Quran: Abrogation & Lie of Lost Verses

Quran: Abrogation & Lie of Lost Verses

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


One of the favorite topics of missionaries is Abrogation in Qurฤn. Giving a notion as if abrogated verses were lost they try to put the authenticity of Qurฤn to doubt. Letโ€™s today explain as to what abrogation is and what are the facts about specific narrations they bring forward?

What is abrogation and the Quranic scheme about it?

Now let me explain abrogation is and what itโ€™s not as I know Christians normally tend to be very amazed at God abrogating His own verses. But unfortunately their amazement is only when it comes to Qurฤn.

Abrogation as it is in Qurฤn does not mean that Allah changed his mind but rather itโ€™s like a physician changing the medicine. When some rules are abrogated and replaced by some other rules then it means that Allah in His wisdom changed the rules. It is just likeย โ€˜โ€ฆ

A physician prescribes a medicine for the patient in view of his present conditions, but he knows when the patient has been using it for two days, his conditions will change and require a new medicine โ€“ with this realization, he prescribes a medicine suitable for that day, but two days later, when circumstances have changed, he prescribes a new one.

The physician can easily give the patient written instructions for the whole course of treatment, with all the changes in medicine duly indicated. But this would be putting too much burden on already feeble patient and there would also be danger of harm through a possible error or misunderstanding.โ€™ย (Maโ€™ariful Qurฤn vol.1 under 2:106)

Further about abrogation Allฤh Almighty says in the Qurฤn;

ู…ูŽุง ู†ูŽู†ู’ุณูŽุฎู’ ู…ูู†ู’ ุขูŽูŠูŽุฉู ุฃูŽูˆู’ ู†ูู†ู’ุณูู‡ูŽุง ู†ูŽุฃู’ุชู ุจูุฎูŽูŠู’ุฑู ู…ูู†ู’ู‡ูŽุง ุฃูŽูˆู’ ู…ูุซู’ู„ูู‡ูŽุง ุฃูŽู„ูŽู…ู’ ุชูŽุนู’ู„ูŽู…ู’ ุฃูŽู†ูŽู‘ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ูƒูู„ูู‘ ุดูŽูŠู’ุกู ู‚ูŽุฏููŠุฑูŒ
โ€œNone of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?โ€ (Qurฤn 2:106)

Sometimes it was plainly told that a verse previously revealed stands abrogated and sometimes before such any announcement people were made to forget it. An account of it is given in a Hadฤซth which says that a person tried to recite a sลซrah but he couldnโ€™t remember it except for โ€˜Bismillahi Ar-Rahmฤn Al-Rahฤซmโ€™ so next morning he came to the Holy Prophet (ุตูŽู„ูŽู‘ู‰ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ูŽู‘ู…ูŽ) to ask about it and similarly some other people also as the same happened to them as well. So the Holy Prophet (ุตูŽู„ูŽู‘ู‰ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ูŽู‘ู…ูŽ) said in response:

ู†ุณุฎุช ุงู„ุจุงุฑุญุฉโ€˜This was abrogated yesterday.โ€™

(Mushkil Al-Athฤr 5/35 Hadฤซth 1711. the narration is authentic. See Footnote to Al-Ittiqฤn section 47 p.1463 pub. Saudi Ministry of Islamic publications)

This is a manifestation how Allฤh causes people to forget the previous revelations He intends not to be retained and preserved.

Having said this letโ€™s move to the particular cases often brought forward;

1) Issue of verse about stoning (Already answeredย HERE)
2) Issue of verse about breastfeeding (Already answeredย HERE)
3) Issue of verse about Son of Adam having valleys of gold
4) Issue of verse about companions of Bir-Mauna

Issue of verse about Son of Adam having valleys of gold

The narration in Sahฤซh Muslim goes as:

