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 Post subject: Re: Validation process
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2013, 19:59 
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In his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار, pages 7-8, Abu-Bakr Al-Hamdaani lists what he considers are conditions for a valid abrogation case. Among them are:

  • That the abrogated was a ruling! That seems so obvious, but amazingly, many scholars have claimed abrogation of factual statements and historical events. Al-Hamdaani adds that anything that was going on before a ruling was made about it is not said to be abrogated, because of the principle of البراءة الأصلية (Default allowance).

    Indeed, the ruling made is a new legislation, not a replacement legislation. Case in point is the intoxication ruling, 5:90/4:43, which most scholars have accepted as a valid abrogation case, even modern scholars such as Dr. Zayd.

  • That the old ruling was not timed. As an example of this, he quotes a hadeeth of the Prophet (PBUH), "No praying after Dawn until the sun rises and no praying after Asr until the sun sets.", reported by Al-Bukhaari, Muslim, At-Tirmizhi and Ibn Hanbal.

    His point being that the prohibition in these periods does not mean praying during other periods is also prohibited. True. No conclusion can be made from this hadeeth about voluntary prayers at other times. Likewise, scholars should have determined that the prohibition of praying while intoxicated does not mean intoxication is permitted any more than it means praying is not required. Verse 4:43 simply does not lead to any conclusion regarding intoxication, or praying while sober!

  • Al-Hamdaani disagrees with the validation rule that many scholars proposed, namely, that the two rulings are separated in time. He qualifies it by saying that if the two rulings can be reconciled then there is no cause to claim abrogation even if the two rulings are separated in time. I agree.

  • Al-Hamdaani makes it clear that every effort should be made to reconcile two texts whose rulings seem contradictory. Unfortunately, he does not follow his own rule when he agrees that 2:234/2:240 is a good example of valid abrogation in the Quran, even though he must have known of Ali's opinion that the two verses offer two options for the widow.

  • Scholars of Koofa (Iraq), have added another validation rule: Deference to a trusted narrator. As an example, Al-Hamdaani cites the hadeeths about how many times to wash a pot after a dog bobs in it. Most of the narrations say seven times, but a hadeeth narrated by Abu-Hurayra says three times. Scholars therefore concluded that the seven times have been abrogated down to three.

    I certainly agree that honorable narrators should be deferred to, but that should not necessarily result in abrogation claims, because they were still human and may have erred. Furthermore, closer inspection of texts they narrated may uncover circumstances or contingencies that render an abrogation claim void. The example he cited may be a good example for preponderance, but not for abrogation.

    In that regard, he seems to agree with Koofi scholars who said that it is the quality, and not the quantity, of narrators that is important. Thus, a single trustworthy narration of abrogation is preferred to multiple narrations of no abrogation that are of lesser trustworthiness. I agree with one reservation: that the word naskh used in the narration may very well mean other than abrogation.

    The example Al-Hamdaani gives to support this rule leaves a lot to be desired. His example is testimony regarding debt. Testimony of fifty women, he said, is not accepted, while testimony of two men is. What's wrong with this example, IMHO, is that the reason for requiring testimony of women to be of two women and one man is the probability of forgetfulness, as God has clearly stated in 2:282. In Seventh Century Arabia, most women were not involved in finances at all. Ubiquity of testimony from multiple women, on the other hand, removes the probability of forgetfulness.

    Al-Hamdaani sees narration being quite different from testimony. This is a serious mistake, because it opens the gate to empowering single narrations, which most abrogation claims are based on, to the point of annulling holy text.

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 Post subject: Re: Validation process
PostPosted: 17 Oct 2013, 21:19 
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Al-Hamdaani continues suggesting validation rules for preponderance, on page 11 of his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار. He suggests two interesting ones:

  • To take the narration of a person who was involved directly with the event he narrated about, over a person who did not. As an example, he prefers the narration of Abu-Raafi` about the marriage of the Prophet (PBUH) to Maymoona (bint Al-Haarith, RA). Abu-Raafi` was the intermediary between the two. He rejected the narration of Ibn Abbaas who was not involved.

