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 Post subject: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 05 Jan 2010, 05:12 
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Many scholars cite 8:66 as one case of abrogation in the Quran and they say that it has abrogated 8:65. These two verses are commonly referred to in the literature as the "Musaabara" verses. Here are the two verses,


is claimed to have been abrogated by


At first blush, it sure looks like 8:66 altered what was stated in 8:65. However, consider the following points of argument,

  • That 8:65 does not contain a ruling. There is no command in it concerning numbers. It does not command that twenty believers be summoned to fight two hundred idolaters; it simply assures the believers who may be afraid to fight a bigger enemy that numbers don't matter. Faith and steadfastness do. This is evidenced by the words إن يكن (be it). Thus, there can be no abrogation.
  • 8:64 sets the theme. It states,

    This explains why, at time of war, Muslims should not lose courage when they realize that the enemy is ten times their numbers. God is with the prophet and his true followers regardless of their number. The phrase ومن اتبعك (and whoever follows you) is conjugated in the singular. Therefore, it refers to the Prophet (PBUH), which means that it is an addition to God's help. In other words, the verse means the following,
    "O Prophet, God and whoever follows you of the believers are sufficient for you."

    Sufficient means it's all you need, whether the adversary is ten times or twice your number. Taking the three verses together, 8:64-66, makes the clear point that numbers of troops are not that important, if Muslims are faithful and resilient.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 05 Jan 2010, 06:27 
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Nice angle! I would like to give a different angle on the abrogation case of 8:65 and 8:66. Let me start with my translation of the verses:

{8:65} O Prophet, urge the believers to battle. If there are twenty of you who are patient, they conquer two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you, they conquer a thousand of those who disbelieve, as they are people who don't comprehend.

{8:66} Now, God has eased it on you, and He knows that there is weakness in you, so if there are a hundred of you who are patient, they conquer two hundred, and if there are a thousand of you, they conquer two thousand with God's permission, and God is with the patient ones.

I will concede that this is the first case where I see that someone can reasonably conclude that it is a compelling abrogation case. Nonetheless, I would like to argue that it is not.

I will also concede that the statements of the type "if there are a hundred of you, they conquer a thousand" in the verses do imply a requirement on the Moslems rather than just a prediction or a reassurance. Two reasons. First, "God has eased it on you" fits the notion that it is a requirement, and doesn't fit the notion that it is a prediction or a reassurance. The second reason is linguistic. The Arabic construct with the present tense used in the verses can mean both a statement about the future (which most translations chose) or a connotation of a command. If you read a translation that uses the future tense, it makes it sound more like statements of prediction or reassurance. However, this bias is not there when you read the Arabic text. I tried to translate the Arabic text as faithfully as I could, and I can see that using the present tense even in English does carry a bit of the command connotation. It's like someone standing in front of an army saying "if there are strong guys among you, they tackle the enemy first."

The reason why I feel that the first verse is not abrogated but complemented by the second verse is that I read the two verses as collectively stating: "the real requirement is to tackle an army that is ten-fold your size, and it is just a matter of mercy from God that you are only required to tackle an army that is two-fold your size." The situation is similar to the prayer requirement. We were commanded to pray 50 times a day, and God lightened the burden to 5 times a day (with the reward of 50). Why mention the harder requirement when God's plan was to accept the lighter requirement anyway? IMHO, it's because in both cases there is still hardship in the lighter requirement, and we need to be reminded that, if it weren't for God's mercy, we would be stuck with a far harder task. Every time someone feels that doing the 5 prayers is tough, they can think of what it would have been like if the 50 prayers requirement was left in place, and realize that they got it easy. Every time someone feels afraid or burdened by fighting an army twice as big, they can think of what it would have been like if the ten-fold requirement was left in place, and realize that they got it easy.

This is the reason that I conclude that the verse was not abrogated. I can even see situations where the ruling in the verse still plays a role. Somewhere along the line, a Moslem army may find itself facing an army ten-fold its size and look for guidance as to whether to fight or concede. They can look at the two verses and decide to overcome their weakness and go for the fight, knowing that God had endorsed that in a similar situation.

This is my humble opinion, and God knows best.

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 Post subject: Who said what
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2010, 18:28 
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For:
The majority, including Ibn `Abbaas (in one report),
`Ataa' (according to Ibn Al-`Arabi),
Ash-Shaafi`i (implied),
Al-Qaasim ibn Salaam,
Ibn Katheer,
Ibn Hazm Al-Andalusi,
Ibn Salaama,
Ibn Al-Baarizi,
Abu-Abdillah Shu`la,
As-Suyooti,
An-Nahhaas (in one report),
Az-Zurqaani,
Shah Waliullah Dehlvi,
Ash-Sha`raawi (though he acknowledged that 8:66 is contingent),
Dr. Mustafa Zayd,
Ali Hasan Al-Areedh,
Abdul-Qaahir Al-Baghdaadi and Dr. Hilmi Abdul-Haadi (according to Haani Taahir),
Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs (Egypt),
Dr. Mannaa` Al-Qattaan.

Against:
The Prophet (PBUH), implied by his practice,
Abu-Bakr As-Siddeeq, Khaalid ibn Al-Waleed and `Amr ibn Al`Aas (implied by their practice),
Ibn Abbaas (in another report),
Mujaahid, `Ataa', Al-Hasan, Ikrima, Zayd ibn Asalam, Ataa' Al-Khuraasaani, Ad-Dhahhaak,
Al-`Iraaqi, Ali ibn Abi-Talha, Muhammad ibn Is-haaq,
Ibn Hazm Az-Zhaahiri,
At-Tabari,
Abu-Ja`far An-Nahhaas (in two other reports),
Makki,
Al-Qurtubi,
Ibn Al`Arabi,
Ibn Al-Jawzi,
Abu-Muslim Al-Asfahaani,
Al-Fakhr Ar-Raazi,
Al-Aloosi (according to Az-Zalmi),
Ibn As-Subki (imlplied),
Muhammad Al-Khudhari (Bek),
M. Rasheed Ridha,
Dr. Ahmad Hijaazi As-Saqqa,
M. M. Nada,
Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Ali Jaabir (quoted by Nada, from his book الطريق إلى جماعة المسلمين, pages 198-199),
Dr. Ali Hasaballah (quoted by Nada, from his book أصول التشريع الإسلامي, page 218),
Dr. Yoosuf Al-Qaradhaawi (quoted by Nada, from his book عوامل السعة والمرونة في الشريعة الإسلامية, pages 78-81),
Muhammad Al-Ghazali,
Dr. Az-Zalmi (who said it's a case of license after resolution),
Dr. Muhammad Saalih Ali Mustafa,
Husaam Al-Ghaali,
Dr. N.A. Tantaawi,
Dr. Ali Jum`a,
Haani Taahir,
Jamaal `Ataaya.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 26 Jan 2010, 07:27 
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I have come to the conclusion that this abrogation claim is by far the strongest one. All other claims, even the more popular ones, have a compelling counterargument that convincingly refutes the claim. Although we have a counterargument here, the following part is not as compelling as I would want it to be.

Pragmatic wrote:
This is the reason that I conclude that the verse was not abrogated. I can even see situations where the ruling in the verse still plays a role. Somewhere along the line, a Moslem army may find itself facing an army ten-fold its size and look for guidance as to whether to fight or concede. They can look at the two verses and decide to overcome their weakness and go for the fight, knowing that God had endorsed that in a similar situation.

In this post, I will try to identify points about the ruling that may help strengthen the counterargument. These are just pointers to potential directions rather than developed or even semi-developed arguments. I just feel that we need to put an effort in this one. I will refer to 8:65 as abrogated and 8:66 as abrogating to simplify the statements.

1. The abrogated verse has smaller numbers for the Muslims than the abrogating verse. This would have provided a good angle (one verse for smaller numbers or early in Islam, and the other for bigger numbers or later in Islam) except that the number 100 is common between the two:

Abrogated (20 conquer 200 and 100 conquer 1000): إن يكن منكم عشرون صابرون يغلبوا مائتين وإن يكن منكم مائة يغلبوا ألفا

Abrogating (100 conquer 200 and 1000 conquer 2000): فإن يكن منكم مائة صابرة يغلبوا مائتين وإن يكن منكم ألف يغلبوا ألفين

2. Those to be conquered in the abrogated verse are described as من الذين كفروا بأنهم قوم لايفقهون (of those who disbelieve as they are folk who don't comprehend), while in the abrogating verse they are not described.

3. The conquest in the abrogated verse is unqualified, while the conquest in the abrogating verse is qualified by بإذن الله (with God's permission).

I don't know if anything can come out of this as far as countering the abrogation claim, but at least this spells out the differences between the two verses.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2010, 00:52 
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One other point that is common between 8:66 and 73:20 is the verb علم (He knew). God is saying that He had known all along that the command could not be complied to! So, why did He give it? IMHO, the initial command was timed. God intended for it to last only what it lasted, for the purpose it served. 8:65 was meant only for the battle of Badr to assure Muslims that their number is not a reason to fear battle. 73:1-4 were meant to train the prophet, peace be upon him, for the heavy task ahead, as evidenced by the very next verse,

When the time period for the command came to an end, so did the command. A new command was then issued in 8:66 (if that's a command) and in 73:20. That's not abrogation; that's two commands for two different circumstances.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2010, 02:04 
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Linguistic wrote:
One other point that is common between 8:66 and 73:20 is the verb علم (He knew). God is saying that He had known all along that the command could not be complied to! So, why did He give it? IMHO, the initial command was timed. God intended for it to last only what it lasted, for the purpose it served. 8:65 was meant only for the battle of Badr to assure Muslims that their number is not a reason to fear battle. 73:1-4 were meant to train the prophet, peace be upon him, for the heavy task ahead, as evidenced by the very next verse,

When the time period for the command came to an end, so did the command. A new command was then issued in 8:66 (if that's a command) and in 73:20. That's not abrogation; that's two different commands for two different circumstances.

Your argument is very promising. We need to see if it can be further substantiated. The parallels of He knew in both 'abrogating' verses 8:66 and 73:20 is a novel point.

We should realize that someone may read this argument as saying "the ruling in 8:65 is no longer valid while the verse remains as an important historical fact," and may view this as precisely what abrogation means. We need to face this specific logic head on.

When you refer to the battle of Badr, do you know of timing information or other circumstantial evidence that can support that? Was there a time lapse between the revelations of 8:65 and 8:66? The smaller number of Muslims in 8:65 would suggest that, but I wonder if there is stronger evidence.

Another point along the same lines. In the case of 73:20, the counterargument against abrogation is that the command in 73:1-4 was explicitly confined to the Prophet (PBUH). Is it possible that in 8:65 there is a similar confinement? The opening of 8:65 is an indication that the command is through the Prophet "O Prophet, urge the believers to battle" while 8:66 is a direct command from God. What are the implications of that?

A final possibility is the revival of the question of whether 8:65 could be a statement of fact, especially because of the closing of the verse "because they are a folk who do not comprehend." Without the opening of 8:66, "Now, God has lightened [the hardship] on you," the argument about a statment of fact is easy to make, so could it be that 8:65 is a statement of fact and 8:66 is a command?

There is quite a bit to think about here.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2010, 18:45 
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Pragmatic wrote:
We should realize that someone may read this argument as saying "the ruling in 8:65 is no longer valid while the verse remains as an important historical fact," and may view this as precisely what abrogation means. We need to face this specific logic head on.

I acknowledge that many would say that's what abrogation is, but I respectfully disagree. To my mind, these two examples here are examples of one command ending and another beginning. Abrogation, on the other hand, is one command interrupted and modified. This may sound like splitting hairs and I acknowledge that the distinction may escape many.

