On Abrogation and the Relationship between Islamic and Mosaic Law

A Response to Jalal Abualrub

Sam Shamoun

Jalal Abualrub has posted the second part (now defunct) of his response to Jochen Katz’ article(*). Like the first part, as well as all his other materials, Abualrub has written a lengthy piece that really doesn’t have anything important to say. It is nothing more than an appeal to emotions, an attempt at poisoning the well. It is basically nothing more than one long piece instructing Muslims on how to commit the fallacy of tu quoque.

In light of this, there is no real need to address these "rebuttals" with the exception of two specific sections, one of which we intend to deal with here.

On Abrogation

This first one concerns the relationship between the Mosaic Law, abrogation and Muhammad’s teachings. Abualrub writes:

6. Katz's statement here contains an even bigger irony.

a. Katz has posted an article for a pen-name called 'Farooq Ibrahim', who has a problem, i.e. "The Problem of Abrogation in the Quran".

b. Katz did not only post this article, but he also mentioned it in a summary he wrote introducing his lists of claimed Quranic errors.

c. Katz is either among those who call to upholding the Biblical Law, especially the Law of Moses, such as stoning the adulterer, or among those who have abolished the entire Biblical Law or at least call to amending it.


As has become typical of Abularub he turns his attention to attacking the Bible or Christians when he is unable of defending Islam. He once again seeks to defend Islamic abrogation on the grounds that the Bible supposedly contains abrogation as well. It seems that our earlier response to this issue has fallen on deaf ears. Lord Jesus permitting, we will shortly be posting an article which further and more thoroughly deals with the claim that the Bible contains abrogation, demonstrating that there is no such thing as an Islamic style of abrogation within the biblical narratives. Until then, we will defer the discussion to the above link where the readers can see our response so as to prevent from having to constantly repeat ourselves.

Furthermore, even though Abualrub refers to specific articles on our site he fails to provide his readers with the links which would allow them to read our discussions for themselves. Here is the link to Farooq's article which Abualrub was apparently too afraid to provide for his readers

Abualrub continues:

d. If Katz belongs to the first group, which he is not since he criticizes Islamic Law, i.e. the very Law that includes the Law of Moses with regards to stoning the adulterer, then who deserves to be called 'Paleo-Conservative': Muslims or callers to an ancient law established in truly ancient times?


Abualrub’s comments here are somewhat incoherent. He claims that Islam encompasses at least one aspect of the Law of Moses, specifically stoning, but then chides Mr. Katz for believing in an ancient law. But if Mr. Katz is a "Paleo-Conservative" for embracing an ancient revealed Divine Law, then what does this say of Islam which also encompasses some of the same commands mentioned in this very same ancient Law? Besides, this assumes that an ancient law cannot contain truths that are universal and transcultural, instructions that are not bound by time or culture. Laws such as loving one's neighbor, not committing adultery, murder, theft, not defrauding etc., are not limited in their scope, practicality and applicability, but are just as relevant and meaningful today as they were thousands of years ago.

And if in fact Abularub is saying that a law, if it is ancient, is no longer valid or binding, then he is essentially suggesting that God must constantly reveal new laws for new generations. If this is the case then is Abualrub open to the arrival of a new prophet with a new law seeing that Islam is grossly outdated, being a seventh century Arabian religion which makes much of it inapplicable for our twenty-first century conditions and standards?

More importantly, Abualrub conveniently focuses on the fact that Muhammad’s law includes the Mosaic injunction of stoning. Yet he fails to concentrate on the more important issue regarding Muhammad contradicting many essential teachings of both the Old and New Testaments, the Law of Moses and the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. More on this later.

