Monday, 4 August 2014

200 Verses Accidentally Lost From Surah Ahzab 33?

200 Verses Accidentally Lost From Surah Ahzab 33?
Christian & non Christian critics claim that 200+ verses originally in the 33rd chapter of the Quran (Surah Ahzab) unintentionally got lost forever. The basis of their argument is from the following Hadiths:
"Ubayy bin Ka'b asked the people around him, "How many verses do you count in Surah Ahzab (The 33rd Surah of the Quran)?" They replied, "72 or 73 verses." Ubayy said to them, "Surah Ahzab used to contain the same number of verses as Surah Baqarah (over 280 verses) or more. We used to recite a verse from Surah Ahzab, 'When a muhsan male and female commit adultery, then stone them both as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah.'" (An-Nasai and Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal both have narrated this hadith. Hafiz ibn Hajar has classified this as a hasan hadith (Muwafaqatu Al-Khubr Al-Khabr - vol. 2, pg. 304.)).
"Ibn Mardawayh reported that Hudhayfah said: 'Umar said to me 'How many verses are contained in the chapter of al-Ahzab?' I said, '72 or 73 verses.' He said it was almost as long as the chapter of the Cow, and in it was the verse of stoning." (Cited In: Durr Al-Manthur,  5/180 & Shawkani's Tafsir: Fath Al-Qadeer - Source).
This Hadith  mentioning the amount of verses in Surah Ahzab is in other hadith collections too, which slightly different wording. In one narration, the narrator Ibn Lahi'ah is present. This particular narrator is claimed by various scholars to be da'if (weak), hence this particular chain is called into question.
"[Abu Ubaid] said, Ibn Abi Maryam narrated to us from Ibn Lahi'ah from Abil Aswad from 'Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr from 'A'ishah that she said, "We used to recite Surat Al-Ahzab with 200 verses during the lifetime of the Nabi (SAWS) ('alayhis Salam). Then when 'Uthman transcribed the manuscripts of the Qur'an (masaahif) he was unable to find [all of the verses] except those [verses] as it currently is today."

This hadith is weak due to (Abdullah) Ibn Lahi'ah. We have already written a research paper regarding his weakness
here." (Source).

Regarding the chain from Umar: I've not come across any hadith scholar which graded this chain, even after extensive research. So, this chain & it's content can't be used as evidence. The chains of Ubay Ibn Ka'b are weak, although scholars dispute this. Ibn Kathir, Albani and Ibn Hazm stated the isnad is Sahih, but Busayri & Haythami states the isnads are weak (Source).
Scholars have classed this narration as weak, because after Ubayy narrated the hadith, only Zurr b. Jubaysh reported the narration and from Zurr, only only 2 others have narrated this. This would add doubt to it's authenticity. The chain is as follows:

Commenting on the narration from Yazid:
"The chain is weak because of the weakness of Yazid bin Abi Ziyad." (Shiekh Arna'oot's Commentary Of Musnad Ahmad - Number 21244 - Source).
"The narration through this chain is Da'if (weak) because of the presence of Yazid b. Abi Yazid." (Sheikh Abdul Sami & Abdul Bari Al-Saygh - cited here).

Commenting only on this narrator now:

"Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad al-Hashimi ... about him al- Hafiz (Ibn Hajr) says, "Da'if, when he became old his memory suffered ..." 143:890, pg. 464/ 142:894, pg. 170." (Sheikh Albani - Da'if Ahadith Of An-Nawawi's Riyadus Salihin).
أما الأول فإسناده ضعيف ؛ لضعف يزيد بن أبي زياد ، وهو أبو عبد الله الكوفي ، مولى عبد الله بن الحارث بن نوفل . قال ابن معين : ضعيف الحديث ، وقال أحمد بن حنبل : لم يكن بالحافظ ، وقال في موضع آخر : حديثه ليس بذاك ، وقال أبو زرعة : لين ، يكتب حديثه ولا يحتج به ، وقال ابن المبارك : ارم به ، وقال شعبة : كان رفَّعًا ، وقال الذهبي : صدوق عالم فهم ، شيعي ، رديء الحفظ ، لم يترك ، وقال ابن حجر : ضعيف .
"As for the first, its isnaad is da'eef, because of the weakness in Yazid Ibn Ziyad and he is Abu Abdullah al-Kufi, free slave of Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Nawfal. Ibn Maeen said (about him): weak in hadith. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: He wasn't a good memorizer/preserver & used to fabricate. And in other place he said: His ahadith are not approved. Abu Dhura said: he is weak but writes hadith, but he's not to be relied upon. Ibn al-Mubarak said: he was accused by that. Shabe said: He was elevating (meaning he narrated mawquf or marasel as marfo). Dhahabi said: truthful, knew meaning, understood, but had bad memory, wasn't abandoned. Ibn Hajar said: Weak." (Source).

