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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2013, 17:13 
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Linguistic wrote:
...the author starts out by proving that abrogation is possible and that the evidence for that is text and consensus.

What Shu`la actually says, which is on page 91, is "The deniers of abrogation are refuted by consensus before they broke it." My translation, emphasis mine.

That means that Shu`la believed that consensus means unanimity, that one dissension foils a consensus. But scholars have actually had diverse definitions of consensus. In other words, there is no consensus on what consensus is!

Then how can it be a refutation argument?

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2013, 11:59 
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Linguistic wrote:
But scholars have actually had diverse definitions of consensus. In other words, there is no consensus on what consensus is!

From a linguistic :) point of view, "إجماع" is unanimity not consensus. Consensus is "توافق" and the source of authority for "إجماع" is the hadeeth "My nation will not be unanimous on something wrong." They cannot redefine a term out of its linguistic meaning just like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 21 Aug 2013, 19:53 
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Pragmatic wrote:
From a linguistic :) point of view, "إجماع" is unanimity not consensus.

Indeed. To be precise, it means "making a unanimous decision." We know that because the word is used in the Quran for that purpose, e.g.,

Joseph's half-brothers considered a number of ways to get rid of him: killing him, dropping him off in the middle of nowhere. Those suggestions did not meet with unanimous approval among themselves. Dropping him in a well met with that approval. They unanimously decided to go ahead with it.

I find it a rather shaky foundation to use for reasoning a method that is not clearly defined, which, if correctly defined, is fragile: it can be broken anytime. In the history of Islamic scholarship, it has been.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 22 Aug 2013, 04:46 
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Linguistic wrote:
Joseph's half-brothers considered a number of ways to get rid of him: killing him, dropping him off in the middle of nowhere. Those suggestions did not meet with unanimous approval among themselves. Dropping him in a well met with that approval. They unanimously decided to go ahead with it.

Excellent example.

The biggest problem with unanimity that I have is peer pressure, intimdation, or worse. Look how other scholars reacted to Abu-Zahra when he questioned the stoning of adultrers. You can only imagine how many dissenting scholars remain silent, making things look unanimous.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2013, 20:31 
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Although strictly a book about abrogation in the Hadeeth, Abu-Bakr Al-Haazimi Al-Hamdaani (d. 584 A.H.), writes in his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار, page 5, that abrogation in the Book of God and in the Hadeeth are "the same concern." I respectfully disagree. The author of the former is God who is infallible, while the author of the latter is the Prophet, peace be upon him, who was fallible and said so.

Al-Hamdaani describes the subject of abrogation as follows: "A prominent discipline that has depth and mystery, in which heads dizzied and souls were lost trying to uncover its hidden content."

I wish I could ask him how would he propose to go about finding that alleged hidden content, without revelation from God or direction from the Prophet (PBUH).

Interestingly enough, he makes two points in the introduction which are almost subconscious apologies:

  • He praises God as the One who is "Hallowed far from attributes of deficiency and sorts of fleeting" (المقدس عن سمات النقص وصنوف الزوال).
  • He describes the Prophet (PBUH) as one who was sent to "abrogate the remnants of misguidance." (المبعوث بنسخ آثار الضلال)

He mentions that it was Ash-Shaafi`i who expounded on abrogation in the Hadeeth in his famous book الرسالة and that scholars, starting from his student Ibn Hanbal relied totally on his findings whenever they examined a juristic matter. Al-Hamdaani laments that Ash-Shaafi`i did not exhaust this subject because mastery of it was lost after him.

Al-Hamdaani adds that the importance of knowing abrogation is that it is the only way to deduce rulings! He gives one aspect of the dilemma: knowing which ruling came first and which came last, for instance. I agree with him that this is relevant in the Hadeeth, because imperatives of the Prophet (PBUH) were sometimes his own and as such subject to change because he was an infallible human. Imperatives of God cannot be conflated with that.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 23 Oct 2013, 18:32 
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Abu-Bakr Al-Hadaani, in his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار, page 20, narrates going back to Ibn Umar that the Prophet (PBUH) said, "My hadeeths abrogate each other."

However he quickly notes that the chain of narrators has in it Ibn Al-Baylamaani who has been discredited.

He mentions this in his introduction to prove that abrogation in the Sunna has occurred.

If he had stopped there, I wouldn't have a problem. But he went on to say that such abrogation is "just like abrogation in the Quran!" He cites three narrations, none of which is attributed to the Prophet (PBUH) in which the narrator said, "The Prophet would say something then later abrogates it, like in the Quran."

Al-Hamdaani wants us to believe, based on opinions of non-prophets, that abrogation in the Quran is a given. Then accepting abrogation in the Sunna would be easy.

