Let Me Rephrase That!
One Abrogating One
The abrogator is often within the same chapter as the verse it is abrogating, an indication that it may have been sent in response to a question from a member of the Prophet's audience during his allocution. Allah confirmed this in a revelation about members of the Prophet's audience sneaking out before His Messenger had finished delivering his latest surah.
9:127 And whenever a Surah is revealed, they look at each other [saying]: “Does anyone see you?” Then they turn away. Allah has turned away their hearts, because they are a people who do not understand.
Charity Becomes a Tax
The fact that the lowest numbered verse abrogated is to nullify a revealed truth about charity being desirable but not compulsory to one where the Prophet is empowered to demand it, in and of itself could be considered noteworthy.
2:2 This is the Book which cannot be doubted and is a guidance to the God-fearing.
2:3 Those who believe in the Unseen, perform the prayer and give freely from what We provided for them.
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.
The "voluntary alms" whose amount Allah reveals is to be determined and collected by His Messenger have become the obligatory Zakat, the third of the five pillars of Islam.
1. Shahadah, declaring allegiance to God.
2. Salat, daily prayers.
3. Zakat, annual charity.
4. Saum, month-long fasting.
5. Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Charity (Zakat) is the only one of the Five Pillars of Islam that has nothing, or next to nothing to do with worshipping Allah except, perhaps, in an indirect sort way, when you give it in furtherance of His Cause.
47:38 There you are; you are called upon to spend freely in Allah’s Cause, but some of you are niggardly. Yet he who is niggardly is only niggardly against himself. Allah is the All-Sufficient and you are the destitute. If you turn back, He will replace you by a people other than you, and they will not be like you at all.
Cynics might argue that Allah instinctively appreciated the strategic value of helping people in need in recruiting for His Cause.
An understanding of the persuasive power of giving that was not lost on the Islamists who, during the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan in 2010 disrupted aid from Western Countries while facilitating the distribution of the inadequate contributions from Islamic regimes; or in Somalia where Allah’s militants stopped food shipments from Western nations from reaching famine ravaged portions of the country.
No More Mr. Nice Guy I
Once-upon-a-time, Allah was much more tolerant of other religions.
2:62 The believers (Muslims), the Jews, the Christians and the Sabians – whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does what is good, shall receive their reward from their Lord. They shall have nothing to fear and they shall not grieve.
3:85 Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.
A Change of Direction
If it hadn't been for the Jews of Medina, Islam would have been dead on arrival. It was the Jews of Medina, and their Arab neighbours, with whom they lived in relative harmony, who welcomed and offered sanctuary to God's Messenger after he fled Mecca where his fellow Arabs had tried to kill him. The Prophet’s brethren wanted to do away with God’s latest spokesperson for denying the gods and goddesses of their ancestors by proclaiming one universal god for all.
The Jews of Medina began doubting the wisdom of welcoming the Prophet and his followers when, to make ends meet, they started raiding the Meccan caravans which passed between Medina and the Red Sea. These raids would lead to the battle of Badr which ignited the Arab Civil War and the wars of conquest of lands controlled by unbelievers or lesser believers and which continue to this day e.g. Islamic State.
After the victory at Badr, God's Messenger felt confident enough to impose his will on his former friends who had become his harshest critics. Two of the three tribes chose exile; one chose to tough it out. A fatal mistake!
Before the Prophet's falling out with the Jews of Medina, the believers prostrated themselves in the direction of Jerusalem during their daily prayers, not Mecca. Before the breakup, Allah did not care in which direction you prayed; He was everywhere after all.
2:115 To Allah belongs the East and the West. So whichever way you turn (while praying), there is Allah’s Face. Indeed Allah is Omnipresent and Omniscient.
2:144 Surely, We see your face turned towards heaven (yearning for guidance through revelation). We shall turn you towards a Qibla that will please you. Turn your face then towards the Sacred Mosque (the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, the Ka’ba); and wherever you are turn your faces towards it. Those who were given the Book (the Jews and Christians) certainly know this to be the Truth from their Lord. Allah is not unaware of what they do.
