Abrogation versus Exception
1. The author provides an objective criterion for distinguishing between abrogation and other forms of 'modification' in the Quran that scholars have treated at times as abrogation while they are just linguistic constructs to express rules and exceptions.
In Chapter 2 (starting on page 108 in volume 1 of his book
), the author puts forward a scholarly analysis of the modes of exception used in the Quran. Exceptions are either in terms of persons a general rule doesn't apply to, or in terms of conditions a general rule doesn't apply under. The author enumerates the different methods that exceptions have been invoked in the Quran. He counters the arguments of some scholars that such exceptions are tantamount to abrogation by pinpointing the difference between abrogation and each type of exception, with painstaking level of detail.
I will focus here on the main difference between exception and abrogation, a difference that is sufficient on its own to resolve most of not all of these cases. Here are the relevant passages in the book (I used the simple word "exception" to avoid the more technical terminology):Item 182 on page 119
: "The first thing we notice, in view of the definition of each, that abrogation removes the abrogated ruling, while exception limits the general ruling to the remaining persons not covered by the exception, Therefore, an abrogated ruling is no longer applicable after it was abrogated while an exception still leaves the ruling applicable to some."Item 192 on page 122
: "However, there is another difference that distances abrogation from each of these modes of exception. That difference is that the abrogated text does not qualify after being abrogated as legal evidence. Is this the case with something general after an exception has been made?"Item 231 on page 150
: "The basis on which exception is built is a contradiction between two statements, and on face value that is the same basis on which abrogation is built. However, what we cannot ignore here and what is indeed the reason recent scholars do not consider exceptions an abrogation is that the contradiction in the case of exception is not really a contradiction when compared with the contradiction in the case of abrogation. Instead, it is a narrowing of a general rule brought by the exception, after which the ruling is still there and is not lifted, abiding by it has not ended, and its text remains as evidence of the ruling, but with consideration of the restriction that the text of exception brought about."
These passages support an obvious rule: Exception removes part of the original rule, so the remaining part remains intact. Abrogation removes the entire rule, so nothing of it remains intact. If you say "All students should come to class except those who are sick," The exception for sick students does not remove the obligation on the others to come to class, while abrogating "all students should come to class" would remove that obligation.