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 Post subject: Validation process
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2010, 19:54 
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Applying our validation process to this case, we find that the case fails all of the following validation rules:

0: Neither God nor His messenger said that 4:15 was abrogated. What the prophet, peace be upon him, said, according to an authentic hadeeth narrated by Muslim and Ibn Maajah, was that God did provide a way out.
10: Verse 4:15 specified a contingency for its ruling, that God may provide a way out for these women. The hadeeth confirms it.
12,13: 24:2 speaks of heterosexual sin while 4:15 (also 4:16 for that matter) could very well be speaking of homosexual sin.

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 Post subject: Re: Validation process
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2010, 08:38 
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Linguistic wrote:
Applying our validation process to this case, we find that the case fails all of the following validation rules:

0: Neither God nor His messenger said that 4:15 was abrogated. What the prophet, peace be upon him, said, according to an authentic hadeeth narrated by Muslim and Ibn Maajah, was that God did provide a way out.
10: Verse 4:15 specified a contingency for its ruling, that God may provide a way out for these women. The hadeeth confirms it.
12,13: 24:2 speaks of heterosexual sin while 4:15 (also 4:16 for that matter) could very well be speaking of homosexual sin.

Yup. That's the systematic way of doing it.

I think the taboo of discussing homosexuality is the reason why people took a detour with 4:15-16, in spite of 4:16 in particular being pretty obvious what it is about. I have two questions regarding the language of 4:15 and 4:16 that may shed more light on this.

1. Why "اللاتي" rather than "اللتان" in 4:15 given that the two-form is used in 4:16?

2. Why "من نسائكم" in 4:15 and not "من رجالكم" in 4:16? Does "من نسائكم" refer to wives rather than just women?

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 Post subject: Re: Did 24:2 abrogate 4:15-16?
PostPosted: 10 Feb 2010, 09:50 
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Dr. Mostafa Zaid has an interesting discussion of this abrogation claim which he supports and includes 4:16 in it (volume 2 of his book, pages 315-323). Here are the highlights:

1. He violates the self-delimiting rule that he himself argued for by considering 4:15 abrogatable in spite of including "until death takes them or God ordains for them [another] way" which makes it compatible with any other way that God ordains in 24:2 or elsewhere. Let me speculate here that he had a dilemma since he believes that 4:16 is abrogated by 24:2, and it would be difficult to argue 4:16 without 4:15, so he had to overlook the self-delimiting aspect of 4:15. Just my humble opinion.

2. Abu-Muslim Al-Asfahany provides the best argument I have seen from him in Zaid's book. He says that 4:15-16 are about homosexual punishment, and 24:2 is about heterosexual punishment, which is the same opinion as Tantaawi's. He reasons it this way:
  • 4:15 addresses women explicitly, and 4:16 addresses men since it either addresses men or men+women, and the latter possibility is excluded because women have already been addressed.
  • The mere possibility of this interpretation is sufficient to preclude abrogation.
  • If the sin referred to is heterosexual fornication, then the two verses repeat the same thing in the same subject twice which would be poor, so the other interpretation is more plausible.
  • Explaining the "way" in "God ordains for them [another] way" as stoning or lashing would not be for them but against them, and the expression in 2:286 supports that linguistically.

3. Zaid rebuts the four bullets of Al-Asfahany as follows:
  • He says "That interpretation was not mentioned by one of the early interpreters. Therefore, it's not valid."
  • He quotes a hadeeth that refers to "God ordains for them [another] way" and talks about the punishment for heterosexual offenses, and considers that evidence against the possibility of the other interpretation.
  • The Sahaba have disagreed about what the punishment for male homosexuality is, and none of them relied on 4:16. Not relying on it while they very much needed a text that states the ruling is one of the strongest proofs that this verse is not about homosexuality.
  • He mentions that there is no proof in religion that lesbian acts carry any legal penalty.
Zaid's first and third points are by negative inference. So now not only is what the Sahaba and the early Muslims say binding, but what they don't say is also binding in the other direction! The hadeeth quoted in the second point is one of the singles. Very weak rebuttal IMHO, and he continues with more argumentative rebuttal after that.

