells: He who is there or attend there in the month of Ramadan, then he must fast.  What does this mean? That means the first one which actually teaching or instructing for certain time; after Muslim becomes, lets say used to, accustomed to fasting, Allah Subhanahu wa Taala makes it then like pillar of Islam, the obligatory. It is not cancellation. It is a gradual teaching from one stage to another stage.  One stage it was difficult for them, then after sometime, after few years, they used to it. Now it is like obligatory fasting. That’s one.”   

Change of Qibla
Dr. Al-Dubayan then gave another example. He said, “The Qibla itself. In the beginning of Islam, about thirteen or fourteen years, Muslims used to take the direction of Jerusalem or Al-Quds as a Qibla. After the Prophet ( Peace be upon him) went to Madinah, short time, may be one year or two,  then the Qibla changed to Makkah. Then those who used to north they changed their face to south; because Madinah is in the middle.  Jerusalem is in the north and Makkah is in the south. So the Qibla was in the north and it becomes south. What happened here; then the same question? Is it Allah changed this? Why? That means this abrogation is something there, you cannot deny this 100 percent; there is no change at all. Otherwise you have to explain why the direction of Qibla was changed. That’s another example.”

Visit to Cemeteries and Graveyards
Dr. al-Dubayan gave another example of the abrogation. He said, “Prophet (peace be upon him) himself in one of his Hadith said: I told you before; not to visit cemetery or graveyard. Now I instructed you to visit graves and cemeteries because they will remind you of the Day of Judgement and the Akhirah. That means there were some instructions not to go to cemeteries; now he is telling us to go. So there is a change abrogation about this. So it is there.”

“Why? The explanation of this is: this is gradual, may be, in the beginning of Islam Allah Subhanahu wa Taala told the Prophet to tell the people not to go to cemeteries and graveyards.  Allah Subhanahu wa Taala does not want people to mix their worship with something which is similar with shirk. That was in the beginning of it. People were still fresh new in their minds. So Allah Subhanahu wa Taala prevented them from going to the cemeteries and graveyards. Then after that, Allah Subhanahu wa Taala allows them to go to the cemeteries.”

In this connection, Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned within bracket: “(When we say going to cemeteries or visiting graveyards we don’t mean going to shrines, touching walls, touching doors. No;  you go to cemeteries, there to say salam to those dead and to ask Allah Subhanahu wa Taala to forgive them and to forgive you, your parents, your relatives, your loved ones, your friends even to those people you don’t’ know in the graveyards. This is a Sunnah. Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam he himself did it and he asked us to do it.)”.

In this connection Dr. Al-Dubayan also mentioned about his childhood memories. He said, “I remember when I was young, people in the small city, I actually lived, Friday early in the morning many people, especially old people, go early to the graveyards to the cemeteries to say their relatives salams to them and make dua for them and then they go from there directly to the mosque to pray Friday prayer. They remember also during the Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha. After they finished their Eid prayer; they go to the cemeteries. It is not a duty that day particularly, but this is a practice people used to do it; but it’s not a duty on that day. You can go to cemetery any time.”

“This is Sunnah; but if someone goes to the shrines and graves and ask for help; now this is a problem - either to ask for help from somebody who is already dead; or to get blessings for the grave or from the shrine or to touch the walls or the curtains; where there are curtains or something or pay money to the grave; this is not allowed in Islam. Distinguish between the two. There is one thing; only visiting to the cemeteries or graveyards which is Sunnah; the Prophet did it. But to have this building; to get blessings from the grave - this is not allowed in Islam at all. Because when you think something is blessing or giving blessing you have to have evidence. This is really blessing,” said the ICC chief.

In this connection, Dr. al-Dubayan gave an advice to those who go to shrines for seeking help, “For your problem the only one who can help you is Allah Subhanahu wa Taala . I talked this is about Tawheed. This is very important. And those who believe that this man who is in grave actually can do something for you, who can help you; they come to shirk; very close to shirk. May be, they commit shirk itself. Allah knows better. But we have to be very careful.”