Safa, Marwa and the Religion of Abraham
Islam considers Hagar the legitimate wife of Abraham and her son his first heir and father of the Arabs.
In the Koran, Abraham makes near impossible treks across the length of the Arabian Peninsula to pay homage to Allah at Mecca and to visit with his wife’s former servant Hagar and their son Isma'il (also spelled Ishmael).
Of course, none of these visits are mentioned in the Bible and there is no historical or archaeological evidence of the Patriarch of Muslims and Jews crossing the deserts of Arabia to spend time in Mecca which, at the time, if it existed at all, would have been nothing more than a nomadic settlement.
The entire Hajj ritual is an attempt to recreate the rite Abraham is alleged to have performed to honour Allah when he visited Mecca and His Ka'ba. Over time, Allah was joined at the Ka'ba by other gods, the so-called idols, which caused Him and later His Messenger extreme distress.
During the so-called pagan interlude when Allah had to share his Ka'ba with other gods – and would-you-believe goddesses – the pagans introduced rituals such as going around the Ka'ba naked, probably after having more than a few sips of wine. Bowing up and down as you circled the sacred stone that Adam brought with him from Paradise (Appendix Adam - Paradise Lost) had become more of a dance than a sacred rite, and poetry was recited in the sacred precinct. Abraham's somber pilgrimage had taken on the aspect of a festival of fun and worship.
The Prophet would take the fun out of the pilgrimage, but this still left the believers wary of performing rituals which, from their limited perspective, were pagan rituals.
One of these rituals was the re-enactment of Hagar frantically running seven times between Safa and Marwa, names of the two mountains (hills really) near Mecca looking for water after being abandoned there by Abraham with their son Isma`il.
Adding to the believers' uneasiness, the pagans had place idols, which the Prophet ordered destroyed, on the hills. To sooth their troubled mind Allah sent a revelation, verse 2:158 assuring the believers that re-enacting Hagar's desperate search for water was not a sin. The verse may actually have had to do with going "around them"; perhaps to avoid confusion Allah replaced the verse with one about Abraham. Understood, is if Abraham did it, it could not be wrong.
2:158 Surely Safa and Marwa are beacons of Allah (His Religion). He who performs the proper or the lesser pilgrimage commits no sin if he goes around them. And those who volunteer to do a good deed will find Allah Rewarding, All-Knowing.
2:130 And who would forsake the religion of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself? We have chosen him in this world and in the Hereafter; he shall be one of the righteous.
From Curser to Pardoner of Jews
When the Prophet sought refuge in Medina he was welcomed by the Jews, not only because he believed in the one God of the Torah, but they saw him as a man who could settle disputes between them and the Arabs of the oasis city. He became in fact the ultimate judge and jury of Medina in both secular and religious affairs.
In the post-Jesus era, the Jews were moving away from the more brutal punishments specified in the Torah, such as the stoning of adulterers. The Prophet would have none of it. He literally ruled by the Book, whether that book was the Koran or the Torah.
Abdullah bin Salam was a former rabbi and a respected member of the Jewish community before he converted to Islam. He became a Muslim after a short meeting with the Prophet where God's Messenger answered three fatuous questions to the rabbi's satisfaction.
It was fortuitous that the angel Gabriel, whom bin Salam then considered an enemy of the Jews, had just had a conversation with the Prophet about what was on bin Salam's mind.
Abdullah bin Salam heard the news of the arrival of Allah's Apostle (at Medina) while he was on a farm collecting its fruits. So he came to the Prophet and said, "I will ask you about three things which nobody knows unless he be a prophet. Firstly, what is the first portent of the Hour? What is the first meal of the people of Paradise? And what makes a baby look like its father or mother?"
The Prophet said, "Just now Gabriel has informed me about that."
Abdullah said, "Gabriel?"
The Prophet said, "Yes."
Abdullah said, "He, among the angels is the enemy of the Jews."
