Boreal

Let Me Rephrase That!

Many Abrogating One

He Said, She Said!

First it was his swearing four times that he was telling the truth and her swearing four times that he was a liar that warded off the punishment, then Allah upped the ante, revelations 24:7 and 24:9; the acrimonious  couple now were to swear a fifth time about the truthfulness of their respective allegations, and whoever was lying was in for a very, very bad time.

If the husband lied a fifth time about seeing his wife being intimate with another man, he was cursed by Allah. If a wife lied a fifth time about seeing her husband having sex with a woman to whom he was not married, she incurred the Wrath of Allah. As to the liar who got the worse of Allah's displeasure, I would hazard the wife; you can overcome the misfortunes that come with being cursed, but you cannot escape the Wrath of Allah.

24:6 And those who accuse their wives and have no witnesses except themselves, the testimony of one of them shall be to swear by Allah four times that he is truthful.

24:7 The fifth time shall be Allah’s Curse on him if he is a liar.

24:8 …

24:9 And the fifth time will be that Allah’s Wrath be upon her, if he (her husband) is truthful.

Gabriel once interrupted the Prophet's interrogation of a gutsy woman accused of having intercourse with a man other than her lawfully wedded husband to communicate to God's Messenger the addition of the fifth oath and the curse, not the Wrath, that came with it (from 1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet Muhammad).

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

Hilal bin Umaiya accused his wife of committing illegal sexual intercourse with Sharik bin Sahma' and filed the case before the Prophet.

The Prophet said (to Hilal), "Either you bring forth a proof (four witnesses) or you will receive the legal punishment (lashes) on your back."

Hilal said, "O Allah's Apostle! If anyone of us saw a man over his wife, would he go to seek after witnesses?"

The Prophet kept on saying, "Either you bring forth the witnesses or you will receive the legal punishment (lashes) on your back."

Hilal then said, "By Him Who sent you with the Truth, I am telling the truth and Allah will reveal to you what will save my back from legal punishment."

Then Gabriel came down and revealed to him: 'As for those who accuse their wives...' (24:6-9)

The Prophet recited it till he reached: '... (her accuser) is telling the truth.' Then the Prophet left and sent for the woman, and Hilal went (and brought) her and then took the oaths (confirming the claim).

The Prophet was saying, "Allah knows that one of you is a liar, so will any of you repent?"

Then the woman got up and took the oaths and when she was going to take the fifth one, the people stopped her and said, "It (the fifth oath) will definitely bring Allah's curse on you (if you are guilty)."

So she hesitated and recoiled (from taking the oath) so much that we thought that she would withdraw her denial. But then she said, "I will not dishonor my family all through these days," and carried on (the process of taking oaths).

The Prophet then said, "Watch her; if she delivers a black-eyed child with big hips and fat shins then it is Sharik bin Sahma's child."

Later she delivered a child of that description. So the Prophet said, "If the case was not settled by Allah's Law, I would punish her severely."

Bukhari 60.271

Her husband might have gotten whipped if he had been caught in a lie, but not his wife. By punishing "her severely", the Prophet probably meant having her stoned to death, as were most women, the exception being for slave-girls, who had illicit sex or were judged guilty of adultery by the man revered as the Prophet of Mercy.


The Prophet Muhammad began to be referred to as the Prophet of Mercy when Mecca surrendered without a fight, after its inhabitants received a promised, which God's Messenger broke the next day, but by then it was too late, that they could continue worshipping the three goddesses they considered the daughters of Allah if they became Muslims. His reputation for compassion was a result of his being uncharacteristically magnanimous with the leadership of the city and the warriors and their families, but not six men and four women who had no protectors just like the poets who he had murdered wherever he found then.

Intoxicants

2:219 They ask you about wine and gambling, say: “In both there is great sin and some benefit for people. But the sin is greater than the benefit.” And they ask you about what they should spend, say: “What you can spare.” Thus Allah makes clear to you His Revelations so that you may reflect.