Nikah or Muta marriage
Then Dr. al-Dubayan gave another example of abrogation, Nikah or Muta marriage. He said, “One of the examples we have here is the Nikah, Muta.  Shia believes in Muta; they believe it is allowed. What is Muta? Muta is: a man comes to a woman and says to her that we are going to marry for certain time, one day one week, two months or one year, two hours whatever; this is a Muta. If you come to close a marriage contract with somebody man or a woman and then you will say this is for temporary time; this is muta in Islam. It is not allowed. Marriage usually with the intention this is actually forever; may be, it does not work after; but when I come for marriage, I come with the intention that I really choose this woman to be my wife and live with her for the rest of my life. And she has the same intention. Okay, may be, it does not work between them; we find we are different. Not with the intention I am going to enjoy this woman for two days or this week and after that then everybody goes home. No. this is not allowed in Islam.”

About this short time marriage, Dr. al-Dubayan gave an example from Hadith which was later prohibited. He said, “That was allowed in Islam for very short time in the beginning; that was during actually one of the battles happened in Madinah the companions of the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam at that time when most of them were bachelors. They arrived, it was allowed for them for very short time. Then after this, Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam said; it is not allowed in Islam. Anybody who married a woman, it’s a really permanent marriage; you cannot go away from there. This is scholars of the Sunnah all of them. Only Shia continues this. They say, it is allowed. But Sunnah says it is not.”

In support of this, Dr. al-Dubayan cited a Hadith from Ali ibn Abi Talib. He said, “We have Hadith from Ali himself. We all know when the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam died Ibn Abbas was only 13 years old. He was not adult, like Ali ibn Talib; Abu Bakr or Omar or Uthman. Ibn Abbas thought for short time Muta is still allowed. Ibn Abbas himself; can you imagine this. Then Ali ibn Abi Talib RA corrected him. He said you are a lost person; you lost yourself; he said this to him. The Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam has prohibited the muta and from that moment Ibn Abbas gave up. This is one of the cases the judgement or the instruction has been changed.”

Abrogation happened – Gradually
Dr. al-Dubayan said it is clear that abrogation was happened and it happened gradually from one stage to another stage. He gave an example of abrogation in case of wine and alcohol. He said, “Sometimes it is a gradual instructions coming from one stage into another; like the wine, alcohol drinks. When Allah Subhanahu wa Taala told us about the wine or alcohol; He said in one verse to Muhammad: they ask you about drinking alcohol or say wine and gambling games; there are lot of sins in this and there are also lots of benefits for the people. So He did not say it is forbidden; but there are some good things in it and bad things in it.”

Abrogation gradual – one stage to another
In case of wine and alcohol
“Muslims in the beginning of Islam used to drink before, including of course alcohol and wine for sometime. After this, there was another verse after sometime, if you are drunk you don’t go to pray; so to do so who want to go to pray in the mosque they must not be drunk. That means there will be very short time for anybody to drink; may be, after Isha till the Fajr time. If someone drinks before Zuhr then you cannot attend Zuhr and if you drink after Zuhr you cannot attend Asr; if you drink after Asr you cannot attend till Maghreb. So Allah Subhanahu wa Taala minimizes the time for people, okay to make it difficult; may be a chance to drink may be after Fajr till Zuhr. You have little bit of few hours time or may be after Isha till Fajr time. So it was actually minimised to a certain time,” explained Dr. al-Dubayan how it was minimised in another stage.

Dr al-Dubayan also explained this stage was for sometime and said, “Companions of the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam used to drink. They feel that prayer is very close; they don’t drink; they stopped because of this verse. You see the gradual instructions. After sometime Allah Subhanahu wa Taala says this wine, gambling, going to idols; it is dirty, filthy, works of the devils; so avoid it; avoid it means give up. That’s it. Go away from it. That’s a last one when in this verse Muslims understood. Then drinking alcohol wine is not allowed. In the beginning, Allah Subhanahu wa Taala told them okay; there are some good things in drinking wine and there are some bad things in it and after sometime HE said if you drink alcohol wine don’t go to pray; that means you have to delay your prayer; or you have to give up your drinking in order to attend the prayer. Make it a very difficult. And then after that HE told them you have to avoid it; avoid this.”

