This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: hange it of my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me.' It is thus not within the Prophet's terms of reference to abrogate the Qur'an at his own initiative. 'The Sunnah in principle', writes alShafi`i, 'follows, substantiates, and clarifies the Qur'an; it does not seek to abrogate the Book of God'. Shafi'i, Risalah, p. 54.] All this al-Shafi'i adds, is reinforced in yet another passage in the Qur'an where it is provided: 'God blots out or confirms what He pleases. With Him is the Mother of the Book' (al-Ra'd, 13: 39). The reference here is again to naskh and the source in which it originates is the Mother of the Book, that, is the Qur'an itself. The Sunnah, even the Mutawatir Sunnah, may not abrogate the Qur'an. AI-Shafi'i is equally categorical on the other limb of this theory, namely that the Qur'an does not abrogate the Sunnah either. Only the Sunnah can abrogate the Sunnah: Mutawatir by Mutawatir and Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 147 [31. Ahad by Ahad. Mutawatir may abrogate the Ahad, but there is some disagreement on whether the Ahad can abrogate the Mutawatir. According to the preferred view, which is also held by al-Shafi'i, the Ahad, however, can abrogate the Mutawatir. To illustrate this, al-Shafi'i refers to the incident when the congregation of worshippers at the mosque of Quba' were informed by a single person (khabar alwahid) of the change of the direction of the qiblah from Jerusalem to the Ka'bah; they acted upon it and turned their faces toward the Ka'bah. The fact that Jerusalem was the qiblah had been established by continuous, or mutawatir, Sunnah, but the congregation of Companions accepted the solitary report as the abrogater of Mutawatir. [32. Shafi'i, Risalah, p.177; Ghazali, Mustasfa, I, 81.] Al-Shafi'i elaborates his doctrine further. If there existed any occasion for the Sunnah to abrogate the Qur'an or vice versa, the Prophet would be the first to say so. Thus in all cases where such an abrogation is warranted, there is bound to be a Sunnah of the Prophet to that effect, in which case the matter automatically becomes a part of the Sunnah. The Sunnah in other words is self-contained, and covers all possible cases of conflict and abrogation of the Qur'an by the Sunnah and vice versa. If any Sunnah is meant to be abrogated, the Prophet himself would do it by virtue of another Sunnah, hence there is no case for the abrogation of Sunnah by the Qur'an. [33. Shafi'i, Risalah, p. 102.] Al-Shafi'i considers it necessary for the abrogation of Sunnah that the Prophet should have informed the people specifically about it. If the Qur'an were to abrogate the Sunnah, while the Prophet has not indicated such to be the case, then, to give an example, all the varieties of sale which the Prophet had banned prior to the revelation of the Qur'anic ayah on the legality of sale (al-Baqarah, 2:275) would be rendered lawful with the revelation of this ayah. Similarly, the punishment of stoning for zina which is authorised by the Prophet would be deemed abrogated by the variant ruling of one hundred lashes in sura al-Nur (24:2). In the case of theft, too, the Prophet did not punish anyone for theft below the value of one-quarter of a dinar, nor did he apply the prescribed punishment to the theft of unguarded (ghayr muhr...
View Full Document
- Spring '13