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 Post subject: Re: Origins of the abrogation doctrine
PostPosted: 05 Jun 2011, 06:32 
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Pragmatic wrote:
It seems that the argument against abrogated verses has four components.
...
2. Refuting, claim by claim, that a particular verse was abrogated because of a perceived contradiction.
...
Finally, verse 4:82 challenges the main premise that people used in order to decide that a verse was abrogated, namely believing that a contradiction between two verses exists that cannot be resolved if both verses are valid.

A hadeeth, rated Hasan (sound) by Al-Albaani and Mashhoor (well known) by Ibn Taymiya, has been narrated by Ibn Amr as follows,

خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على أصحابه وهم يتناظرون في القدر، ورجل يقول: ألم يقل الله كذا؟ ورجل يقول: ألم يقل الله كذا؟ فكأنما فقئ في وجهه حب الرمان، فقال: أبهذا أمرتم؟ إنما هلك من كان قبلكم بهذا، ضربوا كتاب الله بعضه ببعض، وإنما نزل الكتاب يصدق بعضه بعضا، لا ليكذب بعضه بعضا، انظروا ما أمرتم به فافعلوه، وما نهيتم عنه فاجتنبوه

Translation:
The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, came to his companions while they were debating Al-Qadar (the precision of God's timing and provision). One was saying, "Did not God say this?" And the other was saying, "Did God not say that?" It was as if seeds of pomegranate burst in the Prophet's face (i.e., he became furiously angry). He said, "Is that what you've been commanded? That is what destroyed those before you: they knocked parts of the Book of God with other parts. The Book was revealed with its parts confirming each other, not belying each other! See what you've been commanded and do it, and what you've been forbidden and avoid it."

This hadeeth demolishes the backdrop of the abrogation theory: that the Quran has contradictions that cannot be reconciled without resorting to abrogation. We learn from this hadeeth a number of points that ought to scare any one who believes in the abrogation doctrine:

  1. Talk about contradiction in the Quran makes the Prophet (PBUH) furiously angry.
  2. No Book of God contains contradictions.
  3. Talk about contradiction in God's Book destroys people. Talk about هلكت وأهلكت !!
  4. All parts of the Book of God confirm each other.
  5. All commands in the Quran must be complied with. There is no such thing as a verse which is to be recited but not followed! There is no such thing as a command which was later made optional. All prohibitions in the Quran must be avoided. There is no such thing as a prohibition which was later allowed.

Believers in the abrogation doctrine are treading a bed of burning stones.

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 Post subject: Re: Origins of the abrogation doctrine
PostPosted: 05 Jun 2011, 16:38 
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Linguistic wrote:
This hadeeth demolishes the backdrop of the abrogation theory: that the Quran has contradictions that cannot be reconciled without resorting to abrogation.

Excellent analysis!

Also on the subject of contradiction, you made an excellent analysis of the emphasis in 4:82 that is worth noting.

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 Post subject: Re: Origins of the abrogation doctrine
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2011, 18:18 
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Linguistic wrote:
Talk about contradiction in God's Book destroys people. Talk about هلكت وأهلكت !!

This is such a killer bullet :). The Arabic word used in the hadeeth (هلك) is identical to the words used in the هلكت وأهلكت story, and that has to figure prominently when we discuss that story.

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 Post subject: Re: Origins of the abrogation doctrine
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2011, 21:50 
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I came across this Qudsi (holy) Hadeeth, narrated by Anas ibn Maalik (RA) and reported by An-Nasaa'i and Ibn Mardaweh, in which is told the story of mandating the prayer during the Night And Ascension Journey (Al-Israa' wal-Mi`raaj). It tells of how the mandate of the prayer started out being for 50 prayers. The Prophet (PBUH) took it and left. He was stopped by Moses (PBUH) who said to him that Muslims will not be able to fulfill such mandate and advised him to go back to God and ask Him for an easing. This went on a couple of times until the number of required prayers was reduced to five. Moses still thought that five would be too hard on Muslims. Other versions of this Hadeeth say that the Prophet (PBUH) felt awkward to go back one more time. This version of the Hadeeth, however, tells a different ending.

In this version of the Hadeeth, God says to the Prophet (PBUH) that He wouldn't,

ثم ردت إلى خمس صلوات، ثم أتيت موسى، قال: فارجع إلى ربك فاسأله التخفيف، فإنه فرض على بني إسرائيل صلاتين، فما قاموا بهما! فرجعت إلى ربي، فسألته التخفيف، فقال: إني يوم خلقت السماوات والأرض فرضت عليك وعلى أمتك خمسين صلاة، فخمس بخمسين، فقم بها أنت وأمتك، فعرفت أنها من الله تعالى صرى

Translation:
...Then it was reduced to five prayers. Then I went to Moses. He said, "Go back to your Lord and ask Him to ease. He mandated two prayers on the children of Israel and they did not fulfill them!" The Prophet (PBUH) continues, "So I went back to my Lord and asked Him to ease. He said, 'I, when I created the heavens and the earth, have mandated on your community fifty prayers. So, five will be like fifty. Establish them , you and your community.' I knew then that it was firmly fixed from God."

This story is often quoted by pro-abrogation scholars as evidence that abrogation of God's commands has taken place. Yet, none of them have quoted this version of the Hadeeth, to the best of my knowledge. Why not? At first blush, it seems to support their argument.

