The Quran

Commentaries for 2.106

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.106 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then Allah mentions what was abrogated of the Qur'an and that which was not abrogated, as a direct reference to the claim of the Quraysh who said to the Prophet: O Muhammad! Why do you command us to do something and then forbid it, saying: (Such of Our revelations as We abrogate) We do not erase a verse that was acted upon before and which is now not acted upon (or cause to be forgotten) or leave unabrogated so that it is acted upon, (We bring one better) We send Gabriel with that which more profitable and easier to act upon (or the like) in reward, benefit and action. (Knowest thou not) O Muhammad (that Allah is Able to do all things?) of the abrogated and unabrogated.
2.106 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Whatever verse We abrogate or cause to be forgotten-We bring better than it or its like.
By way of allusion He is saying, “We never make you advance from the locus of servanthood without setting you down in the courtyards of freedom. We never remove from you any of the attributes of mortal nature without making you abide through one of the marks that give witness to the Divinity.”
In terms of allusion He is saying, “O paragon of the horizons, O messenger to jinn and men, O quintessence of predetermination, O luminous full moon, O totality of perfection, O kiblah of prosperity, O basis of bounteousness, O displayer of gentleness and majesty, O you whose branch of union is blooming and whose star of exaltedness is always shining, O you whose good fortune has gone beyond the clouds of being and become specific to the marks giving witness to the Lordhood and the confirmation of the Divinity! Instant by instant the work of your good fortune is advancing. What others have as crowns, you have as sandals.
“The sandals that your steed threw from its feet
became the crown of sultans-and may it ever be so! [DS 838]
“O paragon! Even though the stations beyond which We make you advance are the beautiful deeds of all the friends and the limpid, they are your ugly deeds as long as you remain within them. When you pass beyond them, ask forgiveness for them!”
MuṣṬafā said that he asked forgiveness for them seventy times a day: “My heart becomes clouded, so I ask forgiveness from God seventy times a day.”
Abū Bakr al-ṣiddīq said, “Would that I could witness that for which God's Messenger asked forgiveness!”
Concerning His words, “Whatever verse We abrogate,” it has also been said, “That is, the servant is not transferred from a state without being given what is above and beyond it. 'Whenever We abrogate any trace of worship, We replace it with one of the lights of servanthood. Whenever We abrogate one of the lights of servanthood, We put in its place something of the moons of servitude.'”9 So he continues, being transferred from the lower to the higher, until he falls under one of the attractions of the Real. And “One attraction from the Real is equivalent to all the deeds of jinn and men.”
When someone is lifted up by the court of Lordhood and received by the marks bearing witness to Divinity, Unity nurtures him in the domes of exaltation with the attribute of love and takes him from state to state, conveying him from this station to the next station until he falls under the attraction of the Real. After having been a traveler, he is snatched away. Then, wherever he may have gone in his whole life in the state of traveling, he is taken beyond that at the first step in the state of being pulled, for “One attraction from the Real is equivalent to all the deeds of jinn and men.” Indeed, just as He is not similar to anyone, so also His pulling is not similar to the traveling of the creatures. To the lords of traveling, He says, “Preserve the commands and prohibitions.” To the commands and prohibitions He says, “Preserve the lords of attraction, for in the world of realities the descendents of Adam remain alive through them. The well-trodden path of truthfulness is filled with the firm fixity of their feet.”
In the world of realities they are called “the strangers among the tribes”-like Bilāl from Abyssinia, ṣuhayb from Byzantium, Salmān from Persia, and Uways from Qaran. How beautifully has this been said by that chevalier:
Nothing comes from a handful of frivolous seekers of leadership-
learn being a Muslim from Salmān and religion's pain from Abū Dardā. [DS 55]
It is they who knew the worth of MuṣṬafā's Shariah and recognized the rightful due of his Sunnah. When the limpidness of the secret core of such sincerely truthful men shines on a thorn, it becomes the jasmine of the religion. If it shines on the obedient, they are accepted; if it shines on the disobedient, they are forgiven; and if it shines on the ungodly, they become friends. Thus it is told that Ḥātim Aṣamm and Shaqīq Balkhī went on a journey. An ungodly old man, a minstrel, became their companion in the road. Most of the time he was busy with the tools of corruption and the instruments of ungodliness. Ḥātim kept on waiting for Shaqīq to prevent him from doing that and to blame him, but he did not do so, and the journey came to an end. At the moment of parting, the ungodly old man said, “What kind of people are you? I have never seen anyone heavier. You never danced once, you never clapped your hands.”
Ḥātim said, “Excuse us. I am Ḥātim, and that's Shaqīq.”
When the old man heard their names, he fell to their feet in repentance and became their disciple, eventually becoming one of the friends. Afterwards Shaqīq said to Ḥātim, “I saw with the patience of Men and I hunted with the hunting of Men.”
