Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Qur'an - the first source of law

The following is an extract from the book 'Understanding Usul al-Fiqh'.

It is necessary to define the Qur’an, from this definition we will know what is allowed to be read in prayer and what is not. What is a proof in Hukm Shara’i and what is not? It also tells us what makes somebody a Kafir due to what he denies and what does not constitute disbelief. So when we define Qur’an we mean the Qur’an as evidence in Fiqh.

Qur’an is derived from the word Qara’a, which means to read or recite. Therefore, Qur’an linguistically means the book that has been read or recited.

As a term, Qur’an is Allah’s (swt) miraculous speech revealed unto Muhammad (saw) in Arabic and transferred to us by the Tawatur method. The recitation of Qur’an is considered as an ‘‘Ibadah (act of worship). By Allah’s (swt) speech it is meant that the Qur’an is the exact words of Allah (swt). It was revealed to Muhammad (saw) as it exists today. By ‘miraculous’ it is meant that no one can produce something similar to it.[1]

The term “in Arabic” refers to the language of the Qur’an, not to its scope or ideas because Qur’an addresses all Arabs and non-Arabs. The rules of Qur’an are universal and not restricted to one ethnic group or a specific area or time. All the Qu’ran is completely in Arabic and contains no foreign tongue. Imam Shafi says in his Risala, “The Qu’ran indicates that there is no portion in the Book of Allah that is not in the Arab tongue. He who expressed such an opinion [concerning foreign words in the Qu’ran] may have found some [men] who accepted it by [sheer] submission (taqlid) to his authority, leaving the matter of proof up to him and to those who have disagreed with him. However, by mere submission they have neglected [their duty]; Allah forgive them and us. But, perhaps, he who expressed the opinion that there are in the Quran [words] which are not of the Arab tongue-and his opinion was accepted by others meant that there are certain particular [words] which are not understood by some Arabs.”

Furthermore, the ignorance of the Arabs about some words of the Quran is not evidence that the Quran contains foreign words. Rather there is a possibility that some non-Arabs learned some Arabic words and then it became wide spread in their language. Because of this some of their words may correspond to some words mentioned in the Quran, or maybe some foreign words entered in the Arabic language. And hence it became part of the Arabic language itself and therefore cannot be considered a foreign word anymore as the Arabs used it as part of their language, even if its root is foreign.

Many verses point that the Quran is completely in Arabic such as:

إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآَنًا عَرَبِيًّا

“Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an.” (TMQ Yusuf: 2)

كِتَابٌ فُصِّلَتْ آَيَاتُهُ قُرْآَنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

“A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail - a Qur’an in Arabic for people who know.” (TMQ Fussilat: 3)

قُرْآَنًا عَرَبِيًّا غَيْرَ ذِي عِوَجٍ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

“An Arabic Quran with no crookedness in it, perchance they will be God fearing.” (TMQ Al-Zumar: 29)

وَكَذَلِكَ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ حُكْمًا عَرَبِيًّا

“Thus We sent it down as an Arabic Law.” (TMQ Ar-Ra’ad: 37)

وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ قُرْآَنًا عَرَبِيًّا

“And thus We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad [saw]) a Qur’an (in Arabic).” (TMQ Shurah: 7)

إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآَنًا عَرَبِيًّا

“We verily, have made it a Qur’an in Arabic.” (TMQ Zukhruf: 3)

By Tawatur method it is meant that a group or people for whom it is impossible to lie or conspire to fabricate a lie conveyed it to us. The Qur’an was transferred to us through an entire generation, not just by a group, to its successors, until it reached the present generation, without any interval in this transference.

Reciting Qur’an in Arabic by itself, without even comprehending its meaning is considered an ‘‘Ibadah. In this regard, Qur’an is different from Hadith, which cannot be recited as an act of ‘‘Ibadah. However, thinking about the meanings of both the Qur’an and Hadith is considered an ‘‘Ibadah.

Revelation of the Qur’an

The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saw) in parts for a period of twenty-three years. It used to be revealed in various ways. Sometimes the revelation would come in quick succession and other times it would take a long time. The Qur’an was revealed gradually and not all at once due to wisdom (Hikma) Allah (swt) has mentioned in the noble Qur’an itself:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآَنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً كَذَلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا

“And those who disbelieve say: ‘Why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at once?’ Thus (it is send down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby.” (TMQ Al-Furqan: 32)

وَقُرْآَنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَى مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنْزِيلًا

“And (it is) a Qur’an which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to men at intervals. And We have revealed it by stages.” (TMQ Al-Isra’: 106)

So, in order to strengthen the heart of the Messenger (saw), and so as to recite it to the people slowly without haste, and also in order to reveal it according to incidents and answers to questions, the Qur’an was revealed gradually and in parts for twenty-three years.

As we mentioned earlier the scholars have defined fiqh as, ‘the knowledge of the practical Shar’iah rules that are derived from their detailed evidences (Al-Ad’Illah al-Tafsiliyy ah)’.

Knowledge of the Shari’ah rules began the day when they were revealed by Allah (swt). This took place mostly after the migration (Hijra) of the Prophet (saw) from Makkah to Madina. The Messenger of Allah (saw) stayed in Makkah for thirteen years, and then he resided in Madina for about ten years. The Quran was revealed in Makkah and continued throughout the Prophet’s stay in Madina. Many of the verses of Ahkam (rules) were revealed in Madina. In this period verses from the Qur’an were revealed and the Messenger (saw) used to convey the Ahkam relating to answering practical questions and providing solutions to problems that arose.

The portion that was revealed in Makkah is approximately about two thirds of the Qur’an and they are known as the Makkan verses (Makki). In their totality they barely deal with few Ahkam. Rather they are confined to explaining the fundamentals of the Deen and calling people to them, such as the belief in Allah and His Messenger, the Day of Judgement, the command to perform Salah, characterisation with moral attributes such as honesty, truthfulness, and forbidding evil actions such as fornication, murder, burying girls alive, deficiency in the measure and scales etc. The second portion that was revealed in Madina is close to a third of the Qur’an and they are known as the Madinan verses (Madani). These are verses of Mu'amalat (transactions) such as selling, renting and usury. They also include the Hudud, such as the Hadd of Zina (fornication) and stealing. They include the Jinayat (capital punishments) such as killing the one who killed someone intentionally or punishment of highway robbers and rules from the Bayyinat (testimonial evidences) such as the testimony of Zina and the rest of the testimonies. The remaining rules concerning the worships ('‘Ibadat) such as fasting, Zakah, Hajj and Jihad were also revealed during this period.

