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Unformatted text preview: p. 183; Abu Zahrah, Usul, p. 129.] As for the question of whether the cause of a general ruling can operate as a limiting factor in its general application, it will be noted that the cause never specifies a general ruling. This is relevant, as far as the Qur'an is concerned, to the question of asbab al-nuzul, or the occasions of its revelation. One often finds general rulings in the Qur'an which were revealed with reference to specific issues. Whether the cause of the revelation contemplated a particular situation or not, it does not operate as a limiting factor on the application of the general ruling. Thus the occasion of the revelation of the ayah of imprecation (li'an) in sura al-Nur (24:6) was a complaint that a resident of Madinah, Hilal ibn Umayyah, made to the Prophet about the difficulty experienced by the spouse in proving, by four eyewitnesses, the act of adultery on the part of the other spouse. The cause of the revelation was specific but the ruling remains general. Similarly, the Hadith which provides that 'when any hide is tanned, it is purified' [60. Abu Dawud, Sunan (Hasan's trans.), II, 1149; Hadith no. 4111; Abu Zabrah, Usul, p. 130.] was, according to reports, uttered with reference to a sheepskin, but the ruling is nevertheless applicable to all types of skins. The actual wording of a general ruling is therefore to be taken into consideration regardless of its cause. If the ruling is conveyed in general terms, it must be applied as such even if the cause behind it happens to be specific. [61. Abu Zahrah, Usul, p.130; Khallaf, 'Ilm, p. 189.] Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 108 [57. Abu Conflict between 'Amm and Khass Should there be two textual rulings on one and the same subject in the Qur'an, one being 'Amm and the other Khass, there will be a case of conflict between them according to the Hanafis, but not according to the majority. The reason is that to the Hanafis, 'Amm and Khass are both definitive (qat'i) and as such a conflict between them is possible, whereas to the majority, only the Khass is qat'i and it would always prevail over the 'Amm, which is zanni. The Hanafis maintain that in the event of a conflict between the general and the specific in the Qur'an, one must ascertain the chronological order between them first; whether, for example, they are both Makki or Madani ayat or whether one is Makki and the other Madani. If the two happen to be parallel in time, the Khass specifies the 'Amm. If a different chronological sequence can be established between them, then if the 'Amm is of a later origin, it abrogates the Khass, but if the Khass is later, it only partially abrogates the 'Amm. This is because the Hanafis maintain that the Khass specifies the 'Amm only when they are chronologically parallel, both are qat'i, and both are independent locutions. The majority of ulema, as already noted, do not envisage the possibility of a conflict between the 'Amm and the Khass: when there are two rulings on the same point, one being 'Amm and the other Khass, the latter becomes explanatory to the former and both are retained. For the majority, the 'Amm is like the Zah...
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