What is "Abrogation" in Islam?

To abrogate means to abolish, do away with, or annul, especially by authority.

This is a key term in studying the Quran. There are some peaceful, tolerant verses in the Quran. But the violent, intolerant ones have abrogated them. The Quran itself explains what to do with conflicting verses. If two passages conflict, it says, the one written later is better than the one written earlier. The earlier passage has been abrogated by the later one.

The bad news for non-Muslims is that almost all the peaceful passages were written earlier, and the intolerant, hateful, and violent ones were written later (read more about this).

The two key abrogation passages in the Quran are these:

2:106 "Whatever of Our revelations We repeal or cause to be forgotten, We will replace them with something superior or comparable. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things? Do you not know that Allah reigns sovereign over the heavens and earth and besides Him you have no protector or helper? Would you question your messenger as Moses was questioned in his time? Those who exchange their faith for disbelief have gone astray from the right path."

16:101 "When We exchange one verse for another, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say, 'You are making this up.' Most of them do not understand."

Bill Warner writes, "There are as many as 225 verses of the Koran that are altered by later verses. This is called abrogation."

Read an excellent article by the Martel Group, who knew way ahead of the rest of us that Islamic violence and Islamization were a threat to the free world: Abrogation (PDF document).

Another good article on abrogation is here: Abrogation of the Koran, Koranic Contradictions and Muslim Taqiyya. I thought this was interesting (from that article):

Of the Koran's 114 suras (chapters), only 43 are without abrogated or abrogating verses. That is naturally surprising, and so unexpected that few Westerners are aware that significant segments of the Koran have been theologically annulled. Mohammed's non-Muslim contemporaries were just as surprised.

Another good article is Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam.

For more on abrogation, read these selections from the ex-Muslim's site, FaithFreedom.org:

"Abrogation" means the canceling or replacement of one Quranic passage by another. It seems that as circumstances changed during the 23-year period that Muhammad dictated the Quran, the directions and precepts found therein sometimes changed to accommodate new and changing political and military realities, sometimes quite dramatically. Thus, the Quran abrogates or cancels itself in various passages and presents seemingly conflicting statements. Muslims do not view this sort of abrogation as a contradiction, but rather, as improvements to better suit varying circumstances or needs, or to fit Muhammad's religious concepts. For further reading, see the articles below.

The Quran's Doctrine of Abrogation:


Abrogated Verses Of the Quran:

Abrogation in the Koran:

The Problem of Abrogation in the Quran:

Ahmad, Allah, and Abrogation:


  1. Thank you for making this topic so clear for non-Muslims.

  2. The Arab peoples (and other non-Arab Muslims) have been manipulated for centuries by their own leaders. True individual decision-making is not allowed. The poor and ignorant in Western culture have also been manipulated, in both less and more subtle ways. Poor humanity!

  3. Hi there. I'm a Muslims woman from iran. I would tell you some things about this topic.
    Abrogation in Quran. It's called Naskh.
    The Cow, Baqarah 2:106
    We do not cancel any verse nor let it be forgotten; instead we bring something better than it or else something similar. Do you not know that God is Capable of everything? (106)
    Naskh means abrogation of what God said before. We have two kinds of naskh, one that is a new idea in a way that obsoletes the previous idea like it was wrong. This means weakness and ignorance and conflicts with the knowledge of God so it's rejected. a the law is for a special time, the Lord is aware of it though people are unaware and think the law is permanent. In some times the first law is just a test for people. An example for this is:
    The Pleading One (Mujadilah)
    You who believe, whenever you confer with the Messenger, offer some sort of charity before you confer [with him]; that will be better for you, and purer [besides]. Yet if you do not find anything [to give], God is still Forgiving, Merciful. (12)
    this was just a test. People used to ask so many nonsense questions from the prophet and he didn't had time to do anything anymore so this verse was a test and only for a short time not for always.
    Sometimes a law belongs to a situation, when situation changes, the law changes too. For example in past women had to allow their husband for leaving house but nowadays they don't.
    Sometimes it's hard to accept something because of the situation so it needs time to accept. In the Arabian peninsula drinking wine was a general habit and it was impossible to forbid it at once. So first God says:
    The Bee (Nahl) 16:67
    From the fruit of the datepalm and grapevine you derive intoxicants as well as fine nourishment; in that is a sign for folk who reason. (67)
    Next step:
    The Cow (Baqarah) 2:219
    They will ask you about liquor and gambling. SAY: In each of them there lies serious vice as well as some benefits for mankind. Yet their vice is greater than their usefulness." They may ask you what to spend. SAY: "As much as you can spare!" Thus God explains His signs to you so that you may meditate (219)
    Next step:
    The Women (Nisa) 4:43

