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 Post subject: Was 2:238 an abrogation?
PostPosted: 10 Nov 2013, 23:29 
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While I was researching something else, I stumbled on this hadeeth, reported by Muslim and narrated by Al-Baraa' ibn `Aazib,

عن البراءِ بنِ عازبٍ ؛ قال : نزلت هذه الآيةُ : { حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَصَلاَةِ الْعَصْرِ } . فقرأناها ما شاء اللهُ . ثم نسخها اللهُ . فنزلت : { حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلاَةِ الْوُسْطَى } . فقال رجلٌ كان جالسًا عند شقيقٍ له : هي إذنْ صلاةُ العصرِ . فقال البراءُ : قد أخبرتُك كيف نزلتْ . وكيف نسخها اللهُ . واللهُ أعلمُ .

Translation:
Al-Baraa' said, A verse was revealed saying, "Keep the prayers and the afternoon prayer." We recited it as long as God willed, then God abrogated it with 2:238. A man then asked him, "Then it is the afternoon prayer." He replied, "I told you how it was revealed and how it was abrogated. God knows best."

Being reported in Muslim's compilation book means it is authentic. That said, it is quite strange. Why would God replace the word "afternoon" with the word "middle"? Does that mean that the middle prayer is not the afternoon prayer, but perhaps, as many suggested, is the dawn prayer. In such light, it sounds like God wanted to emphasize the afternoon prayer at first, then he switched Muslims to emphasis on the dawn prayer when they were ready for that.

It bothers me, however, that there is only one mention of this hadeeth that I could find. Nevertheless, the hadeeth did not say that it was the Prophet (PBUH) who said either statement, so it could very well be the impression of Al-Baraa' (RA).

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