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Can You Explain The Concept Of Abrogation In The Qur’an?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I recently heard from someone about ‘abrogated verses’ in the Qur’an and had never come across this previously. I was wondering if you could tell me more about this.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Abrogation (Ar: Naskh) is a topic that is dealt with in the Sciences of the Qur’an. Abrogation is defined as the lifting of a shari`ah ruling because of the evidence of a later shari`ah ruling. Abrogation plays an essential role in the history of religion in the sense that the shari`ah brought by our Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) abrogated all previous shari`ahs. But there is also abrogation within Islam as well, when previous rulings are nullified by rulings that come later. A noteworthy example of this is the gradual prohibition of wine. It was first revealed in the Qur’an the prohibition of preforming the prayer while intoxicated: “O you who have believed! Do not approach the prayer while you are intoxicated…” (al-Nisa’, 43). Later, the ruling of this verse was abrogated by a complete prohibition of wine altogether: “O you who have believed! Wine and gambling . . . are of Satan’s handwork, so shun them so that you may be successful. Satan wants but to place between you enmity and hatred with wine and gambling and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the prayer. Will you not then abstain?” (al-Ma’ida, 90-91)

Among the wisdoms of abrogation was bringing ease by introducing rulings that were appropriate for the different states of the Muslims during the times of revelation. When the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) first brought the religion, it was not easy for people to leave their previous beliefs and traditions. Allah sent the guidance and the rulings step-by-step, with His divine care and concern, gradually purifying and raising the ummah until the religion was complete.

[Manahil al-`Irfan, Al-Zurqani]

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani