The traditionalist Islamists have claimed that certain verses of the Quran had been abrogatedabolished (mansuh) new revelations substituting them (nasýh). Even certain hadiths were alleged to have abrogated them. Sectarian books have claimed that four conditions were required to abrogate a verse revealed.
1. That the verse to be abrogated must be abrogated by a new revealed verse (nasýh).
2. That a new verse must have been revealed to abrogate a former one (mensuh).
3. That the abrogation must be made after the revelation of the abrogating verse.
4. That there must be a glaring contradiction between the two of them.
When we examine the sources available, we realize that there is no consensus about the chronological order of revelations. The same thing holds true for the order of the hadiths. Under the circumstances, we find ourselves at the mercy of sectarian imams who decide on the issue. This situation gave the imams the authority to abrogate some prescriptions of the Quran. This fact had consolidated the position of the sectarian imams as ‘establishers of religion.’ As we have seen, the sectarian imams chose from among thousands of contradictory hadiths any one hadith that suited their own ends and thus felt authorized to make any change in religion that seemed them best. This liberty enabled them to overrule the Quranic prescriptions as well. The religion about which only God had incontestable authority was made through invented hadiths to appear that in it also the Prophet (in fact, authors of the hadith books) had a part. Thus the sectarian imams had usurped the power to abrogate any verse of his choice as it seemed best to him, a power only God wielded. The responsible figures, as we shall be seeing presently, tried to justify themselves by shifting the meaning of the following ayat:
106 – When We abrogate any sign, or cause it to be forgotten, We bring a better or similar sign. Do not you know that God has power over all things.
2 The Cow, 106