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 Post subject: Re: Can the Sunna abrogate verses from the Quran?
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2013, 19:17 
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Abu-Bakr Al-Hamdaani, in his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار, page 12, speaks of qualifications that may make one evidence take precedence over other evidence, called in Islamic jurisprudence Tarjeeħ (preponderance).

Among these he says is that one narration more closely matches the Quran than another. It follows then that he is willing to discard a narration whose meaning seems to contradict the Quran in favor of another which confirms it. Why then would anyone accept a claim, made by a narration from a non-prophet, of abrogation of a verse of the Quran, when the Prophet has clearly and emphatically said, "God did not send His Book so that parts of it cancel other parts! He sent His Book so that all of its parts support each other." Narrated by Abdullah ibn `Amr and reported by Ibn Maajah who rated it "soundly authentic", Al-Albaani who rated it "sound" and Ibn Taymiya who rated it "well-Known."

Shouldn't a hadeeth, specially a soundly authentic one, have more precedence over a narration from a non-prophet? Why then didn't Muslim scholars discredit the abrogation doctrine altogether from the start?

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 Post subject: Re: Can the Sunna abrogate verses from the Quran?
PostPosted: 23 Oct 2013, 19:49 
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In discussing this topic, Abu-Bakr Al-Hamdaani cites several opinions and disputes, in his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار, pages 22-23:

  • Jurist Abu-Is-haaq Ismail ibn Abu-sa`eed Al-Kasaa'i ruled that the Quran must never be disobeyed. And if someone argues that the Sunna sometimes contradicts the Quran, it doesn't. In fact, if it ever did, the Prophet (PBUH) would abrogate what he said before and match the Quran.

  • Scholars differed about what can abrogate what. They ended up with two consensus points: (1) that the Quran verses may abrogate each other, and (2) that hadeeths may abrogate each other.

  • Most scholars argued that just like a single hadeeth cannot abrogate a ubiqutous one, so cannot a hadeeth abrogate the Quran.

  • In arguing that the Quran may abrogate parts of itself, Ash-Shaafi`i was quoted citing the example of the Qibla change-over. It is difficult to believe that he did not notice that the original Qibla was not mandated by God or was not mandated by God via a verse.

  • Ibn Hanbal was asked about the hadeeth "The Sunna decides for the Quran" (reported by Ad-Daarimi), he replied that he wouldn't dare say that. He said, "Rather, the Sunna explains the Quran and nothing but the Quran may abrogate the Quran."

  • The issue of whether the Sunna may abrogate the Quran remained in dispute. The formers rejected the notion but the latters accepted it. Those who said it may, argued that it has happened, therefore it's possible!

    So, when did it happen? Al-Hamdaani quotes Abush-Shaykh Al-Haafizh citing an example, which clearly conflates specification with abrogation. The example he cited, is that the hadeeth "A Muslim may not inherit from a disbeliever, nor a disbeliever may inherit from a Muslim." (Narrated by Ibn Hanbal). Al-Hamdaani sees that abrogating 4:11, which mandates inheritance to children.

    This example is easily refuted when one realizes that the two pieces of evidence taken together, as proper analysis ought to be, result in the conclusion that the children mentioned in 4:11 may only be Muslim children. Anyone who thought 4:11 applied to all children is corrected by the Prophet's hadeeth. That's correcting a misconception, elaboration, or exception but it's not abrogation, as we explained before.

    He says his conclusion of abrogation confirmed by another evidence: that the hadeeth "There shall be no bequest to an heir", abrogated 2:180 in his opinion. We've discussed before why that is not abrogation.

    He offers more evidence to support his thesis that the Sunna may abrogate the Quran:

    • Consensus has been that a slave may not inherit from a free man, nor vice versa. Obviously, that is a misplaced evidence, since consensus is a different category of evidence than the Sunna.

    • The prophet (PBUH) is reported, by Abu-Daawood and Ibn Hanbal, to have said, "A woman may not be married together with her aunt, nor an older sister with her younger sister!" Al-Haafizh sees that abrogating 4:24, which appears to allow marriage to all categories of women not named in the verse as prohibited. Al-Hamdaani did not disagree.

      Once again, that is specification, or exception, not abrogation.

      And is it conceivable that the prophet (PBUH) would allow marriage to two twin sisters? No wonder this narration cannot be found in Al-Bukhaari or Muslim's authentic compilations. The authentic hadeeth mentions only the aunt, as we've quoted in this topic.

      Al-Haafizh adds for evidence the hadeeth, "What blood relation prohibits so does suckling relation." Al-Hamdaani did not comment. Again, that is exception, not abrogation.

    • Al-Haafizh, according to Al-Hamdaani, says that the 60:11 requirement on Muslims to pay back dowries of wives who fled Mecca and left their disbelieving husbands, became Muslim and migrated to Medina and Muslims married them, he says that requirement has been stopped by the Prophet! He actually says the horrible words "وسقط حكم القرآن" (and the ruling of the Quran was dropped)! I could not believe my eyes when I read that. I have not seen this claim made by any scholar before or after him in any book I read. Al-Hamdaani should have at least criticized such talk or absolved himself from it.

  • As for the Quran abrogating the Sunna, most scholars opined that it is valid. A few disagreed. They argued it like this: The Quran is brief and the Sunna expounds on it, so how can the explanation be abrogated by the brief statement?

    My humble answer to this is to note that not all the Sunna is inspired by God; some of it is the Prophet's own judgment, PBUH. As such, it can be wrong and therefore God would correct it.

  • Jabroon ibn Waaqid, a discredited narrator, narrated from Jaabir that the prophet (PBUH), "My words do not abrogate the words of God. God's words abrogate mine and God's words abrogate each other." I looked this narration up and many scholars of Hadeeth rated it outright fabricated.

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