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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 04:08 
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Pragmatic wrote:
I would like to express a strong objection to some of the terminology used in the abrogation literature. They refer to something that is not abrogated as " محكم " which intentionally or inadvertently refers to 3:7, and I take exception with this implicit connotation.

Well, the source of considering "محكم" the opposite of "abrogated" may be another verse after all


and I can see that as a reasonable basis for the terminology. I guess I was reacting in the above post to what I perceived as attempts to legitimize the abrogation doctrine by disguised appeals to unrelated verses.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 04:42 
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Pragmatic wrote:
Well, the source of considering "محكم" the opposite of "abrogated" may be another verse after all, 22:52, and I can see that as a reasonable basis for the terminology. I guess I was reacting in the above post to what I perceived as attempts to legitimize the abrogation doctrine by disguised appeals to unrelated verses.

Ironically, this verse proves that no abrogation is there in the Quran! In this verse, God describes attempts to intercept the verses of God as Satan's add-ons, and God says that He abrogates those and the end result is unabrogatable verses. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2010, 02:41 
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Linguistic wrote:
وأخرج ابن مردوية من حديث عمرو بن شعيب عن أبيه عن جده عن رسول الله قال: إن القرآن لم ينزل ليكذب بعضه بعضا، فما عرفتم منه فاعملوا به وما تشابه فآمنوا به".

This is a pretty important hadeeth as it relates to contradiction-based abrogation.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 27 Apr 2010, 06:28 
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False abrogation as a case of متشابه

Al-Jabri raises an interesting point on page 75 of his book. He describes the cases where exception, restriction, generalization, or other modifications of a ruling are taken as abrogation cases as in fact متشابه cases, where a verse by itself can be interpreted in more than one way, and the correct interpretation becomes clear when other pieces of evidence, including other verses that qualify the ruling in the original verse, are taken into consideration. He quotes a supporting opinion from Imam Al-Shatebey saying:

Among the instances of following the multifaceted (المتشابهات): Taking as absolute something before looking into its restrictions, and taking generality without looking closely if it has special cases or not. The opposite is also true. Something could be restricted and turn out to be unrestricted, or can be special and turn out to be general, according to opinion without further evidence.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 27 Apr 2010, 22:56 
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The trend for تجريد (insulation) of Quran

Al-Jabri gives quite a bit of emphasis in his book on the role the متشابه (multifaceted) played in the formation of the abrogation doctrine. He also touches on other fringe subjects that were raising doubts in the minds of some Muslims, but they have no bearing on our project although they shed light on where he is coming from.

Anyway, on page 105 he discussed an important historical fact about the متشابه. It seems that understanding apparent conflicts took hold at the time of Omar, may God be pleased with him, to the level that he was concerned with the potential harm and confusion (similar to what happened in previous religions) and forbade the practice ordering people to insulate the Quran (تجريد) from these interpretations. Ibn Masseoud did the same, ordering people explicitly to insulate the Quran from any interpretation that mixes the verses.

Al-Jabri postulates that abrogation came in as a simple, handy way to substitute for the interpretation/reconciliation efforts that were deemed dangerous. He laments that people directed their effort to this instead of trying to explore the wisdom and meaning in the Quran.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2010, 01:26 
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Pragmatic wrote:
False abrogation as a case of متشابه
...
Al-Jabri raises an interesting point on page 75 of his book.
...
He quotes a supporting opinion from Imam Al-Shatebey saying:

Among the instances of following the multifaceted (المتشابهات): Taking as absolute something before looking into its restrictions, and taking generality without looking closely if it has special cases or not. The opposite is also true. Something could be restricted and turn out to be unrestricted, or can be special and turn out to be general, according to opinion without further evidence.

Indeed. This confirms what I wrote before that the Quran was not complete until it announced it was, in verse 5:3, the "completion verse." Therefore, all of the Quran must be studied before one jumps to the conclusion that any verse has been abrogated.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2010, 01:42 
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Pragmatic wrote:
The trend for تجريد (insulation) of Quran

Al-Jabri gives quite a bit of emphasis in his book on the role the متشابه (multifaceted) played in the formation of the abrogation doctrine.
...
Al-Jabri postulates that abrogation came in as a simple, handy way to substitute for the interpretation/reconciliation efforts that were deemed dangerous. He laments that people directed their effort to this instead of trying to explore the wisdom and meaning in the Quran.

Very useful information. Ironically, people followed the abrogation shortcut with the opposite of Tajreed (sequestering/insulation), namely Tafseer (exegesis). It's been argued recently that the Quran does not need exegesis! It has the best exegesis built-in,


I'd humbly add that the very verse we're discussing in this topic, 3:7, implicitly warns against attempting to interpret the Mutashaabihaat (indeterminate) verses, by saying that only two types of people will try: those who seek division (fitna) and those who seek the ultimate meaning (ta'weel), which, it definitely states, only God knows.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2010, 17:16 
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Linguistic wrote:
وقال بعضهم الآية لا تدل على الحصر في الشيئين إذ ليس فيها شيء من طرقه، وقد قال تعالى "لتبين للناس ما نزل إليهم"، والمحكم لا تتوقف معرفته على البيان، والمتشابه لا يرجى بيانه

Translation:
Some said the verse does not lead to the conclusion that verses are confined to only these two types, since it uses no words that imply confinement. God said, "So that you [, O Muhammad,] may clarify for people what has been sent down to them." (16:44). The "Muhkam" does not need clarification, and the "Mutashaabih" cannot be hoped to become clear.

I disagree with the last two arguments. Muhakam does not mean it cannot have details; it simply means that it is on solid ground, definite, under control. Also, Mutashaabih does not mean vague, mysterious or enigmatic; it simply means that it is indefinite, that it has multiple meanings, all of which are intended.

Thus, IMHO, 3:7 means, and God knows best, that the Quran has two types of verses: One type gives one meaning, whose details can be found in other verses and in the Sunna. This is the type referred to in

The other type carries multiple meanings, all of which are intended, thus restricting them to only one interpretation defeats their purpose.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2010, 18:38 
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Just a quick comment that "definite" for محكم and "indefinite" for متشابه are the best translations I have seen so far.

Wait a minute. This is not the translation section. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of محكم /muħkæm/ and متشابه /mutæ,ʃæ:bih/
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2010, 20:24 
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An elaborate account of various opinions about the محكم (determinate) and the متشابه (indeterminate) are covered in Al-Jabri's book on pages 131-139. I won't summarize the whole thing here since the impact on abrogation issues we are considering is minimal, but I thought I would leave a pointer in case we need to look into it later.

The most relevant point is that the assertion that the determinate is the abrogating and the indeterminate is the abrogated was the opinion of Ibn Abbas and Ibn Masseoud.

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