Abrogation (Arabic نسخ [naskh]) and the Quran Part 2
Abrogation (Arabic نسخ [naskh]) –
- “is a term used in Islamic legal exegesis for seemingly contradictory material within or between the twin bases of Islamic holy law: the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunna” (Wikipedia, “Abrogation“).
- “is the generic label for a range of theories advanced in the fields of Tafsir, Hadith, and usul al-fikh since a comparison of verse with verse, Hadith with hadith, Hadith with verse and both Kuran and Hadith with the Fikh suggested frequent, serious conflict. That the Prophet’s mission had extended over a quarter of a century inspired the idea of gradual development in the details of the regulations introduced in both Kuran and Sunna. Naskh applies to each of the two sources and to the relations between them. Most accepted the naskh of the Kuran by the Kuran and the naskh of Hadith by Hadith. The naskh of Kuran by Hadith and of Hadith by Kuran raised more delicate issues which divided the scholars” (John Burton, “Naskh”, Encyclopaedia of Islam).
The topic of abrogation (naskh) is sensitive and frequently misunderstood by western non-speaking, non-Muslims. Therefore, I am learning more about abrogation (naskh) from Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt. Ali Gomaa said in the previous post, “There is no one ayah [verse] in the Quran that is universally agreed upon its abrogation”. It is Ali Gomaa’s judgment that the Quran is “far above abrogation both in its recitation and rules.”
“Imam Az-Zarkshi in “Al-Burhan”, and then after him Imam As-Syouti in “al-Itkan” came with a new theory exlaining His (TWT), saying, “or cause to be forgotten,” in Surat Al-Baqara. “Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten” and there is another recittation, and recitations explain one another. “Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, or cause it to be delayed” (Quran 2:106) (Al-Nasa’) means delay as know in the Arabic language. This theory states that many ayahs that some think are abrogated are not but have certain criteria, and once these critera are met, they rule and if one of these criteria was lost, we would delay its rule until the suitable time for it.”
“Allah (TWT) says that when believers live in a world where they do not have the upper hand as they lived in Habasha and as they lived in Makkah and as they were mixed with Jews and polytheists in the beginning of the Madinan period before evacuating the Jews and before people embraced the Religion of Allah (SWT) in troops in the second part of the civil period. Then, Allahs (SWT) saying, “To you is your religion, and to me is my religion” was a common rule because Muslims did not have the upper hand; they could not fight tyranny nor stop wrong doing nor defend what’s right nor protect major issues.”
“But when the Muslim rules the world, he correct those who stray from this world and from general order from self and mental preservation and religion preservation, human dignity, and property preservation. He can punish the unjust. As the Prophet (SAWS) has said, “Stand by your brother whether he is the transgressor or the victim.” They said: we helped the victim of injustice so how we aid him unjust? The prophet also said that standing by the transgressor is through giving him advise. When a Muslim fights, he/she is doing it for Allah’s cause, for general benefit and for lifting tyranny and for stopping aggression. Nor for practicing oppression in earth nor for any other worldy benefits. Nor for hateful colonization that brings other countries’ goods to Muslim countries. Even Hijaz from where da’wa was launched and place of revelation remained poor until petroleum was discovered in it, not more than 100 years ago. It was always poor. Why? Because Muslims never invaded other countries nor colonize in them.”
“That was about the theory that ayahs can neither be abrogating nor abrogated and that all of them are for guidance and any one of them is valid for all states.”
Abrogation [naskh] of the Quran by the Sunnah
“There is another idea that sunnah overcomes Quran. Sunnah was narrated to us in ones and few ahadith, not more than 120, were narrated by continuous recurrence and nothing in these 120 ahadith can be said to have abrogated Quran. The ones claimed to be abrogating Quran may also be weak narrations. As He (SWT) said, “Prescribed for you, when death is present to any of you, in case he leaves behind some charitable (benefit)…is to make testament to parents and nearest kin.” The father and the mother are from the heirs, so one would say: This ayah was abrogated because the Prophet (SAWS) said that there is no testament for an heir and because when Allah (SWT) stated the rules of inheritance in Surat An-Nisa. That way this ayah was abrogated by the saying of prophet Muhammad (SAWS).”
“Another scholar comes and does not see it that way. The mentioned will in the ayah raised its stay for two matters: First: if you believe the hadith that is narrated by Sunan Abu-Dawood that there is no testament for a heir and act by it the ayah would be used for non-Muslim parents because difference in religion prevents inheritance.”
“Slavery is another prohibitive. Therefore, Saheb Ar-Rahabyah says that a person is forbidden from inheritance for one of three reasons. Murder, slavery, or difference in religion so undertsand, for doubt is not like certainty. A murderer is forbidden from inheritance and slavery forbids inheritance and religious differences forbid inheritance. A disbeliever cannot inherit a Muslim and a Muslim cannot inherit a disbeliever. This reassured the people a lot during da’wa and during the spread of Islam. Because if a person became Muslim he/she does not take his/her father’s money nor his non-Muslim family’s. That meant that that person has surrendered to Allah he/she does not want a reward, thanks, or money. Therefore, if it is such was the case, then similarly the non-Muslim father does not inherit his Muslim son/daughter and vice versa.”
“So, the will can be for parents when one of them is non-Muslim. A Muslim can give by will. So the ayah’s rule stays valid without abrogation and at the same time the hadith remains valid.”
“The Egyptian system and the Egyptian Islamic jurists who decided the will law in 1946 and before that the law of inheritance in 1925 did not see that this hadith is authentic. Therefore they agreed that a will can be for an heir but no more than the third. They allowed a will for an heir guided by the ayah. When not applying the hadith, the ayah remains valid even in general. Even if the parents were non-Muslims and that coincides with the hadith or if the parents were Muslims. So we must deny the narration of that hadith because its uncertainty.”
“Anyhow, the Quran for us is a book of guidance. It has the first saying. The Prophet’s sunnah is an explanation for it. And it is impeccable application for the Quran. The sunnah must have authentic support. Even so, we must interpret it and it interpret the outline of the book. But we must explain it according to the Noble Quran. It is not right nor allowed to interpret sunnah far from Quran nor to interpret the Quran far from sunnah because both are from Allah. The Prophet (SAWS) is the owner of both revelations.”
“”And in no way does he pronounce (any word) out of prejudice. Decidedly it is nothing except a revelation revealed.” So he was called the owner of the two revelations. Therefore, we can deem Quran far above abrogation both in its recitation and rules. Abrogation can happen in sunnah and Quran [can] abrogate sunnah but sunnah cannot abrogate Quran. 1The kibla, direction of prayer, is an often cited abrogation/naskh (Quran 2:142-144). Because Quran came to us by definite continuous recurrence whereas sunnah came to us in ones. Ones are doubt, and continuous recurrence is certainty. Doubt cannot cancel nor abrogate nor change certainty. This is the summary from which we get through that Quran is a book of guidance and that its ayahs remain and these ayahs can lose some of their criteria as when Omar (RA) stopped punishment in Ramadah year. When he stopped giving money to the new converts for absence of debate. But the ayahs remain with its same rules and be applied again when their criteria return. That, and success is granted by Allah. Until we meet again, farewell and peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you.”
Abrogation and the Bible
The main issue of abrogation as it applies to Christian and Muslim dialogue is the Muslim assumption that the Quran and sunnah abrogate what God did and revealed in the Bible. Why don’t Muslims celebrate the Passover which God commanded Moses? Why don’t Muslims observe baptism or the Lord’s Supper which were instituted by Jesus?
Muslims believe that Muhammad was the final prophet. But what other prophet of God came along and effectively did away with all previous revelation and replaced it with his own? Muhammad’s “abrogation” of Scripture with the Quran and sunnah is not the mark of a true prophet of God, but the mark of a false prophet.
|↥1||The kibla, direction of prayer, is an often cited abrogation/naskh (Quran 2:142-144).|