4:43 O believers, do not approach prayer while you are drunk, until you know what you say; nor when you are unclean – unless you are on a journey – until you have washed yourselves. And if you are sick or on a journey, or if anyone of you has relieved himself, or you have touched women and could not find water, you might rub yourself with clean earth, wiping you faces and hands with it. Allah is indeed All Pardoning, All-Forgiving.

5:90 O believers, wine, gambling, idols and divining arrows are an abomination of the Devil’s doing; so avoid them that perchance you may prosper!

9:103 Take of their wealth voluntary alms to purify and cleanse them therewith; and pray for them, for your prayers are a source of tranquility for them. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

Revelation 2:219 contains two disparate revealed truths. This is not that unusual. My favorite incongruent two-revealed-truths revelation is verse 2:189. Allah begins by telling His Messenger what to say when asked about the timing of the pilgrimage to Mecca and concludes with a warning about entering a house via the back door.

2:189 They ask you about the crescents (the new moons) say: “They are times fixed for mankind and for the pilgrimage.” It is not righteousness to enter houses from the back; but the righteous is he who fears Allah. Enter then the houses by their front doors; and fear Allah that you may prosper.

The two transient revealed truths in revelation 2:219 are abrogated by separate revelations. Verse 9:103 abrogates the second revealed, now obsolete, truth which begins with "And they ask you about what they should spend …"

You may remember revelation 9:103 as abrogating revealed truth 2:3 (section Charity Becomes a Tax). Here, 9:103 does more or less the same thing, nullifying a revelation from Allah where He perhaps demonstrates less flexibility, if you judge "Take of their wealth voluntary alms" to be less demanding than "Take of their wealth voluntary alms."

Allah was also less dogmatic early on when it came to alcoholic beverages, but perhaps not His Messenger, if the beating the Prophet demanded be administered to a drunk occurred before Allah informed His Messenger, in revelation 5:90, of His hardened attitudes towards intoxicants.

Narrated Abu Salama:

Abu Huraira said, "A man who drank wine was brought to the Prophet.

The Prophet said, 'Beat him!’"

Abu Huraira added, "So some of us beat him with our hands, and some with their shoes, and some with their garments (by twisting it) like a lash, and then when we finished, someone said to him, 'May Allah disgrace you!'

On that the Prophet said, 'Do not say so, for you are helping Satan to overpower him.'"

Bukhari 81.768

That alcohol is a concoction of Satin which he uses to subjugate the believers is not mentioned in revelation 2:219; an oversight which Allah may also have wanted to remedy in sending revelation 5:90 as a replacement.

When the Prophet and his believers on-the-run first settled in Medina, it is obvious from the first short-lived revealed truth of revelation 2:219 that Allah was much more tolerant of wine drinkers. This all changed after a battle which the believers almost lost. Allah may have blamed the consumption of alcohol for the believers ignoring the Prophet's instruction at the battle of Uhud not to be distracted by the booty.

Narrated Anas:

I used to offer alcoholic drinks to the people at the residence of Abu Talha. Then the order of prohibiting alcoholic drinks was revealed, and the Prophet ordered somebody to announce that.

Abu Talha said to me, "Go out and see what this voice (this announcement) is."

I went out and (on coming back) said, "This is somebody announcing that alcoholic beverages have been prohibited."

Abu Talha said to me, "Go and spill it (i.e. the wine),"

Then it (alcoholic drinks) was seen flowing through the streets of Medina.

At that time the wine was Al-Fadikh. The people said, "Some people (Muslims) were killed (during the battle of Uhud) while wine was in their stomachs."

So Allah revealed: "On those who believe and do good deeds there is no blame for what they ate (in the past)." (5:93)

Bukhari 60.144

I left the first abrogation, in numerical order, for last, as I have no clue as to why our eminent medieval scholars included it here as an abrogator of verse 2:219 – not that it does not contain stuff that a believer needs to know; but that is not the point.

The Manifest Victory

As he grew more powerful, the Prophet's increased prestige on earth and in Heaven is reflected in the nullification of revelation 46.9 about him being simply a warner, not the leader of men in Allah's Cause that he has become.

