Monday, 14 May 2012

Abrogation in the Qu'ran

If you are concerned about the influence of Islam in your country and generally interested in the relative benefits of different religions, you might have had the 'patience of a saint' and read the Qu'ran from cover to cover.  From that experience - and I bet you did not enjoy it - you must have drawn a conclusion about its contents and what they mean for life within Islam.

If you have come away from that learning with a view that Islam is a peaceful and cuddly faith and that we have nothing to fear from it, I urge you to reconsider.  And if you did not read it in the original language then I hope you realise that you have not read the 'real' Qu'ran, and of course it is full of translation errors and missing nuances.  This provides a convenient theological tactic when logic appears to be working against Allah.

Did you know that more than 60% of the verses in all the Sura of the Qu'ran are subject to questions of abrogation?  In other words, you have to consult Islamic scholars about the relative precedence of the inconsistencies.  Without their advice there is a >60% chance that any verse chosen to prove a point will be wrong.

Of course the Qu'ran itself warns people not to be surprised by its internal disagreements, and in a classic example of 'smoke and mirrors' it says:

"None of our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar." (Sura 2:106).

The question is in each case "Which option is the one that is 'better'?"

For example, it is said that 124 verses call for tolerance and forgiveness, giving the impression that we have little to fear.

But . . .  it is also said that they are all superseded by one verse:

"But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (Sura 9:5)

For what it is worth, the 'forbidden months' mentioned in that verse are the holiest months of the calendar.   Jihad or Holy War was forbidden in the 'sacred months' but is allowed, even encouraged, in verse 36 of the same Sura which replaces the former.  In other words, even the slightly more pleasant part of that one dreadful verse has subsequently been abrogated.

This is 'abrogation' for you.  Unlike the bible, you can't pick and choose the bits you want to keep.  In Islam they are chosen for you, and in general the less pleasant the option for us infidels the less likely it is to have been abrogated.

Islam is the religion of peace, you know!

You might 'enjoy' this little video if you have a few minutes to spare.

Taqiyya - lying for Islam could also be of interest.


I would say 'Sleep Well', but . . . 


Sarah said...

An excellent blog!

Plasma Engineer said...

Thank you. :)