Ibn Hazm Al-Andalusi adds this verse.
to the list of verses he believes were abrogated by the sword verse
Al-Ghaali's coverage of this case in his book بالحجة والبرهان لا نسخ في القرآن, pages 211-218 is a gem! He refutes it of course. First, he reports that An-Nahhaas stated that the majority have said 2:217 was abrogated by the sword verse, such as Ibn Abbaas, Qataada, Az-Zahri, Sa`eed ibn Al-Musayyib, Sulaymaan ibn Yasaar, Az-Zamakhshari and Al-Qurtubi.
An-Nahhaas brings for evidence of abrogation the fact that the Prophet (PBUH) fought the Hawaazin tribe in the sacred month of Zhul-Qi`da. Al-Ghaali mentions the circumstance of revelation: a mission of the Prophet (PBUH) lead by Abdullah ibn Jahsh killed Ibn Al-Hadhrami the first day of Rajab.
Al-Ghaali starts his refutation argument quite simply: Verse 2:217 clearly states that "religious persecution is a worse sin than fighting in a sacred month." Thus, the verse allows fighting in a sacred month out of necessity!
Al-Ghaali then almost cries as he reflects on the countless wars between Muslims, many of which were in sacred months. He says that if Muslims heeded 2:217, they would not have engaged in so many wars, since the length of sacred months is a third of a year
. Muslims would have engaged in a third fewer wars if they complied with God's instructions in 2:217! Al-Ghaali adds that the wisdom of sacred months is to secure the road for pilgrims and to pause wars and cool down, giving negotiation, reconciliation and treaties a chance.
Then Al-Ghaali reports a most interesting point from Imaam Al-Fakhr Ar-Raazi. He noticed a linguistic peculiarity in 2:217, namely, قتال فيه كبير
fighting in it is a big sin). Ar-Raazi explains that when an indefinite
word is repeated, the second mention is not the same as the first mention, but when a definite word is repeated, the repetition refers to the same thing. He gives for an example,
in which the second ease is not the same as the first while the second hardship is the same as the first. By the same token, the second mention of قتال
(a fight) in 2:217 is not the same as the first one. Ar-Raazi concludes that the first mention of قتال
is general while the second one is specific and refers to cases like those of Ibn Al-Hadhrami, i.e., self defense against religious persecution or sedition. If God wanted to forbid all fighting in a sacred months, regardless of the situation, He would have made the second mention definite, e.g., القتال فيه كبير. I can also see that the very fact the word is indefinite implies that it's not inclusive. That is, it does not talk about all fights, just one kind of fights it labels a big sin. That one kind, judging by the many other verses that explain it, is aggression.
I haven't heard this analysis before: that repeating an indefinite is not repeating the same thing, but rather referring to another thing in the same category. I'd like to check that out further, but for now I'm content taking Ar-Raazi's word for it.
This gets me thinking. The next indefinite words in the verse are صد
(rejection) and إخراج
(evicting). Why are they indefinite? I'd like to hear your thoughts on that. I looked up three exegeses and found nothing that reflects on this peculiar style.
Regardless, the following words are definite, الفتنة
(religious persecution) and القتل
(killing), making it clear that all religious persecution is a bigger sin than any killing in the Sacrosanct Mosque.
Scholars who reject this abrogation claim include: `Ataa', Ibn Jurayj, Ibn Al`Arabi, Ar-Raazi, Rasheed Ridha and Al-Ghaali.