    You who believe, do not attempt to pray while you are drunk (43)
    And then:
    The Food (Maidah) 5:90
    You who believe, liquor and gambling, idols and raffles, are only the filthy work of Satan; turn aside from it so that you may prosper. (90)
    Drinking liquor was supposed to be forbidden but it couldn't happen at once, that's why it took time.
    We can't say this happened about everything for example Jihad. You may think some of verses in quran are scary but you should read all other verses related to it and the situation to know what’s going on. For example in one chapter God is talking about some who attacked Muslims, what Muslims supposed to do? stay at home and watch? God tells them to stand up and defend themselves. But that chapter is for a war 1400 years ago not now!! Unfortunately even some Muslims are wrong about what God really means. For example ISIS who does terrible things in the name of Islam. But you can be sure, more than they kill non Muslims, they kill Muslims. There are 2 billion Muslims in the world, if all of them were terrorists there were no one in the world anymore.

    1. The fact that the Qur'an and its depiction of its god can be quoted and interpreted as either peaceful or violent, tolerant or intolerant, merciful or vengeful depending on which interpretation serves the interest of whomever interprets it makes Islam dangerous and a threat to the civilized world. It's obviously quite easy to convince many thousands if not millions of Muslims that they are justified in using violence and waging jihad against non-Muslims and the non-Muslim world and to do so by invoking the literal holy text of Islam itself. A religion so easily used by bloodthirsty fascists to establish totalitarian rule in the name of a god can never truthfully be called a religion of peace.

  4. Yes, violence is supposed to be only in defense, but it has been used traditionally, and by Muhammad himself, as a defense against an attack that was provoked. In other words, Muhammad attacks caravans, for example, and then when the Meccans respond with force, that is considered an attack on Islam and is "defended" with violence. So Islam, like a ratchet, keeps pushing, gets resisted, the resistance is considered an attack and Islam is defended, and so it goes until today we have 57 Muslim countries whose population of non-Muslims continually dwindles down over time because Islam is a machine perfectly designed to annihilate all other cultures.


    And yes, those who follow Islamic doctrine will kill Muslims too because the Koran commands followers to kill the unbelievers AND the hypocrites.


  5. Also, the commands are not contextualized for the time and place. The language of the Koran is for all time.


  6. Yes, the language is for all the time BUT you need to look at the situation that verse belongs. If in Christianity if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also; in Islam you can stand, you must not be oppressed but it doesn't mean violence.
    You're right about attacking caravans but this happened only one time by a Meccan who converted to Islam a while back and our prophet apologized for that.
    Why do you defend people of Mecca? they used to beat their wives, burry their daughters alive, have more than 12 wives while Islam told them don't kill your children,
    The Bee (Nahl) 16:58, 59
    Yet whenever one of them receives word he has had a daughter, his face becomes black with gloom and he feels like choking. (58)

    He hides from folk because of the bad news that he has just received. Will he hold on to her and feel disgraced, or bury her in the dust? Whatever they decide is evil! (59)
    Islam told them they can't have wife more than 4 and if they want to beat their wife they must do it with a wood of tooth brush and smooth in a way it wont hurt them.
    I don't agree with you. I'm a Muslim and I don't like hatred and violence. It hurts me when I see wars and hatred. I do have Christian and Jewish friends. They say I don't know what Islam is but we love you. I'm asking you, have you ever had a Muslim friend in person? have you ever read Quran cover by cover with tafsir (explanation)? how you can trust internet?
    Did you know I was an atheist before? yes, I'm from Iran but I wasn't muslim. I researched (not on the internet) and read quran with tafsir and I found Islam peaceful. I don't care if terrorists claim they are true Muslims because I know they're lying.
    If you want to read Quran this is a good translation
    Tafsir will help to know about verses more. http://www.almizan.org/
    If you want to research use a Islamic scholar like Marmaduke Pickthall or someone who really researched about Islam.
    You can not find the truth on the internet. The history of Islam I have read on so many history books are different with what you say! Sooo different!! If islam was a bad religion I was crazy to covert to Islam? I am crazy but not that much!!

    1. thank you for your honesty and the links you provided