Unformatted text preview: ical of the Shari'ah, which is meant to be for all times; this is just another way of saying that it is not open to abrogation. [45. Abu Zahrah, Usul, p.155; Badran, Usul, p.448.] Having explained al-Isfahani's refutation of the theory of naskh, it remains to be said that according to the majority of ulema, the occurrence of naskh in the Qur'an is proven, although not in so many instances as has often been claimed. The proponents of naskh have stated that the incidence of naskh in the Qur'an is proven, not only by the Qur'an itself, but also by a conclusive ijma. Anyone who opposes it is thus going against the dictates of ijma. [46. Al-Ghazali, Mustasfa, I, 72.] In the face of the foregoing disagreements, it is admittedly difficult to see the existence of a conclusive ijma' on the point. But according to the rules of ijma`, once an ijma' is properly concluded, any subsequent differences of opinion would not invalidate it. Divergent views such as that of al-Isfahani seem to have been treated in this light, and almost totally ignored. In his book The Islamic Theory of International Relations: New Directions For Islamic Methodology and Thought (originally a doctoral dissertation), Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman is critical of the classical approach to naskh and calls for a fresh and comprehensive understanding `of the technique of naskh [.. .] on a systematic and conceptual basis, not a legalistic one' [47. Abu Sulayman, The Islamic Theory, p.84.] The author is of the view that the classical exposition of naskh is unnecessarily restrictive as it tends to narrow down the 'rich Islamic and Qur'anic experience', and also indulges, in some instances at least, in a measure of exaggeration and excess. [48. Abu Sulayman, The Islamic Theory, p. 107.] The author maintains that abrogation was primarily an historical, rather than juridical, phenomenon and ought to have been read in that context. This may be part of the reason why the jurists have found it difficult to establish the validity of abrogation by the direct evidence of the Qur'an or Sunnah. The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 152 argument runs that the facts of naskh in regard to, for example, the ayah of the sword, as discussed below, were historical and were largely dictated by the prevailing pattern of relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims at the time. Now, instead of understanding naskh as a circumstance of history, the ulema turned it into a juridical doctrine of permanent validity. This classical concept of permanent abrogation is oblivious of the space-time element which, if taken into account, would have restricted the application of naskh to those circumstance alone. [49. Abu Sulayman, The Islamic Theory, p. 73.] The broad sweep of naskh was, however, taken so far as to invalidate a major portion of the Qur'an. This is precisely the case with regard to the ayah of the sword (ayah al-sayf) which reads, in the relevant part: `And fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together, and know that God is with those who keep th...
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