Quote:
When you refer to the battle of Badr, do you know of timing information or other circumstantial evidence that can support that? Was there a time lapse between the revelations of 8:65 and 8:66? The smaller number of Muslims in 8:65 would suggest that, but I wonder if there is stronger evidence.

This is what Al-Qurtubi writes about 8:66 in his exegesis,
قال ابن العربي: قال قوم إن هذا كان يوم بدر ونسخ. وهذا خطأ من قائله. ولم ينقل قط أن المشركين صافوا المسلمين عليها، ولكن الباري جل وعز فرض ذلك عليهم أولا، وعلق ذلك بأنكم تفقهون ما تقاتلون عليه، وهو الثواب. وهم لا يعلمون ما يقاتلون عليه. قلت: وحديث ابن عباس يدل على أن ذلك فرض. ثم لما شق ذلك عليهم حط الفرض إلى ثبوت الواحد للاثنين، فخفف عنهم وكتب عليهم ألا يفر مائة من مائتين، فهو على هذا القول تخفيف لا نسخ. وهذا حسن. وقد ذكر القاضي ابن الطيب أن الحكم إذا نسخ بعضه أو بعض أوصافه، أو غير عدده فجائز أن يقال إنه نسخ، لأنه حينئذ ليس بالأول، بل هو غيره. وذكر في ذلك خلافا

So, Al-Qurtubi sees no abrogation here, but an easing of requirement. Ibn At-Tayyib seems to agree though he says this may be called abrogation.

Quote:
Another point along the same lines. In the case of 73:20, the counterargument against abrogation is that the command in 73:1-4 was explicitly confined to the Prophet (PBUH). Is it possible that in 8:65 there is a similar confinement? The opening of 8:65 is an indication that the command is through the Prophet "O Prophet, urge the believers to battle" while 8:66 is a direct command from God. What are the implications of that?

I'd agree because the addressed in 8:65 is the Prophet, but the addressed in 8:66 are the believers.

You bring up a point I've been meaning to discuss. The only command in 8:65 is for the Prophet (PBUH) to urge the believers to fight. Was that command abrogated by 8:66 or any other verse? That would mean that the Prophet never again had to urge the believers to fight. Is that a historical fact?

What I see is that what was modified was the argument the Prophet may use to persuade the believers. Thus, no abrogation occurred here because no command was modified. Is that splitting hairs too?

Quote:
A final possibility is the revival of the question of whether 8:65 could be a statement of fact, especially because of the closing of the verse "because they are a folk who do not comprehend." Without the opening of 8:66, "Now, God has lightened [the hardship] on you," the argument about a statement of fact is easy to make, so could it be that 8:65 is a statement of fact and 8:66 is a command?

I actually see the opposite, as I explained above. 8:65 is the verse that has the command while 8:66 has no command. The closing clause of 8:65 simply elaborates why the one-to-ten ratio will work. Earlier in the chapter, God gives the believers the good news that He will supply them with angels to fight alongside them, responding favorably to their plea for help,

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 29 Jan 2010, 07:49 
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Linguistic wrote:
To my mind, these two examples here are examples of one command ending and another beginning. Abrogation, on the other hand, is one command interrupted and modified. This may sound like splitting hairs and I acknowledge that the distinction my escape many.

Here is my 'operational' definition. If a command in a verse is confined to the Prophet (PBUH), this means that the scope of the command ended with the death of the Prophet, but it doesn't mean that the verse was abrogated. Using an expression I used before, it means that the verse is "self delimiting," limiting its own scope by being a command to the Prophet. To pin that down, consider


Nobody can claim that this verse was abrogated (at least I hope not :)), since there is no verse that qualifies as abrogating, and there would have to be one per the promise in 2:106.

Now, let us say that a verse has a command to the Prophet, and another verse came later that has a conflicting command to him, such as the case of 73:1-4 and 73:20 as perceived by many. This is still not abrogation, but rather tantamount to a command to the Prophet "Do A during the time between the two revelations, then do B after the second revelation." If the second command is for all Muslims rather than just the Prophet, then still this is not abrogation, but rather tantamount to a command to the Prophet "Do A during the time between the two revelations, then do B after the second revelation" and a command to Muslims "Do B after the second revelation."