Final comment. IMHO, it is impossible that 4:15 and 4:16 are talking about the same offense if 4:16 is talking about both men and women. A woman committing that offense would then fall under both verses, and the punishments in the two verses are incompatible. Any thing else is arguable, convincingly or otherwise, but not this point. In Zaid's comments, that point was never addressed.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 24:2 abrogate 4:15-16?
PostPosted: 10 Feb 2010, 20:56 
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Pragmatic wrote:
3. Zaid rebuts the four bullets of Al-Asfahany as follows:
[list]
[*]He says "That interpretation was not mentioned by one of the early interpreters. Therefore, it's not valid."

Who established that rule? If it is so, then latter exegetists, such as Ibn Katheer, had no authority to write their exegesis books!

Quote:
[*]The Sahaba have disagreed about what the punishment for male homosexuality is, and none of them relied on 4:16. Not relying on it while they very much needed a text that states the ruling is one of the strongest proofs that this verse is not about homosexuality.

The opinions of the Sahaaba (أقوال الصحابة) is considered a proper proof method (طرق الإثبات الشرعية) in the Hanafi Fiqh only. The very fact that the Sahaaba disagreed on the punishment is proof that they didn't know and therefore their opinions may be taken or left.

Quote:
So now not only is what the Sahaba and the early Muslims say binding, but what they don't say is also binding in the other direction!

He has declared the bulk of abrogation cases invalid, even though most of them were so declared by Ibn Abbaas, an esteemed Sahaabi. So, he gave himself the right to reject the word of a Sahaabi. He can't have it both ways.

What the Sahaaba did not say or could not understand may have been made known to others after them. Knowledge is not confined to the people of the Seventh Century. God taught Al-Khadr knowledge that He did not give to Moses, peace be upon them.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 24:2 abrogate 4:15-16?
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2010, 19:11 
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Linguistic wrote:
He has declared the bulk of abrogation cases invalid, even though most of them were so declared by Ibn Abbaas, an esteemed Sahaabi. So, he gave himself the right to reject the word of a Sahaabi. He can't have it both ways.

Exactly. The theme of pick-and-choose runs through much of the literature that I have been reading, without justifying it or even acknowledging it. Your words are echoed in this book when the author on page 31 quotes a passage for Al-Manar book saying: "But a Companion's interpretation of a Kuran verse is not binding. If it were, the majority would have not, on occasion, disagreed with Ibn Abbas, the most learned of the exegetes of his generation."

I am told that Al-Manar book that Burton is referring to may be تفسير المنار which is described on the web as:

تفسير المنار للسيد محمد رشيد رضا وهو تفسير مقتبس من دروس الأستاذ الإمام محمد عبده،

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 Post subject: Re: Did 24:2 abrogate 4:15-16?
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2010, 03:14 
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Pragmatic wrote:
Linguistic wrote:
4:15 talks about fornication/adultery between two women and 4:16 talks about fornication/adultery between two men, neither one talks about heterosexual fornication/adultery. His evidence is that 4:15 does not mention men at all, only women, and 4:16 talks about two men specifically and no mention of women. Thus, 4:15-16 talk about homosexual sins while 24:2 talks about heterosexual sin. Since they talk about two different crimes, neither verse can abrogate the other.

Remarkable that this went unnoticed. I think the abrogation case is completely gone even before this interpretation, but the dilemma now is how to interpret the Hadeeth that is narrated about the Prophet (PBUH) saying "God ordained for them [another] way" (evidently referring to the expression in 4:15) at the time of revelation of 24:2.

Ali Hasan Al-Areedh, in his book فتح المنان في نسخ القرآن. confirms that this logical interpretation was first made by Abu-Muslim Al-Asfahaani, rahimahullah. However, he dismisses it casually saying that no other scholar has understood 4:15-16 that way. In fact, he said, the Sahaaba differed on the punishment for homosexuality, so if that interpretation was valid they would have used it as they badly needed text to decide the matter. He says, "They are the ones who knew the Book of God best." That echoes what you posted, Pragmatic, of Dr. Zaid's commentary on Al-Asfahaani's interpretation.