On Paul

He writes:

e. However, following the so-called ‘apostle’ Saul (Paul) ["This was the origin of the dispute which shortly afterwards arose at Antioch between Peter and Paul. The latter taught openly that the law was abolished for the Jews themselves. Peter did not think otherwise, but he considered it wise to avoid giving offence to the Judaizers and to refrain from eating with the Gentiles who did not observe all the prescriptions of the law…"; http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11567b.htm],


In the first place, Paul is a bonafide spokesperson of Christ as the biblical and historical records show. Unlike Muhammad, Paul was confirmed both by supernatural acts of God and the Apostles of Christ. Ironically, even the earliest Muslim sources confirm the legitimacy of Paul, not that the Islamic evidence is actually relevant or important in establishing Paul’s legitimacy; it is only relevant to Muslims such as Abularub who trust these sources. For the data establishing all these points, please consult the following links:


It is the prophethood of Muhammad that cannot be proven and established with any reasonable evidence. All the evidence is actually against him. Again, for those interested in the details we highly recommend the following materials:


We now quote the immediate context of the online Catholic encyclopedia that Abularub cited so as to see the point being made:

The problem of the status of the Gentiles in the Church now made itself felt with all its acuteness. Some Judeo-Christians coming down from Jerusalem claimed that the Gentiles must be submitted to circumcision and treated as the Jews treated proselytes. Against this Paul and Barnabas protested and it was decided that a meeting should be held at Jerusalem in order to solve the question. At this assembly Paul and Barnabas represented the community of Antioch. Peter pleaded the freedom of the Gentiles; James upheld him, at the same time demanding that the Gentiles should abstain from certain things which especially shocked the Jews. It was decided, first, that the Gentiles were exempt from the Mosaic law. Secondly, that those of Syria and Cilicia must abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. Thirdly, that this injunction was laid upon them, not in virtue of the Mosaic law, but in the name of the Holy Ghost. This meant the complete triumph of Paul's ideas. The restriction imposed on the Gentile converts of Syria and Cilicia did not concern his Churches, and Titus, his companion, was not compelled to be circumcised, despite the loud protests of the Judaizers (Gal., ii, 3-4). Here it is to be assumed that Gal., ii, and Acts, xv, relate to the same fact, for the actors are the same, Paul and Barnabas on the one hand, Peter and James on the other; the discussion is the same, the question of the circumcision of the Gentiles; the scenes are the same, Antioch and Jerusalem; the date is the same, about A. D. 50; and the result is the same, Paul's victory over the Judaizers. However, the decision of Jerusalem did not do away with all difficulties. The question did not concern only the Gentiles, and while exempting them from the Mosaic law, it was not declared that it would not have been counted meritorious and more perfect for them to observe it, as the decree seemed to liken them to Jewish proselytes of the second class. Furthermore the Judeo-Christians, not having been included in the verdict, were still free to consider themselves bound to the observance of the law. This was the origin of the dispute which shortly afterwards arose at Antioch between Peter and Paul. The latter taught openly that the law was abolished for the Jews themselves. PETER DID NOT THINK OTHERWISE, but he considered it wise to avoid giving offence to the Judaizers and to refrain from eating with the Gentiles who did not observe all the prescriptions of the law. As he thus morally influenced the Gentiles to live as the Jews did, Paul demonstrated to him that this dissimulation or opportuneness prepared the way for future misunderstandings and conflicts and even then had regrettable consequences. His manner of relating this incident leaves no room for doubt that Peter was persuaded by his arguments (Gal., ii, 11-20). (bold and capital emphasis ours)

Peter was in perfect agreement with Paul regarding the decision that Gentiles were not required to observe the entirety of the Mosaic Law for either salvation or sanctification. Notice Peter’s following address to the Judaizers who taught contrary to Paul, those insisting that the Gentiles observe the Mosaic demands such as circumcision:

"And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ‘Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.’" Acts 15:7-11

Here also is the immediate context of Galatians, the very book from which the above encyclopedia was commenting:

"Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up BECAUSE OF A REVELATION and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in--who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery-- to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, THEY GAVE THE RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP TO BARNABAS AND ME, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." Galatians 2:1-10

Peter was clearly in agreement with Paul as both the context of Galatians 2 and the overall context of the New Testament show.

