As-Sallamu-Alaykom dear brother and sisters

The masses of Christians and Christian missionaries have claimed that verse 256 of Chapter 2 has been abrogated; some claim that many verses abrogate this (verse 256), where as certain missionaries claim that only one verse in particular abrogates the verse.

In today’s article we will examine what the major scholars of Quran exegesis have to say about this, and finally put an end to all the ridiculous claims that verse 256 has been abrogated by citing the opinions of our scholars.

Before we move on, let us first get a brief understanding of what abrogation is and what it means, ironically the first time we hear about abrogation is in the same chapter the verse 256 is, and that is in chapter 2.

YUSUFALI: None of Our revelations do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but we substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things? (002.106)

Abrogation in its simplest term means to cancel out. As we can see here if Allah (sawt) does abrogate a verse or a ruling in the Quran he will substitute it with something better or similar. Chapter 16 and verse 101 articulates this subject a little bit more.

YUSUFALI: When we substitute one revelation for another, – and God knows best what He reveals (in stages), – they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not. [016:101)

As we can see Allah (Sawt) will substitute one revelation for another, now the question may arise why would God do this? Well very simple, the Quran was revealed over a period of 23 years! Can you imagine how hard it would be for the Muslims who had just converted to be told that something you have been doing for nearly your entire life must be come to an end? It would be impossible for the new Muslims, and Allah (sawt) is all knowing. One example of this would be alcohol. At first God warned them of the sin but never told them it was banned, then he told them that they cannot begin prayer while they are intoxicated, and lastly Allah (sawt) told them that drinking was an abomination, and that they must avoid it.

Another example of abrogation according to Grand Ayatollahal-Khoei was Surah 58:12 which was abrogated by 58:13(in case you wanted an example of abrogation).

Now let us get to the verse in question (2:256), the verse states:

[002:256] Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand- hold that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things.

The missionaries state that the part where the verse states ‘’No Compulsion in religion’’ has been abrogated by certain verses which can be found in the Holy Quran.

Rationally speaking the claim is quite illogical, due to the fact that not a single verse in the Holy Quran states ‘’ Force people to convert’’, but for the sake of argument let us quote some scholars who have spent their entire lives interpreting the Holy Quran.

Sayed Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei states the following:

”The verse: There is no compulsion in the religion, is not abrogated by the verse of the sword, although some writers think so. The order is followed by its reason: “truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error.” Such an order cannot be cancelled unless and until its reason is also abrogated. So long as the reason is valid the rule must remain valid. There is no need to emphasize that the verse of the sword cannot negate the clear distinction of the right way from error. For example, the verses: …and kill them wherever you find them… (4:89) and: And fight in the way of Allah… (2:190) have no effect whatsoever on the clear distinction of truth from falsehood; and therefore they cannot abrogate an order based on that distinction.” (Tafseer Al-Mizan)

 

Aqa Mahdi Puya says:

”This verse states a psychological fact that the submissive attitude of the mind and heart towards any sacred object cannot be obtained by force or compulsion, therefore, only a clear view of the sacred generates the spontaneous conviction to adopt the right and reject the wrong. It is not an imperative but an indicative statement. There is no room for considering this verse as having been abrogated by any other verse dealing with jihad. This verse also asserts that after the right way has become clearly distinct from error, man must reject the false gods and believe in Allah.”  (Pooya/M.A. Ali Engl. Commentary)

 

Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani

”This verse is a serious answer to those who imagine that Islam applies obligation and has developed and spread through the force of sword and martial power.” (Light of the Holy Quran)

 

Ayatollah Makareem Shirazi

”The said verse revealed to disclose that compulsion is not compatible with religion. ” (Shirazi Tafseer)

Conclusion

As we can see the scholars (of the Shia’s) are unanimous about this issue. We have proven that Surah 2:256 has not been abrogated, and indeed there is no compulsion in religion and indeed truth stands out clear from error.

As-Sallamu-Alaykom

2 Responses to “Has Verse 256 of Surah Al-Baqara been abrogated?”

  1. Jordanian Shia Says:

    Excellent! May Allah bless you

  2. bfoali Says:

    Thank you for the kind words. And may Allah (subhana wa’ tala) also bless you.

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