On that the Prophet recited this Holy Verse: "Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel (let him die in his fury!) for he has brought it (i.e. Qur'an) down to your heart by Allah's permission." (2:97)
Then he added, "As for the first portent of the Hour, it will be a fire that will collect the people from the East to West. And as for the first meal of the people of Paradise, it will be the caudite (i.e. extra) lobe of the fish liver. And if a man's discharge proceeded that of the woman, then the child resembles the father, and if the woman's discharge proceeded that of the man, then the child resembles the mother."
On hearing that, Abdullah said, "I testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that you are the Apostle of Allah, O, Allah's Apostle; the Jews are liars, and if they should come to know that I have embraced Islam, they would accuse me of being a liar."
In the meantime some Jews came (to the Prophet) and he asked them, "What is Abdullah's status amongst you?"
They replied, "He is the best amongst us, and he is our chief and the son of our chief."
The Prophet said, "What would you think if Abdullah bin Salam embraced Islam?"
They replied, "May Allah protect him from this!"
Then 'Abdullah came out and said, "I testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah."
The Jews then said, "Abdullah is the worst of us and the son of the worst of us," and disparaged him.
On that Abdullah said, "O Allah's Apostle! This is what I was afraid of!"
In a case brought before him which got a mention in the Koran, God's Messenger forced the Jews – over whom he had ultimate authority under the negotiated Constitution of Medina – to stick to the old ways, many of which became the news ways of the Koran.
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:
The Jews came to Allah's Apostle and told him that a man and a woman from amongst them had committed illegal sexual intercourse.
Allah's Apostle said to them, "What do you find in the Torah (old Testament) about the legal punishment of Ar-Rajm (stoning)?"
They replied, "(But) we announce their crime and lash them."
Abdullah bin Salam said, "You are telling a lie; Torah contains the order of Rajm."
They brought and opened the Torah and one of them
Abdullah bin Salam said to him, "Lift your hand." When he lifted his hand, the Verse of Rajm was written there.
They said, "Muhammad has told the truth; the Torah has the Verse of Rajm.
The Prophet then gave the order that both of them should be stoned to death. (Abdullah bin Umar said, "I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones.")
What they tried to concealed from His Messenger infuriated Allah, as evident in revelation 2:159, but perhaps only for a moment. Revelation 2:160 does not so much annulled revelation 2:159 as attenuate Allah's anger against the Jews, if only for the time being.
2:159 Those (the Jews) who conceal the clear proofs and guidance We sent down, after making them clear to mankind in the Book (the Torah), shall be cursed by Allah and the cursers.
2:160 Except those who repent, mend their ways and reveal [the truth which they had concealed]; these I shall pardon. I am the Pardoner, the Merciful.
Providing for a Widow
2:234 As for those of you who die leaving wives behind, their wives should observe a waiting period (during this period they should stay away from men) of four months and ten days. When they have completed that period you incur no offence on account of what they may do to themselves (such as adorning themselves or looking out for suitors) in a lawful manner. Allah has knowledge of what you do.
2:240 Those of you who die leaving wives behind should bequeath to them a year’s provision without turning [them] out (from their homes). If however, they leave [their homes], then you (the relatives of the dead) incur no offence for what they do in a rightful way to themselves. Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Having the deceased in the abrogating revelation leave a year's provision to his widows is welcomed and will stand them in good staid when they are forced to leave their former home that a son or a male relative of their deceased husband, whom Islamic law recognizes as the sole proprietor of the family home, will undoubtedly have inherited.
Dying a Muslim by Doing What a Muslim Does
It goes without saying that you should not die except as a Muslim. If you do as a Muslim does, as explained in verse 64:16 Allah sent to replace 3:102, you will die a believer making the verse it replaces unnecessary.
3:102 O believers fear Allah as He should be feared, and do not die except as Muslims.
64:16 So, fear Allah as much as you can, listen, obey and spend freely (in the Cause of Allah). That is best for you. He who is guarded against the avarice of his soul – those are the prosperous.
No More Mr. Nice Guy II
There was a time when Allah would have forgiven a heretic who returned to the fold if asked to do so by His Messenger.
4:64 We have not sent forth a Messenger, but that he may be obeyed by Allah’s Leave. And had they, having wronged themselves, come to you and asked for Allah’s Forgiveness and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, then they would have found Allah All-Forgiving, Merciful.
