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of this Súra was revealed a year later. It makes the matter much easier. "God measureth the night and the day; he knoweth that ye cannot count its hours aright, and therefore turneth to you mercifully. Recite then so much of the Qurán as may be easy to you." (v. 20.)
The following is an illustration of a verse abrogated, though there is no verse to prove its abrogation. However, according to the Ijma' it has been abrogated. "But alms are only to be given to the poor and the needy and to those who collect them, and to those whose hearts are won to Islám." (Súra ix. 60.) The clause-" to those whose hearts are won to Islám"-is now cancelled.1 Muhammad, to gain the hearts of those, who lately enemies, had now become friends, and to confirm them in the faith, gave them large presents from the spoils he took in war; but when Islám spread and became strong, the 'Ulamá agreed that such a procedure was not required and said that the order was "mansukh."
The other verses abrogated relate to the Ramazán fast, to Jihád, the law of retaliation, and other matters of social interest.
The doctrine of abrogation is now almost invariably applied by Musalmán controversialists to the Old and New Testaments, which they say are abrogated by the Qurán. "His (Muhammad's) law is the abrogator of every other law." This is not, however, a legitimate use of the doctrine. According to the best and most ancient Muslim divines, abrogation refers entirely to the Qurán and the Traditions, and even then is confined to commands and prohibitions. "Those who imagine it to be part of the Muhammadan creed that one law has totally repealed another, are utterly mistaken-we hold no such doctrine."3 In the Tafsír-i-Itifáq it is written: "Abrogation affects those
1. Tafsír-i-Husainí, p. 216.
2. Sharh-i-'Aqáíd-i-Jámí, p. 131.
3. Commentary on the Holy Bible by Syed Ahmad, c.s.I., vol. i. p. 268. See note on this in chapter 4. Section 'Prophets.'
matters which God has confined to the followers of Muhammad, and one of the chief advantages of it is that the way is made easy." In the Tafsír-i-Mazhirí we find : "Abrogation refers only to commands and prohibitions, not to facts or historical statements."1 Again, no verse of the Qurán, or a Tradition can be abrogated unless the abrogating verse is distinctly opposed to it in meaning. If it is a verse of the Qurán, we must have the authority of Muhammad himself for the abrogation; if a Tradition, that of a Companion. Thus "the word of a commentator or a Mujtahid is not sufficient unless there is a 'genuine Tradition' (Hadís-iSahih), to show the matter clearly. The question of the abrogation of any previous command depends on historical facts with regard to the abrogation, not on the mere opinion of a commentator." It cannot be shown that either Muhammad or a Companion ever said that the Bible was abrogated. This rule, whilst it shows that the assertion of modern controversialists on this point is void of foundation, also illustrates another point to which I have often called attention, viz.; that in Islám all interpretation must be regulated by traditionalism.
Additions were occasionally made. Thus when it was revealed that those who stay at home were not before God as those who go forth to war, Abdullah and Ibn UmMaktum said: 'and what if they were blind.' The Prophet asked for the shoulder-blade on which the verse was written. He then had a spasmodic convulsion. After his recovery he made Zeid add the words, "free from trouble." So now the whole verse reads thus : "Those believers who sit at home free from trouble (i.e., bodily infirmity), and those who do valiantly in the cause of God, with their substance and their persons, shall not be treated alike." (Súra iv. 97). Years after, Zeid said: "I fancy I see the words now on the shoulder-blade near a crack."
The question of the eternal nature of the Qurán does not properly come under the head of 'Ilm-i-usúl, but it is a dogma fondly cherished by many Muslims. In the days of the Khalif Al-Mamun this question was fiercely debated. The Freethinkers, whilst believing in the Mission of Muhammad, asserted that the Qurán was created, by which statement they meant that the revelation came to him in a subjective mode, and that the language was his own. The book was thus brought within the reach of criticism. In the year 212, A. H. the Khalíf issued a decree to the effect that all who held the Qurán to be uncreated were to be declared guilty of heresy. But the Khalíf himself was a notorious rationalist, and so the orthodox, though they remained quiet, remained unconvinced. The arguments used on the orthodox side are, that both the words and their pronunciation are eternal, that the attempt to draw a distinction between the word as it exists in the Divine Mind and as it appears in the Qurán is highly dangerous. In vain do their opponents argue that, if the Qurán is uncreated, two Eternal Beings are in existence. To this it is answered: "This is the honourable Qurán, written in the preserved Tablet." (Súra lvi. 76). A Tradition is also adduced which states: "God wrote the Thora (Law) with His own hand, and with His own hand He created Adam; and also in the Qurán it is written, and We wrote for him upon the tables a monition concerning every matter,' in reference to the tables of the Law given to Moses." If God did this for former prophets and their works, how much more, it is argued, should he not have done it for the last and greatest of the prophets, and the noble Qurán? It is not easy to get a correct definition of the term "the uncreated Qurán," but it has been put thus: "The Word as it exists in the mind of God is Kalám-iNafsí' (spiritual word), something unwritten and eternal. It is acknowledged by the Ijma'-i-Ummat (consent of the Faithful), the Traditions, and by other prophets that God
speaks. The Kalám-i-Nafsí then is eternal, but the actual words, style, and eloquence are created by God; so also is the arrangement and the miraculous nature of the book." This seems to be a reasonable account of the doctrine, though there are theologians who hold that the very words are eternal. The doctrine of abrogation clashes with this idea, but they meet the objection by their theory of absolute predestination. This accounts for the circumstances which necessitated the abrogation, for the circumstances, as well as the abrogated verses, were determined on from all eternity.
This concludes the consideration of the exegesis of the Qurán, a book difficult and uninteresting for a non-Muslim to read, but one which has engaged and is still engaging the earnest thoughts of many millions of the human race. Thousands of devout students in the great theological schools of Cairo, Stamboul, Central Asia and India are now plodding through this very subject of which I have here been treating; soon will they go forth as teachers of the book they so much revere. How utterly unfit that training is to make them wise men in any true sense of the word, how calculated to render them proud, conceited, and scornful of other creeds, its rigid and exclusive character shows. Still, it is a marvellous book; for twelve hundred years and more it has helped to mould the faith, animate the courage, cheer the despondency of multitudes, whether dwellers in the wild uplands of Central Asia, in Hindustan, or on the shores of the Mediterranean. The Turanian and the Aryan, the Arab and the Negro, alike learn its sonorous sentences, day by day repeat its opening clauses, and pray in its words as their fathers prayed before them.
Next to the act of testifying to the unity of God, the Qurán is the great bond of Islám. No matter from what race the convert may have come, no matter what language he may speak, he must learn in Arabic, and repeat by rote portions of the Qurán in every act of public worship. The next subject for consideration is that of the Tradi
tions, or the second branch of the science of 'Ilm-i-usúl. The Traditions contain the record of all that Muhammad did and said. It is the belief of every Muslim, to whatever sect he belongs, that the Prophet not only spake but also acted under a divine influence. The mode of the inspiration is different from that of the Qurán. There the revelation was objective. In the Prophet's sayings recorded in the Traditions the inspiration is subjective, but still a true inspiration. This belief places the. Traditions in a place second only to the Qurán; it makes them a true supplement to that book, and thus they not only throw light on its meaning, but themselves form the basis on which doctrines may be established. Without going so far as to say that every Tradition by itself is to be accepted as an authority in Islám, it may be distinctly asserted that there can be no true conception formed of that system if the Traditions are not studied and taken into account. So important a branch of Muslim theology is it, that the study of the Traditions is included in the 'Ilm-i-usúl, or science of exegesis. Some account of them, therefore, naturally forms part of this chapter.
The first four Khalífs were called the Khulafá-i-Ráshidín that is, those who could guide others aright. They had been friends and Companions of the Prophet, and the Faithful could always appeal to them in cases of doubt. The Prophet had declared that Islám must be written in the hearts of men. There was therefore an unwillingness to commit his sayings to writing. They were handed down by word of mouth. As no argument was so effectual in a dispute as "a saying" of the Prophet, the door was opened by which spurious Traditions could be palmed off on the Faithful. To prevent this, a number of strict rules were framed, at the head of which stands the Prophet's saying, itself a Tradition: "Convey to other persons none of my words except those which ye know of a surety. Verily, he who purposely represents my