2.106 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
When the disbelievers began to deride the matter of abrogation, saying that one day Muhammad enjoins his Companions to one thing and then the next day he forbids it, God revealed: And whatever verse (mā is the conditional particle), that has been revealed containing a judgement, We abrogate, either together with its recital or not [that is only its judgement, but its recital continues]; there is a variant reading, nunsikh, meaning ‘[Whatever verse] We command you or Gabriel to abrogate’, or postpone, so that We do not reveal the judgement contained in it, and We withhold its recital or retain it in the Preserved Tablet; a variant reading [of nunsi’hā] is nunsihā, from ‘to forget’: so ‘[Whatever verse We abrogate] or We make you forget, that is, We erase from your heart’; the response to the conditional sentence [begun with mā] is: We bring [in place] a better, one that is more beneficial for [Our] servants, either because it is easier [to implement] or contains much reward; or the like of it, in terms of religious obligation and reward; do you not know that God has power over all things?, including abrogating and substituting [verses]? (the interrogative here is meant as an affirmative).
2.106 Kashani - Kashani
And whatever verse We abrogate, by invalidating its ruling but retaining it in form, or postpone, and take it away from your heart by removing its formulation and signification, or its formulation but not its signification, such as the stoning verse, We bring [in place] a better one, that is, [We bring in place of it] what is more beneficial than it in that context or is equivalent to it in terms of good or benefit. Know that the laws fixed in the Preserved Tablet are either specific or general: the specific are either specific to individuals or specific to a time-period. If it is then revealed to the heart of the Messenger, the one specific to individuals remains as long as those individuals remain, while the one that is specific to certain periods of time is abrogated and removed upon the passing of that period of time, be it brief as in the case of the abrogated verses of the QurÌān, or lengthy as in the case of the aforesaid stipulations of the Law. None of that contradicts their being fixed in the Tablet since that is their status in it. As for the general ones, these remain for all time, such as human speech or his upright posture, for example; [or the like of it; do you not know that God has power over all thingsḍ]
2.106-107 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Meaning of Naskh
Ibn Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said that,
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ ءَايَةٍ
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "Whatever an Ayah We abrogate.'' Also, Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that,
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ ءَايَةٍ
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "Whatever an Ayah We erase.'' Also, Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that,
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ ءَايَةٍ
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "We keep the words, but change the meaning.'' He related these words to the companions of `Abdullah bin Mas`ud. Ibn Abi Hatim said that similar statements were mentioned by Abu Al-`Aliyah and Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi. Also As-Suddi said that,
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ ءَايَةٍ
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "We erase it.'' Further, Ibn Abi Hatim said that it means, "Erase and raise it, such as erasing the following wordings (from the Qur'an), `The married adulterer and the married adulteress: stone them to death,' and, `If the son of Adam had two valleys of gold, he would seek a third.'''
Ibn Jarir stated that,
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ ءَايَةٍ
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "Whatever ruling we repeal in an Ayah by making the allowed unlawful and the unlawful allowed.'' The Nasakh only occurs with commandments, prohibitions, permissions, and so forth. As for stories, they do not undergo Nasakh. The word, `Nasakh' literally means, `to copy a book'. The meaning of Nasakh in the case of commandments is removing the commandment and replacing it by another. And whether the Nasakh involves the wordings, the ruling or both, it is still called Nasakh.
Allah said next,
أَوْ نُنسِهَا
(or Nunsiha (cause it to be forgotten)). `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said that,
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ ءَايَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh or Nunsiha) means, "Whatever Ayah We repeal or uphold without change.'' Also, Mujahid said that the companions of Ibn Mas`ud (who read this word Nansa'ha) said that it means, "We uphold its wording and change its ruling.'' Further, `Ubayd bin `Umayr, Mujahid and `Ata' said, `Nansa'ha' means, "We delay it (i.e., do not abrogate it).'' Further, `Atiyyah Al-`Awfi said that the Ayah means, "We delay repealing it.'' This is the same Tafsir provided by As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. `Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said about Allah's statement,
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ ءَايَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten) "Allah made His Prophet forget what He willed and He abrogated what He will.''
Allah's said,
نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا
(We bring a better one or similar to it), better, relates to the benefit provided for the one it addresses, as reported from `Ali bin Abi Talhah that Ibn `Abbas said,
نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا
(We bring a better one) means, "We bring forth a more beneficial ruling, that is also easier for you.'' Also, As-Suddi said that,
نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا
(We bring a better one or similar to it) means, "We bring forth a better Ayah, or similar to that which was repealed.'' Qatadah also said that,
نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا
(We bring a better one or similar to it) means, "We replace it by an Ayah more facilitating, permitting, commanding, or prohibiting.''
Naskh occurs even though the Jews deny it
Allah said,
مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ ءَايَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ - أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ نَصِيرٍ
(Know you not that Allah is Able to do all things Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth And besides Allah you have neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper).