“In these three cases, we are going gradually from having something which has two sides; good side and bad side; then minimising time; then stop it. When this verse actually came or revealed to Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam; then the companions immediately poured wine on the floor, immediately. They have to follow the instructions directly. They don’t hesitate; they don’t say, for example, what about if we leave it for tomorrow; or day after tomorrow we are going to start. Without any hesitation, they immediately poured all the containers or bottles where they used to keep this wine,” Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned the response of the companions when the final verse stopping the drinking wines and alcohols revealed to Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam.

What the scholars say about this
Abrogation after this example
Dr. al-Dubayan has four of these examples but he mentioned some of them. After citing examples of gradual instructions from one stage into another stage in case of wines and alcohols, he said, “Majority of scholars actually accept abrogation in the Qur’an They said; Allah Subhanahu wa Taala is the one who gave the first verse; Allah Subhanahu wa Taala gave the second verse also. It is up to HIM who instructed us to do this and HE instructed us to do this. Why He changed it because of sometime social reasons, sometimes for gradual instructions to take them from one stage to another to make it easier for people. Because people drinking wine everyday and then suddenly in one day say stop you are not allowed; it would be difficult. He took it gradually from one stage to another stage, from time to time.”

Majority of scholars accepted with an
exception of few - Abu Muslim Al-Asfahani
Though the majority of scholars accepted that there was abrogation in the Qur’an, there was one in the third century named Abu Muslim Al-Ssfahani who said there is no abrogation in the Qur’an at all. Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned, “This is the majority of scholars; only there are few actually in the old days; one of the scholars in the third century, his name is Abu Muslim Al-Asfahani. Abu Muslim said at that time there is no abrogation in the Qur’an at all. Every verse that we think then, Abu Muslim Al-Asfahani said there is another meaning. He tried to interpret the meaning in another way. Like what we did with the meaning of Ayah. When you understand this verse that means the abrogation is naturally when you understand it is natural signs He does not talk about abrogation. He talks in one of the ways that is the way Abu Muslim used to.”

Even Shia believes there is abrogation
“Majority even Shia themselves believe there is abrogation in the Qur’an. Logically is it accepted? They said yes; it is accepted; it does not mean that Allah Subhanahu wa Taala changed His mind about something. No; it means Allah Subhanahu wa Taala gave us something which is good for certain time; then HE changed it for something better for another time. So HE is taking care of us by taking us gradually,” said Dr. al-Dubayan but at the same time mentioned “We have a problem for sometimes about this. What is the problem?”

The Problem is the order of the Qur’an
Verses were arranged by the Prophet himself
Dr. al-Dubayan said, “The problem is the order; the order of the Qur’an itself. As we know and as I talked about how the Qur’an was compiled; Qur’an itself now as we see it today is one Book. The order of the verses inside the Qur’an, inside each chapter, this is done by the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam; not by us, not by the companions. When the verse revealed to the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam; the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam is the one who said to the writers and there were about 15 writers around him, one of them is Zayed ibn Thabit, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Omar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan. The Prophet used to tell them put this verse in that place where Allah Subhanahu wa Taala said this and this; put this one after. The order of the verses inside the chapters, we have nothing to do about it. The companions also took it as it is.”

Chapters were done by the companions
Thus Dr. al-Dubayan was explaining what is the problem; the problem is the order of the Qur’an. So far as the verses in the chapters of the Qur’an are concerned, it was dictated by the Prophet himself to the writers. But as regards the chapters, it was done by the companions, not all, only few but that too with the knowledge of the Prophet. Dr. al-Dubayan explained this. He said, “The Companions did their best to know is the order of the chapters; for example why the Surah Al-Fateha, the short chapter, is in the beginning; then Surah al-Baqara which is 286 or 285 verses, the second one, not the first one, for example.”

