Dr. M. Saalih Ali Mustafa finishes his book النسخ في القرآن الكريم - مفهومه وتاريخه ودعاواه, page 61, by calling on all scholars to "return the meaning of naskh to its definition made by the Salaf (predecessors), which has a wide range of meanings, including specification, limitation, elaboration and abrogation."
I agree, but he neglected to say that it was the Salaf, starting with the fellows of Ibn Mas`ood, who restricted the meaning of the word to abrogation only! He blames the modern scholars for that, but they simply followed up on what the Salaf did.
He then calls on scholars to be specific about what type of naskh
they are talking about, e.g., نسخ تخصيص (edition by specification), نسخ تقييد (edition by limitation), نسخ تفصيل (edition by elaboration), نسخ تفسير (edition by explanation). I fully agree and wish that the Salaf did that too. In some narrations, Ibn Abbaas (RA) did, but rarely.
He states that the abrogation doctrine is difficult to prove and has been disagreed on despite the multitude and fame of its claims.
He criticizes the modern scholars for relying only on narrations (النقل) to reject abrogation, whereas the Salaf relied on "الصريح الصحيح من النقل والعقل" (the explicit, authentic narration as well as intellect).
Really? The main tool of modern scholars has been sound logic. In addition, so many of the narrations the Salaf solicited for support of the abrogation doctrine are inauthentic or down right weak. All are singles and none are attributed to the Prophet (PBUH). Perhaps what he meant was that modern scholars have stated that abrogation cannot be concluded on the basis of analysis (اجتهاد); that it must be explicitly stated in authentic text.
If that's what he meant, then his statement implies that he disagrees with it; that he sees analysis as a legitimate method to conclude abrogation of a verse's ruling! But many of the Salaf in fact have stated that this is unacceptable (see the burden of proof post
), and we have noticed that most of abrogation claims stem from a narration.
Then he switches blame toward the pro-abrogation folk who "exaggerated the number of claims" and that what they're claiming affects the very foundation of the religion. That, indeed, is the seriousness of the abrogation doctrine, but whether abrogation happened once or 300 times doesn't matter. I hope we've shown that it didn't happen at all in the Quran.
He concludes that the difference between the pro- and anti-abrogation scholars is really about semantics. I respectfully disagree, as we have shown many statements by the Salaf that rulings of verses claimed abrogated are no longer to be followed. No confusion about semantics here.
Dr. Mustafa finishes by calling for correct definition of naskh and says that once that is done, the wisdom of it will be clear. That wisdom is the graduation of legislation to build the soul like a body being healed.