Thank you Imam for your response in Fatwa 13402 concerning abrogation. I agree that some of the decrees in the Quran changed according to the circumstances of the time. None more so than with regard to Jihad and when it should shouldn’t be waged. It seems that earlier parts of the Quran (the Meccan verses) are more tolerant to the non-muslims (the idolatorous Meccans) :
“Therefore expound openly what thou art commanded, and turn away from those who join false gods with Allah” 15:94
“Say, O ye that reject faith! I worship not that which ye worship… To you be your way, and to me mine.”
This was by necessity : the Prophet (PBUH) was outnumbered and had only a small number of followers. After the Hijra to Medina, as the Ummah grew and the Prophet (PBUH) had an army, the verses at this period undergo a change i.e. :
“Kill the idolators wheresoever ye shall find them, and take them (Prisoners) and besiege them, and lay wait for them in every convenient place.”
“O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you, and know that God is with those who fear Him.”
Which verses are we to follow ? This is why muslims are so confused : some say Islam is a religeon of peace and quote parts of the Quran supporting this. Other muslims (e.g Al Qaeda and their followers who are engaged in suicide bombing in Iraq, Palestine and London even) quote parts of the Quran calling on muslims to kill the unbelievers. They can’t both be right ! Some Christians who’ve spoken to me and have read the Quran are left with the impression that, because of the time based nature of Quranic revelations (“He commands accordingly to the needs of the time” to use your quote), that does not befit the claim that it is from an Omnipotent, Omniscient source and that it’s commandments should be ahistorical, and NOT pertaining to one particular time circumstance. So to go back to the example about the numbers muslims are expected to fight – surely, they say, Allah must have known that the original ratio of 10 to 1 would have been onerous and not have commanded it in the first place, if only to lighten it later ?
If you argue that it is like a docter dispensing with a certain type of medication after a certain time, are we to dispense of those parts of the Quran that are abrogated ?
It is important to understand that the primary sources of Shariah are 1)Quraan and 2) Hadith.
Both these sources are termed as Wahi (revelation). Although they differ in status and category both are inseparable and cannot be viewed independently. For example Allah enjoins the performance of Salaah in numerous verses of the Quraan. However, the finer details of the times of Salaah, number of rakaats, etc. is discussed in Hadith. This clearly indicates that Quraan and hadith can not exist independently.
In view of the above, the aspect of jihad and our previous correspondence should be viewed in the same light. If Allah has given the order of jihad in the Quraan, this order too just like Salaah is governed by certain rules and principles. In no way it means that because the order of jihad has been mentioned in the Quraan, one goes on a killing spree with the hope of fulfilling the command of Allah. Now instead of gaining reward one will be punished for acting in an irresponsible way.
The rules and principles of jihad are mentioned in authentic Ahadith. There absolutely no need to be confused. The rulings of Quraan and Hadith are explicit, clear and have no ambiguities. Therefore, one will have to judge the claims of both parties and compare them with the rules and principles and make a decision of whom is correct and whom is incorrect.
And Allah Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai