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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 05 Oct 2017, 19:39 
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`Afaana, in his book الرأي الصواب في منسوخ الكتاب, pages 38-42, cites the following verses as evidence against the abrogation doctrine,


He cites what Ar-Raazi wrote about it in his exegesis,
ثم إنه تعالى جعل الأصل في هذا الباب شيئا واحدا وهو أن يواظب على تلاوة الكتاب الذي أوحاه الله إليه، وعلى العمل به، وأن لا يلتفت إلى اقتراح المقترحين، وتعنت المتعنتين...وفي الآية مسألة وهي: أن قوله (اتل) يتناول القراءة، ويتناول الاتباع أيضا؛ فيكون المعنى: الزم قراءة الكتاب الذي أوحي إليك والزم العمل به. ثم قال: {لا مبدل لكلماته} أي يمتنع تطرق التغيير والتبديل إليه، أي الزم العمل بمقتضى هذا الكتاب، يذلك يقتضي وجوب العمل بمقتضى ظاهره. فإن قيل فيجب ألا يتطرق النسخ إليه، قلنا هذا هو مذهب أبي مسلم الأصفهاني فليس يبعد

Translation:
"God, may He be exalted, made the foundation in this category one thing: To be studious in reciting the Book He revealed to him and to apply it without paying attention to those who suggest otherwise! That there can be no change nor replacement in it. That means having to comply with what is apparent from its rulings. So, if it is said that this means it cannot be abrogated, we'd say that was Al-Asfahaani's school of thought and it's not far fetched."


He cited what At-Tabari wrote about it in his exegesis,
فاجعلوه (أي القرآن) إماما تتبعونه وتعملون بما فيه...واحذروا الله في أنفسكم أن تضيعوا العمل بما فيه؛

Translation:
Make it (the Quran) a leader to follow and apply what's in it. And watch out in your souls for God that you squander the application of what's in it.


He wonders how can a verse so clear in its mandate of its entire Chapter be claimed abrogated! We asked the same question. But it happened. Then he cited what Mujaahid and Qataada said about it, as reported by Ibn Katheer in his exegesis, part 3, page 260. They interpreted {وفرضناها} to mean "Made clear in it what's allowed and what's forbidden, commands of what to do and what not to do, and the legal penalties. They also interpreted {آيات بينات} to mean "verses that are explanatory and clear."


He asks: What is the use of verses which have been "perfectly set then detailed" if their rulings are abrogated?! He adds that the words "whose verses have been perfectly set" are absolute, because the verse did not include exceptions. That means all the verses enjoy that perfect setting.


He asks again: What is the use of verses that have been detailed if they are abrogated?! He also points out the words "An Arabic Quran" and asks: Does Arabic separate between words and their meaning? He challenges anyone to show one example in Arabic heritage of a sentence whose meaning has been annulled, but the sentence remained still.

It's as if the pro-abrogation scholars don't know Arabic well enough!


He highlights the famous words "Today, I have completed for you your religion and perfected upon you My favor and approved for you Islam as a religion", and concludes that if there had remained verses in the Quran that have been abrogated and God didn't tell us about them then the religion was incomplete!

He, however, maintains that verses that have been abrogated were gone forever and not written in the bound volume of the Quran, which is his main thesis in his book.


He says that the words "Explanation of everything" mean that annulment of any ruling in it is tantamount to covering up what's in it, which is forbidden. This is a good prelude to the last verse he cited,


He analyzes this verse quite a bit and concludes that At-Tabari's exegesis of it (Part 3, page 249) was erroneous. At-Tabari understood it to refer to the Jews and Christians, but `Afaana draws attention to the verse that followed it,


which makes it clear that Muslims are the addresses here, because a non-Muslim has to believe in Islam first then repent. Good point, but actually, a non-Muslim who accepts Islam erases all his past sins, thus he needn't repent ;-)

He backs up this interpretation by citing this narration, reported and authenticated by Al-Bukhaari,
قال نصر بن علي الجهضمي: حدثنا حاتم بن وردان قال: حدثنا أيوب السختياني عن أبي هريرة قال: لولا آية من كتاب الله ما حدثتكم، وتلا {إن الذين يكتمون ما أنزلنا...} الآية. وعن عثمان مثله؛

Translation:
Abu-Hurayra said: If it weren't for one verse in the Quran, I wouldn't have narrated to you. And he recited 2:159. Uthmaan said the same thing.