These situations are only possible during the 23 years of revelation, because the Quran was dynamic during that period, with a time dimension. Certain verses hadn't been revealed at a given point, and their commands would not come into effect until they are revealed. It was only upon the the death of the Prophet (PBUH) that the Quran became complete and static, with all verses simultaneously in effect. The conclusion is that talk of abrogation of a verse that is confined to a command to the Prophet is moot, which leads us to the case at hand:

Linguistic wrote:
I'd agree because the addressed in 8:65 is the Prophet, but the addressed in 8:66 are the believers.
You bring up a point I've been meaning to discuss. The only command in 8:65 is for the Prophet (PBUH) to urge the believers to fight. Was that command abrogated by 8:66 or any other verse? That would mean that the Prophet never again had to urge the believers to fight. Is that a historical fact?
What I see is that what was modified was the argument the Prophet may use to persuade the believers. Thus, no abrogation occurred here because no command was modified.

This seems to me to be the most promising argument against the abrogation claim here. It is well within logic that 8:65 in its entirety is a command to the Prophet (and perhaps, by persuasion, to those around him at the time, but that still falls under the dynamic argument), while 8:66 is a command to the Muslims at large. Not only does this eliminate the possibility of abrogation for 8:65, but it also lends credence to the previous suggestion in this thread that 8:65 has a morale value for knowing that the early Muslims had to fight 10-to-1 while we only have to fight 2-to-1.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 29 Jan 2010, 16:05 
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Yes. And I'd like to answer my own question, "If 8:65 was abrogated, does that mean that the prophet never again had to urge Muslims to fight?" Well, the historical evidence is that he continued doing that. 8:65 was revealed at the first battle, Badr. Later battles, as we know, had their share of ups and downs and the Prophet always had to urge his followers to fight. In Uhud, fellow Muslims were doing the urging, after they saw the Prophet wounded and rumor went around that he was killed. In Hunayn, the defeat was near total and Muslims felt like there was an earthquake shaking them. In Tabook, some Muslims tried to weasel out by saying it's too hot out there. Chapter 9 is full of verses urging Muslims to fight by reminding them of all the atrocities the polytheists did to them.

Muslims always needed urging to go to battle. It's only natural. Therefore, 8:65 was never abrogated.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:66 abrogate 8:65?
PostPosted: 29 Jan 2010, 19:58 
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Linguistic wrote:
"If 8:65 was abrogated, does that mean that the prophet never again had to urge Muslims to fight?" Well, the historical evidence is that he continued doing that. 8:65 was revealed at the first battle, Badr. Later battles, as we know, had their share of ups and downs and the Prophet always had to urge his followers to fight. In Uhud, fellow Muslims were doing the urging, after they saw the Prophet wounded and rumor went around that he was killed. In Hunayn, the defeat was near total and Muslims felt like there was an earthquake shaking them. In Tabook, some Muslims tried to weasel out by saying it's too hot out there. Chapter 9 is full of verses urging Muslims to fight by reminding them of all the atrocities the polytheists did to them.

You added a strong angle here. The two parts of 8:65, which are the command to the Prophet (PBUH) to persuade the believers to fight and the assertion of the ten-to-one fighting ratio, can be treated either as two separate statements or as two parts in the same statement. If they are two parts of the same statement then the argument in the previous post about the whole verse being a command to the prophet PBUH applies, and therefore the verse cannot be abrogated. If they are two separate statements, then your angle comes in because the "Persuade the believers to fight" command to the Prophet (PBUH) by itself has to be abrogated if 8:65 is abrogated per rule # 5,

Quote:
5. Is the abrogation claim total? If not, it's invalid. A verse can either be abrogated in its entirety or not abrogated in its entirety. There is no partial abrogation of a verse, per 2:106.

and you correctly argued that this command remained in effect using the historical events you listed.

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