 يزيد بن أبي زياد صدوق سيء الحفظ
"Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad was truthful, but had bad memory." (Ibn Hajar - Al Amali Al Mutlaqah, #70).

 يزيد بن أبي زياد وهو ضعيف يكتب حديثه
"Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad poorly wrote/kept writings." (Imam Haythami - Majma Al-Zawa'id, 5/150).

 يزيد بن أبي زياد مع ضعفه يكتب حديثه
"Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad has weakness in hadiths." (Ibn Adi - Al-Kamil Fi Al-Du 'afa', 9/164-165).

Moreover, Bayhaqi  in Sunan Al-Kubra mentions that Yazid wasn't a good memorizer (Sunan Al-Kubra Of Bayhaqi - 4/12) and in (Al-Bazar - Al-Bahr Al-Zakhar, 6/131) he is said to be weak & here also. Additionally, this scholarly website mentions more scholars who comment on Yazid's weakness.

Regarding the chain from Aasim:
"The chain is Da'if (i.e. weak) - Aasim bin Bahdala - even if acceptable used to have inadvertences due to bad memory, so he alone cannot be relied upon in reports like this." (Classification Of Musnad Ahmad - Sheikh Shuaib Arnaut Accompained By Aadil Murshid & Sa'id Al-Ham - Al-Resalah Beirut, 1999 - Volume 35 - Page 134 - cited here. The Sheikh Also Mentioned It's Weakness Here - Commentary Of Number 21245).
"In its chain is Aasim bin Abi al-Najwad and he is Da'if (i.e. weak)." (Imam Haythami - Mawarid Az-Zamaan, Hadith 1756).
"Their chains depend upon Aasim bin Abi al-Najwad and he is Da'if (i.e. weak)." (Imam Shahabuddin Ahmad Al-Boseri  - Ithaf Al-Khira Al-Mihra, 5792 - cited here).

Commenting only on this narrator now:

وأما الثاني ؛ فضعيف أيضًا ؛ في إسناده عاصم بن بهدلة ، هو ابن أبي النجود ، أبو بكر المقرئ المشهور ، شيخ حفص المقرئ ، قال أبو حاتم : محله عندي محل الصدق ، صالح الحديث ، ولم يكن بذاك الحافظ ، وقال ابن معين : لا بأس به ، وقال أبو زرعة : ثقة ، وقال العجلي : صاحب سنة وقراءة للقرآن ، رأسًا في القراءة ، وقال الدارقطني : في حفظه شيء ، وقال ابن سعد : كان ثقة ، إلا أنه كان كثير الخطأ في حديثه ، وقال ابن حجر : صدوق له أوهام ، حجة في القراءة
"As for the second: it's isnad is also weak because of Asim bin Abi Bahdala. And he is ibn Abi Nujud, famous as: Abu Bakr al-Mugri. Sheikh of Hafs al-Mugri. Au Hatim said: for sahih hadith, he was not such a memorizer/preserver. Ibn Maeen said: There is no problem in him. Abu Dhura said: he was confident. Al-Ijli said: companion of sunna and reader of Quran, heard in recitation. Daraqutni said: His memory was bad. Ibn Sad: He was confident, except he made a lot of errors in the hadith. Ibn Hajar said: Truthful, but had errors; we have proof in the recitation." (Source).