9:80 Ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them. If you ask forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah will not forgive them; because they disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger. Allah does not guide the sinful people.
The last unbelievers Allah would forgive, as a favour to His favourite and greatest Messenger, were the Prophet's mother and father.
Indoctrination and War
Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror ..."
As the believers made progress is subjugating through the force of arms and terror the non-Muslims of the Peninsula and more warriors joined the Muslims, if only to indulge in the general plunder of the unbelievers' property, indoctrination of these new recruits into the new religion took on a new urgency.
4:71 O believers, be on your guard; so march in detachments or march altogether.
9:122 The believers should not all go to war. Why doesn’t a company from each group go forth to instruct themselves in religion and admonish their people (those who go to war) when they return, that perchance, they may beware.
Allah expected some of the believers to stay behind for another strategic reason, anticipating a tactic used today in the modern propaganda wars, that of spreading misinformation or what is commonly referred to as War’s First Casualty, the truth.
4:72 Indeed, among you is one who will stay behind, so that if a disaster befalls you, he will say: “Allah has favoured me, since I have not been a martyr with them.”
4:73 If, however, a bounty from God comes to you, he will say, as though there was no friendship between you and him: “Would that I had been with them; then I would have won a great victory.”
A Blood-Money Conundrum I
Payments in blood and chattel and retaliation in kind are central concepts in Islam. The price was obliquely set by Allah during the Prophet's grandfather's lifetime.
Abd al-Muttalib, in another variation of the story of Abraham and Isaac and the thwarted immolation, had promised Allah to sacrifice his tenth son if He gave him ten male heirs. When the time came for al-Muttalib to keep his promise, he consulted a dervish to find out if he could fulfil his promise to God in some other manner that did not involve killing his tenth son, Abdullah, who was destined to be God’s Messenger’s father.
The dervish the Prophet’s grandfather consulted was no ordinary soothsayer; he was a dervish with jinns in his employ who specialized in eavesdropping on Allah’s conversations with his angels and on the angels talking among themselves. They would fly as close as possible to the lowest of the seven levels of heaven, the one closest to the earth, dogging rocks thrown by the angels to keep them away, to find out what Allah had to say about was happening down below.
To try to answer his client’s question, the dervish sent his jinns to eavesdrop on God’s conversation. One reported that Allah, in a conversation with an angel, had indicated that he would be happy with a sacrifice of camels. But how many camels!
The dervish then threw some dice (bone fragments of some type according to Virgil Gheorghiu author of La vie de Mahomet) to divine an answer.
In his assessment of the way the fragments scattered, which may not have been unlike reading tea leaves, the dervish said that they indicated that God would be satisfied with a payment of one hundred camels.
This is the price the Prophet reminded the faithful in his Last Khutba i.e. last sermon shortly before he died, that Allah had set as the blood-payment to the family or clan of the deceased for a non-premeditated homicide – what our legal system defines as the crime of manslaughter.
And intentional murder shall be punished according to talion law; where the murderess intention is not clear and the victim is killed using a club or a stone it will cost the perpetrator one hundred camels as blood money. Whoever demands more is a man from the time of ignorance.
What part of revelation 4:92 is abrogated by revelation 9:1, if any, we cannot say with certainty; but we can be sure it is not the portion about blood-money. This conclusion is based on the Prophet, in his last khutba, restating Allah's position on blood-money.
4:92 It is not given to a believer to kill another believer except by mistake; and he who kills a believer by mistake should free a slave who is a believer and pay blood-money to his relatives, unless they remit it as alms. If he happens to belong to a people who are your enemies, but he is a believer, then you should free a believing slave. If he belongs to a people bound to you by compact, then blood-money should be paid to his relatives and a believing slave should be freed. As for him who has not the means, he should fast for two consecutive months, as a penance from Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise!
9:1 This is immunity from Allah and His Messenger to those idolaters with whom you made compacts.
