Haani Taahir, in his book تنزيه آي القرآن عن النسخ والنقصان, pages 156-160, discusses what pro-abrogation scholars postulated was the wisdom behind the abrogation doctrine.
He starts out with what was claimed was the wisdom of abrogating the ruling of a verse while keeping the verse. He says Mannaa` Al-Qattaan offered two points:
- Reciting the verse earns a reward and is regarded as worship, so keeping it is a blessing for believers.
- Abrogation is mostly for lightening a load encumbered by the abrogated verse. Keeping the verse, therefore, is reminder of God's graciousness in lifting the encumbrance.
Taahir answers the first point by pointing out that verses have been claimed abrogated in recitation too. How come? Wouldn't those too earn their reciters a reward?
He answers the second point by noting that the pro-abrogation folk have claimed that 4:43
was abrogated by something harder.
Then he moves on to the claimed wisdom of abrogating a verse in recitation but not in ruling. He quotes Az-Zurqaani offering this explanation: The abrogation of the stoning verse was because of the ugliness of its subject, so it was left out as an unmentionable.
Taahir replies that if this is true, then there are other verses that remained in the Quran which do still talk about ugly subjects, such as in
I'd add that God has clearly stated that He does not shy away from the truth,
Taahir also asks: If ugliness of subject is the reason to abrogate a verse in recitation but not in ruling, then why was the claimed verse لو كان لابن آدم واديان من ذهب لابتغى ثالثا (If a child of Adam had two valleys of gold, he would want a third one), why was that claimed verse abrogated? Its subject is not ugly. Or how about the ten sucklings which were abrogated by five sucklings which too was abrogated? If that's an ugly subject then how come it remained in the Quran, such as in
Taahir also asks Az-Zurqaani why he thought that adultery by old men and women was particularly ugly. Is adultery less ugly if it's committed by young people? He notes that Az-Zurqaani must have confused the age aspect of the claimed verse with the marriage aspect of the stoning ruling.
Taahir then gives As-Suytooti's reasoning: Sparing Muslims from reading and hearing horrible details. He was referring as well to the stoning "verse". Taahir quickly replies that the Hiraaba verse, 5:34, contains horrible details, yet it remained. I'd add that if sparing Muslims horrible details was a legitimate cause, then what may explain God's command that a group of Muslims must watch
the flogging of adulterers (24:2)?