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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2010, 19:01 
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Linguistic wrote:
What I meant was that if I want to arrive at a uniform conclusion that there are no verses in the text of the Quran that have been abrogated, then I cannot include verses that are not in the text. I find no problem with that particular type of abrogation happening.

We are in total agreement here.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 21 Jan 2010, 15:42 
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Terminology

The choice of words in the abrogation literature may be a contributing factor to the controversy surrounding the subject, as has been alluded to in more than one thread. I try to put these points together here to underline the issue.

1. The verb " نسخ " (to abrogate) is sometimes used in its linguistic capacity rather than its specific significance within the abrogation verse 2:106. Therefore, certain changes in the Sunna rulings during the life of the Prophet (PBUH) are referred to as abrogation in the same context that 2:106 is invoked. There is nothing wrong with using an Arabic word that befits a meaning. What is wrong is to implicitly (or explicitly) associate these cases with the specific statement in 2:106 which deals with God abrogating verses. Evidence from one does not substantiate, or refute, the other.

2. The verb " نسخ " is also used to describe the invalidation of the previous books from God, e.g., the Bible, by the revelation of the Quran. This is also a valid use of the word, and may well be the intended meaning in 2:106. However, the fact that Biblic verses were abrogated does not mean that the Quranic verses were:



3. The adjective " محكم " (robust or precise) which is famously used in 3:7



is sometimes used (inadvertently or deliberately) to refer to a verse that is not abrogated. In doing so, advocates of Quranic abrogation implicitly invoke 3:7 as if it was supporting the doctrine of abrogation.

IMHO, the ambiguity created by the above terminology is a major contributing factor to the ability of the advocates of Quranic abrogation to dismiss their opponents. As lawyers would say "If you have a case, make it. If you don't have a case, confuse the issues."

Therefore, we should be explicit about the thesis of this project "there are no abrogated verses in the text of the Quran" and about the terminology we use and that others have used.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2010, 19:36 
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Linguistic wrote:
I'd add a definition of the word itself. I'd say that an abrogated verse is a verse that is not to be followed anymore though it remains in the text of the Quran.

This captures the essence of what motivates me to work on this issue. Opening the door to overrule the literal word of God using as little as a shaky argument about perceived contradictions turns the tables on the entire religion. On the one hand, scholars insist on air-tight standards applied to the authenticity of every verse in the Quran, and on the other hand they accept a back door called abrogation that can throw out a verse based merely on an opinion.

This is why we are focussing our discussion on this specific question. The thesis of this project is that there are no abrogated verses in the text of the Quran. We are deliberately avoiding other issues, such as abrogation of sunna, verses that are claimed to have never made it to the text of the Quran, etc. It's not that these are unimportant issues. It's just that they are different issues with fundamentally different evidence and arguments. We have to focus on something specific to reach a credible conclusion, and IMHO we chose to focus on the thesis that is the most important and the most promising in terms of getting results.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 30 Jan 2010, 20:32 
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Pragmatic wrote:
The thesis of this project is that there are no abrogated verses in the text of the Quran. We are deliberately avoiding other issues, such as abrogation of sunna, verses that are claimed to have never made it to the text of the Quran, etc. It's not that these are unimportant issues. It's just that they are different issues with fundamentally different evidence and arguments.

Indeed, and it is kinda sad that many scholars have painted all types of abrogation with the same brush. Many have quoted hadeeths where the prophet, peace be upon him, said a verse was abrogated, but on further scrutiny, we find that the verse was never again recited and was never inscribed in the text the prophet (PBUH) left for us. This is categorically different from claiming that the text he left us contained abrogated verses. He never said it did!