ุจูŽุนูŽุซูŽ ุฃูŽุจููˆ ู…ููˆุณูŽู‰ ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽุดู’ุนูŽุฑููŠูู‘ ุฅูู„ูŽู‰ ู‚ูุฑูŽู‘ุงุกู ุฃูŽู‡ู’ู„ู ุงู„ู’ุจูŽุตู’ุฑูŽุฉู ููŽุฏูŽุฎูŽู„ูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ุซูŽู„ูŽุงุซู ู…ูุงุฆูŽุฉู ุฑูŽุฌูู„ู ู‚ูŽุฏู’ ู‚ูŽุฑูŽุกููˆุง ุงู„ู’ู‚ูุฑู’ุขู†ูŽ ููŽู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ุฃูŽู†ู’ุชูู…ู’ ุฎููŠูŽุงุฑู ุฃูŽู‡ู’ู„ู ุงู„ู’ุจูŽุตู’ุฑูŽุฉู ูˆูŽู‚ูุฑูŽู‘ุงุคูู‡ูู…ู’ ููŽุงุชู’ู„ููˆู‡ู ูˆูŽู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽุทููˆู„ูŽู†ูŽู‘ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ูƒูู…ู’ ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽู…ูŽุฏู ููŽุชูŽู‚ู’ุณููˆูŽ ู‚ูู„ููˆุจููƒูู…ู’ ูƒูŽู…ูŽุง ู‚ูŽุณูŽุชู’ ู‚ูู„ููˆุจู ู…ูŽู†ู’ ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ู‚ูŽุจู’ู„ูŽูƒูู…ู’ ูˆูŽุฅูู†ูŽู‘ุง ูƒูู†ูŽู‘ุง ู†ูŽู‚ู’ุฑูŽุฃู ุณููˆุฑูŽุฉู‹ ูƒูู†ูŽู‘ุง ู†ูุดูŽุจูู‘ู‡ูู‡ูŽุง ูููŠ ุงู„ุทูู‘ูˆู„ู ูˆูŽุงู„ุดูู‘ุฏูŽู‘ุฉู ุจูุจูŽุฑูŽุงุกูŽุฉูŽ ููŽุฃูู†ู’ุณููŠุชูู‡ูŽุง ุบูŽูŠู’ุฑูŽ ุฃูŽู†ูู‘ูŠ ู‚ูŽุฏู’ ุญูŽููุธู’ุชู ู…ูู†ู’ู‡ูŽุง ู„ูŽูˆู’ ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ู„ูุงุจู’ู†ู ุขุฏูŽู…ูŽ ูˆูŽุงุฏููŠูŽุงู†ู ู…ูู†ู’ ู…ูŽุงู„ู ู„ูŽุงุจู’ุชูŽุบูŽู‰ ูˆูŽุงุฏููŠู‹ุง ุซูŽุงู„ูุซู‹ุง ูˆูŽู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽู…ู’ู„ูŽุฃู ุฌูŽูˆู’ููŽ ุงุจู’ู†ู ุขุฏูŽู…ูŽ ุฅูู„ูŽู‘ุง ุงู„ุชูู‘ุฑูŽุงุจู

Abu Musa al-Ash’ari sent for the reciters of Basra. They came to him and they were three hundred in number. They recited the Qur’an and he said: You are the best among the inhabitants of Basra, for you are the reciters among them. So continue to recite it. (But bear in mind) that your reciting for a long time may not harden your hearts as were hardened the hearts of those before you.

We used to recite a sลซrah which resembled in length and severity to (Sลซrah) Barโ€™ฤt. I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it:” If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.”
(Sahฤซh Muslim, Kitลซbul Zakฤt, Hadฤซth 1740)

Certainly we do not find a sลซrah with this verse this verse in the Qurฤn now. So what happened of it? Infact it was abrogated and another sลซrah was revealed instead;