Verse 46.9 also has the distinction of being the revealed truth abrogated by the greatest number of revelations.

46:9 Say: “I am not the first of the Messengers and I do not know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me and I am only a manifest warner.”

48:1 We have indeed given you a manifest victory,

48:2 That Allah may forgive you your former and your later sins, and complete His Blessing upon you and lead you onto a straight path;

48:3 And that Allah may give you a mighty victory.

48:4 It is He Who sent down the Serenity upon the hearts of the believers that they may increase in faith upon their faith. To Allah belongs the hosts (legions, Moududi) of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is All-Knowing and Wise.

48:5 That He may admit the believers, men and women, into gardens beneath which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever, and that He may remit their sins. That in Allah’s Sight, is a great triumph.

48:6 And that He may punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the unbelievers, men and women, who think evil thoughts of Allah. Upon them is the evil turn of fortune. Allah is wrathful at them, curses them and has prepared Hell for them; and what a wretched fate!

The "manifest victory" in revelation 48:1 is the Meccans agreeing to a ten year non-aggression treaty, which the Prophet's followers, who wanted to do battle with the Meccans even if it meant defeat, considered surrender, the reason for Allah's re-assurances that it was indeed a victory.

The revelations pertaining to the "manifest victory" were communicated to His Messenger while he was riding back to Medina with his disheartened followers. It did the trick. If Allah said the Treaty of Hudaibiyah was a victory who were they to doubt God.

The treaty gave the warrior Prophet the breathing space he needed to build up his forces and make alliances which would allow him to surround and conquer Mecca two years into a ten-year non-aggression pact.

The Prophet could, on Allah's authority, break any treaty at his discretion if he suspected treachery.

8:58 And should you fear treachery from any people, throw back their treaty to them in like manner. Allah does not like the treacherous.

In January 630, on the pretence that the Meccans have been supplying arms to the Banu Bakr, a tribe allied with the Meccans which has been fighting a tribe allied with the Muslims, the Banu Khuzah, (the Meccans denied this and offered to compensate the Muslims, to no avail, for any damage the Banu Bakr may have caused), the Prophet, at the head of an army numbering at least ten thousand, marched on Mecca which is now surrounded by tribes who have converted to Islam or are allies of the Muslims.

The "mighty victory" of revelation 48:3 may not have been the bloodless surrender of Mecca, but the one-sided bloody victory over the Jewish farmers of Khaybar (also spelled Kaibar) whose settlement the Prophet attacked and conquered in the interim.

Blood-Money Conundrum II

2:178 O believers, retaliation for the slain is prescribed for you; a free [man] for a free [man], a slave for a slave and a female for a female. But if he is pardoned by his brother (the aggrieved), usage should be followed (capital punishment would be replaced by blood-money) and he should pay him (the aggrieved) liberally and kindly. This is remission and mercy from your Lord. He who transgresses after that will have a painful punishment.

5:45 And We prescribed to them therein (the Torah) that a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds retaliation; but whoever forgoes it charitably, it will be an atonement for him. Whoever does not judge according to what Allah has revealed, those are the evildoers!

17:33 Do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause. Whoever is killed unjustly, We have given his heir the power [to demand satisfaction]; but let him not exceed the limit in slaying, for he will be the victor .

The above abrogated verse, revelation 2:178 is from a Medinan surah and one of its nullifiers, verse 17:33, is from a Meccan surah.

How is this possible, a revelation from the pass abrogating a revelation from the future? Gods work in mysterious ways and Allah is no exception, and in abrogating revelation 2:178 He is doubly so.

None of the abrogating revelations mention the payment of blood money. This should be an indication that the payment of blood-money sanctioned in the abrogated revelation is no longer valid (see explanation in chapter One Abrogating One - A Blood-Money Conundrum I for why this is not the case).

Wills and Testaments

Pre-Islamic wills allowed the Prophet's first wife to be wealthy in her own right and not be dependent on any man for her sustenance. She probably was the last Muslim female to benefit from the pre-Islamic rules, or lack thereof, governing wills.