From Killing Ten to Killing Two
When Allah said that one believer could overcome ten armed unbelievers, battles were very much decided in man-to-man combat with swords and spears. Today, a believer with a bomb can easily kill ten unbelievers. Then, it was extremely unrealistic to expect one believer to triumph over ten unbelievers bent on making him a martyr.
Knowing the future and the improvement in body weaponry e.g. the suicide vest that would make it child's play, pun intended, for one believer to do away, in a flash of fire and shrapnel, with scores of Allah's real and imaginary enemies, why did Allah revise downward His per capita estimate as to how many unbelievers a believer could kill. Had He stuck to His original estimate, today He might be considered both a god and a visionary by more than the credulous.
8:65 O Prophet, urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they will defeat two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they will defeat a thousand of the unbelievers, because they are a people who do not understand.
8:66 Now Allah has lightened your burden; He knows that there is a weakness in you. So, if there are a hundred steadfast men among you, they will overcome two hundred; and if there are a thousand men among you, they will overcome two thousand, by Allah’s Leave. Allah is with the steadfast.
Entering a House Other Than Your Own
Allah is often quick, as a god should be, to change His mind when realizing that what He revealed as a sacred immutable truth minutes, hours, days even months earlier was not realistic, such as demanding that you always ask permission to enter a house other than your own. What about an empty house which circumstances require you enter?
24:27 O believers, do not enter houses other than your own before you ask leave and greet their occupants. This is better for you, that perchance you may remember well.
24:29 It is no offence for you to enter uninhabited houses in which you have some means of enjoyment. Allah knows what you reveal and what you conceal.
Marriage is Good, Adultery Bad
It is not clear if revelation 24:32 is an abrogating revelation or simply there to emphasize Allah's preference for married people.
24:3 The adulterer shall marry none but an adulteress or an idolatress; and the adulteress none shall marry her but an adulterer or idolater. That has been forbidden the believers.
24:32 Encourage the unmarried among you and the righteous among your servants and maids to marry. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them from His Bounty. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.
Depending on how quickly Allah changed His mind (if He actually did) as to whom an adulteress and adulterer could marry, an adulterous couple in love, if they were willing to endure a good whipping, would be automatically divorced and available to marry each other.
24:2 The adulteress and the adulterer, whip each one of them a hundred lashes; and let no pity move you in Allah’s religion, regarding them; if you believe in Allah and the Hereafter. And let a group of believers witness their punishment.
An adulteress might have also been able to get out of an abusive relationship without having to pay a ransom.
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.
My list of abrogated verses does not include another revelation about the punishment of adulteresses where Allah has to think about a suitable penance, which verse 24:2 would appear to abrogate.
4:15 As for those of your women who commit adultery, call four witnesses from your own against them; and if they testify then detain them in the houses till death overtakes them or Allah opens another way for them.
Some scholars maintain that both revealed truths 24:3 and 4:15 were abrogated by what is known as the Lost Verse, an alleged revelation in which Allah finally settles on stoning as the most appropriate punishment for an adulteress.
From Whipping to Pardoning Slanderers of Chaste Women
24:4 Those who accuse chaste women, then cannot bring four witnesses, whip them eighty lashes, and do not ever accept their testimony. For those are the wicked sinners.
24:5 Except for those who repent afterwards and mend their ways. For Allah is surely All-Forgiving, Merciful.
Revelation 24:4 was probably sent in the heat of the moment, the heat being generated by accusations that the Prophet's child-bride had committed adultery.
Aisha got lost in the desert one evening and was returned to her husband the next day by the young man who found her. Needless to say, rumors, which severely distressed God's Messenger, ran rampant, prompting Allah to issue a warning to those who would slander the wife of his greatest and last spokesperson. (You may ignore the fact that the abrogated and abrogating verses come after Allah's tirade in the following verses against those who would accuse Aisha of betraying her husband. Even within surahs, order of precedence is ignored. Past, present and future is for mortals.)
24:11 Those who spread the slander (against Aisha, wife of the Prophet, according to the commentators) are a band of you. Do not reckon it an evil for you; rather it is a good thing for you. Every one of them will be credited with the sin he has earned, and he who bore the brunt of it shall have a terrible punishment.
