THE NUMBER OF NAASIKH AND MANSOOKH VERSES IN THE QUR'AN
The scholars of Islaam have differed greatly with regards to the number of verses in the Qur'aan that are mansookh. (It should be pointed out that the difference of opinion is concerning those verses whose recitation has not been abrogated. and are still found in the mus'haf As for those verses whose recitation has been abrogated. there is no means of ascertaining their exact number. since many of them have been abrogated even from memory).
Thus, for example. Ibn a1-'Arabee discusses around three hundred verses which could be considered as examples for naskh. However. of these many verses, he concludes that only a little over a third are actual cases of naskh; the rest of the examples are shown by him not to be examples of naskh. The reason that such a diverse opinion exists is that many verses are considered examples of naskh. when in fact they are examples of tokhsees, or do not fall under naskh at all. In particular. with regards to those who have over a hundred examples of naskh. they all consider the 'Verse of the Sword' as having abrogated dozens of verses. The 'verse of the Sword' The 'Verse of the Sword' is the verse that gave permission for the Muslims to fight the disbelievers wherever they were:
"Then, when the Sacred Months have elapsed, kill the polytheists wherever you find them, and capture them, and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush ... " (Q9[Tawbah]:5)
This was one of the last verses to be revealed, and perhaps the last verse that dealt with the treatment of the disbelievers. In a masters dissertation specifically on this topic. 'Uthmaan 'Alee discusses 147 verses that have been claimed to have been abrogated by the 'Verse of the Sword,' and concludes that only five of them can actually be said to be abrogated. He gives a useful categorisation of the types of verses hat have been claimed to have been abrogated by the 'Verse of the Sword'. The main categories are:
I) Those verses which are statements of fact; for example.
"And say good speech to mankind " (Q2 [Baqarah] :83)
2) Those verses which give warnings and threats to the disbelievers; for example,
"Say: 0 my people! Do your work according to how you do it, surely, I too am working. Surely, you will come to know for which of us will be the (happy) end in the Hereafter. Certainly the wrongdoers will not be successful." (Q6 [An'am]: 135)
3) Those verses which command the believers to turn away from the evil treatment of the disbelievers. and to deal with them peacefully; for example. "Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish." (Q7[Araf:199)
4) Those verses which command the believers to be patient; for example.
"So bear patiently what they say... " (Q20fTaHa]: 130)
5) Those verses which remind the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) that his only duty is to spread the message; for example.
"Say: Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger. But if you turn away, he (i.e., Muhammad) is only responsible for the duty placed upon him (i.e., to convey the message). and you (are responsible) for that which is placed upon you. If you obey him. you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way."(Q[24[Nur]:54]
6) Those verses which command the believers to return an evil with a similar evil. and to fight only in self defence; for example.
"And fight in the way of Allaah those who fight against you. but do not transgress the limits ... " (Q2 [Baqarah]: 190)
7) Those verses which command the believers to respect the treaties that they had with the disbelievers; for example.
" ... but if they turn back. then take hold of them. and kill them wherever you find them. and do not take helpers or allies from them. Except those who join a group, between you and whom there isa treaty (of peace) " (Q4[Nisaa]:89-90)
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited