The Qur'an describes Allah as having full and perfect knowledge of the past, present, and future. There are also verses that seem to suggest that Allah comes to know about certain things as they happen. The latter talk about the realization in the visible world of God’s foreknowledge, so both sets of verses are totally consistent.
This is a detailed chapter-by-chapter summary of the book “Abrogation in the Qur’an and Islamic Law: A Critical Study of the Concept of ‘Naskh’ and its Impact.” The summary explains the subject of each chapter and how the different chapters are linked to form a comprehensive study of abrogation.
The overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars, past and modern, have accepted abrogation in both the Qur’an and the Sunna as an indisputable fact. Only a very small minority has rejected Qur’anic abrogation. We know this opposition existed because it is condemned and vilified in the earliest works on abrogation. But this ostensible consensus of the majority conceals enormous differences in the way abrogation is understood.
“Naskh,” or “abrogation” as it is translated, has been the subject of numerous studies by Muslim scholars down the centuries. As the mechanism describing how divine rulings from the Qur’an and the actions and teachings of the Prophet (Sunna)1 were superseded by others from these sources, it is natural for naskh to acquire such prominence in Islamic sciences, particularly in Islamic law. Scholars, naturally, needed to know the chronological order of the revelations in order to identify which rulings were abolished and which ones were still operative.
As the unchanged and unerring Word of God, the Qur’an has naturally been considered by Muslims as containing miracles. Many scientific claims have been identified in the Qur’an. Of course, any such identification presumes that the specific scientific claim is a definite fact. Linking a Qur’anic text to any conceived scientific fact often requires preferring one particular interpretation of a word or expression in that Qur’anic text over possible alternatives. Such effort is, of course, open to error. The supposed scientific fact may be later proved to be wrong and/or the interpretation of the relevant Qur’anic passage may be wrong.
In Islamic sciences, the term “fiqh” has developed the strictly legal meaning of “studying Shari’a or ‘Islamic law’,” which I briefly explained in my article “Shari’a,” “Fiqh,” and “Usul al-Fiqh” in Islamic Law. But the Arabic root of this term has a general meaning in the Qur’an.… Continue reading