24:12 Would that the believers, men and women, when you heard it (the slander) had though well of themselves saying: “This is manifest slander!”
24:13 And would that they had brought forth four witnesses [to vouch for it]! But since they did not bring any witnesses, those are, in Allah’s sight, the real liars.
The Prophet's son-in-law Ali, even suggested that Aisha be stoned, telling his father-in-law that “Allah has not placed any limits on the choice of a wife. They are plentiful.” After Allah calmed down, perhaps after realizing that His Messenger's son-in-law might have to be whipped, He communicated to the angel Gabriel, who passed it on the Prophet, that, on second thought, if an accuser of chase women repented, he should not be whipped.
Generalities about a Woman's Finery
When you see a middle-aged or older women still draped in that dark tent-like garment, this is based on a recommendation of Allah's, "that to refrain" from removing cumbersome layers of garment is better, even if no finery is exhibited in doing so.
For women who are still young enough to bear children, even removing an outer garment is out of the question. Again, revelation 24:60 is not a verse that abrogates, so much as adds to what Allah decreed post-pubescent females should wear and how they should behave if males are in the vicinity.
24:31 And tell the believing women to cast down their eyes and guard their private parts and not show their finery, except the outward part of it. And let them drape their bosoms with their veils and not show their finery, except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, their women, their maid-servants, the men-followers who have no sexual desire, or infants who have no knowledge of women’s sexual parts yet. Let them, also, not stamp their feet, so that what they have concealed of their finery might be known. Repent to Allah, all of you, O believers, that perchance you may prosper.
24:60 Those women who are past child-bearing and have no hope of marriage are not at fault if they take off their outer garments, not exhibiting any finery; but to refrain is better for them. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
Slave-Girls and Children Close By and You're Naked
24:58 O believers, let those your right hands possess (slaves and maid-servants) and those who have not reached the age of puberty ask your leave three times: (to attend to you or approach you) before the dawn prayer, when you put off your clothes at noon and after the evening prayer. These are three occasions of nudity for you; after which you are or they are not at fault, if you approach each other. That is how Allah makes clear His signs to you. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.
24:59 And when your children reach puberty, let them ask leave, as those who came before them asked leave. That is how Allah makes clear His Signs to you. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.
Revelation 25:58 appears to sanction intimacy between a slave-owner and his slave-girls and an employer and an employee i.e. maid if after having seen their employer/owner naked three times they can't resist wanting to get closer. There is of course no hint of sanctioned impropriety in the alleged abrogating revelation which extends the requirement to ask for leave to post-pubescent children before approaching their father, one has to assume when he is getting ready for prayer.
Wives for the Messenger
Pre-Islamic Arabs made no distinction between adopted and natural born sons until Allah decreed a distinction so that His Messenger could marry his adopted son's wife.
33:4 Allah did not create two hearts within the breast of any man; and He did not make your wives, whom you compare to your mothers’ backs; and He did not make your [adopted] sons your sons in fact. That is your own claim, by your words of mouth. Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the Right Path.
God's Messenger walked in on his daughter-in-law Zaynab when she was almost naked and he just had to have her. His adopted son divorced her so that the man he considered his father could marry her. Allah quickly confirmed the righteous of what Zayd had done, and what the Prophet did after.
33:37 And [remember] when you said to him whom Allah favoured and you favoured: (this is addressed to Zayd regarding his wife Zaynab) “Hold on to your wife and fear Allah”, while you concealed within yourself what Allah would reveal and feared other men, whereas Allah had a better right to be feared by you. Then, when Zayd had satisfied his desire for her, We gave her to you in marriage; so that the believers should not be at fault, regarding the wives of their adopted sons, once they have satisfied their desire for them. For Allah’s Command must be accomplished.
Even Aisha was taken aback, telling her husband that when it came to his accumulation of bed-partners: "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires." Bukhari 60.675.
This may have been the sentiment of many for Allah to send down a revelation telling His Messenger that enough is enough, revelation 33:52 (another revelation nullified by a higher numbered verse), which He later abrogated replacing it with a reveal truth, revelation 33:50, which confirmed the double-standard when it came to women an ordinary believer and His Messenger could marry.