“This is, most of it, not all, is the order done by the Companions but some orders we know it from the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam. For example, Surah al-Baqara and the Surah al-Imran, the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam mentioned about them in Hadiths besides each other. So the Companions put them together because the Prophet Sallallu wa Sallam mentioned them together. But, for example, why the chapter Iqra is at the end; and it is the first chapter revealed of the Qur’an. It is not the first one. It is the first chapter; this is the order mostly done, not all of them, mostly done, it seems to me that the companions put the al-Fateha because it is the most important chapter; it is read at every prayer; you read it all the time when you stand for prayer; that’s why they put it in the beginning,” said Dr. Al-Dubayan.  

The ICC chief also mentioned, “They put the long chapters in the beginning; then they put those which is similar to each other; for example, the chapters or the Surah Allah Subhanahu wa Taala in the beginning said; Ha Mim; they put them beside each other; nine; and the short chapters of the Qur’an they put them at the end; in the last juzuz; because may be that’s why it was taken by the children they read that one because short verses.”

Relation between abrogation
and order of the Qur’an
Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned how the order of the Qur’an was made. Then he discussed the relationship of this issue with the issue of abrogation. He said, “The problem is inside the chapters themselves; sometimes we don’t know which verse revealed before the other; sometimes there are arguments among scholars this verse came before this one or this verse came after this one. If you say this one abrogates the other one; then you have to prove this one was the first and not after. This is one of the areas scholars have different opinions about many many things. I gave you an example.

Dr. al-Dubayan gave the example of Ibn Abbas about the order of the chapters and verses. First of all, he introduced the background of Ibn Abbas before going to the discussion. He said, “Ibn Abbas is the greatest commentator of the Qur’an and many Hadiths we have, say about verses of the Qur’an, even the meaning, came from Ibn Abbas. About this you have to be careful also. Lots of Hadiths about the Qur’an, about the verses of the Qur’an with the name of Ibn Abbas are fake. Yes, fake or very weak. Of course, there are those which are correct. How do I know? When all these Hadiths saying about Ibn Abbas said; Ibn Abbas said; Ibn Abbas said. How do I know this is fake or very weak or authentic?”

Under the circumstances, Dr. al-Dubayan said: “I have to go to the Traditionists, to the. Muhaddishins. They are the ones who tell me about it or you yourself have to be scholars like them; like al-Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi. You can then check, judge about the narrators; about the chain of narrators; about the meaning; about who is this person who told; who is his teacher; his  immediate teacher. Okay, he meets his teacher? Is he is an authentic? Is he liar? He used to have a good memory or sometimes he forgets? Sometimes the person is reliable but because he is old, he forgets sometimes; his memory is weak. Weak does not mean he is bad person; he forgets sometimes.  We have to be very careful and there is Hadith. There is a book called Tafsir Bin Abbas covering all the Qur’an A to Z. Many of the Hadiths in this book are not authentic.”

Killing people and his punishment
After giving an introduction about Ibn Abbas and the Hadiths came through him, Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned one particular Hadith about killing a person and his punishment. Dr. Al-Dubayan said, “Ibn Abbas used to say: he who killed someone there is no Tauba, no repentance for him. Who killed someone, that’s it; it’s over. Why? The killer is going to the Hell Fire on the Day of Judgement. Based on what? If you asked him, he will say based on the verses of the Qur’an: “He who kills actually his punishment will be the Hell Fire eternally; he will stay there.” Ali Ibn Abi Talib discussed with him. At the end of the discussion, Ali said yes but except Allah on the Day of Judgement forgives him. Ibn Abbas said; there is no forgiveness for killing. Based on that one. Ali Ibn Abi Talib said; no, there is forgiveness. Based on what? Ali ibn Abi Talib said, based on the other verse. If you see other verse: “Allah does not forgive to have Shirk about worship but HE forgives anything else HE wants including of course whatever. If Allah wants.”

