I understand there is a widely accepted concept of Naskh or 'abrogation' that may apply when interpreting the Quran.

I also believe it to be true that it isn't known in all cases which of two verses was written first (unless they are in the same Sura), but I think I'm right in saying that all the revelation received by the Prophet in Medina was later than all the revelation received by the Prophet in the Meccan period (please correct me if that is wrong).

In that case is there a general principle that in cases where Meccan and Medinan revelation appears to conflict, the Medinan revelation abrogates the Meccan? In other words Meccan revelation can never abrogate the later Medinan revelation?

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    the fact is that all revelation post Hijra to madina are called medinan, not necessarily bound to a location. So yes Medinan surah are later then Meccan ones
    – Ahlelbayt
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 15:31
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    the link on wiki itself answers your question in details. In short yes it is possible , but not all .
    – Ahlelbayt
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 15:33
  • @Jack Douglas: I may not be able to answer your question but I think this link presents a better understanding of 'Abrogation': answering-1000mistakes.com/response/age-different-surahs
    – a_fan
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 13:39
  • Thanks @afnrf, that is an interesting article. Not sure what you mean by "better understanding" though, better than what? Also the article doesn't address the Medinan/Meccan question at all as far as I can tell.
    – user3208
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 14:07

2 Answers 2



The definition of abrogation is: رفع الحكم الثابت بخطاب متقدم بخطاب متراخ عنه

So the actual rule is that a revelation that chronologically comes later abrogates a revelation that came before it. For example Abraham was first told by God to sacrifice his son, and later he was told to not sacrifice his son but to sacrifice a sheep. Abraham acted on the later command as the first command got abrogated by the later one and not vice versa.

Most Medinian revelations came after the Meccan revelations because the Prophet stayed in Mecca from the year 571 - 622 and then he migrated to Medinah and stayed there till his death in the year 632. In this period he returned to Mecca only briefly: e.g. for Umrah after the treaty of Hudaibiyah, for the conquest of Mecca and for the Farewell Hajj.


Salams, No, not all Madinian verses abrogate the Makkan verses.

Allah, may He be exalted, said (interpretation of the meaning): “Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things? [al-Baqarah 2:106]

Abrogation only raises the level, look at the situation and then apply the verse.

For more ref: http://islamqa.info/en/105746

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    I can't see how this answer or the (useful) link address my actual question "Is there an automatic principle that Medinan revelation may abrogate Meccan but not vice versa?"
    – user3208
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 11:26
  • The Medinan revelation MAY abrogate Meccan but not vice versa. True.
    – Pepper
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 11:30
  • excellent, do you have a scholarly reference to back that up?
    – user3208
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 16:03

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