Allah directed His servants to the fact that He alone is the Owner of His creatures and that He does with them as He wills. Indeed, His is the supreme authority and all creation is His, and just as He created them as He wills, He brings happiness to whom He wills, misery to whom He wills, health to whom He wills and ailment to whom He wills. He also brings success to whom He wills and failure to whom He wills. He judges between His servants as He wills, allows what He wills and disallows what He wills. He decides what He wills, there is no opponent for His judgment, and no one can question Him about what He does, while they shall be questioned. He tests His servants and their obedience to His Messengers by the Naskh. He commands a matter containing a benefit which He knows of, and then He out of His wisdom, prohibits it. Hence, perfect obedience is realized by adhering to His commands, following His Messengers, believing in what ever they convey, implementing their commands and avoiding what they prohibit.
The statements of Allah here contain tremendous benefit, prove that the Jews are disbelievers and refute their claim that Naskh does not occur, may Allah curse the Jews. In ignorance and arrogance they claimed that the sound mind stipulates that Naskh does not occur. Some of them falsely claimed that there are divine texts that dismiss the possibility that Naskh occurred.
Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said, "The Ayah means, `Do you not know, O Muhammad, that I alone own the heavens and the earth and that I decide whatever I will in them I forbid whatever I will, change and repeal whatever I will of My previous rulings, whenever I will. I also uphold whatever I will.''
Ibn Jarir then said, "Although Allah directed His statement indicating His greatness towards His Prophet, He also rejected the lies of the Jews who denied that the rulings of the Torah could undergo Naskh. The Jews also denied the prophethood of Jesus and Muhammad, because of their dislike for what they brought from Allah, such as changing some rulings of the Torah, as Allah commanded. Allah thus proclaimed to the Jews that He owns the heavens and earth and also all authority in them. Further, the subjects in Allah's kingdom are His creation, and they are required to hear and obey His commands and prohibitions. Allah has full authority to command the creation as He wills, forbidding them from what He wills, abrogate what He wills, uphold what He wills, and decide whatever commandments and prohibitions He wills.''
I (Ibn Kathir) say that the Jews' dismissal of the occurrence of the Naskh is only a case of their disbelief and rebellion. The sound mind does not deny that there could be a Naskh in Allah's commandments, for He decides what He wills, just as He does what He wills. Further, Naskh occurred in previous Books and Law. For instance, Allah allowed Adam to marry his daughters to his sons and then later forbade this practice. Allah also allowed Nuh to eat from all kinds of animals after they left the ark, then prohibited eating some types of foods. Further, marrying two sisters to one man was allowed for Israel and his children, but Allah prohibited this practice later in the Torah. Allah commanded Abraham to slaughter his son, then repealed that command before it was implemented. Also, Allah commanded the Children of Israel to kill those who worshipped the calf and then repealed that command, so that the Children of Israel were not all exterminated. There are many other instances that the Jews admit have occurred, yet they ignore them. Also, it is a well-known fact that their Books foretold about Muhammad and contained the command to follow him. These texts, in their Books, indicate that the Jews were required to follow the Prophet Muhammad and that no good deed would be accepted from them, unless it conformed to Muhammad's Law. The Prophet brought another Book, - the Qur'an -, which is the last revelation from Allah.
2.106-107 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This is the answer to an objection which the Jews raised to create doubts in the minds of the Muslims. They argued like this: The Qur'an says that the former Scriptures had been sent down by Allah and that it also has been sent down by Him. If it is so, why does the Qur'an then give such commands as differ from those contained in the former Books'? How can the same Allah give different commands at different times? Besides, they said, "The Qur'an asserts that the Jews and the Christians have forgotten a part of the teachings sent down to them. How is it possible that the teachings of Allah could be obliterated from memory?" They did not raise these objections for the sake of arriving at the truth but for the sake of creating mischief. Allah answers their objections thus: "I am the Sovereign and My powers are unlimited. I can repeal any order of Mine or allow it to be forgotten, but I substitute for it something that serves the same purpose better or at least equally well."
2.106 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And whatever verse We abrogate or postpone We bring [in place] a better or the like of it; do you not know that God has power over all thingsḍ Abrogation naskh is the removal of something; that is [it is] what moves you from one state to that which is above and superior to it for the branch of your communion is forever flourishing and the star of your nobility is forever shining. “We do not abrogate anything of the traces of worship ʿibāda without substituting for it something from the lights of servanthood ʿubūdiyya. And We do not abrogate anything from the lights of servanthood without putting something in its place from the moons of servitude ʿubūda.Your innermost self is always rising taraqqā and your worth increases [when you take on] the beauty of the [divine] friendship tawallā.” It is said “We will not raise you from the place of servanthood ʿubūdiyya without causing you to alight on the plains of freedom ḥurriyya. We have not removed anything of your human attributes ṣifāt al-bashariyya without elevating you in some divine witnessing shawāhid al-ulūhiyya.”
2.106 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof) [2:106]. The commentators of the Qur’an said: “The idolaters said: ‘Do you not see that Muhammad commands his Companions with something and then forbids them from the same and commands them to the exact opposite. One day he says something and the following day he retracts it. This Qur’an is nothing but the speech of Muhammad who has invented it. It is a speech that contradicts itself’. Allah, exalted is He, therefore revealed this verse (And when We put a revelation in place of (another)…) [16:101] and also (Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof…)”.