33:52 Thereafter, other women are not lawful to you, nor is substituting other wives for them, even if you admire their beauty, except for what your right hand owns. Allah is Watchful over everything.
33:50 O Prophet, we have made lawful, for you, your wives, whose dowry you have paid, what your right hand owns (slave-girls) out of the spoils of war that Allah gave you, the daughters of your paternal uncles, the daughters of your paternal aunts, the daughters of your maternal uncles, the daughters of your maternal aunts who emigrated with you, and any believing woman who gives herself freely to the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to marry her, granted exclusively to you, but not the believers. We know what We have prescribed for them regarding their wives and what their right hands own, so that you may not be at fault. Allah is All-Forgiving, Merciful.
It is one of the Koran's most confounding mysteries – if you don't believe that a man was using god to get women into his bed – that a god, in a book meant to be the ultimate guide for mankind as to how to live a god-fearing life, spent so much time on the sex life of just one man?
If that sex life was to be held up as an example to the faithful, then perhaps it would have its place in such as book, but as an exception to Allah’s rules for the ordinary believer? I don't think so.
In seeking to please His Messenger when it came to whom he could have intimate relations with, Allah did a tremendous disservice to Muslim orphan boys, a disservice which is felt to this day.
The reveal truths changing the relationship between adopted sons and their surrogate parent so that God’s Messenger could add his daughter-in-law Zaynab to his collection of wives, concubines and slave-girl have been interpreted to mean that Islam is against Western style adoption, resulting in an untold number of children in the Islamic world who have no one to call father.
The Prophet as Savior
39:13 Say: “I fear if I disobey my Lord, the punishment of a great Day.”
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;
At first glance 48:2 leaves you wondering, like so many revelations, as to why and what is it abrogating.
Often the answer is in the preceding or following revelation, in this instance it is the revelations that introduces the abrogated verse.
39:11 Say: “I have been commanded to worship Allah, professing to Him the religion sincerely.
39:12 “And I have been commanded to be the first of those who submit.”
Jesus was sent to do what needed to be done so his followers would be saved, and so it would seem was the Prophet.
They Also Carry Allah's Throne
Angels do more than just praise the Lord and ask for forgiveness for the believers, as the verse which abrogates a portion of 42:5 makes clear.
42:5 The heavens are almost rent asunder above them; while the angels proclaim the praise of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those on earth. Lo, Allah is truly the All-Forgiving, The Merciful!
40:7 Those who carry the Throne and those around it proclaim the praise of their Lord, believe in Him and ask forgiveness for the believers: “Lord, You have encompassed everything in mercy and knowledge; so forgive those who have repented and followed your Path, and guard them against the punishment of Hell.
Wages for the Messenger
Verse 42:23 is a Meccan verse as is its abrogator. However, revelation 42:23 may have been received during the time that the Prophet's wife Khadijah was still solvent and therefore he could afford to preach for nothing. Khadijah, a wealthy older Meccan woman hired the good-looking trader – and later married (her third, his first) the allegedly illiterate young man – to accompany her caravans to and from Damascus
During his time in Mecca the Prophet would spend all of his and his wife’s wealth on the promotion of his new religion. In asking for a voluntary wage in the revelation that abrogates the verse about asking for no payment for the Message he is delivering, Allah communicates to His Messenger to say that He will be watching.
Again, ignore the sequence which appears to have an earlier revelation abrogate a future revelation, a jumble which was kindly described by Justin Wintle author of History of Islam as “jumping from one subject to another in a sort of unfurling stream of supra-consciousness” i.e. a consciousness or awareness that is beyond our understanding.
42:23 Say: (O Muhammad) “I ask you no reward for it (this message, Muhammad Assad) except kinship towards kinsmen.” Whoever performs a good deed, We shall increase its goodness. Allah is truly All-Forgiving, Thankful.
34:47 Say: “Whatever wage I asked you for is yours [to give]. My wage is with Allah and He is a witness of everything.”