From this it becomes clear that even though rules of prayer were revealed in Makkah they do not form the body of rules but knowledge of a type of rule. As for what was revealed in Madina, they consisted of all the Ahkam. That is why knowledge of such rules is considered Fiqh. Therefore, it is more accurate for us to say that Fiqh began in Madina. And since Fiqh constitutes practical rules, they have been revealed to treat incidents that have taken place. The verses of Ahkam, more often than not were in connection to events that took place. So the disputants would refer judgment to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and he would judge between them according to the rules Allah (swt) has revealed to him, or on occasions of problems requiring solutions, so an Ayah or Ayat stating the Hukm would be revealed. In this manner the Qur’an was revealed gradually. The legislative aspect used to be quite evident in the revelation of the Qur’an. The Ayat did not treat assumptions that may or may not happen. Rather, they treated issues that actually took place and real problems that people face. The Qur’an continued to be revealed until the year in which the Messenger of Allah (saw) passed away. So, Allah (swt) perfected and completed the Deen and He revealed to him the last Ayah which is His (swt) saying in Surah al-Baqarah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَذَرُوا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

“O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah and give up what remains (due to you) from riba (usury).” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 278)

Arrangement of the Qur’an

During the time of the Prophet (saw), the text of the Qur’an was preserved in memory and also inscripted on flat stones, wood, and bones.

The Qur’an used to be revealed to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and he used to instruct people to memorise it and write it down on pieces of leather, paper, scapula, palm risp, bones, leaf stalks of date palm etc. When the Ayat were revealed he used to give the order that they be placed in their proper place in the Surah (chapter). Thus, he used to say put this Ayah in such and such Surah after such and such Ayah. So they used to put them in their proper place in the Surah. It has been narrated by Uthman (ra) that he said, “The Ayat used to be revealed to the Prophet (saw) and so he used to say:

«كان النبي r تنـزل عليه الآيات فيقول ضعوها في السورة التي يذكر فيها كذا»
“Put these Ayat in the Surah which mentions such and such thing.” (Ibn Majah & Abu Dawud)

It was done in this manner until the whole Qur’an was revealed and Allah (swt) took his (saw) soul after the revelation of the Qur’an was complete. That is why the arrangement of the verses of every Surah in the form as it is in now in the present script (Mushaf) was determined by the revelation (Tawqeefan) from the Prophet (saw) transmitted to him (saw) by Jibreel from Allah (swt). According to this arrangement the Ummah transmitted the Qur’an from the Prophet (saw) and there is no dispute about this. The order of the verses within the chapters (Surahs) was in the same form as we see today.

As for the arrangement of some of the chapters (Surahs) they were put together according to the Ijtihad of Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them).

Imam Ahmad and the Sunan compilers have reported a hadith by Ibn 'Abbas which has been declared sound by Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim, they narrated that Ibn Abbas (ra) asked Uthman (ra) as to why he put Surah Al-Bara’ah (At-Tawba) after Surah Al-Anfal when it is from the Mathani (Surahs with less than 100 Ayahs) and Al-Bara'ah is from the Mi'un (consisting of about 100 Ayahs). Ibn Abbas said, “You have put them together them and you did not write between the lineبِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ 'Bism’illah ar-rahman ar-rahim” and you have placed them among the seven long (Tiwal) Surahs. So Uthman said, “Often a Surah would be revealed to the Messenger of Allah (saw) that would have a number of verses. When something was revealed to him – i.e. verses from it - he used to call someone from among those who used to write for him and say: ‘Place these Ayah in the Surah, in which this and this is mentioned. Surah Al-Anfal was one of the first to be revealed in Madinah and Al-Bara'ah was at the end of the Qur’an. Their narrative used to resemble each other so I thought Anfal was part of Bara’ah.” The Messenger of Allah (saw) died and he did not clarify to us if Al-Anfal was part of Al-Bara'ah. Thus, it has been narrated by Sa'eed b. Jubayr from Ibn 'Abbas who said that:

«كان النبي r لا يعلم ختم السورة حتى ينـزل بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم»
“The Prophet (saw) did not know the ending of a Surah until 'Bism’illah ar-rahman a-rahim' was revealed.” In another narration:

«فإذا نزلت بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم علموا أن السورة قد انقضت»
“When Bism’illah ar-rahman ar-rahim was revealed they knew that the Surah had come to an end.”

This indicates that the verse order in every Surah was determined by revelation (Tawqifiyyan). And since the Prophet (saw) did not elucidate the issue of al-Bara'ah, Uthman (ra) added it to al-Anfal according to his own Ijtihad. The author of al-Iqna' reported that the Bism’illah (abbr. for Bism’illah ar-rahman ar-rahim) for al-Bara'ah is present in the Mushaf (collection) of Ibn Mas'ud. It has been reported that the Sahabah used to keep copies whose arrangement of Surahs was different though there were no differences in the verse arrangement. So the Mushaf of Ibn Mas'ud was compiled in a manner different to the Mushaf of Uthman in terms of the arrangement of the Surahs. It began with Al-Fatiha, then Al-Baqarah, Al-Nisa and Aal-Imran. Contrary to the Uthmani Mushaf whose arrangement is al-Fatiha, al-Baqarah, Aal-Imran and then Al-Nisa. None of them were compiled according to the order of revelation. It is said that the Mushaf of 'Ali was according to the order of revelation, it began with Iqra', then Al-Muddaththir, Nun wal qalam, Al-Muzzammil, Tabbat, Al-Takweer, Sabbih, it went on in this manner to the end of the Makkan Surahs and then to the Madinan Surahs.

All of this indicates that the Surah arrangement in relation to some Surahs were arranged according to the Ijtihad of the Sahabah. That is why maintaining the arrangement of Surahs in recitation in not obligatory whether in reciting the Qur’an (Tilaawah), in the prayer (Salah), in a lesson or in teaching, as evidenced by the fact that the Prophet (saw) read Surah al-Nisa before Aal-Imran in his night prayer. As for what has been reported about the prohibition of reciting the Qur’an in reverse order, what was intended was that an Ayah in one Surah should not be read in reverse, not the recitation of Surahs in reverse order.

The angel Jibreel used to read once every year all of what had been revealed to the Messenger (saw) from the Qur’an. And in the year in which the Messenger of Allah (saw) died Jibreel recited the whole of the Qur’an twice to the Messenger (saw). It has been narrated by Aisha (ra.) on the authority of Fatimah (ra) that:

«أسَرَّ إليّ النبي r أن جبريل يعارضني بالقرآن كل سنة وأنه عارضني العام مرتين ولا أراه حضر إلا أجلي»
“The Prophet (saw) confided in me that: ‘Jibreel used to read the Qur’an to me every year.’” (Bukhari)

It has also been narrated by Abu Hurayra that he said:

«كان يعرض على النبي r القرآن كل عام مرة فعرض عليه مرتين في العام الذي قبض فيه»
“Jibreel used to present the Qur’an to the Prophet once a year, but he presented it twice to him in the year he died.” (Bukhari)

Jibreel's presentation of the Qur’an to the Messenger (saw) every year means that he presented the arrangement of its verses in relation to other verses and the arrangement of its verses in their respective chapters because presenting the book means to present its sentences, words and arrangement.

There are also other Ahadith which explicitly mention the arrangment of verses. They state the verses in relation to each other and the arrangment of verses in their respective chapters,

«ضعوا هذه الآيات في سورة كذا بعد آية كذا»
“Place these verses in such and such Surah after such and such Ayah.”

«ضعوا هؤلاء الآيات في السورة التي ذكر فيها كذا وكذا»
“Place those verses in that Surah that mentioned such and such thing.”

A Surah would end and another Surah would begin as decreed by Allah through Jibreel. All of this definitely indicates that the arrangement of verses in their chapters and the form of the Surahs in terms of the number of verses and their places, all of that is determined (Tawqifi) by Allah (swt). The Ummah transmitted it in this form from the Prophet (saw) and that is proven by Tawaatur (recurrent reports).

It was narrated by the mother of the believers, Aisha (ra), that a person from Iraq came to her and asked, “What type of shroud is the best?” Aisha said, “May Allah be merciful to you! What does it matter?” He said, “O mother of the believers! Show me (the copy of) your Qur’an.” She said, “Why?" He said, “In order to compile and arrange the Qur’an according to it, for people recite it with its Surahs not in proper order.” 'Aisha said:

(أي الكفن خير؟ قالت: ويحك وما يضرك؟ قال: يا أم المؤمنين، أريني مصحفك. قالت: لِمَ؟ قال: لعليّ أؤلف القرآن عليه فإنه يقرأ غير مؤلف. قالت: وما يضرك أيه قرأت قبل؟ إنما نزل أول ما نزل منه سورة من المفصل فيها ذكر الجنة والنار، حتى إذا ثاب الناس إلى الإسلام نزل الحلال والحرام، ولو نزل أول شيء لا تشربوا الخمر، لقالوا: لا لا ندع الخمر أبداً. ولو نزل لا تزنوا، لقالوا: لا ندع الزنا أبداً، لقد نزل بمكة على محمد r وإني لجارية ألعب: ]بَلِ السَّاعَةُ مَوْعِدُهُمْ وَالسَّاعَةُ أَدْهَى وَأَمَرُّ (46)[. وما نزلت سورة البقرة والنساء إلا وأنا عنده. قال: فأخرجت له المصحف فأملت عليه آي السور)
“What does it matter which part of it you read first? Know that the first thing that was revealed thereof was a Surah from Al-Mufassal, and in it was mentioned Paradise and the Fire. When the people embraced Islam, the verses regarding legal and illegal things were revealed. If the first thing to be revealed was: 'Do not drink alcoholic drinks.' people would have said, 'We will never leave alcoholic drinks,' and if there had been revealed, 'Do not commit illegal sexual intercourse, 'they would have said, 'We will never give up illegal sexual intercourse.' While I was a young girl of playing age, the following verse was revealed in Makkah to Muhammad:

بَلِ السَّاعَةُ مَوْعِدُهُمْ وَالسَّاعَةُ أَدْهَى وَأَمَرُّ

“Nay! But the Hour is their appointed time (for their full recompense), and the Hour will be more grievous and more bitter.” (TMQ Al-Qamar: 46)

Surah Al-Baqara and Surah al-Nisa were revealed while I was with him.” Then 'Aisha took out the copy of the Qur’an for the man and dictated to him the verses of the Surahs. This hadith shows that the chapters of the Qur’an had not been put together in order. Together with what was mentioned earlier about the different arrangements in the Mushaf’s of various Sahabah it becomes clear that the arrangement of the Surahs was according to the Ijtihad of the Sahabah.

Compilation of the Qur’an

It has been proven by decisive and definite evidence that when the Prophet (saw) died the whole Qur’an had been written and all of it was preserved in the hearts of the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them). An verse or verses would be revealed and so he (saw) used to order that they be written down before him at once. He (saw) did not prevent the Muslims from writing the Qur’an other than what he used to dictate to the scribes who wrote down the revelation.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

«لا تكتبوا عني ومن كتب عني غير القرآن فليمحه»
“Do not write down anything from me, whosoever writes anything I have said other than the Qur’an let him erase it.” (Muslim)

What the scribes used to write of the revelation was collected on sheets (Suhuf). He (swt) said:

رَسُولٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ يَتْلُو صُحُفًا مُطَهَّرَةً

“A Messenger from Allah, reciting purified pages (Suhuf) (of the Qur’an).” (TMQ Al-Bayyinah: 2)

كَلَّا إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ (11) فَمَنْ شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ (12) فِي صُحُفٍ مُكَرَّمَةٍ (13) مَرْفُوعَةٍ مُطَهَّرَةٍ (14) بِأَيْدِي سَفَرَةٍ (15) كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ (16)

“Nay, indeed it (verses of the Qur’an) are an admonition. So whoever wills, let him pay attention to it. (It is) in Records held (greatly) in honour. Exalted (in dignity), purified. In the hands of scribes, Honourable and obedient.” (TMQ Al-Abbasa: 11-16)

He (saw) left written everything that was between the two covers of the Mushaf which had been written down in front of him. 'Abd al-'Aziz b Rufayya' narrated:

«دخلت أنا وشداد بن معقل على ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما فقال له شداد بن معقل: أَترك النبي r من شيء؟ قال: ما ترك إلا ما بين الدفتين. قال: ودخلت على محمد بن الحنفية فسألنا فقال ما ترك إلا ما بين الدفتين»
“Shaddad bin Ma'qil and I entered upon Ibn 'Abbas. Shaddad bin Ma'qil asked him, “Did the Prophet leave anything (besides the Qur’an)?” He replied: “He did not leave anything except what is Between the two bindings (of the Qur’an).” Then we visited Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyya and asked him (the same question). He replied, “The Prophet did not leave except what is between the bindings (of the Qur’an).”

An Ijma' (consensus) has taken place on the fact that all of the verses of the Qur’an in their respective chapters (Surahs) had been written down directly in front of the Messenger (saw) when the revelation was revealed to him, and that they were written on sheets (Suhuf). The greatest of Messengers died content about the Qur’an, his greatest miracle which established the proof for the Arabs and the world. He did not fear for the verses of the Qur’an that they would be lost because Allah (swt) has preserved the Qur’an with an explicit text:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

“Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Zikr (the Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” (TMQ Al-Hajj: 9)

Due to the preservation of the Qur’an in its written form and in the memory of the Sahabah after the death of the Messenger the Sahabah initially did not feel the need to compile the Qur’an in one book. This was the case until many of the Huffaz (memorisers of the Qur’an) had been killed in the Riddah (apostasy) wars. Due to this Umar (ra) feared for the loss of certain sheets and death of the Qurra' (Those who had committed the whole of the Qur’an to memory), thereby causing some verse to be lost. So he thought about bringing the written sheets together (in one compilation). He presented his idea to Abu Bakr (ra) who eventually accepted this and ordered for the compilation of the Qur’an.

It has been narrated by 'Ubayd b. al-Sibaq that Zayd b al-Thabit Al-Ansari said: “Abu Bakr sent for me after the (heavy) casualties among the warriors (of the battle) of Yamama (where a great number of Qurra' were killed). Umar was present with Abu Bakr who said, “Umar has come to me and said, ‘The people have suffered heavy casualties on the day of (the battle of) Yamama, and I am afraid that there will be more casualties among the Qurra' at other battle-fields, whereby a large part of the Qur’an may be lost, unless you collect it. And I am of the opinion that you should collect the Qur’an.’” Abu Bakr (ra) added, “I said to Umar, 'How can I do something which Allah's Apostle has not done?' Umar said (to me), 'By Allah, it is (really) a good thing.' So Umar kept on pressing, trying to persuade me to accept his proposal, till Allah opened my bosom for it and I had the same opinion as Umar.” Zayd b al-Thabit added: “Umar was sitting with him (Abu Bakr) and was not speaking to me. “You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you (of telling lies or of forgetfulness) and you used to write the revelation (Wahy) for Allah's Apostle. Therefore, look for the Qur’an and collect it (in one manuscript).” “By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains (from its place) it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Qur’an. I said to both of them, ‘How dare you do a thing which the Prophet has not done?' Abu Bakr said, 'By Allah, it is (really) a good thing. So I kept on arguing with him about it till Allah opened my bosom for that which He had opened the bosoms of Abu Bakr and Umar. So I started locating Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leaf-stalks of date palms and from the memories of men (who knew it by heart). I found with Khuzaima two Verses of Surah Al-Tawbah which I had not found with anybody else (in terms of the written form), (and they were):

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ

“Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty.” (TMQ At-Tawbah: 128) until the end of Bara’ah.”

The manuscript of the Quran which was collected, remained with Abu Bakr (ra) until Allah (swt) took him, and then with Umar (ra) during his lifetime, and finally it remained with Hafsa (ra), Umar's daughter. Zayd's (ra) compilation of the Qur’an did not consist of what he wrote down from the Huffaz. Rather his compilation brought together what he had written himself in front of the Messenger of Allah (saw). He did not place one sheet with another sheet in order to compile them unless two witnesses testified for that sheet that it was written in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (saw). Furthermore, he did not accept a sheet unless it met two conditions. Firstly, that it was present in written form with one of the Sahabah. Secondly, that it has been memorised by one of the Sahabah. When the written and memorised forms concurred with the sheet that was intended to be compiled, he took it, otherwise he did not accept it. That is why he refrained from taking the end of Surah al-Bara'ah until he found it in written form with Abu Khuzayma even though Zayd could himself recall and remember it. It has been narrated via Yahya b 'Abd al-Rahman b. Hatib that he said: “Umar stood up and said; whosoever has received anything of the Qur’an from the Messenger of Allah (saw), let him bring it forth. They used to write that on sheets, tablets and palm risp.” Ibn Hatib said: “He (Zayd) did not accept anything from anyone until two witnesses had given testimony. This shows that Zayd was not satisfied by merely finding something in a written form until the one who received it testified that he had heard it from the Messenger of Allah (swt), despite the fact that Zayd already had it memorised. He did this due to his extreme caution.”

Thus, the process of compilation was nothing other than the bringing together of sheets that had already been written in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (saw) into one book between two covers. The Qur’an used to be written down on sheets but they were separately kept. So Abu Bakr (ra) assembled them in one place. That is why Abu Bakr's order to compile the Qur’an was not an order to write it down in one Mushaf, rather it was an order to bring the sheets that had been written in the Messenger's presence together in one place. This was an order to make certain that they are in the same original form by supporting them with the testimonies of two witnesses that they had been written in front of the Messenger of Allah (saw), also that they were in the possession of the Sahabah in written form and they had memorised them. These sheets remained preserved in the possession of Abu Bakr (ra) during his life and then with Umar (ra) during his lifetime and them with Hafsa (ra) the daughter of Umar, the mother of the believers in accordance with Umar's bequest. From this it becomes clear that Abu Bakr's compilation of the Qur’an constituted only the bringing together of sheets that had been written in the presence of Allah's Messenger and it was not an actual compilation of the Qur’an.

This was regarding the compilation of Abu Bakr. As for the compilation of Uthman (ra), in the third or some say the second year of his Khilafah, in the year 25 AH, Hudhayfa b. al-Yaman (ra) approached Uthman in Madinah at the time when the people of al-Sham and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Armenia and Azerbijan. Hudhayfa was afraid of the people of al-Sham and Iraq’s differences in the recitation of the Qur’an. He saw that the people of al-Sham reading according to the recitation of Ubay b. Ka'b (ra), and they were coming with readings the people of Iraq had not heard of. Also he saw the people of Iraq reading according to the recitation of Abdullah b. Mas'ud (ra) and so they had certain readings that the people of al-Sham had not heard of. Thus, they began to charge each other of Kufr (disbelief). They both disagreed about a verse in Surah al-Baqarah. One read:

وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ

“And perform properly the hajj and 'Umra for Allah (wa atimmul hajja wal 'umrata lillah).” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 196)

The other read: “And perform properly the hajj and 'Umra to the House (of Allah) (wa atimmul hajja wal 'umrata lil bayt).” So Hudhayfah became angry and his eyes went red with rage. It has been narrated about Hudhayfah that he said: “The people of Kufah adhere to the recitation of Ibn Mas'ud and the people of Basra adhere to the recitation of Abu Musa. By Allah! If I go to the Leader of the Believers I will order him to make it a single recitation.” So he travelled to Uthman (ra). It has been reported by Ibn Shihab that Anas b. Malik (ra) narrated: Hudhaifa bin al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Armenia and Azerbijan. Hudhayfa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zayd bin Thabit, 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubair, Said b. al-'As and 'Abd al-Rahman b. Harith b. Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zayd b. al-Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. The number of copies made was seven. The seven Mushafs were sent to Makkah, al-Sham, Yemen, Bahrayn, Basra, Kufa, and one copy was kept in Madina.

Therefore, Uthman's action was not the compilation of the Qur’an. Rather it constituted in only the copying and transcription of the same thing transcribed from the Messenger of Allah (saw) as it was. He he did not do anything other than make seven copies from the preserved copy in the possession of Hafsa, mother of the believers and unite the people on this single script and forbade any other script or dictation other than it. The matter became settled on this copy as a script and dictation. It is the same script and dictation in which the sheets were written in the presence of Allah's Messenger (saw) when the revelation was sent down, and it is the same copy which Abu Bakr (ra) had compiled. Then the Muslims began to make copies from this copy and not any other copy. Nothing remained except the Mushaf of Uthman in its script. When printers came about the Mushaf was printed from this copy with the same script and dictation.

The difference between the compilation of Abu Bakr and that of Uthman is that the compilation of Abu Bakr took place due to the fear that something would be lost from the Qur’an if any of its memorisers died out.

As even though it was written on sheets it had not been collected in one place in a single book, thus it was compiled. The compilation of Uthman took place because differences increased regarding aspects of the Qur’an when they read it due to the expansion of the language. This led some to accuse others of making an error. It was feared that the matter would escalate and become seriously worse. So the original compilation was copied seven times and sent to the different Muslim provinces. The Mushaf that we now have before us is the same Mushaf revealed to the Messenger of Allah (saw). It is the same mushaf that Abu Bakr brought together when the sheets were compiled in one place. And it is the same one from which Uthman transcribed the seven copies and ordered for the rest to be burned. It is the same noble Qur’an in its verse arrangement in relation to each other and their arrangment in their respectives Surahs, script and dictation.

As for the original copy dictated by the Messenger of Allah (saw) from the revelation, those sheets were compiled together and then copied. It remained protected in the possession of Hafsa, mother of the believers until Marwan became the Wali (governor) of Madinah and he tore it up. Since it was not considered binding because copies of the Mushaf had spread everywhere. Ibn Shihab narrated that Salim b. 'Abdullah b. Umar informed him: That Marwan used to send for Hafsa – i.e. when he was the Amir of Madinah via Mu'awiyya - asking her for the sheets from which the Qur’an was written. She refused to give him it. Salim said: When Hafsa died, while we were returning from her burial Marwan communicated his firm decision to 'Abdullah b. Umar that he send him that mushaf. So 'Abdullah b. Umar sent it to him. Marwan ordered it to be destroyed. He said: “I did this because I feared that if it remained with people for a long time then people will have doubts regarding these sheets.”

Open & Hidden meaning?

The noble Qur’an does not have a Zaahir (outer) or Baatin (secret) meaning as some claim. It is an Arabic speech, which has come in the tongue of the Arabs. He (swt) said:

إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآَنًا عَرَبِيًّا

“We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an.” (TMQ Yusuf: 2)

بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِيٍّ مُبِينٍ

“In the plain Arabic language.” (TMQ Ash-Shu’ara: 195)

It is understood the same way as any Arabic speech is understood. What Allah (swt) intends by the Qur’an is what has been expressed by the noble Qur’an itself. Allah (swt) did not intend anything other than what was expressed. His intention is only understood from understanding of the syntax. The Arabic meaning is what Allah (swt) intended in His speech, which He (swt) expressed in the Arabic words and Arabic style. Accordingly, the import of the speech is what the speech indicated, through the linguistic proofs and the Shar’i indication mentioned in the Kitaab or Sunnah. This has no ‘outer’ or ‘inner’; it rather has a meaning indicated by the Arabic speech, through the understanding of the Arabic words and styles.
3.6 The Muhkamaat (clearcut) and Mutashaabihaat (ambiguous)

The Qur’an is composed of Ayat which are Muhkamaat (clearcut) and Ayat which are Mutashaabihaat (ambiguous), due to the saying of Allah (swt):

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آَيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ

“In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book; and others not entirely clear.” (TMQ Al-Imran: 7)

As for the Muhkam (clear) part, it is the text whose meaning is apparent and clear such that it precludes the possibility of having any other meaning, i.e. its indication is explicit and not open to interpretation. Such as the saying of Allah (swt):

وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا

“Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury).” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 275)

وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُوا أَيْدِيَهُمَا

“Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief, male or female.” (TMQ Al-Ma’ida: 38)

وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“And there is (a saving of) life for you in Al-Qisas (the Law of Equality in punishment), O men of understanding.” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 179)

As for the Mutashaabih (ambiguous) part, it is the opposite of Muhkam. It is the text which is open to more than one meaning. It is open to a number of conflicting meanings. For example:

وَالْمُطَلَّقَاتُ يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنْفُسِهِنَّ ثَلَاثَةَ قُرُوءٍ

“And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods.” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 228)

أَوْ يَعْفُوَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ عُقْدَةُ النِّكَاحِ

“Unless they (the women) agree to forego it, or he (the husband), in whose hands is the marriage tie.” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 237)

أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ

“Or you have been in contact with women.” (TMQ Al-Ma’ida: 6)

وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ

“And the Face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honour will abide forever.” (TMQ Ar-Rahman: 27)

فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا

“For verily, you are under Our Eyes.” (TMQ At-Tur: 48)

He (swt) also said:

مِمَّا عَمِلَتْ أَيْدِينَا

“From Our Handiwork” (TMQ Ya-Seen: 71)

And other such examples, whose wording have a number of conflicting meanings cannot be reconciled. Rather they need a linguistic Qareenah (indication), which would specify one of the meanings. It might also have an apparent meaning that implies anthropomorphisation of Allah (swt), a matter that is not possible, either rationally or by Shar’a, for the word to indicate. So, it needs a linguistic or Shar’i Qareenah (indication) to determine the intended meaning.

Asbaab an-nuzool (Circumstances of revelation)

Some jurists have coined the term ‘Asbab an-nuzool’ for incidents that the revelation came to clarify.

The question arises, do these Ahkam remain specific to these incidents and not go beyond them or do we apply these Ahkam on every similar incident?

The answer is, these Ahkam are applied on every similar incident and this is established in two ways:

1. By examining all the Ayat which were revealed clarifying the rules of these incidents we find that they came with expressions that were general and not specific and hence they must be taken in their generality.

