fail to see the mercy, wisdom or justice of this. The only true explanation, therefore,
is that the verse was disliked, neglected, then dropped out of the Qur'an.
We see from what has gone before that the verse was read not only in the days of
Muhammad, but in the khaliphate of Abu Bakr also, by the evidence of the fact that 'Umar
would fain have recorded it in the Qur'an. And it was only through sheer fear of blame
that 'Umar desisted from inserting it lest he should be blamed for 'adding to the Book of
God'. We wonder, however, that he should claim to be the sole witness to the verse when we
know that many others were cognizant of it. So either 'Umar, or the other Companions, did
not speak the truth in this most serious matter which affects our whole estimate of the
bona fides of those who edited the Qur'an.
But stranger still is the fact that the effect of this verse, though its text does not
exist, is still in force and is confirmed by the sunnat.1 This is seen from the
1. Az-Zuhri quotes a tradition from ibn 'Abbas saying: 'And 'Umar said, "I am
afraid lest a time should come when people will say, 'We do not find stoning in the Book
of God'," and thus they would err by neglecting a command sent down from God saying:
"If an old man and an