`Afaana says that the fact that both Abu-Hurayra and Uthmaan saw the verse addressing them disproves At-Tabari's opinion, and means something quite serious: Annulment of any ruling in the Quran is a cover-up of something that God made clear, and incurs upon the one who does that a curse from God!

May God keep us on the Straight Path and save us from saying things about His verses and rulings which He has not authorized.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 04:25 
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Linguistic wrote:
`Afaana, in his book الرأي الصواب في منسوخ الكتاب, pages 38-42, cites the following verses as evidence against the abrogation doctrine,


He cites what Ar-Raazi wrote about it in his exegesis,
ثم إنه تعالى جعل الأصل في هذا الباب شيئا واحدا وهو أن يواظب على تلاوة الكتاب الذي أوحاه الله إليه، وعلى العمل به، وأن لا يلتفت إلى اقتراح المقترحين، وتعنت المتعنتين...وفي الآية مسألة وهي: أن قوله (اتل) يتناول القراءة، ويتناول الاتباع أيضا؛ فيكون المعنى: الزم قراءة الكتاب الذي أوحي إليك والزم العمل به. ثم قال: {لا مبدل لكلماته} أي يمتنع تطرق التغيير والتبديل إليه، أي الزم العمل بمقتضى هذا الكتاب، يذلك يقتضي وجوب العمل بمقتضى ظاهره. فإن قيل فيجب ألا يتطرق النسخ إليه، قلنا هذا هو مذهب أبي مسلم الأصفهاني فليس يبعد

Translation:
"God, may He be exalted, made the foundation in this category one thing: To be studious in reciting the Book He revealed to him and to apply it without paying attention to those who suggest otherwise! That there can be no change nor replacement in it. That means having to comply with what is apparent from its rulings. So, if it is said that this means it cannot be abrogated, we'd say that was Al-Asfahaani's school of thought and it's not far fetched."

Is this الفخر الرازي (who may be controversial) or الجصاص (whose full name is أبو بكر أحمد بن علي الرازي الجصاص الحنفي البغدادي and is sometime referred to simply as الرازي)?

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 04:36 
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Linguistic wrote:

He wonders how can a verse so clear in its mandate of its entire Chapter be claimed abrogated! We asked the same question. But it happened. Then he cited what Mujaahid and Qataada said about it, as reported by Ibn Katheer in his exegesis, part 3, page 260. They interpreted {وفرضناها} to mean "Made clear in it what's allowed and what's forbidden, commands of what to do and what not to do, and the legal penalties. They also interpreted {آيات بينات} to mean "verses that are explanatory and clear."

Some people are just too eager to have a stoning ceremony and don't want to miss out on that much fun by technicalities like this. Good Lord!

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 20:53 
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Pragmatic wrote:
Is this الفخر الرازي (who may be controversial) or الجصاص (whose full name is أبو بكر أحمد بن علي الرازي الجصاص الحنفي البغدادي and is sometime referred to simply as الرازي)?

I think it's Al-Fakhr, because he's the one who has an exegesis.

Why do you say that Al-Fakhr may be controversial? Because he often sided with Al-Asfahaani?

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 21:54 
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`Afaana, in his book الرأي الصواب في منسوخ الكتاب, pages 67-69, discusses what Al-Asfahaani said in regards to the abrogation doctrine and disagreed with him, strongly, on explanations, but not on the conclusion,

  • Al-Asfahaani cited, as evidence against the abrogation doctrine, this verse:

    Al-Asfahaani interpreted it, said Ar-Raazi in his exegesis, Part 3, page 249, to mean that the rulings of the Quran cannot be annulled ever. Abrogation is annulment, therefore isn't applicable to Quranic rulings.

    Simple and logical, isn't it? But `Afaana describes that argument as weak! He says that the verse says nothing about annulment which results from abrogation, because God has attributed abrogation to Himself in 2:106, meaning that no one else may abrogate.

    `Afaana, apparently, did not notice that the words "falsehood" and "annulment" come from the same Arabic root! That is precisely what Al-Asfahaani meant. The root بطل means "to become invalid". Al-Asfahaani's interpretation is consistent with another verse which contrasts "the truth" with "falsehood" using the same word,

    Therefore, what was abrogated, i.e., annulled, is not or is no longer the truth!

    Then `Afaana retracts by saying that perhaps Al-Asfahaani meant that abrogation cannot be made without a legal evidence and he agrees with that. `Afaana admits that neither God nor the Prophet (PBUH) have ever said "verse x has been abrogated".

    Despite all that, `Afaana insists that "all the narrations indicate that what was abrogated was gone and never written in the Quran."

  • Al-Asfahaani interpreted the word آية in 2:106 as "a religious law." `Afaana agrees with Al-Asfahaani that the Islamic law abrogated all other religious laws before it, but disagrees that the word means law. He calls it "an odd, weak interpretation that convinces no one. As the correct interpretation, on which the scholars of the Islamic community have consensus, and what language confirms, and what the context shows, is a Quranic verse."

    That statement is triply ironic. First, if we take consensus as evidence, then we have to accept the abrogation doctrine as is, because it is the consensus of the scholars, but `Afaana rejects that strenuously. Second, the language clearly defines the word آية as a heteronym that can means a sign, a cause for wonder, a miracle, a cosmic phenomenon, or a verse in any scripture that originated from God. Lastly, the context of 2:106 is abundantly clear that the people of the Book objected to the Quran by claiming that their scriptures and laws cannot be abrogated.

  • Al-Asfahaani rejected that the prayer direction was abrogated. `Afaana argues that it definitely was but the abrogated verse is not in the Quran and we don't know its text! So, how do we know it existed? `Afaana only says, on page 68, that all we know about it is that it mandated directing the prayer to Jerusalem , which is what the Prophet (PBUH) and Muslims did for nearly a year and a half until that was abrogated.

    As we explained before, no such mandate was ever issued. The Prophet (PBUH) simply had no instructions on where to direct his prayer. Neither did the Muslims of Medina. They decided to do as the Jews did. When the Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Medina, still without instructions from God on where to direct his prayers, he saw Muslims there face Jerusalem, so he approved that. There was no divine instruction until a year and a half later.

    Al-Asfahaani, however, justified his opinion in a flawed way, which Ar-Raazi caught in his exegesis, Part 3, page 249, where he accepts the abrogation claim. Al-Asfahaani had said that we can still face Jerusalem, if we cannot tell which direction is Mecca, or if we have an excuse. Ar-Raazi replied that this applies to all directions equally. But there's a simpler refutation: If Muslims can tell the direction of Jerusalem, they can tell the direction of Mecca, because it's a mirror-image projection from it! For instance, Muslims of Medina faced North to Jerusalem. When they were instructed to face Mecca, they simply turned around to face south.

    The fact that Al-Asfahaani's explanation was flawed does not by itself annul his conclusion. He just used a wrong argument to prove it.

  • Al-Asfahaani interpreted the word الفاحشة (the debauchery) in verse,

    he interpreted it as lesbianism. `Afaana calls that a clear error. He says that among the objections to that interpretation was,

    • It's inconceivable that the punishment for female homosexuality would be tougher than that for male homosexuality, which `Afaana acknowledged was stated in 4:16,

      BThat's no argument, because we know that the punishment for theft is tougher than the punishment for fornication.

    • It's inconceivable that the lesbian woman be locked up in her home for the rest of her life, because of an act about which no penalty was revealed. But the penalty was revealed! In 4:15.

    • Al-Asfahaani acknowledged that 4:16 was about male homosexuality, which `Afaana also acknowledges, but criticizes Al-Asfahaani for not noticing that the same word, debauchery, was used in both 4:15 and 4:16. `Afaana's conclusion...get this...is that 4:15 is also about anal sex! No, it's about homosexuality. 4:15 is about female homosexuality and 4:16 is about male homosexuality.