ุนูŽู†ู’ ุฃูŽู†ูŽุณู ุจู’ู†ู ู…ูŽุงู„ููƒู ุฃูŽู†ูŽู‘ ุฑูŽุณููˆู„ูŽ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุตูŽู„ูŽู‘ู‰ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ูŽู‘ู…ูŽ ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ู„ูŽูˆู’ ุฃูŽู†ูŽู‘ ู„ูุงุจู’ู†ู ุขุฏูŽู…ูŽ ูˆูŽุงุฏููŠู‹ุง ู…ูู†ู’ ุฐูŽู‡ูŽุจู ุฃูŽุญูŽุจูŽู‘ ุฃูŽู†ู’ ูŠูŽูƒููˆู†ูŽ ู„ูŽู‡ู ูˆูŽุงุฏููŠูŽุงู†ู ูˆูŽู„ูŽู†ู’ ูŠูŽู…ู’ู„ูŽุฃูŽ ููŽุงู‡ู ุฅูู„ูŽู‘ุง ุงู„ุชูู‘ุฑูŽุงุจู ูˆูŽูŠูŽุชููˆุจู ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ู…ูŽู†ู’ ุชูŽุงุจูŽ ูˆูŽู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ู„ูŽู†ูŽุง ุฃูŽุจููˆ ุงู„ู’ูˆูŽู„ููŠุฏู ุญูŽุฏูŽู‘ุซูŽู†ูŽุง ุญูŽู…ูŽู‘ุงุฏู ุจู’ู†ู ุณูŽู„ูŽู…ูŽุฉูŽ ุนูŽู†ู’ ุซูŽุงุจูุชู ุนูŽู†ู’ ุฃูŽู†ูŽุณู ุนูŽู†ู’ ุฃูุจูŽูŠูู‘ ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ูƒูู†ูŽู‘ุง ู†ูŽุฑูŽู‰ ู‡ูŽุฐูŽุง ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ู‚ูุฑู’ุขู†ู ุญูŽุชูŽู‘ู‰ ู†ูŽุฒูŽู„ูŽุชู’ ุฃูŽู„ู’ู‡ูŽุงูƒูู…ู’ ุงู„ุชูŽู‘ูƒูŽุงุซูุฑู

Narrated Anas bin Mฤlik the Messenger of Allฤhย (ุตูŽู„ูŽู‘ู‰ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ูŽู‘ู…ูŽ)ย said; “If the son of Adam were given a valley full of gold, he would love to have a second one; and if he were given the second one, he would love to have a third, for nothing fills the belly of Adam’s son except dust. And Allah forgives he who repents to Him.”

Ubai said, “We considered this as a saying from the Qur’an till the Sura (beginning with) ‘The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you..’ (102.1) was revealed.”
(Sahฤซh Bukhari, Kitฤbul Riqฤq, Hadฤซth 5959)

Now if you compare the known part of the abrogated sลซrah, ‘If the son of Adam were given a valley full of gold, he would love to have a second one; and if he were given the second one, he would love to have a third, for nothing fills the belly of Adam’s son except dust’ with Quran chapter 102 ‘The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things), Until ye visit the graves’…Both these clearly relate to man’s insatiable crave for worldly riches. It thus complies with the general principle of abrogation; ‘but We substitute something better or similar.โ€™

