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Naasikh and Mansukh

"He grants Hikmah to whom He pleases, and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember (will receive admonition) except men of understanding." [2:269]

Ibn Abbaas explained this ayah saying this hikmah is the knowledge and understanding of the Qur’aan,

its abrogated (naasikh) and abrogaters (mansukh),
the aayaat which are clear (muhkam) with one interpretation and those which aren’t clear (mutashaabih) and have more than one interpretation,
the earlier (muqaddam) and latter (muakhkhar) aayaat,
the haraam and halal from the aayaat,
and the examples (amthaal) given in the Qur’aan.


Naskh = Process of abrogation, scholars defined it as a process by which a shari’ ruling is removed or changed by another chari’ ruling.

Naasikh = The one that abrogates,
Mansukh = The one that is abrogated

“Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?” [2:106]

Also, [An Nahl:101] and [Ar Ra’d:39] both include proof for naskh in the Qur’aan.

Mu’tazilah had a deviant understanding where they rejected naskh because they said the words of Allah cannot be wiped, this is obviously incorrect. The words of Allah are not wiped but the ruling does not apply anymore, the one who gives the rules can change them for good reasons.

Ibn Abbaas said the first things that were abrogated in the Qur’aan were as follows:

a) Command to change the qiblah from masjid al aqsa to masjid al haraam.

“Verily! We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad's SAW) face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid- al-Haram (at Makkah). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction. Certainly, the people who were given the Scriptures (i.e. Jews and the Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka'bah at Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.” [2:144]

b) Partially abrogation of the following ayah by the one after due to the cases where a man would do the nikaah and then divorce before relations had taken place:

“And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” [2:228]

“O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have sexual intercourse with them, no 'Iddah have you to count in respect of them. So give them a present, and set them free i.e. divorce, in a handsome manner.” [33:49]

c) The waiting period for the widowed was reduced from one year to four months and ten days:

“And those of you who die and leave behind wives should bequeath for their wives a year's maintenance and residence without turning them out, but if they (wives) leave, there is no sin on you for that which they do of themselves, provided it is honourable (e.g. lawful marriage). And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” [2:240]

"And those of you who die and leave wives behind them, they (the wives) shall wait (as regards their marriage) for four months and ten days, then when they have fulfilled their term, there is no sin on you if they (the wives) dispose of themselves in a just and honourable manner (i.e. they can marry). And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do." [2:234]

Importance of Naskh

During his time as khalifah, ‘Ali radiyAllahu ‘anh met a judge and asked him if he knew the naasikh and mansukh of the Qur’aan, to which he replied no. ‘Ali said to him, 'you are destroyed and are a destroyer.'

Thus it is a must for someone who implements the rulings of Islam to know the naasikh and mansukh

Ad Daarimi reported that Hudhayfah radiyAllahu ‘anh said: “there are three from the people who give fatwa, the Imaam, the ruler and the one who knows the naasikh and mansookh of the Qur’aan.” The people asked: “who is this”, to which Hudhayfah replied: “‘Umar or the foolish pretender.”

Types of Naskh

Scholars have categorised and divided abrogation in many ways

In one way, there are two types:

Abrogation without replacement and abrogation with replacement for what is abrogated

The replacement can be lighter in ruling than the one that is replaced, equal to the one that is replaced, or stricter than the previous one.

Types of Naasikh

1. An obligatory ruling that abrogated an obligatory ruling and you cannot go back to the first:

[4:15] – the unmarried adulterer and adulteress were previously to be restrained in the house but this was abrogated by [24:2] which stated that they were to be given 100 lashes each.

An obligatory ruling abrogates an obligatory ruling but you can go back to the first,

[8:65] – 20 patient muslims could defeat 200 in Jihad was changed to 100 could defeat 200 in [8:66] to lighten the matter. The second does not mean that you cannot go back to the first ayah as is proven by [2:249].
Also, qiyaam ul layl was initially obligatory but was lifted when prayer was prescribed, but it is still something you can do.
Similarly, the fast of ‘aashoora and other fasts that were obligatory before ramadhaan was prescribed. One can still fast on these days without the fasts being obligatory.

Types of Mansukh

In an naasikh wal mansukh fil Qur’aan by Shaykh al mar’ee ibn yousuf al karami (used due to its simplicity) 5 categories are given:

a) Commonest form: Where the ruling is removed but the text remains in the Qur’aan,

"And those of you who die and leave behind wives should bequeath for their wives a year's maintenance and residence without turning them out, but if they (wives) leave, there is no sin on you for that which they do of themselves, provided it is honourable (e.g. lawful marriage). And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise." [2:240]

b) Where the text is removed without any replacement but the ruling still applies, e.g. the ayah of stoning as is proven by the hadith of Umar recorded by Abu Dawud that:

“...We used to recite it and ... and the messenger of Allah stoned and we stoned after him and indeed I fear that a long time will go by and the time will come when a person will say ‘We do not find the ayah of rajm in the book of Allah’...”

c) Those aayaat or rulings that are connected with a reason for which the reason is now gone. The ayah is still present but as the reason is not, the ruling does not apply,

"O you who believe! When believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them, Allah knows best as to their Faith, then if you ascertain that they are true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers, they are not lawful (wives) for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful (husbands) for them..." [60:10]

This was revealed after the treaty of Hudaybiyah. After the conquest of Makkah, the treaty was no longer valid and thus, the reason for the rule was absent.

d) The aayaat remain, the meanings remains but the deduced rulings change,

"They ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit."..."[2:219]

"O you who believe! Approach not As-Salat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter..." [4:43]

"O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful." [5:90]

The meaning of all three aayaat still remains, wine's evil is more than its good, you are not allowed to pray whilst intoxicated and it is from the evil acts of shaytaan that must be avoided.

The implied meaning of the first two was that wine could still be drunk, however this was abrogated by the last aayah.

e) The text and ruling is removed but the ayah remains in the memory of people,

Imaam Ahmad recorded that Ubayy ibn Ka’b said “‘How many aayaat do you recite in surah al ahzaab?’, the narrator said ‘73’, Ubayy said ‘I used to read with the messenger of Allah this surah like al baqarah or even more than that and in that was the ayah of rajam’”

Also, Abu Musa al Ash’ari said “There was a surah revealed just like al baraa’ah (at Taubah) and then it was lifted”

This was confirmed by Anas: “We used to recite, in the time of the messenger of Allah, a surah equal to at tawbah and nothing is left in my memory except one ayah...”

Why is there abrogation in the Qur'aan?

1. For the purpose of mercy, rulings came with graduation allowing people to adjust

2. Because Allah is al-‘aleem and al-hakeem and He is aware of what is best for us and prescribed this for us.

3. In this way Allah has made many issues lighter for us as man is created weak.

4. There were sometimes needs which have passed therefore the rules connected with them were abrogated.