NASFAT WEEKLY FRIDAY SERMON FOR FOR 24TH RABI’ AL AWWAL 1441 (NOVEMBER 22nd 2019)
TOPIC: ISLAMIC CONCEPT OF JIHAD (PART 4)
‘Audhu billaahi minash shaytanir Rajeem Bismillaahir Raaheem Alhamdu lillaah Rabbil ‘aalameen, was salatu was salamu ‘ala rasulillaah wa ‘alaa aalihi wasahbihi ajmaa’in.
So far we have been able to:
look at the meaning of the term from the Qur’an, hadith and jusrists’ views,
establish the relationship and differences between the two concepts of jihaad and qitaal,
discuss the conditions under which it is permissible to resort to armed struggle in Islam,
establish that Fighting in Islam is against aggression and not against other religions,
explain the Islamic code of conduct for engaging in warfare,
categorize all the verses of the Qur’an and hadith relating to warfare into three main categories which are: Those verses to do with the conditions for military engagement, or commencement of warfare, Those verses to do with the conduct of war after it has commenced and Those verses to do with the conditions of military disengagement and termination of warfare.
Today, in shaa Allah in our sermon it is important that we reiterate that fighting in Islam is against aggression and not against other religions and the the proof that combative jihad is only directed against aggression is the fact that when the warring parties stop fighting Muslims, or incline towards peace, Muslims are required to cease fighting them and also incline towards peace, and place their trust in Allah (Q.2:192 and 8:61), since “Allah does not love aggressors” (Q.2:190). It is also important to remind ourselves that if combat were directed against a people just because they are Non-Muslims, then Muslims would not stop fighting even if the Non-Muslims concerned stopped, since their stopping does not mean they have become Muslims.
Then, the issue of the Claimed abrogation of peaceful relations by the “verse of the sword” (Q.9:5). Some jurists have claimed that the verse “fight in the cause of God, those who fight you, but do not go beyond the limits (to instigate aggression)…” (Q.2:190) as well as other verses such as “Those who believe, and the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabians – any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and act righteously shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” (Q.2:62 and 5:69 – implying that such categories of people need not fear hostilities from Muslims) are abrogated (mansūkh) by verses in Surah 9 (Bara’ah or Tawbah), and that Muslims are now required to engage in a permanent state of warfare against unbelievers until they embrace Islam or agree to pay the jizya. In other words, it is claimed that Muslims after the revelation of Surah 9, and verse 5 in particular, can never have peaceful relations with any Non-Muslim. This argument is the primary basis for the view that combat against Non-Muslims is permitted even if they are not combatants.
This brings us to the need to clarify the concept of “naskh”. The word “naskh” as used by Companions of the Prophet (r) and jurists of Islam has been often translated as “abrogation”. Abu Ammaar Qadhi in his textbook, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan (1999) explains that many Companions did not always mean abrogation (as understood in English) when they spoke of naskh. For example, Ibn Abbas is reported to have said that the verse, “The spoils of war are for Allah and His Messenger” (Q.8:1) is “mansūkh” (i.e. naskh has taken place) by the verse, “And know that (of) all war-booty that you obtain, one-fifth is for Allah and His Messenger…” (Q.8:41). If the word “naskh” here is understood to mean “abrogation”, then it implies that the two verses are contradictory. In reality, the two verses are complementary. Thus “naskh” is therefore actually a specification (or, in Arabic, a “takhsis”), since the second verse clarifies how much of the “spoils of war” are to be given to the government (“for Allah and His Messenger”).
The term “naskh” may also mean supercession, or initiation (establishing a precedent or new ruling). Qadhi (1999) states that “Therefore, when coming across statements from the scholars of the first three generations that claim that a particular verse was ‘abrogated’ (nasakha) by another verse, this cannot be immediately taken as an example of naskh. It is this exact factor which has been one of the greatest causes of confusion with regards to the number of nasikh/mansookh verses in the Qur’an. The jurist al-Suyuti wrote that, “In reality, it (naskh) is rare, despite the fact that many have exaggerated the number of verses of it.”
According to Qadhi (1999), other scholars who mention many dozens of abrogated verses list verses that are not necessarily the basis for any legal ruling, and hence, are not appropriate candidates for abrogation. For example, many scholars have said that the verse “And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you turn (in prayer) you will find the Face of Allah” (Q.2:115) is abrogated by the verse which commands believers to face the Ka‘bah in Makkah for their prayers (Q.2:149). However, the first verse is not specifying a direction for prayer and hence has no legal implications. Thus, there is no ruling from it that may be replaced by the subsequent verse.
The criteria for a verse to abrogate another verse. The criteria for such abrogation include that
the abrogating verse must be revealed after the abrogated verse,
the two verses must have legal applications,
they are mutually irreconcilable, and
there is absolute abandonment of the previous ruling (derived from the earlier revealed verse), irrespective of the case. In other words, the abrogated verse is no longer applicable for a ruling on the subject matter.
It is distinguished from a case of takhsis (specification) in that after a takhsis, a prior ruling is not totally invalid, but rather valid for more specific or narrowly defined cases. Qadhi, in his source text (cited above), elucidates that claims of abrogation are only a last resort once all attempts to reconcile two opposing texts have been made. The two verses must oppose each other with no possibility of being valid at the same time. “Therefore, if one of the rulings can apply to a specific case, and the other ruling to a different case, this cannot be considered an example of naskh
Equally important for us in this sermon is to establish that there is no consensus on abrogated verses. There is no consensus among scholars as to how many verses have been abrogated by others in the Qur’an.
We wish to conclude from the foregoing that the verses stipulating peaceful relationship with non Muslims that are not fighting Muslims have not been abrogated and thus Muslims must continue to maintain peaceful relationship with non Muslims that are not at war with them.