The Reward of Beneficence
53:39 And that man will only earn what he strives for;
52:21 And those who have believed and their progeny followed them in belief, We shall join their progeny to them. We shall not deprive them of any of their work; every man shall be bound by what he has earned.
What men will earn is well documented in the Koran, the most talked about being Allah's artificial creation, female lookalikes skilled in the art of pleasing any man's most intimate desires, the famous houris.
56:22 And wide-eyed houris,
56:23 Like hidden pearls; 56:24 As a reward for what they used to do.
44:54 Thus it will be; and we gave them wide-eyed houris in marriage.
52:20: Reclining on ranged couches, and We shall wed them to wide-eyed houris.
Not to be overlooked are blushing maidens, an extraordinary bounty you cannot deny:
55:56 Therein are maidens lowering their glances and they have not been touched, before them by any man or jinn.
55:57 So, which of your Lord's Bounties do you both (Jinn and humans) deny?
55:58 They are like rubies and coral.
55:59 So, which of your Lord's Bounties do you both (Jinn and humans) deny?
55:60 Shall the reward of beneficence be other than beneficence?
But what about women, what is in it for them for doing good? This is where abrogating revelation 52:21 comes in handy as demonstrated in a response to a question from a prospective female martyr about the rewards a female jihadist can expect from Allah for fighting and dying to extend his dominion on earth?
According to David Cook, such a question was asked on a Hamas website by a prospective female suicide bomber; would she get the equivalent of the male suicide bombers who are promised a “fairly extensive harem of women in return for martyrdom.”
[Question] I wanted to ask: what is the reward of a female martyr who performs a martyrdom operation; does she marry 72 of the houris?
[Answer] … the female martyr gains the same rewards as does the male, with the exception of this one aspect [the houris], so that the female martyr will be with the same husband with whom she dies. “And those who have believed and their progeny, followed them in belief. We shall join their progeny to them. We shall not deprive them of any of their work; every man shall be bound by what he has earned” [52:21]. The one who is martyred and has no husband will be married to one of the people of Paradise.
David Cook, Understanding Jihad, p.146
For the Prophet Only
Abrogating revelation 58:13 is another of those revealed truths that are for God's Messenger only and that have no obvious relevance once he died.
58:12 O believers, if you converse privately with the Messenger, then tender a free offering before your secret conversing. That is better for you and purer; but if you do not have the means, then Allah is All-Forgiving, Merciful.
58:13 Do you dread to make free offerings before your private converse? If you do not do so and Allah pardons you, then perform the prayer, give the alms and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah is Aware of what you do.
Perhaps the abrogating revelation is meant to apply to the Prophets' successors as leader of the believers the so-called caliphs; if not, it's simply another one of those revelations with whom Allah favoured His favourite and greatest spokesperson and which are meant to demonstrate the esteem in which He was held during his time in the here-and-now.
Forgive and Forget Is Not Allah's Way
Allah does not forgive and forget, and neither should the believers if they don't want Him to consider them wrongdoers and all the awful things that entails, including roasting in Hell for an eternity.
60:8 Allah does not forbid you, regarding those who did not fight you and did not drive you out of your homes, to be generous to them and deal with them justly. Allah surely loves the just.
60:9 Allah only forbids you, regarding those who fought you in religion and drove you out of your homes and assisted in driving you out, to take them for friends. Those who take them for friends are, indeed, the wrongdoers. Allah is Aware of what you do.
It Was Not a Weighty Message After All
73:5 Indeed, We shall deliver unto you a weighty discourse.
4:28 Allah wishes to lighten your burden; for man was created weak.
Wishing Won't Make It So I
3:19 This is truly a reminder (the Qur'an); so that he who wishes may follow unto his Lord a path.
76:30 Yet, you do not wish unless Allah wishes. Allah is truly All-Knowing and Wise.
Mouthing the Koran Was Not Good Enough
The Prophet or perhaps the believers may have initially misunderstood what was being asked of them.
75:16 Do not wag your tongue with it (the Qur’an) to hurry on with it.
87:6 We shall make you recite; so you will not forget;