This version of the Hadeeth makes it clear, IMHO, that the command was not issued until the very end. That is because it was only then that a command language was used, i.e., "So, establish them, your and your community." Prior to this, there was no equally explicit command.

This view of mine is supported by other versions of this Hadeeth in which God explains why He would not reduce any further. For example, the version reported by Al-Bukhaari and also narrated by Anas ibn Maalik (RA). In it, God says,

هي خمس وهي خمسون، لا يبدل القول لدي

Translation:
"It is five and it is fifty. My word is not changeable."

Indeed, His word is not changeable, even by Him! What may look to some like abrogation, isn't. It's the same command, but they did not get it at first.

This is not an easy thing to grasp. No wonder many people did not. But because God's command came to a sealed finality with the Quran, it is impossible to have any thing within it or after it that would change it.

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 Post subject: Re: Origins of the abrogation doctrine
PostPosted: 16 Jul 2011, 09:54 
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Linguistic wrote:
This is not an easy thing to grasp.

I have to admit that I didn't quite get it myself, but I am not worried. The issue of abrogation in my mind remains fixed at one quastion: Are there abrogated verses in the text of the Quran? Discussions of abrogation (or what appears to be abrogation) in other contexts, regardless of what conclusion they might have, do not affect the answer to this question.

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 Post subject: Re: Origins of the abrogation doctrine
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2011, 03:11 
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Linguistic wrote:
Indeed, His word is not changeable, even by Him!

It occurred to me that God actually states that fact in the Quran, such as in

God stopped short of punishing them because He decreed otherwise earlier!

Another example,

God's prior decree of a reprieve stopped what He would otherwise have done.

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 Post subject: Re: Why keep abrogated verses?
PostPosted: 14 Aug 2011, 23:28 
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Pragmatic wrote:
I am not the only one who views 16:101 as stronger evidence for abrogation than 2:106. On pages 297-298 of his book, Ihab quotes comments by Dr. Muhammad Saleh Aly Mostafa about the Quranic evidence for abrogation saying that 16:101 is direct evidence because of the part that says "God knows better what He reveals" while 2:106 is less indicative even though the term naskh is taken from it.

Dr. Mostafa also says that naskh can apply to verses as well as signs while substitution applies only to verses. This disagrees with some interpretations of 16:101 (by Al-Ghazali for instance) and disagrees with my main objection about interpreting 2:106 as talking about miracles which I discussed in this post.

As I was reciting Chapter 16 two nights ago, it dawned on me that the Chapter sets up a theme which runs through it. That theme is that the Quran came to clarify the alterations that were made by people to the prior scriptures. Consider these two verses from the same Chapter,

And recall that God calls the Quran the Reminder in


That same theme is picked up again later in the Chapter,


Thus, I see 16:101 as referring to the sign that is the Quran replacing the signs that were the Torah and the Gospel. The Quran took their place as the only authentic holy scripture mankind must follow. What it abrogates are the alterations of prior scriptures.

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 Post subject: Re: Why keep abrogated verses?
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2011, 01:16 
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Linguistic wrote:
Thus, I see 16:101 as referring to the sign that is the Quran replacing the signs that were the Torah and the Gospel. The Quran took their place as the only authentic holy scripture mankind must follow. What it abrogates are the alterations of prior scriptures.

I am all for that, except that I believe the Quran abrogates prior scriptures (i.e., withdraws their divine authority) in their entirety, altered or otherwise. We have agreed to disagree on this point.

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 Post subject: Re: Origins of the abrogation doctrine
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2011, 16:22 
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Dr. Husayn Nassaar, in his book الناسخ والمنسوخ في القرآن الكريم, page 15, reports what Az-Zurqaani wrote about the exaggeration of scholars opinions about abrogation. Az-Zurqaani disliked those who reported hundreds of cases abrogated. He also disliked those who refused to accept any abrogation claims. He said,

Az-Zurqaani wrote:
The derelict (المقصرون) are those who tried to get rid of abrogation altogether, taking the route of interpretation as specification and such. People like Abu-Muslim Al-Asfahaani.

But the conservative (المقتصدون) are those who accept abrogation in its reasonable limits. They do not expand it wildly, but rather take the claims that are necessary because of real contradiction between texts.

What a sad statement for a Muslim scholar to make! He died believing that the Quran contains real contradictions. Did he not pause at this verse,

May God bless his soul.

In his criticism of the exaggerators, he also wrote that the reasons scholars listed too many abrogation cases were:
  1. They thought that what was ordered for a reason and the reason is no longer is abrogation.
  2. They thought that what Islam ended from the practices before it counts as abrogation.
  3. Their confusing specification for abrogation.
  4. Their confusing elaboration for abrogation.
  5. Their misconstruing a contradiction between texts where there is no actual contradiction.

I wish that he took his own advice and applied the last point industriously. He may have reached a completely different conclusion about the abrogation doctrine.

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 Post subject: Re: Origins of the abrogation doctrine
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2011, 18:09 
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Linguistic wrote:
Their misconstruing a contradiction between texts where there is no actual contradiction.

I wish that he took his own advice and applied the last point industriously. He may have reached a completely different conclusion about the abrogation doctrine.

It makes it easier for us when everyone agrees that there is a line to be drawn, and admits that where to draw the line is subject to debate. We draw the line outside the Quran!

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