Ulum al Qur'an
CONTENTS ONLINE LIBRARY
The Abrogated Verses
There are, according to Ibn Salama, [Op cit., see pp.6-8 for the names of these suras.] a well-known author on the subject:
43 suras with neither nasikh or mansukh.
6 suras with nasikh but no mansukh.
40 suras with mansukh but no nasikh.
25 suras with both nasikh and mansukh.
According to Suyuti's Itqan there are 21 instances in the Qur'an, where a revelation has been abrogated by another.
He also indicates that there is a difference of opinion about some of these: e.g. 4: 8, 24: 58, etc. [Itqan, II, pp.20-3; Kamal, op.cit., pp.101-9 also gives Suyuti's complete list.]
Some scholars have attempted to reduce the number of abrogations in the Qur'an even further, by explaining the relationships between the verses in some special ways, e.g. by pointing out that no legal abrogation is involved, or that for certain reasons the naskh is not genuine
Shah Waliullah (d. 1759) the great Muslim scholar from India only retained the following 5 out of Suyuti's 21 cases as genuine:
|Mansukh 2: 180||nasikh 4: 11, 12|
|Mansukh 2:240||nasikh 2: 234.|
|Mansukh 8:65||nasikh 8: 62.|
|Mansukh 30:50||nasikh 33: 52.|
|Mansukh 58: 12||nasikh 58: 13.|
A case listed by Suyuti, which has no direct legal implication is the following:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: When the verse: 'If there are 20 amongst you, patient and persevering, they will overcome two hundred', was revealed, it became hard on the Muslims, when it became compulsory that one Muslim ought not to flee before 10 (non-Muslims) so Allah lightened the order by revealing: 'but now Allah has lightened your (task) for He knows that there is weakness in you. But (even so) if there are 100 amongst you who are patient and persevering, they will overcome 200 (non-Muslims)' (8: 66).
So when Allah reduced the number of enemies that Muslims should withstand, their patience and perseverence against the enemy decreased as much as their task was lightened for them. [Bukhari, VI, No.176.]
Still others hold that there are no genuine (sahih) reports available on this issue, going back to the Prophet, while those going back to the Companions contradict each other. [Ali, M.M.: The Religion of Islam, Lahore, 1936, p.32. It may be pointed out that Ali's treatment of the subject is not very thorough. Of the three examp1es he cites in support of his opinion ('in most cases, where a report is traceable to one Companion who held a certain verse to have been abrogated, there is another report traceable to another Companion, through the fact that the verse was not abrogated' - p. 33) two are definitely not in his favour, while the third can be easily explained. His first case concerns Sura 2:180 (inheritance). It has certainly been superseded by other verses, e.g. 4:7-9 and that is probably all that is meant, when saying it is mansukh Ali's second case, '2:184, is considered by Ibn 'Umar as having been abrogated while Ibn 'Abbas says it was not' . See below, where I have quoted this very hadith from Ibn 'Abbas (Bukhari, VI, No.32) where Ibn 'Abbas himself explains why he does not hold it as abrogated. The third case is, like the first one, definitely not in support of Ali: '2: 240 was abrogated according to Ibn Zubair, while Mujahid says it was not'. This is wrong, see Sahih Bukhari, VI, Nos. 53 and 54, where both Ibn Zubair and Mujahid hold the verse to be abrogated. Furthermore both Ibn Zubair and Mujahid are tabi'un, and not Companions (sahaba).]
Therefore to them the issue of nasikh wa al mansukh is perhaps not of great importance. However, it is clear from the Qur'an itself, (e.g. in the case of inheritance, 2: 180; 4: 7-9, etc.) that abrogation occurred occasionally. Hence it is wrong to completely ignore the subject.