More comments on Aasim's weakness here & over here, he's classed as truthful but "la al-awham" (made some mistakes). More scholars agree with the hadith's weakness here. Moreover, an email response from a sheikh at
"The allegation of abrogated verses of surat Al-Ahzab was based on the following two fabricated, unauthentic, narrations falsely attributed to Ubay and A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with them)." (
Various critics of Islam hold non-Islamic historical records to be true, which are based on a much less sophisticated & stringent methodology than the sciences of Hadith. This is why they would accept what Hadith scholars (even the majoirty) deem to be weak hadiths. Now, let us agree with those group of scholars (for sake of argument) that this narration is sahih. The answer to this is: We first need to know the 3 types of Quranic abrogation:
Ibn Salama, al-nasikh wa al-mansukh, Cairo, 1966, p.5.
Abrogation of the recited (verse) together with the legal ruling.
Abrogation of the legal ruling without the recited (verse).
Abrogation of the recited (verse) without the legal ruling.

"Abrogated Qur'anic verses fall into three categories. The first is where abrogation affects the two aspects of a Qur'anic text: the ruling, as well the recitation (nask al-hukm wa al-tilawah). In this type of abrogation, the verse is withdrawn from the Qur'anic text and its ruling is no longer valid.

The second catagory of abrogation affects the ruling of a verse but not its wording (nask al-hukm duna al-tilawah). This means that the verse remains part of the Qur'anic text and is recited. However, the ruling it conveys is no longer in operation.

The third category of abrogation affects the wording of a verse but not its ruling. This means that, although the verse is no longer part of the Qur'anic text, its ruling remains applicable."
(Abdullah Saeed - Interpreting The Qur'an: Towards A Contemporary Approach - Routledge, 2006 - Pages 79-80).

Similar thing is mentioned in: (Abbas Jaffer & Masuma Jaffer - Quranic Sciences - ICAS Press - Pages 153-156). We know that these 3 type of abrogations exist, because the Hadiths imply they do. To see this wisdom behind abrogation in Quran, go here and here.

Notice Hadiths says that they used to recite a verse relating to stoning. Most scholars hold that the recitation (not the injunction) of the verse of stoning was abrogated from Quran.
الراوي زيد بن ثابت: قال زيد كنا نقرأ والشيخ والشيخة . . فقال مروان أفلا نجعله في المصحف قال لا ألا ترى أن الشابين الثيبين يرجمان قال وقال ذكروا ذلك وفينا عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه قال أنا أشفيكم من ذاك قال قلنا كيف قال آتي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فأذكر كذا وكذا فإذا ذكر الرجم أقول يا رسول الله أكتبني آية الرجم قال فأتيته فذكرته قال فذكر آية الرجم قال فقال يا رسول الله أكتبني آية الرجم قال لا أستطيع ذاك
"Narrated Zaid Bin Thabit: we used to read: "The old man and the old woman." Marwan said: "Shouldn't we write it down as part of the written Quran?" He replied: "Don't you see that the two young married (adulterers) are to be stoned?" And Umar Bin Al Khattab - may Allah be pleased with him was with us then, so he said: "I will get the answer." We both said: "How?" He said: "From the Prophet, and I will mention such and such to him, and when I get to stoning, I will say: Oh Messenger of Allah, allow me to write the stoning verse." He (Umar) said: "O Messenger of Allah, let me write the stoning verse. He said: "I can't." (Sunan Al-Baihaqi - Classed Sahih By Baihaqi & Sheikh Albani In: Silsilat Al-Sahiha, 6/974 - Source. Also In Sunan Nasai, 3046).

They were ready to write down the verse in the manuscripts, because it's recitation used to be part of the Quran. Baihaqi's footnote of the above Hadith is:
في هذا وما قبله دلالة على أن آية الرجم حكمها ثابت ، وتلاوتها منسوخة ، وهذا مما لا أعلم فيه يه خل
"With this & what was earlier, this indicates the ruling of the stoning verse is permanent and it's recitation abrogated, and this is something not known to be disputed." (Source).