2. The Messenger (saw) took these Ahkam in their generality and applied them on every similar incident.

So the Ayah of stealing was revealed regarding the theft of Majn or Rida of Safwaan, the Ayah of Zihar with regards to Salamah bint Sakhar or Khawlah bint Tha’labah the wife of Aws b. Saamit, the Ayah of imprecation (Li’aan) regarding Hilal b. Umayyah. Even though they were all revealed regarding specific incidences the Messenger (saw) and the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) took them as general due to their general form and they applied them on every similar incident. This is proven by the Sunnah and Ijma of the Sahabah.

It was from these evidences that the follwing Shari’ah principle was deduced: ‘The consideration is for the generality of the expression and not for the specificity of the cause’ (Al-‘ibra bi ‘umoom al-lafz laa bi khususiyyat as-sabab).

Abrogation (Naskh)

Linguistically abrogation means canceling (Izaalah) or changing the thing and transforming it from one state to another while it still exists in essence.

Technically, it is the address (Khitaab) of the legislator which prevents the continuation of a Hukm Shar’i of a previous address (Khitaab).

As for the term abrogator (Naasikh) it may refer to Allah (swt):

مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آَيَةٍ

“Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate.” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 106)

Or it may refer to an Ayah: Thus, we say the ‘Ayah of the sword’ (At-Tawbah: 29) abrogated so and so Ayah.

As for the abrogated (Mansookh) it is the Hukm which has been lifted, like the Hukm which obliges paying the Sadaqah in front of the Messenger (saw) in the confidence of the Messenger (saw), the Hukm of bequests for hiers, the Hukm of waiting for complete year in respect to the widow. In abrogation the Hukm abrogated must be Shar’i and the evidence which indicates the lifting of the Hukm must be Shar’i and come after the address whose Hukm has been abrogated.

Allah (swt) has informed us of the occurrence of abrogation and the Ahkam which have been abrogated show us its true occurrence.

مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آَيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 106)

وَإِذَا بَدَّلْنَا آَيَةً مَكَانَ آَيَةٍ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يُنَزِّلُ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُفْتَرٍ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“And when We change a Verse in place of another, and Allah knows the best of what He sends down, they (the disbelievers) say: you (O Muhammad [saw]) are but a liar. Nay but most of them know not.” (TMQ An-Nahl: 101)

Sheikh Ata ibn Khalil Abu al-Rashta in his excellent book ‘Teyseer al wusool Ila al-Usul’ (To make understanding Usul easy) lists the following types of abrogation:

a) Abrogation of the Hukm of the speech (Khitaab) without an alternative Hukm:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَةً ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَجِدُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (12) أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَنْ تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَاتٍ فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَتَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآَتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

“O you who believe! When you (want to) consult the Messenger (Muhammad [saw]) in private, spend something in charity before your private consultation. That will be better and purer for you. But if you find not the means for it, then verily, Allah is oft forgiving, Most Merciful. Are you afraid of spending in charity before your private consultation with him? If then you do it not, and Allah has forgiven you, then (at least) perform Salat and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (TMQ Al-Mujadallah: 12-13)

This is an abrogation of giving charity before consulting the Messenger (saw) in private.

b) Abrogation with a lighter alternative:

The ratio of steadfastness goes from 1-10 to 2-10:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى الْقِتَالِ إِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ عِشْرُونَ صَابِرُونَ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ مِئَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا أَلْفًا مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ

“O Prophet (Muhammad [saw])! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.” (TMQ Al-Anfal: 65)

الْآَنَ خَفَّفَ اللَّهُ عَنْكُمْ وَعَلِمَ أَنَّ فِيكُمْ ضَعْفًا فَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ مِئَةٌ صَابِرَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أَلْفٌ يَغْلِبُوا أَلْفَيْنِ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

“Now Allah has lightened your (task), for He knows that there is weakness in you. So if there are of you a hundred steadfast persons, they shall overcome two hundred…” (TMQ Al-Anfal: 66)

c) Abrogation with a similar alternative Hukm:

The abrogation of facing Al-Quds to facing the Ka’bah in Makkah:

قَدْ نَرَى تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِي السَّمَاءِ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنْتُمْ فَوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ لَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ

“Verily! We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad [saw]) face towards the heaven. Surely We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of al-masjid al-haraam. And whosesoever you people are, turn your faces in prayer in that direction.” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 144)

d) Abrogation with a more difficult alternative Hukm.

In the beginning of Islam it was obligatory to confine women who have committed fornication to houses and punish them as a Hadd for committing zina. This has been abrogated by the Hukm which is well known:

وَاللَّاتِي يَأْتِينَ الْفَاحِشَةَ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمْ فَاسْتَشْهِدُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ أَرْبَعَةً مِنْكُمْ فَإِنْ شَهِدُوا فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ فِي الْبُيُوتِ حَتَّى يَتَوَفَّاهُنَّ الْمَوْتُ أَوْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلًا (15) وَاللَّذَانِ يَأْتِيَانِهَا مِنْكُمْ فَآَذُوهُمَا فَإِنْ تَابَا وَأَصْلَحَا فَأَعْرِضُوا عَنْهُمَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ تَوَّابًا رَحِيمًا (16)

“And if they testify, confine them (ie women who have committed fornication) to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some (other) way. And the two persons among you who commit illegal sexual intercourse, punish them both. And if they repent (promise Allah that they will never repeat, ie commit illegal sexual intercourse and other similar sins) and do righteous good deeds, leave them alone.” (TMQ An-Nisa:15 -16)

Another example is the abrogation of the fast of ‘‘Ashura for the fast of Ramadhan.

‘Aisha (ra) narrated that; in the time of Jahiliyyah the Quraysh used to fast the day of ‘‘Ashura. And the Messenger (saw) used to fast on this day as well. When the Messenger (saw) went to Madinah he fasted on this day and instructed the people to fast as well. When Ramadhan became obligatory, he (saw) said:

«من شاء صامه ومن شاء تركه»
“Whosoever wishes to fast on this day let him fast and whosoever wants let him leave it.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

It is important to know what is abrogated, is the Hukm and not the recitation, this is what has been proven. Thus we can see the abrogation of the Hukm of the one year ‘Iddah period and the abrogation of bequests by parents. As for the two Ayat which have been abrogated, they are still recited and this is the case for the rest of the abrogated Ayat. As for the abrogation of recitation, such a case is not to be found. The absence of this type of abrogation is an evidence to say it is not allowed.