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 01 Feb 2010, 08:30 
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Linguistic Definitions

I have just finished reading, word for word, 50 pages in this book that are dedicated to the linguistic definition of abrogation. Not the criteria for abrogation, mind you, just the linguistic definition.The author gives a detailed account of the historical evolution of the definition of the word نسخ from the time of the Sahaba through the originalists الأصوليون to modern times, and settles on the definition
رفع حكم شرعي بدليل شرعي متأخر
lifting of a juristic ruling through delayed juristic evidence,

He talks about the linguistic and philosophical aspects of the definition ad nauseum, but he provides three significant pieces of information:

1. The use of the word by the Sahaba is different from the theological definition that the word is used for today. The author concludes that much of the evidence used to support the abrogation doctrine is based on misunderstanding what the Sahaba said at a purely linguistic level.

2. The author described the historical context of different definitions of the word نسخ and how the different definitions were often in reaction to the environment in which the scholars lived. This added to the confusion about the use of the word.

3. Some scholars, even major ones, didn't spell out the definition they were using for the word نسخ in their books, presumably relying on the prevailing definition used at the time. This created the appearance of disagreements over time, without substantive disagreements.

I need to go through my notes and read the key passages in these 50 pages again before I can provide a detailed summary of the points that are relevant to this project.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2010, 06:18 
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Pragmatic wrote:
1. The use of the word by the Sahaba is different from the theological definition that the word is used for today. The author concludes that much of the evidence used to support the abrogation doctrine is based on misunderstanding what the Sahaba said at a purely linguistic level.

The author emphasizes this point in volume 1 of the cited book. His conclusion is stated in Item 161 on page 105. Key part:

"We do not reject at all what has been authenticated of what the Sahaba and the followers said about abrogation cases. We just cannot use these cases as evidence where they use abrogation in the broad significance they held, and then apply it to abrogation claims as the term has come to be agreed upon. This would contradict an obvious fact that should be observed in such a situation, that there has to be an agreement about what we are debating before we start the debate. We feel that it is not intellectually honest to quote Ibn Abbas or someone else in an event where he states that a verse abrogated another when in fact the relation between the two verses is that of an exception from a general case, then use that as evidence that one verse abrogated another in the sense that has been agreed upon later."

Details leading up to the above statement:
Item 89 on page 69-70 (raising the point)
Items 91 to 98 on pages 71-74 (enumeration of cases)
Item 134 on page 92 (further comment)

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2010, 07:44 
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Pragmatic wrote:
2. The author described the historical context of different definitions of the word نسخ and how the different definitions were often in reaction to the environment in which the scholars lived. This added to the confusion about the use of the word.

The author cites the case of Al-Jassas in particular. He concludes in Item 161 on pages 106-107 of volume 1 that:

"Some of the other originalist schools aimed through the way they defined abrogation to answer the Jews who had influence at the time these schools came about, as we have seen in Al-Jassas definition of abrogation as "indicating the period of ruling and reciting" to counter the Jews who rejected abrogation as "change of mind" by God which is unacceptable. This may justify why Al-Jassas chose such definition that is clearly weak, but what would justify continuing the use of the definition after Al-Jassas?"

Details leading up to the above statement:
Item 116 on page 81 (the definition by Al-Jassas)
Item 141 on page 97 (further comment about Al-Jassas)
Items 146-151 on pages 99-102 (other cases of environmental influence)
Item 161 on page 106 (Fact 3 criticizes 'philosophical' definitions)

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2010, 07:55 
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Pragmatic wrote:
3. Some scholars, even major ones, didn't spell out the definition they were using for the word نسخ in their books, presumably relying on the prevailing definition used at the time. This created the appearance of disagreements over time, without substantive disagreements.

The author makes a point of this remark in Item 137 on page 94 in volume 1 of his book. Key part:

"There is a phenomenon that caught our attention, so we decided to record it here before we get distracted in the discussion. This phenomenon is that some of the authors who wrote about the origins and the abrogated and abrogating, and some of them are of stature, did not bother with defining abrogation as the originalists did, depending -we think- on the clarity of its legalistic meaning that does not need definition."