The reason the Prophet didn't allow Umar to write it down because it's recitation was abrogated. Ibn Hajar gives us a hadith:

فقال عمر : لما نزلت أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلت أكتبها ؟ فكأنه كره ذلك , فقال عمر : ألا ترى أن الشيخ إذا زنى ولم يحصن جلد , وأن الشاب إذا زنى وقد أحصن رجم
"Umar said: "When this verse came down I approached the Prophet peace be upon him so I asked him: Should I write it down? It is as if he hated that Then Umar said: "Cant you see that if the old man if he commits adultery he does not get the whip, and that if the young man if he commits adultery he gets stoned?" (Ibn Hajar - Fathul Bari - Hadith Commentary Of Bukhari, 6441 - 1407 AH/1986 -  Source).

This Hadith (similar wording) is also in: (Musnad Umar,  2/870 - Classed Sahih & Muhalla Bi Al-Athar, 11/235 - Classed Sahih By Ibn Hazm - Source).
The verse of stoning wasn't supposed to stay in the Quran, which is why the Prophet didn't want it in there. For more evidence the recitation of this was abrogated while the ruling remained, go here and the end of this. So in context, the Hadith could even mean these 200 verses were abrogated.

Secondly, notice how the Hadith says "Surah Ahzab used to contain the same number of verses as Surah Baqarah" and "it was almost as long as the chapter of the Cow." The past tense here is used, indicating these verses were abrogated.
"We can understand from here that the abrogated verses on stoning as mentioned and explained in the above was actually a part of this surah and was latter on removed by divine injunction. Nowhere in this narration one can see that Umar while talking to Hudaifah believes that this surah is incomplete . He was just talking about the surah before its pre-abrogation state." (Source).
Additionally, Zamakhshari's tafsir states that it refers to the 200 verses which were abrogated from Surah Ahzab. Moreover: Suyuti narrated from Aisha:

"During the life of the Prophet, Surah Ahzab was read with 200 verses, when Uthman collected the verses we only found that amount that is found in the current Quran." (Tafsir Durr Al Manthur - Volume 5 - Page 180 cites: Suyuti - Al Itqan Volume 2 - Page 25).
The chapter the above is in is called: النوع السابع والأربعون في ناسخه ومنسوخه
(47 types of abrogation and abrogated - cited here), showing this was considered as abrogated.

Another hadith similar to the 200 verses one ends mentioning the abrogation of the stoning verse:
فرفع فيما رفع أي نسخ فيما نسخ من تلاوة آياته
"It was lifted with what was lifted and abrogations were abrogated from the recitation." (Narrated By Ubay bin Ka'b - Collected By Hakim & Ibn Majah - cited in: Muhammad Tahir's Tafsir - Source).

حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ فَضَالَةَ ، عَنْ عَاصِمٍ ، عَنْ زِرٍّ ، قَالَ : قَالَ لِي أُبَيُّ بْنُ كَعْبٍ : يَا زِرُّ ، كَأَيِّنْ تَقْرَأُ سُورَةَ الأَحْزَابِ ؟ قَالَ : قُلْتُ : كَذَا وَكَذَا آيَةً ، قَالَ : إِنْ كَانَتْ لَتُضَاهِي سُورَةَ الْبَقَرَةِ ، وَإِنْ كُنَّا لَنَقْرَأُ فِيهَا : " وَالشَّيْخُ وَالشَّيْخَةُ إِذَا زَنَيَا فَارْجُمُوهُمَا ألْبَتَّةَ نَكَالا مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ " . فَرُفِعَ فِيمَا رُفِعَ .

"Narrated Ibn Fadala > Aasim > Zurr said Ubay bin Ka'b said to me: Oh Zurr, how much of Surah Ahzab do you recite? He said: I said: Such and such verses. He said: It was almost as long as Surah Baqara, and in it (Surah Ahzab) we used to recite: "The old man or old woman that commit adultery, stone them as a punishment from Allah and his Messenger." It was lifted with what was lifted." (Musnad Tayaalisi, #537. Also mentioned with similar wordings in Shawkani's tafsir - Declared Hasan By Ibn Kathir).

In this above chain, we have Aasim which as shown above is graded weak by some, due to mistakes he made. If critics accept the narration collected in Musnad Ahmad in which Aasim is present, they shouldn't have much problem accepting the above one, which states that the stoning verse was lifted with what was lifted (i.e. 200 verses of Surah Ahzab).

