One well recognized principle that asserts the burden of proof is
البينة على من ادعى واليمين على من أنكر
"Clear evidence is upon whoever claimed and the oath is upon whoever denied."
That is, the claimant must furnish clear evidence
but all the defendant has to do is to swear that he did not commit the offense.
Just to counter the devil's advocate, we should articulate why the claimant in our case is the pro-abrogation and not the anti-abrogation. It is not difficult, but we should quote crisp statements by scholars rather than be argumentative (convincingly or otherwise) about it.
Statements of the burden of proof are plenty. Those that come from anti-abrogation scholars are obviously expected. An example is this one,
● From Muhammad Al-Khudhari (Bek), quoted by Muhammad Al-Ghazaali in his book نظرات في القرآن, page 207, and by Dr. Husayn Nassaar in his book, الناسخ والمنسوخ في القرآن الكريم, page 35, emphasis mine,
Muhammad Al-Khudhari (Bek) wrote:
Are there verses in the Quran that are no longer obligatory, because other mandates replaced them? Or, in other words: are there abrogated verses in the Quran, and should not be followed? This is a dangerous issue! He who talks [in favor] about it must produce the certain evidence before what he wants to say, since the Quran has been proven certain and all of its text must be held on tight and followed.
Dr. Nassaar quoted him further,
Muhammad Al-Khudhari (Bek) wrote:
There is not one verse claimed abrogated but that the argument against abrogation was clearer and preponderant.
● From Dr. Abdul-Mun`im An-Nimr, from his book علوم القرآن الكريم, pages 219-223, emphasis mine,
Abdul-Mun`im An-Nimr wrote:
As if the Quran has become a field for frivolity of opinions and mixing them up. What does not agree with their opinion, they seek for it a verse that abrogates it, loading it with what it cannot bear, and turn a blind eye to what differs from their opinion or stands in its way.
Perhaps this summarizes the issue best,
● Exegete Abdur-Rahmaan Hasan Habanka Al-Maydaani:
ويكثر عند بعض المفسرين ادعاء النسخ في كثير من الآيات القرآنية دون دليل كاف يثبت به النسخ.
والأصل أن الآيات القرآنية باقية الدلالات، ومرادة المعاني التي تحملها، في مواردها، ولا يجوز اللجوء إلى الحكم بالنسخ لأدنى شبهة، أو لدليل ضعيف لا يقوى على رفع دلالة النص الثابتة.
وعلى المتدبر أن يبحث عن موارد معاني الآيات القرآنية، بحثا عميقا دقيقا، حتى لا يلغي معنى لآية هو مراد دوما كلما جاء مورده.
ومهما أمكن الجمع بين النصوص القرآنية ، وحمل النص المعارض في ظاهره على معنى صحيح سليم منسجم مع السياق، ومع مفاهيم أحكام الشريعة بوجه عام، وغير معارض كلية لأمر ثابت في بيان دلالته، فلا يصح فهمه بطريقة تلجئ إلى اعتباره منسوخاـ
Some exegetes have excessively claimed abrogation in many Quranic verses, without a sufficient evidence to confirm abrogation. The basis is that Quranic verses have enduring implications, and their meanings are intended where they are. It is not permissible to accept their abrogation for the slightest suspicion, or because of a weak evidence that is not strong enough to lift the affirmed implication of text.
The examiner must research the sources of the meanings of Quranic verses in depth and with accuracy, and to interpret text that seems contradictory with a proper and sound meaning that fits the context and is compatible with the law in general and is not in total conflict with a confirmed teaching whose implication has been established. It is not allowed to understand it in a way that causes one to consider it abrogated.
But I'd like to collect in this post all the quotes by the pro-abrogation scholars
in which they unambiguously state that the burden of proof of the abrogation doctrine is upon them
. I'll link to this post from the Bookmarks announcement
, so we can easily find it.
● In his book الإحكام في أصول الأحكام, volume 4, page 83,
It is not permitted for a Muslim who believes in God and the Last Day to say about something in the Quran or the Sunna 'this is abrogated' except with certainty because God has said "And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of God" (from 4:65) and "Follow, [O mankind], what has been revealed to you from your Lord" (from 7:3). Therefore, following everything that God has sent in the Quran or through the words of His prophet is mandatory. If someone says that something is abrogated, this mandates not following it, and the obligation to follow it is dropped. This would be a blatant disobedience of God, and an explicit disagreement, unless there is a proof from God that the statement is correct. Otherwise, the person would be a falsifying transgressor. Whoever allows otherwise would be asserting the annulment of the entire Islamic law, because there is no difference between his claim of abrogation in a verse or a hadeeth and someone else's claim of abrogation in another verse or another hadeeth. This way, nothing of the Quran or the Sunna will hold, and this would be departure from Islam. What is affirmed through certainty cannot be negated through suspicion.