Initially, Allah was comfortable with the well-established practice of a person making a will in which he or she disposed of their wealth as they saw fit. In fact, he insisted that the believers make a will, abrogated revelation 2:180, even if leaving something for the wives is not mentioned.

In setting rules governing the disposition of an "estate" in revelations which abrogated verse 2:180, Allah mentions females, but it is not to their advantage, unless, like many apologist for Islam such as Karen Armstrong, you argue that daughters were now guaranteed at least a share of the wealth, even if that share could never be more than half of a brother's bequest.

2:180 It is prescribed for you that when death is imminent for one of you and he leaves wealth, he should equitably make a testament in favour of the parents and the near of kin. This in incumbent upon the righteous.

4:7 Men should have a share of what parents and kinsmen leave behind; and women a share of what parents and kinsmen leave, whether big or small, as an obligatory portion.

4:11 Allah commands you, with respect to your children, that the male shall inherit the equivalent of the share of two females. If there be more than two females, then they should receive two-thirds of what he (the deceased father) leaves; but if there is only one female, she is entitled to one-half. To each of his parents, one-sixth of what he leaves, if he has any children; but if he has no children, then his parents will inherit him, the mother receiving one third. But if he has any brothers, then his mother receives one-sixth, after any will he had made or any debt he had incurred [is taken care of] Your fathers and sons – you know not who of them is of greater advantage to you. This is a law from Allah; Allah surely is All-Knowing, Forbearing.

Allah’s abrogating revealed truths as to the disposition of an inheritance where He decides who gets what, inaugurated a vicious circle of self-serving regulations which favoured men at women's expense and ensured that believing females to survive in this world will now have to depend on the generosity of God's preferred sex; and if they want a share of the Hereafter, they should be thankful for getting anything at all.

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The Prophet said: "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful."

It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?)

He replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them."

Bukhari 2.28

The Divorce Ransom and Marriage to an Impotent Man

2:228 Divorced women should keep away from men for three menstrual periods. And it is not lawful for them to conceal that which Allah has created in their wombs, if they truly believe in Allah and the Last Day. Their husbands have the right in the meantime to take them back, should they seek reconciliation; and women have rights equal to what is incumbent upon them according to what is just, although men are one degree above them (what is meant here is that the men have a superior authority). Allah is Mighty, Wise.

2:229 Divorce may be pronounced twice. Then they (women) are to be retained in a rightful manner or released with kindness. And it is unlawful for you [men] to take back anything of what you have given them unless both parties fear that they cannot comply with Allah’s Bounds (by obeying His commands). If you fear that they cannot do that, then it is no offence if the woman ransoms herself [pays money to be set free]. Those are the bounds set by Allah. Do not transgress them. Those who transgress the bounds set by Allah are the wrongdoers.

2:230 If he divorces her, she shall not be lawful to him again until she has married another husband. If the latter divorces her, then it is no offence if they go back to each other, if they both think that they shall keep within Allah’s Bounds. Those are Allah’s Bounds which He makes clear to men who have knowledge.

There is no mention in the two verses abrogating revelation 2:228 that men are no longer superior to women by at least one degree, therefore it is safe to assume that that revealed truth is still an immutable fact.

Treat the women kindly, for verily, they are like prisoners in your house and are incapable of looking after themselves ...

From the Prophet's last sermon

If there is any doubt that, like His Messenger, Allah considers wives prisoners in their husband's home, it is the abrogating revelation where Allah reveals that a wife can get out of a marriage if she pays a ransom that is acceptable to her husband; his keeping her dowry being the most common form of payment. However, if a divorcee is unfortunate enough to then marry an impotent man, no amount of money can get her out of that jail.

Narrated Ikrima:

Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon Abdur-Rahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her.

Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating).

It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!"

When Abdur-Rahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife.

She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment.

Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a."

Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you."

Then the Prophet saw two boys with Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?"

On that Abdu-Rahman said, "Yes."

The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e.. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow, "

Bukhari 72.715