A Sheikh wrote:

فالمشهور عند أهل العلم أن سورة الأحزاب كانت أطول مما هي الآن ، ونُسِخ منها جزء كبير
"It's a known view amongst scholars that Al-Ahzab was longer than what we have now, a large part of it is abrogated." (Source).

Also, when we check Qurtubi's tafsir, we find:

.وهذ يحمله أهل العلم على أن الله تعالى رفع من الأحزاب إليه ما يزيد على ما في ايدينا ، وأن
"Scholars hold that Allah raised more from Al-Ahzab than what is in our hands." (Qurtubi's tafsir - Surah Ahzab 33:1 - Source).

A Hadith mentioned in the same tafsir:
أبوبكر فمعنى هذا من قول أم المؤمنين عائشة : أن الله تعالى رفع إليه من سورة الأحزاب ما يزيد على ما عندن
"Abu Bakr said it means in the word of Aisha, the mother of the believers: Allah raised up more from Surah Al-Ahzab than what he left in (than what we have)." (Ibid - Source).

However, in the above Hadith, by Ibn Lahi'ah exists in the chain (shown in Qurtubi's tafsir in full), and there has been debates over the authenticity of this narrator. Various scholars classify him as da'if, while others state his narrations are only accepted if you find the same hadith narrated by others, before his books were burnt or if reports from certain narrators. More on Ibn Lahi'ah can be read here & here.
EAt times, a weak narration is accepted by scholars of hadith, for various reasons. In this specific case with the above narration located in Qurtubi's tafsir, scholars have accepted it (as shown above). Scholars have differed regarding Ibn Lahi'ah's trustworthiness & preservations of narrations, which means under certain conditions, his narrations could be accepted. This means it is possible that that above narration's content in Qurtubi's tafsir is true, but is could be false too. Since scholars hold most of Surah Ahzab was abrogated (which Qurtubi's tafsir says), this indirectly implies they accept the part of the narration that says these verses were abrogated. Even if scholars have classed the chain as weak, the content is found in other narrations showed above.

Accepting all the narrations given above (for sake of argument), one may ask as to what type of abrogation do these 200+ verses refer to. It cannot refer to the 2nd type of abrogation (abrogation of ruling without recitation) because if it did, we would have seen the 200 verses in Surah 33 today. The type of abrogation either refers to the 1st (abrogation of recitation with ruling) or 3rd (abrogation of recitation without ruling). The important thing is that these 200+ verses were not unintentionally lost, as Allah intentionally abrogated these verses, so the question of corruption doesn't arise.

Another point worth mentioning is that Ubayy bin Ka'b (who narrated the narration in question) was part of the 12 men committee in charge of standardizing the Quran.

الراوي محمد بن سيرين : أن عثمان جمع اثني عشر رجلا من قريش والأنصار فيهم أبي بن كعب وزيد بن ثابت في جمع القرآن
"Narrated Muhammad bin Sirin: Uthman gathered the twelve men, they were from the Quraish and Ansar which included:  Ubayy bin Ka'b and Zayd ibn Thabit to collect the Qur'an." (Chain Declared Strong By Ad-Dahabi In: Ad-Dahabi's: Siyar A'lam Al-Nubala, 1/400 - Source. Also In Abu Dawud's: Kitab Al-Masa'hif - #79 - Source & cited here. Also narrated By Kathir bin Aflah (longer narration) - Declared Sahih By Ibn Kathir In: Fada'il Al-Quran, #84 - Source).

More names are given in Abu Dawud's Kitab Al-Masa'hif. Ubayy was aware of the previous length of Surah Ahzab, but didn't include them in the standardized text.
Now, this was all agreeing for sake of argument that all the narrations are sahih. Even if I did accept it, the above explanation on abrogation would stand. Also, a sheikh offers another explanation:
"It means that at a certain time this Surah was in the same length of Surat- Al-Bakarah. However, the revelation of Surat-Al-Bakarah took almost 10 years! So, it was not completed whan Ubay RAA said what he said." (AmajOnline - Source).

Lastly, a lot of Christians will be unaware that their own Bible has abrogations in it (go here). Moreover, if you want a taste of real corruption, read Biblical textual variants & watch this.


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