● In his book الناسخ والمنسوخ, page 22,
It is not permitted for a Muslim who believes in God and the Last Day to say about something in the Quran or the Sunna 'this is abrogated' except with certainty. What has the possibility of not being abrogation cannot be said to be abrogating or abrogated except with a a proof that mandates concession to it.
● In his book الموافقات, volume 3, page 72,
The rulings, once established upon the assignee, a claim of abrogation in them cannot be without a verified text, because its initial establishment on the assignee is a verified text, so lifting it after knowing that it is established cannot be except with verified knowledge.
● In his book فتح المنان في نسخ القرآن,
Opinions have no way of knowing that a ruling of God has ended. This can only be done with revelation, and there is no revelation after the Prophet, peace be upon him. God knows best.
● In his book مناهل العرفان, Volume 2, page 210,
None of the following can be used to determine abrogation,
- The opinion of a Sahaabi, since he could be wrong.
- Analysis of an analyst, without an explicit, authentic text.
- Opinion of an exegete, without an explicit, authentic text.
● In his book الناسخ والمنسوخ بين الإثبات والنفي, Al-Jabri quotes the Shaafi`i followers saying,
Abrogation is not proved by a Sahabi saying "The ruling was such and such then it was abrogated" because of the possibility that what was said comes from analysis by the Sahabi, not originating from the Prophet (PBUH)
● In his book الإحكام في أصول الأحكام, volume 2, page 293,
Abrogation cannot be determined by analysis or by interpretations of exegetes.
● In his book فتح الباري شرح صحيح البخاري, volume 11, page 409,
Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalaani wrote:
Abrogation cannot be concluded by probability, especially when reconciliation [between verses] is doable.
● In his book مناهل العرفان, Volume 2, page 107,
Abdul-`Azheem Az-Zurqaani wrote:
Applying the two leads (one for and another against a premise] has more priority over applying one and neglecting the other. The origin in rulings is their staying, not their abrogation.
● In his book النسخ في القرآن الكريم, Volume 1, page 169, Dr. Mustafa Zayd cites Imaam Ash-Shaatibi from his book الموافقات,
It is a self-evident truth in every law that the law giver is the only one who has the right to abrogate what he has ruled. And abrogation can only be by an address from him, just like the previous ruling was by an address from him.
The events of abrogation cannot be known except by reception from the law giver himself.
● In his book, الناسخ والمنسوخ في القرآن الكريم, page 9, Dr. Husayn Nassaar reports what Dr. Subhi As-Saalih wrote about abrogation, referring to the scholars who classified the Chapters of the Quran as either containing or free from abrogated verses:
Dr. Subhi As-Saalih wrote:
That classification leaves only 43 chapters as Muhkam (robust, i.e., unabrogated), as if the rule in the Quran is abrogation and the exception is non-abrogation! As if the foundation of the verse of the Quran is to be subject to abrogation.
The truth is that the foundation of the verses of the Quran is non-abrogation, unless an explicit evidence of abrogation is established, then there is no escape from taking it.
● Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Faaris, in his presentation of the book صفوة الراسخ في علم المنسوخ والناسخ, by Abu-Abdillah Shu`la, page 38, emphasis mine,
Dr. M. Ibrahim Faaris wrote:
An established rule in the subject of abrogation is that abrogation is not claimed unless it is impossible to reconcile the two verses. Claiming non-abrogation, with a reason and an aspect, is much preferred to claiming abrogation.
Additionally, the following quotes all acknowledge that the term "Naskh" meant to the Sahaaba much more than abrogation, and therefore, there is a burden of proof that what the Sahaaba were referring to in their narrations was abrogation and not the wide range of meanings of naskh:
● In his book أعلام الموقعين, volume 1, page 35,
Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote:
What most of the predecessors meant by Naskh is the lifting of the ruling (which is the definition made by the later generations) as well as the specification of generalities, limitation of the unlimited, elaborating the vague, etc. They even called exceptions, conditions and identification naskh because it all amends the apparent meaning of the previous expression.
Whoever examines what they said will find plenty of that and will therefore resolve much of the problems caused by viewing their narrations using the later definition of naskh.
● In his book الموافقات, volume 3, page 105,
What is apparent from the words of the predecessors is that Naskh to them is more general than what the foundationists (الأصوليون) defined it. They would call the limiting of the unlimited naskh, the specifying of a generality, immediately or later, they call that too naskh. They called the elaboration of the vague naskh. And they called the cancellation of a ruling naskh.
● In his exegesis الجامع لأحكام القرآن, volume 2, page 65,
The antecedents call specification naskh as expansion and figure of speech.
● Ibn Taymiya, from his famous book الفتاوى, volume 23, page 272 and volume 14, page 10,
"Ibn Taymiya wrote:
Mansookh (the amended) includes, in the definition of the Predecessors, any apparent meaning set aside because of preponderant conflictor, such as specification of a generality and limitation of an unlimited.
Ibn Taymiya wrote:
The word naskh is a brief, for the predecessors used it in regards to any implication of a verse, such as generality, absoluteness, etc.