Naskh (“Abrogation”) in Muslim Anti-Jewish Polemic: The Treatise of Rashīd al-Dīn Hamadānī (1247–1318)

Y. Tzvi Langermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A strong case can be made that the concept of naskh, “abrogation” or “annulment”, was the most potent weapon in the arsenal of Muslim polemicists seeking to convert Jews (Burton‘s Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān is highly informative but deals almost exclusively with naskh in its internal Islamic contexts, e.g., hermeneutics and legal theory). Naskh did not necessarily involve any rejection of Jewish scripture or tradition as fraudulent or corrupt. It rested on the simple premise, explicitly confirmed by the Qur’an, that the deity may alter or replace His legislation over the course of time. In the first part of this paper, I will briefly review the topic, adding some texts and observations that, to the best of my knowledge, have not appeared in the academic literature (comprehensively surveyed in Adang’s Muslim Writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible: From Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm, 1996; also in Adang and Schmidtke’s Polemics (Muslim-Jewish) in Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, 2010). The bulk of this paper will consist of a fairly detailed summary of an unpublished tract on naskh written by Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍlullāh Hamadānī (RD) (1247–1318), himself a Jewish convert to Islam and a monumental politician, cultural broker, historian, and author.

Original languageEnglish
Article number547
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the author.


  • naskh (abrogation)
  • polemics (Muslim-Jewish)
  • Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍlullāh

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Rashīd al-Dīn Ṭabīb -- 1247?-1318
  • Bible -- Islamic interpretations
  • Muslim converts from Judaism
  • Islam -- Relations -- Judaism -- Middle Ages, 500-1500
  • Apologetics -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500


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