BTW, the word إجماع is always translated "consensus." I read the excellent book, "`Ilm Usool Al-Fiqh" by Abdul-Wahhab Khallaaf again yesterday and he noted that the word means "determination" not "consensus."
The definition of إجماع , and the use of its method in the abrogation arena, are addressed extensively in volume 1 of this book
. Here are the highlights (I will translate إجماع as consensus for the purpose of this post in order not to inject my own opinion about what the term means).Item 261 on page 174
: The author states factually that "It is impossible
that the nation would reach a false consensus."Item 301 on page 201
: The author attributes the difference of opinion about whether إجماع is enough to abrogate by pointing out that people used the word إجماع to mean different things. The majority of scholars and originalists rejected that consensus is enough, while Imam Al-Thaherey defined إجماع as direct evidence or proof from the Quran or the Sunna, and asserted that it would be enough to abrogate. Not surprising given his unconventional definition.Item 308 on page 208
: In the course of demolishing an argument of Al-Karkhy, a distinguished Hanafi scholar according to the author, that certain opinions can overrule a verse, the author says "does the statement of the Hanafis, assuming it is their consensus, constitute a consensus of all the scholars of the nation, without disagreement from one of them
" (emphasis added). This shows that the author is treating إجماع as meaning unanimity
not just consensus, at least in this instance.
Finally, the author quotes a reference in footnote 1 of Item 260 on pages 172-173
about whether a later consensus can abrogate an earlier consensus. While this is not directly relevant to this project since we are addressing the abrogation of verses only, it has an impact in a different way. There was arguably a consensus about the validity of the abrogation doctrine in the past, and there is a possibility that a consensus will build against it at some point given that a number of recent scholars reject it outright. It will be rather ironic if the abrogation doctrine gets abrogated.