Abrogation in the Sunna is not hard to accept, because the Prophet (PBUH) was human and humans judge by what they know, which is less than the whole picture. Humans also err in judgments sometimes. The fact that the Quran corrected the Prophet (PBUH) on multiple occasions confirms this.

None of these shortcomings apply to God, may He be sanctified and exalted.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2013, 05:16 
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Linguistic wrote:
Abrogation in the Sunna is not hard to accept, because the Prophet (PBUH) was human and humans judge by what they know, which is less than the whole picture. Humans also err in judgments sometimes. The fact that the Quran corrected the Prophet (PBUH) on multiple occasions confirms this.

None of these shortcomings apply to God, may He be sanctified and exalted.

I would take a different reasoning to the same end here. The Quran was left by the Prophet (PBUH) word for word in its final form, and this is one of the main points against the abrogation doctrine. The hadeeth was not, and was specifically not transcribed by explicit instruction from the Prophet, so at least that point against abrogation does not apply to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 14 Nov 2013, 18:02 
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A good example of why scholars may have conflated several matters as abrogation can be seen in what Abu-Bakr Al-Hamdaani wrote in his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار, pages 160-162. He discusses how migration to Medina from Mecca was mandatory at first then not. He and many other scholars call that an abrogation, yet he also explains why migration was no longer necessary: because mecca was conquered. That, of course, means the order to migrate was contingent. When the contingency was out, so was the order.

But he quotes Mu`aawiya narrating from the Prophet (PBUH) saying, "Migration only ends when repentance is no longer accepted (i.e., the approach of the Day of Judgment)". And he quotes Ibn Abbaas narrating from the Prophet (PBUH) that he said, "No migration after the conquest (of Mecca)." Yazeed ibn Abi-Ziyaad explained that there shall be no mandatory migration from any place whose people have become Muslim. The man understood the contingency.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 19 Nov 2013, 22:56 
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Pragmatic wrote:
Linguistic wrote:
In many books on abrogation, classic and modern, the notion that abrogation is possible is presented as a basis for proving that abrogation may have happened. Several verses of the Quran have been quoted to support the notion that abrogation is possible, and we've shown them all here.

Except one, which I do not recall reading about in the literature! So, here I present it:


This verse is a much stronger evidence that abrogation in the Quran is possible, isn't it? In fact, the verse says that abrogation of the entire Quran is possible!

I don't know exactly why this verse has not quoted by scholars, but maybe because the next verse implies that such abrogation has not happened, because of the Grace of God,


This is a great find for two reasons. It shows objectivity in finding evidence that on face value may support the abrogation doctrine. It also shows that the possibility in this case does not imply the actual occurrence, which is why the evidence is vacuous.

That is also exactly why

do not prove that revelations were forgotten or ceased to be recited. The verses simply assert God's will. BTW, the exception in 87:7 could refer to either فلا تنسى (thus you will not forget), which is the likely interpretation, or it could refer to سنقرئك (We shall have you recite), or to both. The second interpretation may be taken to show that verses may be abrogated in recitation.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2013, 22:09 
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Though not Muslim, John Burton, professor of Islamic and Arabic studies at the University of St. Andrews, got what abrogation is all about in a few succinct words he writes in his book "The sources of Islamic law - Islamic theories of abrogation", published by the Edinburgh University Press in 2003.

He writes, on page 28, that the talk about alleged contradictions in the Quran, making it necessary to investigate the possibility of abrogation, are actually contradictions of exegetic views on a given verse. He cited an example of how Ibn Hazm managed to reconcile two verses (8:66/8:65) that other scholars thought were contradictory. Burton agrees with Ibn Hazm and so do I.

Burton then continues to argue that same misconstruing of meaning extends to the Sunna too! The example he cites is particularly interesting. When the Prophet (PBUH) was deathly ill, he asked Abu-Bakr to lead the prayer, standing, while he had to sit down. The Prophet (PBUH) told the praying folk to also stand.

To many scholars, chiefly Ash-Shaafi`i, that constituted an abrogation of the Prophet's prior Sunna of following the leader exactly. This Sunna was established when the Prophet (PBUH) once fell off his horse and injured himself. He prayed sitting down. People did likewise. After the prayer, the Prophet's words suggest that he approved what they did.

As I read this, I immediately wondered why those scholars did not notice that the prayer lead in the first event was Abu-Bakr (RA), not the Prophet (PBUH), something which Maalik suggested. That explanation alone is reason enough to reject the notion of abrogation, but apparently Ash-Shaafi`i was not satisfied and considered the narration open-ended (Mursal).

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