On Abrogation Again

Abualrub resumes:

Katz is most likely among the majority of Christians who have abolished, abrogated, abandoned, shunned and destroyed the Law of Moses [revealed to Moses by God, and to Christians, Jesus is God]. Consequently, Katz most likely does not advocate taking the Biblical Law God revealed to Moses as the civil and political law Christians should live by. If this is true of Katz, then why would he post articles that criticize the Quran for what they claim is 'the problem of abrogation', even though their own Bible contains these stunning statements Galatians 5:2-4, "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace", and Ephesians 2:15, "Having abolished in the flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, [so] making peace"?

f. Either answer will expose the true nature of these people, whose only profession is to mock Allah, Islam, Muhammad and the Quran.


As we indicated earlier, we have and shall address the claim that the New Testament abrogates the Hebrew Scriptures. For now we want to show how Muhammad violated the Law of Moses, and thereby comes under the condemnation of the true God. But before we even get to that point, we want to expose more of Abualrub’s inconsistency.

Ironically, Abualrub’s defense of Islamic abrogation by attacking or referencing the so-called biblical abrogation fails to consider what his own religious tradition teaches about this issue. Since Abualrub believes that the Quran is divinely revealed, and therefore authoritative, we appeal to it in order to show that he is contradicting his own book by constantly criticizing Christians for supposedly abrogating specific OT commands. Please keep in mind that we do not accept that the Bible contains abrogation in the sense taught by the Quran and Islamic traditions. We are only citing these Muslim sources in order to expose how shallow Abualrub’s argumentation is.

The Quran states:

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what God hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If God had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute; S. 5:48 Y. Ali

According to this passage, God supposedly gave each community a law accounting for the differences amongst them. This presupposes that these laws were not identical in every respect, a position which Ibn Kathir takes:

<To each among you, We have prescribed a law>

Shir`at meaning, a clear path, as Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn `Abbas…

<If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation.>

This is a general proclamation to all nations informing them of Allah's mighty ability. If Allah wills, He would make all mankind follow one religion and one Law, that would never be abrogated. Allah decided that every Prophet would have his own distinct law that is later abrogated partially or totally with the law of a latter Prophet. Later on, all previous laws were abrogated by the Law that Allah sent with Muhammad, His servant and Messenger, whom Allah sent to the people of earth as the Final Prophet. Allah said,…

<If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you.>

This Ayah means, Allah has instituted different laws to test His servants' obedience to what He legislates for them, thus, He rewards or punishes them according to their actions and what they intend. (Source)

The Quran even claims that the Lord Jesus made lawful certain things which the Law had prohibited:

"(I have come to you), to attest to the Law which was before me and to make lawful to you part of what was (before) forbidden to you…" S. 3:50

The following exegesis of the above citation is taken from Mahmoud M. Ayoub's book, The Quran and Its Interpreters, Volume II, The House of Imran, State University of New York Press, Albany 1992. All bold and capital emphasis is ours:

"Tabari reports on the authority of Wahb bin Munabbih that ‘Jesus was a follower of the law of Moses. He observed the Sabbath and faced Jerusalem in prayer. He said to the Children of Israel, "I have not come to call you to disobey even one word of the Torah. I have come only to make lawful for you some of the things which were before unlawful and to relieve you of some of the hardships [which the Torah imposed on you]."’ Qatadah, according to Tabari, is said to have declared: ‘The [Law] with which Jesus came was much more lenient than that which Moses brought. The Law of Moses made unlawful for them to eat the flesh of camel, the fat covering the stomach of an animal, and some birds and fish’…

Ibn Kathir interprets the phrase ‘and will make lawful for you some of the things which were before unlawful’ as indicating that Jesus did indeed abrogate some of the precepts of the Torah. Nevertheless, he reports that some scholars have argued that Jesus did not abrogate anything, but only made lawful for the Children of Israel some of the things concerning which they had disagreed. Ibn Kathir, however, prefers the first view

Razi then raises the following question: ‘It may be argued that latter statement contradicts the one before it. This is because it clearly indicates that he came to make lawful some of the things which were unlawful in the Torah. This would mean that his legislation was contrary to that of the Torah, which would contradict his saying, "I shall confirm the Torah which was before me."’ Razi, however, holds that ‘there is actually no contradiction between the two statements because confirming the Torah can only signify the belief that all that is in it is true and right. If, moreover, the second purpose [of Jesus' apostleship] is not mentioned in the Torah, his making lawful some of the things which are unlawful in it would not contradict his having confirmed the Torah. Furthermore, since the Torah contains prophesies concerning the coming of Jesus, then neither his coming nor HIS LAW would be contrary to the Torah.’