Relation of Fears and Hopes
At the Same time
Next, Dr. al-Dubayan discussed the relationship between the Muslim and Allah Subhanahu wa Taala. He said; “This is the relation of fears and hopes at the same time. You will do the good things because you have the hope that Allah will forgive you and reward you; at the same time if you do something bad you have fear that Allah will punish you. Between hopes and fears this is the real relation. The real relation is not only to have hope and say; do whatever you want, Allah is a forgiving sense; HE will be going to forgive me. I trust Him; that’s fine. But Allah shows he mentioned in the Qur’an HE forgives things but HE mentions also His punishment is very hard. Don’t forget that, when it said. So the relation is fears and hopes. Don’t lose fears and don’t lose hopes. If you lose hopes with Allah Subhanahu wa Taala that is not good; that means, you don’t trust. If you lose fears with Allah Subhanahu wa Taala, that is not good also. That means you are underestimating Allah Subhanahu wa Taala. Muslim who understands the religion is going between these two - hopes and fears.”

“This is the argument of Ali ibn Abi Talib. Now we see these two; how the companions understood these verses. You accept when Ibn Abbas said this verse is after; yes, the other one which Ali referred is general one. It’s a judgement. It allows everything. Allah does not change His judgement. This is the way how the companions looked at the issue. So the companions understood there is abrogation sometimes in the Qur’an,” mentioned Dr. al-Dubayan.

How many verses have been abrogated?
Now the ICC chief discussed about the most important question of how many verses have been changed or abrogated. Dr. al-Dubayan said, “The question is how many verses of the Qur’an already changed or abrogated? The scholars based on the argument said, they have different opinions. Some of them said only five verses; the Muslim said eight; others said 20 verses, not more than 20 and how many verses we have in the Qur’an? About 6,300 verses exactly; of course, the number of verses in the Qur’an is not always the same. How come?”

“Uthman ibn Affan, the third Caliph, sent the Qur’an to Basra, Kufa, Syria, Sham and then counting the verses the companions used to have some differences in counting.  That’s why, if you open the Qur’an based on Qirat you will find Surah al-Baqara has 286 verses. If you take another Qur’an, it is the same text,  no changes in the text; but the Qirat of Abu Amar al-Basri which came from Basra and Iraq; you will find Surah al-Baqara has 285 verses,” mentioned Dr. al-Dubayan.  

Dr. al-Dubayan continued, “Somebody will say, oh my God, one verse is missing. Nothing is missing. It is the same text but two verses. One long verse counted in that Qur’an as two;  as it is counted in another as one. Scholars have certain books about this: The numbers of the Ayats of the Qur’an. There are 20 verses about this. Imam Sarkhasi said; there are 63 verses. I think one of the highest the biggest number talked about is who is in Spain and Andalus. He said there are more than 200 verses. But that’s too much actually. I believe there are verses which has changed, I believe it is not more than I think between five and 15; maximum 20 out of 6,300 verses of the Qur’an.”

Abu Muslim Al-Asfahani
Talking about the recent researchers about the Quran, Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned about some scholars who support the idea of Abu Muslim Al-Asfahani whose Tafsir has been lost unfortunately. He said, “We don’t have it. They tried to support his ideas. There is no abrogation of the Qur’an at all. There is only changing because of the signs, gradual changes, and also there are different meanings; there are different interpretations; but at the same time Abu Muslim himself must answer difficult questions because those who believe abrogation in the Qur’an he says any change in the meaning this is what we called abrogation. We don’t mean changed. Allah will cancel the whole meaning; dropping out and he will put in; we don’t mean that. We mean any change that is abrogation. Abu Muslim said there is nothing; he tried to interpret actually those verses we understand it in another way.”

Imam al-Razi and Muhammad al-Ghazali
Dr. al-Dubayan also mentioned about some other recent scholars such as Imam al-Razi and Muhammad al-Ghazali. He said, “Imam Al-Razi is not supporting this idea. Muhammad al-Ghazali is the contemporary scholar who passed away about 20/25 years ago. He is supporting this strongly and he says if there is any, it would be like not more than two three verses of the Qur’an. This is about abrogation of the Qur’an.”

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