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 02 Feb 2010, 18:24 
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Theological Definitions

I have now read an additional 50+ pages in the same book that are dedicated to contrasting the definition of abrogation accepted by the author,

رفع حكم شرعي بدليل شرعي متأخر
lifting of a juristic ruling through delayed juristic evidence,

with other notions that can be, and have been, confused with it. The discussion is mostly theological, hence my choice of the above title. The highlights that are most relevant to this project are:

1. The author provides an objective criterion for distinguishing between abrogation and other forms of 'modification' in the Quran that scholars have treated at times as abrogation while they are just linguistic constructs to express rules and exceptions.

2. He states unequivocal disagreement with the notion of abrogation as used by a narration from Ibn Abbas, may God we pleased with him, and substantiates his view with analysis based on established standards.

3. He explains the tendency of Imam Abu-Haneefa and his followers to broaden the abrogation doctrine using the same explanation he used in the Sahaba case; namely that a different definition of the word abrogation is being used.

4. The idea of the terms 'static' and 'dynamic' that we coined here for the phases of the Quran after and during the life of the Prophet (PBUH) is supported by the author.

5. The idea of 'self delimiting' that we used to argue against some abrogation claims is supported by the author and by other scholars.

6. The abrogation claim of 4:15 and the opinions of some major scholars about it are highly criticized by the author (notwithstanding the fact that he eventually concluded that both 4:15 and 4:16 are abrogated).

7. The abrogation claim of 2:249 is challenged.

I need to go through my notes and read the relevant passages in the book again before I can post the different details, some in this thread and others in appropriate threads.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of abrogation
PostPosted: 03 Feb 2010, 07:18 
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Abrogation versus Exception

Pragmatic wrote:
1. The author provides an objective criterion for distinguishing between abrogation and other forms of 'modification' in the Quran that scholars have treated at times as abrogation while they are just linguistic constructs to express rules and exceptions.

In Chapter 2 (starting on page 108 in volume 1 of his book ), the author puts forward a scholarly analysis of the modes of exception used in the Quran. Exceptions are either in terms of persons a general rule doesn't apply to, or in terms of conditions a general rule doesn't apply under. The author enumerates the different methods that exceptions have been invoked in the Quran. He counters the arguments of some scholars that such exceptions are tantamount to abrogation by pinpointing the difference between abrogation and each type of exception, with painstaking level of detail.

I will focus here on the main difference between exception and abrogation, a difference that is sufficient on its own to resolve most of not all of these cases. Here are the relevant passages in the book (I used the simple word "exception" to avoid the more technical terminology):

Item 182 on page 119: "The first thing we notice, in view of the definition of each, that abrogation removes the abrogated ruling, while exception limits the general ruling to the remaining persons not covered by the exception, Therefore, an abrogated ruling is no longer applicable after it was abrogated while an exception still leaves the ruling applicable to some."

Item 192 on page 122: "However, there is another difference that distances abrogation from each of these modes of exception. That difference is that the abrogated text does not qualify after being abrogated as legal evidence. Is this the case with something general after an exception has been made?"

Item 231 on page 150: "The basis on which exception is built is a contradiction between two statements, and on face value that is the same basis on which abrogation is built. However, what we cannot ignore here and what is indeed the reason recent scholars do not consider exceptions an abrogation is that the contradiction in the case of exception is not really a contradiction when compared with the contradiction in the case of abrogation. Instead, it is a narrowing of a general rule brought by the exception, after which the ruling is still there and is not lifted, abiding by it has not ended, and its text remains as evidence of the ruling, but with consideration of the restriction that the text of exception brought about."

These passages support an obvious rule: Exception removes part of the original rule, so the remaining part remains intact. Abrogation removes the entire rule, so nothing of it remains intact. If you say "All students should come to class except those who are sick," The exception for sick students does not remove the obligation on the others to come to class, while abrogating "all students should come to class" would remove that obligation.

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