Razi then reports the different views concerning what Jesus made lawful for the Children of Israel. He mentions that Wahb b. Munabbih interpreted this statement as first referring to the rabbis ‘who had invented some false laws which they ascribed to Moses. But when Jesus came, he abolished these laws, and thus matters reverted to what they were during the time of Moses.’ Razi also attributed to Wahb the view that ‘God had made some things unlawful for the Jews as a punishment for the transgressions which they had committed, as God says, "because of the wrongdoing which the Jews committed, We made unlawful some of the good things which were before lawful for them" (Q. 4:160). This prohibition remained until Jesus came and lifted these restrictions from them.’ Razi gives by way of example what Jesus altered in the laws of the Torah, his substituting Sunday for the Sabbath as a day of rest

Qummi briefly comments that the things which Jesus made lawful for the Children of Israel included work on the Sabbath, and eating such fats and birds which were before unlawful…" (pp. 149-150)

"… Qutb says: ‘The Torah was, like the Gospel, the scripture of Jesus, that is, the foundation of the religion which he came. The Gospel is intended to COMPLETE AND REVIVE THE SPIRIT OF THE TORAH and the spirit of faith which was obscured in the hearts of the Children of Israel. The Torah is the foundation of the religion of Christ and contains the law (shari'ah) on which the social order is based. The Gospel makes only slight modifications in the Torah, but it is a breath and renewal of the spirit of religion. It acts as a source of discipline for human conscience by bringing it into direct contact with God…’

… ‘By Saying, "I shall confirm the Torah that was sent before me" Jesus discloses the nature of true Christianity.’ Qutb argues that the Torah was essential to the message of Jesus, but his message introduced certain minor modifications to it. Jesus made lawful some of the things which God had made unlawful as punishment of the Children of Israel for their sins. ‘Then God wished to show mercy towards them through Christ.’" (pp. 152-153)

"… He [Razi] then presents another possible reason: ‘The Jews knew that Jesus was the messiah who was announced in the Torah, and that he was to ABROGATE their religion…’" (p. 160)

Here is what the English translation of the Tafsir of Ibn Abbas says regarding this text:

(And (I come) confirming) and I have come confirming Allah's divine Oneness in the Religion (that which was before me of the Torah) and all other Scriptures, (and to make lawful) to give you legal dispensation regarding (some of that which was forbidden unto you) such as the meat of camels, the fat of bovines and sheep, the Sabbath, and other things. (I come unto you with a sign) with a token (from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah) so fear Allah in that which He has commanded you with and repent to Him (and obey me) and follow my command and Religion; (online source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The Tafsir al-Jalalayn states that:

Likewise, I have come to you, confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful for you some of that which was forbidden to you, in it. Thus he made lawful for them fish and birds which had no spikes; it is also said that he made it all lawful for them, so that ba'd, 'some', means, kull, 'all'). I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, He has repeated it for emphasis and to expand upon it: so fear God, and obey me, in what I command you of affirming God's Oneness and being obedient to Him. (online source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The foregoing quotations show that both the Quran and Muslim scholars believed that Jesus abrogated certain parts of the Law. Lord willing, we will have more to say about Jesus’ relationship to the Law of Moses in our forthcoming paper.

