When Muslims talk about abrogation, what they mean is that one verse has greater legal weight than the other. For example, as governor of a State, if I issue a statement that drunk driving is killing a lot of people, then few months later issue a warning that drunk driving will not be tolerated, and finally issue an executive order that drunk driving would result in the suspension of driving privileges, am I abrogating my previous statements? It is simply progression of law.

On the subject of drinking, several Quranic verses were revealed, all of which considered drinking to be wrong, but addressed the problem of drinking in several stages. The early verses tell Muslims not to approach prayers while under the influence, and the verses are called “abrogated” because a more stringent verse was later revealed which called drinking an evil act. In other words, from a legal/theological point of view nobody should argue that drinking is only prohibited when approaching prayers and not at other times. Having said that, the first verse is still relevant because there could be some Muslim alcoholics who may still pray but not when they are drunk. If they disregard that, they are guilty of additional sin. That is not unusual in American law where a person can be charged on multiple counts for the same crime.


9 thoughts on “Abrogation

  1. Herman November 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm Reply

    If drinking alcohol is an “evil act,” THEN IT IS AN EVIL ACT FOR ALL TIMES & FOR ALL PEOPLE. It makes no sense for it not to be prohibited at once — Why would Allah continue to allow an act which he knows is evil?

    • sincereadvisor December 17, 2012 at 4:59 am Reply

      That’s because God is wise and revealed the Quran over a long period of time. You can see that in our country where the government is making it harder and harder for people to smoke. So when it comes to bad social habits, incremental approach is the best.

  2. Herman December 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm Reply

    Let us look at one of the abrogation verses of the Koran.
    Koran 16:101 — “And when We change (one) communication for (another) communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say: You are only a forger. Nay, most of them do not know.”
    Now which is more likely that the all-powerful, ALL-KNOWING god of the vast universe would ever change his mind about something, or THAT MUHAMMAD FORGOT SOMETHING THAT HE TOLD HIS FOLLOWERS EARLIER, THEREBY EVENTUALLY NECESSITATING THE ABROGATION OF THE EARLIER VERSE?
    Why would people of Muhammad’s time call him a “forger”?

  3. sincereadvisor December 19, 2013 at 1:42 am Reply

    Once again, you didn’t read what I had written and went about commenting–this is so typical of people like you. As I stated, no verse was expunged or replaced. What Quran means by change is the clarification of earlier verses in which some things, such as alcohol, that were disliked but permitted were then prohibited. This was simply an evolution of laws, within the time frame of revelation, as the Muslim community was taught little by little to give up bad habits and embrace the purity of Islam.

  4. Herman December 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm Reply

    Why would a verse allegedly coming directly from the all-perfect Allah ever need a “clarification”? Do please explain.
    I think that Muhammad got upset when people would show up to his sermons drunk, so he had his Allah prohibit alcohol, but of course not slavery, since Muhammad himself owned slaves.

    • sincereadvisor December 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm Reply

      Once again, you start your comment with an assertion, passing judgment on Prophet Muhammad about whom you know very little about.  People in Prophet Muhammad’s time were not stupid.  They threw all kinds of accusations against him, but not the ones you are coming up with.  So the problem is with your extreme prejudice or hatred, which I am sure is borne of bad experiences in your life. Have you been hurt by a Muslim? I have lived long enough to know that the key to understanding is always through the heart. When you have put up so many barbed wires around your heart, truth cannot get through without getting mutilated and distorted. Okay, so I just passed a judgment on you too J Everything needs a clarification because the human mind is never satisfied with short answers and people always quibble with “what ifs” and “how about?”  That’s just human nature. That is why Prophet Muhammad forbade his followers from seeking too many clarifications during the time of revelation, as those could result in more divine laws, which would be hard to follow. All laws evolve. Divine laws during the time of the revelation and subsequently by interpretation and practice, and human laws over thousands of years.



  5. Herman August 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm Reply

    sincereadvisor writes, “So the problem is with your extreme prejudice or hatred, which I am sure is borne of bad experiences in your life. Have you been hurt by a Muslim?”
    I respond, ‘THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME!!!”
    This is about the violence and backwardness that some Muslims undertake when they attempt to follow the horrible rules set forth by Muhammad. RIGHT NOW AS I WRITE THIS THE “ISLAMIC STATE” IS FIGHTING AND KILLING NONMUSLIMS (THE YAZIDI & OTHERS) IN IRAQ.
    Now does the god of Islam like those who do not believe Muhammad? NO, HE CALLS THEM THE “WORST OF CREATURES,” (Koran 98:6) AND THIS THE MUSLIMS BELIEVE. Does he oppose fighting nonMuslims? NO, HE COMMANDS MUSLIMS TO FIGHT CHRISTIANS & JEWS UNTIL THEY PAY THE MUSLIMS MONEY (Koran 9:29), money which the Islamic State is attempting to collect.
    sincereadvisor, we both know that you believe you need a god. But for your own sake, just answer the following question: “Are you capable of believing in a god of the universe WITHOUT believing Muhammad?”

  6. sincereadvisor August 19, 2014 at 3:06 am Reply

    Since when ISIS came to represent mainstream Islam or became standard bearers for it? Isn’t that like saying the the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) represents Christianity?

  7. Herman47 January 20, 2015 at 12:00 am Reply

    Hi, sincereadvisor, I am back! I hope all goes well for you.
    I have my own website now, http://www.debating.islam.com, and would be honored if you stopped by some time.
    Anyway, you write: “When Muslims talk about abrogation, what they mean is that one verse has greater legal weight than the other.” In writing this, you assume that the only things abrogated are Allah’s commands. But sometimes simple facts can be abrogated:
    .Quran 8:65: “O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand”
    Quran 8:66: “For the present Allah has made light your burden, and He knows that there is weakness in you; so if there are a hundred patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a thousand they shall overcome two thousand by Allah’s permission, and Allah is with the patient”
    One theory goes that between verses 8:65 and 8:66 the Muslims did poorly in a battle, causing Muhammad, my mistake, Allah to change his mind about the Muslims’ military prowess.
    Abrogation is the topic of the month at my website, and from the website I give you this to ponder:
    Muhammad’s wife, Aisha, recalls: Narrated: Aisha
    “The Prophet (SAW) heard a man (reciting Quran) in the Mosque, and he said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy upon him. No doubt, he made me remember such-and such Verses of such-and-such Sura which I dropped (from my memory).” [Sahih Bukhari, 3:823].

    So our question is “Do instances of Quranic verses being abrogated arise because Allah wants to state something better, or do they instead arise because Muhammad forgot what he recited earlier?

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