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How Do We Deal With Claims of Abrogation for Verses?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question:

Assalamu ‘alaykum.

1. How is it decided whether a verse is abrogated or not. Is it from Hadith or from the mind of a scholar to reconcile between two verses?

2. How can it be that there are differences on the number of abrogated verses among scholars?

3. When both opinions about a verse exist, i.e., some saying that it is abrogated and others not(Shah Waliullah only mentioning five, I think), which opinion should be followed?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Abrogation is a complex topic when it comes to the Qur’anic Sciences. There is a lot of discussion around the matter, but the strongest positions lie on the side of there being relatively few cases of its occurrence. For a more detailed analysis of the topic, I suggest you look at our course on the ‘Ulum al Qur’an, where it is discussed in detail.

How Is Abrogation Established?

This comes down to many factors. Sometimes it is the text of the Qur’an itself that shows something is abrogated. At other times, it is from other sources, such as the Hadith.
Sometimes, scholars could not reconcile the meanings of two verses, so they concluded that one must abrogate the other. In many cases, later scholars were able to provide a suitable explanation, showing that there was no abrogation in many cases.

Why Are There Differences On The Number Of Abrogated Verses?

The concept of abrogation is known through revelation and the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). There is no difference on this. However, the application of the concept is a human endeavor, and people’s knowledge and understanding differ, and therefore, so do their conclusions.

Which Conclusions Should Be Followed?

This is dependant on many factors. Sometimes, it has legal implications – in which case we follow one of the four schools of Fiqh – and at other times, it is a matter of tafsir. For this, a mufassir would have to use the tools at his disposal to arrive at the conclusion he deems to be sound. He may differ with others. Ultimately, it would be a matter of the strength of his proof and those able to understand the strength of his arguments.

Most Muslims don’t have to worry about such matters. They simply take each science from the experts of that science. I hope that clarifies matters. Please take the course for more details and specific examples.

May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (Fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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