Issue of verse about companions of Bโ€™ir-Mauna

ุนูŽู†ู’ ุฃูŽู†ูŽุณู ุจู’ู†ู ู…ูŽุงู„ููƒู ุฑูŽุถููŠูŽ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุนูŽู†ู’ู‡ู ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ุฏูŽุนูŽุง ุฑูŽุณููˆู„ู ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุตูŽู„ูŽู‘ู‰ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ูŽู‘ู…ูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ูŽู‘ุฐููŠู†ูŽ ู‚ูŽุชูŽู„ููˆุง ุฃูŽุตู’ุญูŽุงุจูŽ ุจูุฆู’ุฑู ู…ูŽุนููˆู†ูŽุฉูŽ ุซูŽู„ูŽุงุซููŠู†ูŽ ุบูŽุฏูŽุงุฉู‹ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุฑูุนู’ู„ู ูˆูŽุฐูŽูƒู’ูˆูŽุงู†ูŽ ูˆูŽุนูุตูŽูŠูŽู‘ุฉูŽ ุนูŽุตูŽุชู’ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ูŽ ูˆูŽุฑูŽุณููˆู„ูŽู‡ู ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ุฃูŽู†ูŽุณูŒ ุฃูู†ู’ุฒูู„ูŽ ูููŠ ุงู„ูŽู‘ุฐููŠู†ูŽ ู‚ูุชูู„ููˆุง ุจูุจูุฆู’ุฑู ู…ูŽุนููˆู†ูŽุฉูŽ ู‚ูุฑู’ุขู†ูŒ ู‚ูŽุฑูŽุฃู’ู†ูŽุงู‡ู ุซูู…ูŽู‘ ู†ูุณูุฎูŽ ุจูŽุนู’ุฏู ุจูŽู„ูู‘ุบููˆุง ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู…ูŽู†ูŽุง ุฃูŽู†ู’ ู‚ูŽุฏู’ ู„ูŽู‚ููŠู†ูŽุง ุฑูŽุจูŽู‘ู†ูŽุง ููŽุฑูŽุถููŠูŽ ุนูŽู†ูŽู‘ุง ูˆูŽุฑูŽุถููŠู†ูŽุง ุนูŽู†ู’ู‡ูNarrated Anas bin Mฤlik:ย 

For thirty days Allah’s Messengerย (ุตูŽู„ูŽู‘ู‰ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ูŽู‘ู…ูŽ)ย invoked Allah to curse those who had killed the companions of Bir-Mauna; he invoked evil upon the tribes of Ral, Dhakwan, and Usaiya who disobeyed Allah and His Apostle.

There was reveled about those who were killed at Bir-Mauna a Quranic Verse we used to recite, but it was cancelled later on. The Verse was: “Inform our people that we have met our Lord. He is pleased with us and He has made us pleased”
(Sahฤซh Bukhฤri, Kitฤbul Jihฤd, Hadฤซth 2603)

Again as the tradition clearly says the verse was abrogated. Another narration clarifies that in its stead was revealed another verse.

ุฃู†ุณ ุจู† ู…ุงู„ูƒ ุฃู† ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุฃู†ุฒู„ ููŠู‡ู… ูŠุนู†ูŠ ุฃู‡ู„ ุจุฆุฑ ู…ุนูˆู†ุฉ ู‚ุฑุขู†ุง : ยซ ุจู„ุบูˆุง ู‚ูˆู…ู†ุง ุนู†ุง ุฃู†ุง ู‚ุฏ ู„ู‚ูŠู†ุง ุฑุจู†ุง ูุฑุถูŠ ุนู†ุง ูˆุฑุถูŠู†ุง ุนู†ู‡ ยป ุซู… ู†ุณุฎุช ูุฑูุนุช ุจุนุฏ ู…ุง ู‚ุฑุฃู†ุงู‡ ุฒู…ุงู†ุง ุŒ ูˆุฃู†ุฒู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ : ูˆู„ุง ุชุญุณุจู† ุงู„ุฐูŠู† ู‚ุชู„ูˆุง ููŠ ุณุจูŠู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุฃู…ูˆุงุชุง ุจู„ ุฃุญูŠุงุก ุนู†ุฏ ุฑุจู‡ู… ูŠุฑุฒู‚ูˆู†
Anas bin Mฤlik said it was revealed in Qurฤn about the companions of Bโ€™ir Mauna; โ€˜Convey to our people that we met Allah and He was pleased with us and made us pleasedโ€™ then it was abrogated and and Allฤh revealed; โ€˜Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allah. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision.โ€™(Qurฤn 3:169)

(Mushkil l-Athฤr 5/43 Hadฤซth 1718. Similar narrations have been quoted by Ibn Jarฤซr Tabari [7/393 Hadฤซth 8224]and Ibn Kathฤซr [2/161] under sลซrah 3 ayah 169. Albฤni classified it as Hasan. See Ibn Kathฤซr 1/455 Urdu ed.)