    • Al-Asfahaani interpreted verse 58:12 as a temporary instruction designed to weed out the hypocrites. That is this verse,

      Al-Asfahaani says that when the hypocrites stopped bothering the Prophet (PBUH) with their frivolous questions, the purpose of the verse was fulfilled and therefore the ruling was no longer required. `Afaana disagrees and argues that if that were true, then Ali (RA) would be among the hypocrites since it was reported that he did offer a token charity, as Ar-Raazi wrote in his exegesis, Part 3, page 248.

      That argument is bogus because the narration about Ali is inauthentic. Once again, `Afaana is captive to weak narrations that force him in the wrong direction. `Afaana, however, does agree that 58:12 was not abrogated but for different reasons which he discusses in detail on page 94.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 05:39 
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Linguistic wrote:
Why do you say that Al-Fakhr may be controversial? Because he often sided with Al-Asfahaani?

I recall reading skeptical opinions about him in contexts other than abrogation. My recollection may be off, and those who wrote that may be wrong. I just have a mental note of who was controversial outside of the abrogation debate in order not to create an unnecessary vulnerability in our arguments.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 05:59 
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Linguistic wrote:
  • Al-Asfahaani interpreted the word آية in 2:106 as "a religious law." `Afaana agrees with Al-Asfahaani that the Islamic law abrogated all other religious laws before it, but disagrees that the word means law. He calls it "an odd, weak interpretation that convinces no one. As the correct interpretation, on which the scholars of the Islamic community have consensus, and what language confirms, and what the context shows, is a Quranic verse."

    That statement is triply ironic. First, if we take consensus as evidence, then we have to accept the abrogation doctrine as is, because it is the consensus of the scholars, but `Afaana rejects that strenuously. Second, the language clearly defines the word آية as a heteronym that can means a sign, a cause for wonder, a miracle, a cosmic phenomenon, or a verse in any scripture that originated from God. Lastly, the context of 2:106 is abundantly clear that the people of the Book objected to the Quran by claiming that their scriptures and laws cannot be abrogated.
(emphasis added)

Selection bias (upholding something when it agrees with you and undermining it when it disagrees with you) is a common trap that we should ourselves be careful about. For instance, we will cite pro-abrogation scholars who rejected certain abrogation claims. Why do we consider their opinion valuable when we agree with them but not when we disagree (in the claims they approve of)?

The answer is because the burden of proof is not symmetric. We take their opinion in both cases. Their opinion can raise doubt about something, but cannot prove something. When doubt is what is needed, their opinion matters. When proof is what is needed, their opinion doesn't cut it.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 06:07 
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Linguistic wrote:
  • Al-Asfahaani interpreted the word الفاحشة (the debauchery) in verse,

    he interpreted it as lesbianism. `Afaana calls that a clear error. He says that among the objections to that interpretation was,

    • It's inconceivable that the punishment for female homosexuality would be tougher than that for male homosexuality

I thought about this before. The punishment is not the only asymmetry between the two genders here. The level of proof also is. For women, 4 witnesses are needed. For men, there is no specification in the verse. It is not unreasonable to argue that the crime in the women's case is overt debauchery and the punishment is designed to isolate them from society to stop the bad influence on others.

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 11 Oct 2017, 06:11 
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Linguistic wrote:
Al-Asfahaani interpreted verse 58:12 as a temporary instruction designed to weed out the hypocrites. That is this verse,

Al-Asfahaani says that when the hypocrites stopped bothering the Prophet (PBUH) with their frivolous questions, the purpose of the verse was fulfilled and therefore the ruling was no longer required. `Afaana disagrees and argues that if that were true, then Ali (RA) would be among the hypocrites since it was reported that he did offer a token charity, as Ar-Raazi wrote in his exegesis, Part 3, page 248.

I don't get it. The hypocrites were bothering the Prophet (PBUH) but once they had to pay for it, they didn't want to pay so they stopped bothering him. Ali (RA) did pay if we accept the narration. Where is the implication that he would be a hypocrite (God forbid)?

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 Post subject: Re: Scholars opinions about abrogation
PostPosted: 14 Oct 2017, 17:38 
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Pragmatic wrote:
The answer is because the burden of proof is not symmetric. We take their opinion in both cases. Their opinion can raise doubt about something, but cannot prove something. When doubt is what is needed, their opinion matters. When proof is what is needed, their opinion doesn't cut it.

Excellent rationale :agreed: . Belongs in the book!

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