Unformatted text preview: eir duty [to Him]' (al-Tawbah, 9:36). Influenced by the prevailing pattern of hostile relations with non-Muslims, 'some jurists took an extreme position in interpreting this ayah,' and claimed that it abrogated all preceding ayat pertaining to patience, tolerance and the right of others to self-determination. [50. Abu Sulayman, The Islamic Theory, p. 36.] Although scholars are not in agreement as to the exact number of ayat that were abrogated as a result, Mustafa Abu Zayd has found that the ayah of the sword abrogated no less than 140 ayat in the holy Book. [51. Abu Zayd, Al-Nasikh wa al-Mansukh, I, 289 ff and II, 503 ff.] Jurists who were inclined to stress the aggressive aspect of jihad could only do so by applying abrogation to a large number of Qur'anic ayat, and 'using abrogation in this manner has, Abu Sulayman contests, `indeed narrowed the Qur'anic experience' [52. Abu Sulayman, The Islamic Theory, p.36.] and undermined the egalitarian substance of its teachings. In many passages the Qur'an calls for peace, compassion and forgiveness, and promotes a set of moral values such as moderation, humility, patience and tolerance whose scope could not be said to be confined to relations among Muslims alone. The Muslim jurists of the second hijrah century, as al-Zuhayli informs us, considered war as the norm, rather than the exception, in relations with non-Muslims, and they were able to do so partly because of a certain exaggeration in the use and application of naskh. The reason behind this attitude was the need, which was then prevalent, to be in a state of constant readiness for battle in order to protect Islam. Wahbah al-Zuhayli, Athar al-Harb, p.130.] Under such political circumstances, it is not difficult to understand how abrogation was utilised as a means by which to strengthen the morale of the Muslim in facing their enemies. [54. Abu Sulayman, The Islamic Theory, p.74.] It is to be noted further that the position of the classical jurists which characterised war as the permanent pattern of relationship with non-Muslims, as al-Zuhayli points out, is not binding on anyone, and is not supported by the balance of evidence in the Qur'an and Sunnah. [55. Al-Zuhayli, Athar al-Harb, p.135.] It is therefore important, Abu Sulayman tells us, 'to put the concept of naskh back in proper context' and confine its application only to clear cases, such as the change of qiblah from the direction of Jerusalem to the Ka'bah. As for the rest, the rules and teachings of Islam are valid and applicable in unlimited combinations as they meet the needs and benefits of mankind, in the light of the broader values and Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 153 [53. objectives that the Qur'an and Sunnah have upheld. James Piscatori, in Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, 10.2 (July 1989), pp. 542-3.] [56. cf. Abu Sulayman, The Islamic Theory, p. 107; cf. the review of his book by Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 154 Chapter Eight: Ijma' or Consensus of Opinion It must be noted at the outset that unlike the Qur'an...
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