I don't know why the Sahaaba didn't consider that interpretation, but it is the most logical one and the most straightforward. God called homosexuality الفاحشة (The debauchery) with a definite article, in three verses:

And

And

Therefore, dismissing that the same word mentioned in 4:15 may apply to homosexuality is without merit.

In distinction, God named heterosexual debauchery الزنا (fornication) when He specified rulings about it, in 24:2-3. One cannot apply that specific ruling to another debauchery that is different from fornication and adultery.

Al-Areedh doesn't give much weight to the hadeeth quoted earlier and claimed by many to be the real abrogator of 4:15-16 and some even said it abrogated 24:2 as well! He says that it is narrated by a few (آحاد) and therefore is not eligible to abrogate a verse.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 24:2 abrogate 4:15-16?
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2010, 03:49 
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Linguistic wrote:
Ali Hasan Al-Areedh, in his book فتح المنان في نسخ القرآن. confirms that this logical interpretation was first made by Abu-Muslim Al-Asfahaani, rahimahullah. However, he dismisses it casually saying that no other scholar has understood 4:15-16 that way. In fact, he said, the Sahaaba differed on the punishment for homosexuality, so if that interpretation was valid they would have used it as they badly needed text to decide the matter. He says, "They are the ones who knew the Book of God best."

I don't know why they didn't consider that interpretation, but it is the most logical one and the most straightforward.

Al-Areedh doesn't give much weight to the hadeeth. He says that it is narrated by a few آحاد and therefore is not eligible to abrogate a verse.

Two remarks:

1. I read the same argument about the Sahaba differing on this matter and needing a text to resolve their difference, and the conclusion that if Al-Asfahani's interpretation was valid that would have been their way of resolving the difference. I don't remember where I read it, but probably in Zaid's book. I find the argument to be pretty weak. People can miss certain interpretations, and this interpretation is not conclusive (although it is the most plausible) so it may not resolve difference of opinions.

2. It is important to note Al-Areedh's opinion about the hadeeth, not only for the abrogation discussion, but also for the justification of the stoning punishment in spite of the ruling in 24:2.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 24:2 abrogate 4:15-16?
PostPosted: 22 May 2010, 04:58 
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Dr. Ahmad Hijaazi As-Saqqa, in his book لانسخ في القرآن, pages 105-113, discusses this case at great length. His arguments for refuting it are uncharacteristically weak. His explanation is that 24:2 specifies the punishment and 4:15 specifies what happens next; the fornicating woman is locked up in her home, not allowed to go out so that "people will not keep remembering her sin". The immediate problem with this argument is that Chapter 24 was revealed after Chapter 4! He then says that for men, the harm mentioned in 4:16 is the flogging mentioned in 24:2, implying, I suppose, that 24:2 confirms 4:16.

He then mentions Al-Asfahaani's opinion and disagrees with it because - you're not going to believe this - "lesbianism is not a debauchery!"

He quotes Abu-Haneefa saying that the punishment for male homosexuality is discipline (التعزير) not flogging. Doesn't that support Al-Asfahaani's opinion that 4:16 is about male homosexuality?

Dr. As-Saqqa then spends several pages discussing the hadeeths that specify house arrest and the verdict of stoning. He rejects both on the basis that hadeeths narrated by a few (آحاد) cannot modify a ruling in the Quran. He says that 24:2 abrogated the stoning ruling of the Prophet (PBUH) which, As-Saqqa postulates, may have been the Prophet's own opinion. I did read more than once that the Prophet (PBUH) tended to rule like the people of the Book in matters in which he did not receive a revelation.

As-Saqqa then mentions a hadeeth, reported by Al-Bukhaari, in which Ash-Shaybaani asked Abdullah ibn Abi-Afwa, "Did the Messenger of God stone?" He said, "Yes". He said, "Was that before or after the Noor verse (24:2)?" He said, "I don't know."

