THE MANSUKHAT TILAAWAH VERSES
Gilchrist attempts to assail the authenticity of the Qur’aan Majeed by reference to the verses pertaining to the Aayat of Rajm (the Stoning Verses). Stating his case, Gilchrist says:
“Widely reported in the Hadith is a tradition which makes Umar report that the punishment for adultery, according to the Kitab Allah, the “Book of Allah”, was death by stoning, notwithstanding the verse found in the Qur’aan today which prescribes a different penalty.”
After referring to narrations pertaining to Rajm, Gilchrist states is conclusion as follows:
“The widespread [‘widespread’ is a dastardly lie – see footnote below] stoning of adulterers in Muhammad’s time does tend to imply that the verse disclosed by Umar was originally a part of the Qur’aan text. If so, it is just one of those passages now excluded from the Qur’aan (more will be mentioned shortly), proving that the Qur’aan text, as we have it today, is somewhat incomplete.”
In citing the verses of Rajm in his attempt to assail the authenticity of the Qur’aan, Gilchrist has portrayed colossal ignorance of the history of the Qur’aan. It was never denied that the verses pertaining to Rajm constituted part of the Qur’aan. Even to this day, the punishment for married people guilty of adultery is stoning to death. The punishment prescribed in the Qur’aan for adultery does not conflict with the punishment prescribed in the verses of Rajm (stoning). The punishment for adultery stated in the Qur’aan applies to unmarried persons committing the abomination of adultery. The Aayaat on punishment for adultery, found in the Qur’aan mention the infliction of lashes while the Rajm verses – not found in the Qur’aan – apply to married people. There is, therefore, no conflict between the two sets of verses dealing with the sin of adultery. The question arising now is: Why are the verses of Rajm not to be found in the Qur’aan which we have with us?
Verse 106 of Surah Baqarah reads:
“Whatever verse we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring another better than it or like it. What, do you know, that verily, Allah has power over everything!”
Abrogation of verses by Allah Ta’ala during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) while the incidence of Wahi (Revelation) was in progress is a fact well-known to all. The abovementioned Qur’aanic verse states this abrogation or cancellation of verses. Such abrogation is described in detail in the Hadith literature. The verses of Rajm referred to by Gilchrist are not news. The abrogation of the verses in relation to recitation is not a secret discovered by Gilchrist or by Jeffrey or by some other enemy of Islam.
The Qur’aan Majeed itself mentions the abrogation of verses. Such abrogation was not by the Sahaabah. The abrogation was by Wahi and applied only to the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abrogation (Naskh) applied to hukm (effect) and to tilaawat (recitation). Certain verses were abrogated with regard to hukm, but not tilaawat. Other verses were abrogated with regard to tilaawat, but not hukm. The verses of stoning fall in the latter category and are known as Mansukhat Tilaawah, i.e. their tilaawat has been cancelled while the law expounded in them has been retained.
The fact that the Sahaabah did not dispute regarding the abrogation of the stoning verses, clearly proves that the cancellation of the tilaawat of these verses was a well-established fact among them. Not a single authority of Qira’at among the Sahaabah taught the recitation of the Rajm verses or of any other Mansukhat Tilaawat verses. Inspite of the fact that the Rajm verses were not obscure verses unknown to the Sahaabah, we find that Hadhrat Zaid did not include them in the copy compiled by order of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radiallahu anhu) nor do we find Hadhrat Umar (Radiallahu anhu) who was jointly appointed with Hadhrat Zaid, making a case for the inclusion of these verses in the official copy compiled under Abu Bakr’s instruction.
Again, despite the knowledge which all the Sahaabah had of the Rajm verses and inspite of the fact that punishment for married adulterers was always stoning to death, no attempt was made to include these verses in the standardized copy of Hadhrat Uthmaan (radhiallah anhu). This bears out amply the explicit mention in the Hadith literature that the verses of stoning were among the abrogated verses (Mansukhat Tilaawat).
It is highly unreasonable for a critic of Islam to cite the verse of stoning with a view to impugn the authenticity of the Qur’aan. Among the assumptions and presumptions presented by Gilchrist to assail the Qur’aan’s authenticity, his conclusion based on the Mansukhat Tilaawat Aayaat is about the flimsiest for the following reasons:
* These verses were well-known by the Sahaabah
* The punishment mentioned in these verses was official law and remains so to this day in the Shariah.
* Inspite of Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Umar, Zaid, Uthmaan and all others having knowledge of these verses, no attempt was ever made to include these verses in either the manuscripts compiled by order of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radiallahu anhu) or the standardized copy of Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radiallahu anhu).
* There never existed any difference among the Sahaabah on the fact that these verses were among the Mansukhat Tilaawat verses.
It now rests on Gilchrist to provide us with authentic Hadith literature as evidence to prove his claim that the exclusion of the stoning verses constitutes unauthorized deletion from the Qur’aan. The Hadith literature explains the abrogation of verses – abrogation stated in the Qur’aan. Let Gilchrist refer to the Hadith literature and not “dismiss these evidences in favour of pure speculation” and fanciful thinking.
Once a verse has been abrogated on the authority of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), it cannot be included in the Qur’aanic text any longer. The matter is simple to understand and it explains the total lack of dispute among the Sahaabah regarding the mansukhat Tilaawat verses.
Footnote added by Admin:
“According to George Mason University, Worldwide Sexual Assault Statistics, 1 in 3 American women will be sexually abused during their lifetime. About 19.3% of women and 2% of men have been raped at least once in their lives. Additionally, an estimated 43.9% of women and 23.4% of men experienced other forms of sexual violence during their lifetimes. Many victims of sexual abuse were victimized at a young age, about 79% were first raped before age 25, and 40% before age 18. (usatoday).
According to RAIIN, Every 107 seconds, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. There is an average of 293,000 victims (age 12 or older) of sexual assault each year. 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail….More than a quarter of college-age women report having experienced a rape or rape attempt since age 14. Out of all, only 16% of the total cases are reported. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)”