As for the Ahadith mentioned regarding this subject they are all Ahad (singular) narrations which cannot be relied upon in matters of ‘Aqeedah.

e) How abrogation takes place

First: Abrogation of the Qur’an with Qur’an:

The abrogation of giving Sadaqah before private consultation with the Messenger (saw).

Similarly, the one year’s ‘Iddah has been changed to 4 months and 10 days.

Allah (swt) said:

وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجًا وَصِيَّةً لِأَزْوَاجِهِمْ مَتَاعًا إِلَى الْحَوْلِ غَيْرَ إِخْرَاجٍ فَإِنْ خَرَجْنَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي مَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنْفُسِهِنَّ مِنْ مَعْرُوفٍ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

“And those of you who die and leave behind wives should bequeath for their wives a year's maintenance and residence without turning them out, but if they (wives) leave, there is no sin on you for that which they do of themselves, provided it is honourable. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 240)

He (swt) said:

وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجًا يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنْفُسِهِنَّ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ وَعَشْرًا

“And those of you who die and leave wives behind them, they (the wives) shall wait (as regards their marriage) for four months and ten days…” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 234)

The same goes for the Ahkam mentioned previously.

Second: Abrogation of the Sunnah by Sunnah.

This is when one Mutawaatir abrogates another Mutaawatir, an Ahad (singular) narration is abrogated by Mutawaatir or an Ahad is abrogated by another Ahad narration. Like the Ahadith of the Prophet (saw):

«كُنْتُ قَدْ نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْ زِيَارَةِ الْقُبُورِ، أَلاَ فَزُورُوهَا»
“I used to forbid you from visiting the graves, now you should visit them.” (Muslim, Tirmidhï, Abu Dàwud & al-Nasa’i)

«إِذَا شَرِبَ فِي الرَّابِعَةِ فَاقْتُلُوهُ»
“If he drinks the fourth time (after being punished each time) then kill him.”[2]

«كنت نهيتكم عن ادخار لحوم الأضاحى لأجل الدافة فادخروها»
“I used to forbid you from storing away the sacrificial meat because of the large crowds. Now you may store it as you wish.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Third: Abrogation of Sunnah by the Qur’an:

The Hukm of facing Al-Quds was abrogated by the Qur’an:

وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ

“…so turn your face in the direction of al-Masjid al-haraam.” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 144)

Also, having sexual intercourse at night was Haram for the one who fasted during the day according to the Sunnah. This was abrogated by the following saying of Allah (swt):

فَالْآَنَ بَاشِرُوهُنّ

“So now have sexual relations with them…” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 187)

The fast of ‘Ashura was established by the Sunnah but abrogated by the Qur’an with the obligation to fast in Ramadhan.

Similarly, it was allowed to delay the prayer in the thick of battle according to the Sunnah. That is why the Messenger (saw) said on the day of Khandaq after delaying the Salah:

«حشا الله قبورهم نارا»
“May Allah fill their graves with Fire’ as they prevented him from praying the Salah.” (Muslim, Ahmad & Abu Ya’la)

This was abrogated by the Salat-ul-khawf (the Salah of fear) which was mentioned in the Qur’an:

وَإِذَا كُنْتَ فِيهِمْ فَأَقَمْتَ لَهُمُ الصَّلَاةَ

“When you (O Messenger Muhammad [saw]) are among them, and lead them in as-salah (the prayer)…” (TMQ An-Nisa: 102)

Fourth: It is not allowed to abrogate the Hukm established by Ijma.

This is because for a Hukm to be established by Ijma means a Hadith has not been narrated about it even though the Sahabah knew the Hadith but did not report it. They mentioned the Hukm without narrating the hadith. So for a Hukm to be established by Ijma means that there is no text for it in the Kitab and Sunnah, therefore, there is no possibility for a text to abrogate a Hukm established by Ijma.

Fifth: Abrogating the Hukm of Qiyas.

Abrogation does not occur in Hukm of Qiyas at all. This is because the recognised Qiyas is where its ‘Illah is Shar’i one i.e. it is the reason of the Hukm whether it is explicit (Sareeh), implicit, deduced or through analogy. Such an ‘Illah is taken from a Daleel, either from the Qur’an, Sunnah or Ijma as-Sahabah. The Qiyas remains as long as there is a daleel. It is not possible for abrogation to take place with regards to a Hukm deduced through analogy as long as the original matter exists. However, if the original matter is abrogated then there will be no Qiyas since the ‘Illah ceases to exist. However, in such a case it would not be abrogation of the Hukm of Qiyas, rather it would be abrogation of the Hukm established by the Kitab, Sunnah and Ijma.

Sixth: It is not allowed for the Kitab to be abrogated by the Mutawaatir Sunnah.

Although the Mutawaatir Hadiths are Qata’i (definite) they cannot abrogate the Qur’an for the following reasons:

1. Allah (swt) says:

وَإِذَا بَدَّلْنَا آَيَةً مَكَانَ آَيَةٍ

“And when We change a verse in place of another.” (TMQ An-Nahl: 101)

This means changing a Hukm established by an Ayah abrogates a Hukm established by another Ayah.

2. Allah (swt) says:

مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آَيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا

“Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it.” (TMQ Al-Baqarah: 106)

The personal pronoun (We bring) refers to Allah (swt) i.e. the one who abrogates the Ayah is Allah (swt) and we know the Sunnah was brought by the Messenger (saw). This is because the wording of the Sunnah belongs to the Messenger (saw) and the wording of the Qur’an belongs to Allah. Even though the meaning of the Kitab and Sunnah are both revelations from Allah (swt), however the Sunnah is ascribed to the Messenger (saw) in terms of speech and the Qur’an is the speech of Allah (swt). Thus, the Hukm of an Ayah is abrogated only by another Ayah.

3. Allah (swt) says:

بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالزُّبُرِ وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

“And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad [saw]) the reminder and the advice (the Qur’an), that you may explain clearly to men what has been sent down to them.” (TMQ An-Nahl: 44)

So the Messenger (saw) explains the Ayat that have been revealed but he does not abrogate them. This is because abrogation means lifting the Hukm and not giving a clear explanation (bayaan) of the Hukm.

For all of these reasons the Mutawaatir Sunnah cannot abrogate Qur’an.

So by greater reason (Min Bab awla) the Qur’an cannot be abrogated by the Ahad (singular narrations) of the Sunnah. As in addition to what we have said about the Mutawaatir Sunnah the singular narrations are Dhanni (speculative) and the definite (Qata’i) cannot be abrogated by the speculative (Dhanni). However a hadith may specify a rule mentioned in the Quran such as the specification of lashing for the unmarried fornicator as the Sunnah stipulates stoning for the married adulterer.