    He says that's why `Aa'isha (RA), when she was asked whether it was permissible to wet the shoes instead of washing the feet during ablution, she replied, "Ask Ali; he used to travel with the Prophet."

  • To take the narration of a person about something that happened to him or her over narrations by others about other people.

While these two points apply to preponderance in the Hadeeth, can either of them apply to abrogation in the Quran? I'd say yes, because a narration by someone trustworthy who said he heard from the Prophet that a verse has been abrogated, such narration would be a solid base for an abrogation claim. Guess what! That never happened :)

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 Post subject: Re: Validation process
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2013, 20:02 
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One of the validation criteria for accepting one narration over another, writes Abu-Bakr Al-Hamdaani in his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار, page 17, is that one evidence is a clear statement while the other is an implication.

He cites the hadeeth that specifies the required Zakah (alms) out of sheep, "Out of every forty sheep one sheep." He says it contradicts the hadeeth, "The pen is lifted concerning three...a boy until he reaches puberty." He says that this latter implies that a boy is not addressed by religious commands and therefore is not required to pay Zakah on his sheep. He argues against that by saying that the boy's guardian is still addressed and therefore Zakah is required.

While his conclusion may be correct, his argument has three problems IMHO:

  • This is neither abrogation nor preponderance; it's exemption.

  • What if the boy doesn't have an adult guardian? He did not address that possibility.

  • "The pen has been lifted" means that actions of a boy are not written down in his record of deeds. If the boy does not have an adult guardian and he decides to give Zakah, he will be rewarded by God for doing a good deed, not for obliging a religious requirement. If he decides not to pay Zakah, he will not be punished.

All that being said, the validation criterion that implication is no basis for claiming abrogation is a valid criterion. I wish scholars did apply it uniformly. Many narrations which scholars cited for evidence only imply abrogation, because they use the word "naskh" which as we've shown many times may mean many other semantics. We've even shown how many opinions of scholars have been presented by other scholars as supporting an abrogation case, when in fact they were against it!

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 Post subject: Re: Validation process
PostPosted: 21 Oct 2013, 20:19 
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Al-Hamdaani suggests a preponderance rule, in his book الاعتبار في الناسخ والمنسوخ من الآثار, page 17, which is rather strange. He says that general text is taken over specific text. His argument is specificity "weakens" the generality. He added that many scholars have regarded specificity as a "figure of speech."

Specificity does not weaken a generality; it specifies something that the generality does not apply to. That is akin to exception. That is also what most scholars of foundations have stated.

No wonder why so many abrogation claims made by scholars were in reality very simple cases of specification.

The notion of specification seems to elude Al-Hamdaani, because, on page 19, he gives an example for another preponderance suggestion he makes. His suggestion is that similar rulings in another matter give weight over different rulings. He cites the hadeeth, "there is no donation to be made (required alms) in less than five freights of dates." He says this is taken over the hadeeth, "In what the sky watered is one tenth." He says the reason for making this decision is the hadeeth: "There is no donation is less than five ounces of silver." He says the two rulings are similar.

But the two rulings are for two different categories of property! Furthermore, the one-tenth hadeeth is general. It is made specific for date loads that are less than five freights. Where is the contradiction? If the sky irrigated your date crop, but the crop was less than five freights, then you are not required to give alms on it. If it is heavier than that, you are.

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 Post subject: Re: Validation process
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2013, 05:04 
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Linguistic wrote:
  • That the old ruling was not timed. As an example of this, he quotes a hadeeth of the Prophet (PBUH), "No praying after Dawn until the sun rises and no praying after Asr until the sun sets.", reported by Al-Bukhaari, Muslim, At-Tirmizhi and Ibn Hanbal.

With all due respect to the esteemed author, a ruling being timed means that there comes a point in time when that ruling is no longer valid from that point on, not that the ruling that involves a timing component. For instance, the ruling that Ramadan should be fasted is not a timed ruling, although it addresses the timing of fasting.

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