I was recently browsing Twitter and I found a conversation that shocked me…
From Dawa to Doubt
The conversation was between a young Muslim apologetic and a man called Abdullah Sameer. The conversation was not really relevant, but I noted that Abdullah was well mannered and appeared genuine to me. So I clicked his profile and started reading about him.
It turns out Abdullah was a founder of the “Light upon Light” religious organisation. I was curious to understand his change of heart, so I started reading, he had produced many articles and videos. I will give a few examples as the principle in all of them is the same.
This is from Abdullah blog.
If the Quran is timeless and uncreated, how is it that it can be abrogated. Does God change his mind? Why would he need to adjust it on demand and based on the circumstances?
Now, we can see that he has tried to construct a logical argument, based on a premise. The premise in this case is that the Quran is timeless and uncreated. Based on that he says, how can we have abrogation and replacement of religious texts ?
There is certainly no flaw in his logic. If something is permanent and uncreated, how can it change? The answer is it can’t. So either the Quran is created, or it is not. Sameer is under the impression it is uncreated, hence the conclusion he has reached.
The reason he believes that is he follows a school of theology called “asharism”. A few hundred years after the Prophet Muhammad SAW died different ideologies started to form. One of the earliest was the Mutazilites. They believed the Quran was created, and had a set of beliefs that were based on reason and justice.
A later group formed called the “asharites”, they differed to the Mutazilites in some areas, significantly the nature of the Quran.
It’s from this later group Abdullah appears to sourcing his premises from. He also seems to be unaware of the nature of Islamic law, in that the principles are timeless, but laws change to reflect the situation and requirements of the people.
Abdullah’s example shows the danger of assumption and not having the correct knowledge. It is well documented in Islam from the Prophet’s household that the Quran is created, and all revealed books are based on timeless principles whom application will vary depending on the situation.
So in response to Abdullah claim, the principles in the Quran are timeless, the words and examples etc are not. Once this notion is understood, one can see how and why many prophets were sent. Each with the same principles, but with different laws to account for the different environments and societies.
So revealed religions evolve both between prophets and within each prophet. This is not because, as Abdullah asserts “God changes his mind” , but rather the situation changes. Therefore an unchanging principle applied to different circumstances may yield different laws.