On Stoning

Abualrub makes only the specific claim that Islamic law includes Moses’ command to stone, and thinks that this somehow vindicates Islam and exposes the inconsistency of Evangelical criticisms of Muhammad. What makes this all the more intriguing is that the Quran does not even mention stoning, the very point that Abualrub is discussing here! Actually, there has recently been quite a bit of controversy whether stoning should even be part of Islamic law. See for example the following:


Since this was his claim, we challenge Abualrub to prove to us that stoning is even part of Islamic law. And once he does try to prove it, he will most likely only manage to provide confirmation of our assessment that the Quran has been corrupted:


Despite the modern controversy, stoning is practiced in various Islamic countries. Even if Muhammad re-instituted part of Moses' Law, it was without doubt a big step backwards after Jesus had already given a better way of dealing with the issue of adultery.

In a separate piece, we intend to show that there are far more contradictions and disagreements between the Quran and God's true Word, proving that the Quran is not from God.

On Logic   (Islam is true because it endorses stoning?)

There is another, serious logical flaw in Abualrub's argument. He claims that someone who upholds the Biblical Law could not legitimately criticize Islamic law. He says:

  1. Katz is either among those who call to upholding the Biblical Law, especially the Law of Moses, such as stoning the adulterer, or among those who have abolished the entire Biblical Law or at least call to amending it.
  2. If Katz belongs to the first group, which he is not since he criticizes Islamic Law, i.e. the very Law that includes the Law of Moses with regards to stoning the adulterer, then who deserves to be called 'Paleo-Conservative': Muslims or callers to an ancient law established in truly ancient times?

In other words, he argues that someone who criticizes Islamic law cannot be upholding Biblical Law since Islamic law includes one of the commands of Biblical Law.

[Note: The topic of "stoning adulterers" seems to be particularly dear to Abualrub's heart since (a) that is the only command he selected out of the 613 commands in the Torah, and (b) the article which he supposedly responds to did not mention stoning, or even the person or Law of Moses.]

The logical flaw is obvious. If the Mosaic Law in its entirety (including all of its 613 commandments) is the word of God, and the Islamic law includes ONLY ONE of the commandments of Moses — Abualrub doesn’t claim any more commands which are similar, and one command constitutes a mere 1/613 = 0.16 % of Biblical Law —, then the very fact that the Islamic law does NOT contain the vast majority of the Mosaic laws is already reason enough that it should be criticized! Thus, one can certainly believe in and uphold Biblical Law and legitimately criticize Islamic law for being a perversion of Biblical Law.

If, on the other hand, Abualrub were to claim that the Islamic law should be accepted because it encompasses ALL that God had given to Moses — only in that case could he legitimately protest against a critique of Islamic law based on Biblical Law —, then he would be utterly wrong since Muhammad's law stands in stark contradiction to many parts of the Mosaic Law. For a detailed examination of this topic, see the companion article "Muhammad and the Mosaic Law".

Agreement of Islamic law with Biblical Law in one command is hardly enough to legitimize Islamic law. On the other hand, the argument that we should accept Islamic law because it is already found in the Torah severely backfires. If agreement is the measure upon which to evaluate Islam, then Islam must be judged wrong due to its many disagreements with the Law of Moses. If agreement is not the measure to evaluate Islam upon, then what was Abualrub's complaint about in the first place?

Concluding Remarks

Our analysis has shown that Abualrub’s assertion that Islam includes at least one command from the Law of Moses, even though it may be true (depending on one’s view on whether stoning is still part of Islamic law today), does absolutely nothing to justify Muhammad’'s prophetic ambitions. Muhammad's atrocities, false prophecies, distortions of the message of the previous prophets, altering previous history, and all his immoral acts prove that he was a false prophet.

Furthermore, Muhammad’'s religion stands in stark contradiction to the Law of Moses. The Quran and Muhammad expressly violate and break many of the commands of Moses, showing that they do not come from the same Divine source, which is the focus of this article.

In light of the foregoing, it is clear why Abualrub has been afraid to engage us and accept our challenge to a formal debate on whether Muhammad was a true prophet. He apparently realizes that such a debate will not be in his favor, since it would give us an opportunity to expose the weakness and circular nature of the arguments he presents in defense of Muhammad (for a broader list of reasons, see for example the article Is Muhammad a true Prophet of God?).

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