Clearly the abrogated verse in question and the one revealed in its stead are similar in essence as they talk about Allฤhโ€™s blessings for those martyrs. It thus agrees with the Quranic scheme of abrogation.

A statement of Ibn โ€˜Umar and its true meaning:

In Suyutiโ€™s Al-Ittiqan there is statement of Ibn โ€˜Umar which is often used by the polemicists and they present it in a manner to make it convey what it doesnโ€™t.

ุนู† ุงุจู† ุนู…ุฑ ู‚ุงู„: ู„ูŠู‚ูˆู„ู† ุฃุญุฏูƒู… ู‚ุฏ ุฃุฎุฐุช ุงู„ู‚ุฑุขู† ูƒู„ู‡ ูˆู…ุง ูŠุฏุฑูŠู‡ ู…ุง ูƒู„ู‡ ู‚ุฏ ุฐู‡ุจ ู‚ุฑุขู† ูƒุซูŠุฑุŒ ูˆู„ูƒู† ู„ูŠู‚ู„ ู‚ุฏ ุฃุฎุฐุช ู…ู†ู‡ ู…ุง ุธู‡ุฑ.

Ibn `Umar, who said: โ€˜None of you should say that he has taken the whole of the Qurโ€™an; how could he know what all of it was (before some of it being abrogated)! Substantial part of the Qurโ€™an has passed him by (due to abrogation)! Let him say instead: โ€˜I have taken of the Qurโ€™an that which (remained and) became apparent (after abrogation).โ€(Al-Ittiqฤn section 47 p.1455)

What Ibn โ€˜Umar wanted to highlight was the same fact mentioned above that not whole of the what was at different times revealed now remains and some of it has been taken away by the way of abrogation and removal from memory. So one can only learn what has remained of it. Infact what was made to forget could never be remembered by anyone as it is clear from the incident quoted earlier.

Therefore the way these anti-Islamic polemicists quote this narration to assert that parts of Qurฤn have been lost is cunning and misleading. Find a detailed discussion on this narrationย HERE.


The discussion above proves abrogation doesnโ€™t cause any doubt about the preservation and authenticity of the Holy Qurฤn. Only such parts have been taken away which were not required to be preserved and were dropped according to the Divine plan after verses similar or better were revealed instead. Nor does it mean that Allฤh changed his mind. The example of physician prescribing for the patient above clarifies it well.

Let Me Turn The Tables

Proof of abrogation from the Bible

There are many commandments in the Bible that changed. Instead of discussing them I give concrete references for abrogation declared in the Bible.

โ€˜For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.โ€™ (Hebrews 7:12)

Well known Christian commentator Adam Clarke writes under this verse:

โ€˜The priesthood, therefore, being changed, Jesus coming in the place of Aaron, the law of ordinances and ceremonies, which served only to point out the Messiah, must of necessity be changed also.โ€™

Lost books of the Bible

Infact there were many books to which even the authors of the Canonical books also referred but they are lost or atleast not in the Bible.

Some of them are:

1- The Book of the Wars of the Lord mentioned in Numbers 21:14
2- Book of Jasher mentioned in Joshua 10: 13 etc
3- Book of Nathan the Prophet mentioned in 2-Chronicles 9: 29
4- Acts of Rehoboam & Book of Shemaiah the prophet mentioned in 2-Chronicles 12:15
5- Book of the acts of Solomon mentioned in 1-Kings 11:41
6- Acts of Uzziah mentioned in 2-Chronicles 26:22

This proves that the teachings of the prophets have been lost. Do Christians have any scriptural proof or historical evidence that nothing of value has been lost in these books and their teachings and records have been preserved in their so-called canon now?

All this exposes the liars who try to put the authenticity Book of Islam to doubt while their own book of authority is in the worst condition on the very accounts they try to challenge Quran.


…by Waqar Akbar Cheema

Ibn Umar and โ€˜Loss of Much of the Qurโ€™anโ€™ Lie