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Unformatted text preview: what He reveals [wa idha baddalna ayatan makana ayatin wa' Llahu a'lam bima yunazzil]. To some commentators, the word 'ayah' to these passages refers, not to the text of the Qur'an itself, but to previous scriptures including the Torah and the Gospel. An interpretation of this type would, of course, render the ayah under discussion irrelevant to the occurrence of naskh in the Qur'an. Abu Muslim al-Isfahani, a Mu'tazili scholar and author of a Qur'an commentary (Jami al-Ta'wil), has held the view that all instances of so-called abrogation in the Qur'an are in effect no more than qualifications and takhsis of one text by another. [42. Subhi al-Salih, Mabahith, p.274.] To al-Isfahani, the word 'ayah' in these passages means not a portion of the Qur'anic text, but 'miracle'. To read this meaning in the first of the two passages quoted above would imply that God empowered each of His Messengers with miracles that none other possessed; that God provided each of His Messengers with superior miracles, one better than the other. That this is the correct meaning of the text is substantiated, al-Isfahani adds, by the subsequent portion of the same passage (i.e. al-Baqarah, 2:106) which reads: 'Do you not know that God is all-powerful?' (`ala kulli shay'in qadir). Thus this particular attribute of God relates more appropriately in this context to the subject of miracles rather than abrogation of one ayah by another. This interpretation finds further support in yet another portion of the same passage (i.e. 2:108) which Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 151 provides in an address to the Muslim community: `Would you want to question your Prophet as Moses was questioned before?' It is then explained that Moses was questioned by the Bani Isra'il regarding his miracles, not the abrogation as such? [43. Amidi, Ihkam, III, 120.] The word `ayah', in the second passage (i.e. alNahl, 16:101) too means 'miracle'. For after all, 'ayah' literally means 'sign' and a miracle is a sign. AIIsfahani further argues: Naskh is equivalent to ibtal, that is, 'falsification' or rendering something invalid, and ibtal as such has no place in the Qur'an. This is what we learn from the Qur'an itself which reads in sura Ha-Mim (41:42): 'No falsehood can approach it [the Book] from any direction [la ya'tihi al-batil min bayn yadayhi wa la min khalfih].' In response to this, however, it is said that naskh a not identical with ibtal; that naskh for all intents and purposes means suspension of a textual ruling, while the words of the text are often retained and not nullified. [44. Amidi, Ihkam, III, 124.] Two other points that al-Isfahani has added to his interpretation are as follows. Supposing that the passages under consideration do mean abrogation, even then they do not confirm the actual occurrence of naskh but merely the possibility of it, and there is a difference between the two. Lastly, al-Isfahani maintains that all instances of conflict in the Qur'an are apparent rather than real, and can be reconciled and removed. This, he adds, is only log...
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2013 for the course ISLAM 101 taught by Professor Islam during the Spring '13 term at Harvey Mudd College.
- Spring '13