Abrogation means Allah cannot make up His “mind”!
Another common, yet silly claim. Before I explain the nature of abrogation in Islam, we can easily demonstrate that God also abrogated laws in the Bible.
- In Genesis God commanded Adam and Eve’s children to intermarry.
- Christians today consider a brother and sister’s sexual relations to be the sin of incest.
Did God command Adam and Eve to do a sin? No, according to Christian (and Jewish) beliefs, sexual relations between a brother and sister only became a sin known as incest due to the 7 Noahide Laws. Another easy example is:
Lastly, anyone can read where Christ alters several of God’s laws (God changing God’s laws!?) in Matthew 5. From this, we ask the Christian, can’t your God make up His mind as well? Surely they are being hypocritical in their speaking. However, from the Islamic perspective, Allah says in the Qur’aan:
We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent? – Qur’an 2:106.
Before the revelation of the Qur’aan, each message sent with a Prophet was specific to each peoples the Prophet was sent to. For example, the Torah was sent to the Children of Israel during Moses’ time, whereas the Injeel was sent to the Children of Israel during Christ’s time. This is simple to understand, each people had different cultures and so God sent commandments to deal with the people of each culture. By this, we can understand that it isn’t that God kept changing His “mind” over the laws, rather He sent different laws to deal with the beliefs, attitudes, actions (habits) and culture (norms and values) of each tribe, nation of peoples. However, with the revelation of the Qur’aan, God has sent a law for all of mankind.
Unlike previous nations were entire groups of peoples existed without communicating with each other or knowing of each other’s existence, today I can call Japan and speak to a Geisha, or go on YouTube and see angry Christian missionaries screaming about Muslims, in this age of globalization, there is no need for a revelation to be sent to each and every nation individually, rather one message can now reach all nations of the earth with the click of a finger – one message for all of mankind.
In conclusion, it is not that God changed His mind about anything, rather it is that God sent a laws to cater to each tribe/ group/ nation of peoples according to the state of belief they were in, so that they may be guided. One common example is the prohibition of alcohol in Islam. Gradually alcohol was prohibited, rather than one command prohibiting it completely – in this way, the people developed the habit of consuming less alcohol and thus stopping consumption of it became drastically easier for them.
and Allaah knows best.