Similarly, the Mutawaatir Sunnah cannot be abrogated by the Ahad (singular) narrations of the Sunnah, because the Mutawaatir is stronger than the Ahad. The definite report is not removed by the speculative report.

As for those who say turning from the direction of al-Quds for the Salah was established by the Mutawaatir Sunnah. This is because the people of Quba used to pray towards al-Quds based on the Mutawaatir Sunnah but when this was abrogated when a caller sent by the Messenger of Allah (saw) came and announced that the Qibla had changed. So they turned towards the direction of the Ka’ba based on his report and the Messenger (saw) did not object. The answer to this claim is that the abrogation of facing al-Aqsa was through the Qur’an as it was mentioned previously and the caller was only informing them of what had happened i.e. he informed the people about a new Hukm Shar’i.

[1] Al-Ihkaam, al-Aamidi 1/28, Rawdat al-Nathir, Ibn- Qudama al-Maqdisi 1/178
[2] Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4469


Anonymous said...

Alhumadoulillah, well written, looking forward to the rest of the book.

Sydney, Aus.

Anonymous said...


There is lot of mention about "karamat" of saints in the Indian sub-continent. When we ask if karamat is miracle, we are told no, because miracle is only for prophets of Allah (swt).

What is correct Islamic understanding of "karamat"?


Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

Wa alaikum as-salam

The correct meaning of Karamat is that they are amazing happenings that contradict the natural law which happened to other than the Prophet's but have been proved definitively by the texts. For example:

- Maryam gave birth to Isa (as) without a father even though she was not a Prophet.
- The people of the cave mentioned in the Qur'an slept for hundreds of years even though they were not Prophet's.
- The baby who spoke to its mother when she hesitated when being pushed into the pit.

These have been proven by the texts of the Quran and the Sunnah. It is wrong for people to claim Karamat occurring to people today as the revelation has stopped. Only Allah (swt) can inform us of these happenings because He (swt) is the one who caused them i.e. he changed the natural laws for them. Therefore what is claimed about the Indian scholars is wrong.

Anonymous said...

MashAllah, may Allah reward you. Some additional comments/questions:

On foreign words in the Quran:

On Abbrogation:

Can we not say that certain athar attributed to the Sahabah can be a form of abbrogation. Example: Umar (ra) narrated that the Prophet (p) mentioned a verse on stoning. But that verse it is not in the Qur'an, can this be a form of abbrogation where the hukm still applies but the text has been abbrogated? Ref: Abdur-Raof, Exploring the Qur'an.

Or is there another explanation?


Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

What you have said is not correct. The singular narration is rejected if it contradicts the definitive mutawatir narration. Of course it is possible for an individual to make an error but not all of the companions together who compiled the Qur'an and verified it.

What you mentioned is not an example of abrogation as there are other ahadith which specify the hukm of stoning for the one who commits Zina whilst married. The following is from the draft translation of the excellent book 'The Punishment System of Islam' by Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Maliki which explains this:

"Some say that the hadd of the male and female zani is 100 lashes for the muhsan (married) and non-muhsan (unmarried) equally, without difference between them due to His saying ta’ala: “The female zani and male zani, lash each one of the two one hundred lashes, and let not pity for the two seize you in the deen of Allah” [TMQ 24:2]. They said: It is not permitted to leave the Book of Allah via the way of definitiveness (qat’a) and certainty (yaqeen) for single individual reports (akhbar al-ahad) wherein falsehood is possible, and because this leads to abrogating the Book by the Sunnah which is not permitted. The generality of the people of knowledge of the Sahabah, Tabi’in and those after them of the scholars of (different) cities in all periods say that the non-muhsan is lashed 100 lashes and the muhsan is stoned until he dies because the Messenger (saw) “stoned Ma’iz” and due to what was narrated from Jabir bin Abdullah “that a man committed zina with a woman so the Prophet (saw) commanded regarding him so he was lashed. Then he was told he was a muhsan so he commanded regarding him and he was stoned.”
The one who considers the evidences sees that His saying ta’ala: “The female zani and male zani, lash each one of them one hundred lashes” [TMQ 24:2] is general for the word ‘zani’ (male) and ‘zaniya’ (female) is of the words of generality so it includes the muhsan and non-muhsan; and wherefore the hadith came which is his (saw) saying: “Awake, O Unays, go tomorrow to this woman. If she confesses, stone her” and it is proven that the Messenger of Allah (saw) stoned Ma’iz after what was asked about his ihsan, and he stoned Al-Ghamidiyyah and others of the sahih ahadith. So the hadith becomes a specification of the ayah; these ahadith specify this generality which is in the ayah to the non-muhsan and exempted the muhsan from it. The ahadith specified this generality and does not abrogate the Qur’an, and specifying the Qur’an by the Sunnah is permissible and occurred in numerous ayat which came general and the hadith came specifying it.

The Shari'ah rules which the Shari'ah evidences i.e. the Book and Sunnah denote is that the punishment of zina is lashing the non-muhsan 100 lashes acting according to the Book of Allah and banishment one year acting according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. Except that the banishment is permissible not obligatory, and it is left to the Imam so if he wills, he lashes him and expels him one year and if he wills, he lashes him but does not expel him. However it is not permitted to expel him without his lashing because the punishment is lashing. As for the punishment of the muhsan, it is stoning until he dies acting according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saw) which came specifying of the Book of Allah. And it is permitted for the muhsan to combine the lashing and stoning over him so he is lashed first then stoned, and it is permitted to solely stoning without lashing. However it is not permitted to solely lash because the obligatory punishment is the stoning."

Anonymous said...

assalaam alaikum wtwb,

Alhamdulillah a fantastic blog - May Allah (SWT) reward each and everyone of you.

I apologise in advance if this is an inappropriate place for my request..

I am on the look out for some Tafsir, ideally English but arabic would do ...specifically by contemporary scholars...any chance you could post them or advise where it can be obtained...

Also, is there anyway the team can be contacted other than via the comments section?/


wasalaam alaikum

PS any surahs / ayats.

Islamic Revival said...


In English the only 2 that are available by contemporary authors that I know of are 'In the shade of the Qur'an' by Syed Qutb and 'Tahfim al-Quran' by Maulana Maududi. They are available from many online bookshops.

In Arabic there are more. Sheikh Ata Abu Rashta's Tafseer of Surah al Baqara is available to download from:

Sheikh Muhammad al-Hawari's select Tafseer:

Also check the books section on