Abrogation and the Verse of the Sword: Countering Extremists’ Justification for Violence.

The following is Quranic exegesis and theological examination by Mahfuh Halimi, within the precept of abrogation, Halimi wrongfully identifies abrogation as a concept within Islamic doctrine. Abrogation is a principle and is fundamental to Islamic teaching. I examined the precept of al-Wala wal-Baraa, in a previous post of the same name click here to read more:  https://nazaritze.blogspot.com/2017/07/al-wala-wal-baraa.html

Read Halimi’s exegesis in the following, owing to the length of the exegesis I will extend the post till the end, in several parts this is PART 1:

Mahfuh Halimi

Muslim extremist groups and ideologues have distorted the original discussion among

scholars on the concept of abrogation and the Qurānic verse of the sword to legitimize

hostile relations with people of other faiths. Their misrepresentation has to be countered

by reaffirming that the verses of the Qur’ān advocating peace, tolerance, compassion

and forgiveness are never abrogated and are in fact, the basis for relations between

Muslims and non-Muslims.


Muslim extremists such as Muhammad„ Abdus Salam Faraj and the terrorist group, the so-called Islamic State (IS), have distorted the concept of abrogation, and the verse of the sword (hostilities towards polytheists) into a purportedly divinely mandated call for offensive global „jihad‟(warfare).

A 2012 study on „How Islamist Extremists Quote the Qur‟an‟ showed that there “is the near absence of the well-known „Verse of the Sword‟ from the extremist texts”.

However, in instances when Muslim extremists used the verse of the sword, they have argued that the verse abrogates more than one hundred other verses of the Qur‟ān that advise or advocate peace, co-existence, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness as the basis for relations between Muslims and other faiths.

This study examines how Muslim extremists have misapplied the theory of abrogation and the verse of the sword when the Qur‟ān does1 Jeffry R. Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow, and Steven R. Corman, “How Islamist Extremists Quote the Qur’an,” Centre for Strategic Communication, Arizona State University, Report No. 1202, 09 July2012.

They do not not even specify the verses that have been abrogated. Their claim that the verse of the sword abrogates numerous Qur‟ānic verses cannot be taken as conclusive, especially when the abrogated verses are those that direct Muslims to seek peace, exercise tolerance, and show compassion and forgiveness.


This study posits that Muslim extremists have made erroneous claims on the issue of abrogation by omitting the rich discussion on the subject among Islamic scholars and falsely presenting it as something consensual among the scholars when that is not the case.

There is an extensive body of literature on the issue of abrogation. Many scholars of the Sciences of the Qur‟ān (‘Ulūm al-Qur’ān), Sciences of the Prophetic Tradition (‘Ulūm al- Ḥadith) and Sciences of Islamic Jurisprudence (‘Ulūm al-Fiqh) have written to explain and define abrogation (Naskh).


There have also been numerous attempts to specify the abrogating (Nāsikh) and abrogated

(Mansūkh) Qur‟ānic verses. Sometimes, abrogation has been discussed in the literature as a methodology in resolving apparent contradictions between religious texts (Al Ta‘āruḍ bayna al adillah). There are, however, several requirements that must be satisfied before abrogation can be applied.

Although the literature has explained abrogation in the Qur‟ān, the Prophetic Traditions and Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh), there has been no attempt to relate these to violence and terrorism in the name of religion. Concerns about the opinions expressed by Muslim extremists on abrogation and „The Verse of the Sword‟ or„Āyat al sayf‟ came to the fore following the September 2001 attacks.


This is a part of my teaching series on Islamic theology specifically that which is used by jihadist’s and the clerics, who support and abet jihadist ideology within Islamic thought. Since the Caribbean specifically Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, Aruba and some South American countries are now seeing their citizens represented in Iraq and Syria, as foreign fighters this post is examining the type of Quranic hadith that is used as a means of strengthening a Muslims resolve to act by physically partaking in terrorist attacks, in the name of the god of Islam Allah, at the behest of Quranic scripture, preached by what the West calls radical Islamic preachers. This post is really minuscule in the theological context of Islamism, what it does serve is an informative tool in establishing Quranic justification for jihadism.




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