As-Saqqa then propounds the opinions of Al-Khawaarij who reject the stoning ruling and the Torah which specifies it. I don't know why he thought he had to mention these two.

Finally, he mentions a number of distinguished scholars who rejected the stoning ruling, people such as Muhammad Abu-Zahra, Ali Al-Khafeef, Mustafa Az-Zarqa and Abdul-Wahaab Khallaaf.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 24:2 abrogate 4:15-16?
PostPosted: 22 May 2010, 06:35 
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Linguistic wrote:
He then mentions Al-Asfahaani's opinion and disagrees with it because - you're not going to believe this - "lesbianism is not a debauchery!"

He quotes Abu-Haneefa saying that the punishment for male homosexuality is discipline (التعزير) not flogging. Doesn't that support Al-Asfahaani's opinion that 4:16 is about male homosexuality?

It turns out that I heard before that there is no enforceable punishment for lesbianism. There is clearly unease among the scholars in addressing the issue of homosexuality head on. They may feel that arguing for lower punishments is "encouraging" the offense.

BTW, Nada supports Al-Asfahany's interpretation and opinion in this case and cites him in great detail.

Quote:
Dr. As-Saqqa then spends several pages discussing the hadeeths that specify house arrest and the verdict of stoning. He rejects both on the basis that hadeeths narrated by a few (آحاد) cannot modify a ruling in the Quran. He says that 24:2 abrogated the stoning ruling of the Prophet (PBUH) which, As-Saqqa postulates, may have been the Prophet's own opinion. I did read more than once that the Prophet (PBUH) tended to rule like the people of the Book in matters in which he did not receive a revelation.

As-Saqqa then mentions a hadeeth, reported by Al-Bukhaari, in which Ash-Shaybaani asked Abdullah ibn Abi-Afwa, "Did the Messenger of God stone?" He said, "Yes". He said, "Was that before or after the Noor verse (24:2)?" He said, "I don't know."

As-Saqqa then propounds the opinions of Al-Khawaarij who reject the stoning ruling and the Torah which specifies it. I don't know why he thought he had to mention these two.

Finally, he mentions a number of distinguished scholars who rejected the stoning ruling, people such as Muhammad Abu-Zahra, Ali Al-Khafeef, Mustafa Az-Zarqa and Abdul-Wahaab Khallaaf.

There is certainly evidence in what I read that rulings in previous books were used until a Quranic revelation addressing the subject was in place. The fact that people are not arguing that the stoning hadith/Sunna was abrogated by 24:2 is puzzling, given the gravity of the punishment.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 24:2 abrogate 4:15-16?
PostPosted: 27 May 2010, 19:46 
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Pragmatic wrote:
There is certainly evidence in what I read that rulings in previous books were used until a Quranic revelation addressing the subject was in place.

Dr. Az-Zalmi mentions that in page 58 of his book التبيان لرفع غموض النسخ في القرآن, and on page 84 he says that Al-Bukhaari has reported a hadeeth confirming it. I looked for that hadeeth and found it:
عن ابن عباس قال كان أهل الكتاب يسدلون أشعارهم وكان المشركون يفرقون رءوسهم وكان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تعجبه موافقة أهل الكتاب فيما لم يؤمر به فسدل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ناصيته ثم فرق بعد * ( صحيح ) _ ابن ماجه 3632 : وأخرجه البخاري ومسلم

Translation: Ibn Abbaas narrated that the People of the Book used to let their hair down while the polytheists used to part it. The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, used to like to do like the people of the Book in what he was not ordered (to do differently), so he let the hair down on his forehead, but later on he parted it. Reported by Ibn Maajah, Al-Bukhaari and Muslim and also rated authentic by Al-Albaani.

This certainly supports the opinion that the stoning ruling may have been the default the Prophet used, not some ruling mandated by God to the Prophet in some mysterious verse that is no longer there, and that the stoning ruling has since been abrogated by 24:2.

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