As he discusses the difference between abrogation and specification, Haani Taahir, in his book تنزيه آي القرآن عن النسخ والنقصان, page 147, gives the definition of specification as stated by Badraan Abul-`Aynayn in his book أصول الفقه, (My translation and emphasis),
"Specifying a generality is to divert a word that is general from its generality, to separate some of what was included in it and making it apply only
to those few, such that the ruling does not apply except to the specific few, or more precisely, explaining that what was meant by the generality is the specificity
I respectfully but strongly disagree! The generality was meant, or else God would not have said it! What the specificity does is to make a specific ruling for the few, but for everybody else the generality is the ruling.
Taahir gives an example that he hoped would illustrate Abul-`Aynayn's definition. He says if a ruling says, "Do not marry a polytheist", it may mean "do not marry from the people of the Book". Then when another ruling comes and says, "You may marry from the people of the Book" then we conclude that the later specificity explained what was not meant by the generality.
I strongly disagree. In this example, "do not marry a polytheist" did not imply not marrying from the people of the Book; they are not polytheist! Anybody thinking otherwise is the one who got it wrong. The ruling was meant as is. The "specificity" confirmed
that people of the Book are not polytheist. If this example is used to prove abrogation, it should be an example that verses came to abrogate the wrong understanding
of prior verses. This is the abrogation claim of 5:5/2:221
. Taahir gives it as an example that Ibn Abbaas and the early scholars did not mean abrogation when they used the word naskh, since nobody has ever said that it was OK for Muslims to marry polytheists, which would be the result of abrogating 2:221.
Taahir gives more examples:
- 24:60/24:31. Taahir says that nobody has ever said that it was OK now for women to dress lightly, which would be the conclusion from abrogating 24:31. Instead, what Ibn Abbaas meant by naskh is specification, or exception, for older ladies. I agree.
- 40:7/42:5. Here nobody has ever suggested that the angels no longer ask forgiveness for people on earth, which would be the conclusion from abrogating 42:5. Instead, what the scholars meant by naskh in this case is a specification, or explanation, that what was meant by 42:5 is the believers. I don't agree. As I argued in that topic, the general statement in 42:5 includes believers and the specific statement in 40:7 does not exclude disbelievers. Therefore, 40:7 confirms 42:5 for believers.
- 65:4/2:240. Taahir says that no one has suggested that Ibn Mas`ood, who used the word naskh for this case, has suggested that the waiting period of four months and ten days has been canceled. Instead, what he meant was that 65:4 made a specific ruling for divorced pregnant women. I agree. Also see the topic for confirmation of this conclusion in the story of Abus-Sanaabil.