Tag Archives: explanation

Easter Message: Death has Dominion, Mastery and Power over the Christian God

It’s Easter, so today you’d be seeing a lot of celebrations over God’s “victory over death”. Slogans en masse such as, “He is Risen!” Perhaps though, one of the most popular verses of the Bible one would see is as follows:

  • For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. – Romans 6:9 (NIV).
  • We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. – Romans 6:9 (ESV).
  • knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. – Romans 6:9 (NASB).
  • because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. – Romans 6:9 (HCSB).

That last line is of great interest. If death no longer rules over God, does it mean that death at one point have power, dominion, mastery, rule over God? Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, says of this passage:

“death hath no more dominion over him: it once had dominion over him; it held him under its power for a time, according to the divine determination”

If God is all powerful, then how is it possible for death to be greater than God, to have power and mastery over God? Some Christians have tried to explain this by saying that God allowed Himself to “temporarily surrender” His own dominion over death, but this leads us to the inevitable problem of the Christian God losing one of its attributes, thus rendering God, powerless. What’s worse is, if God gave up His power over death, and then death overcame God – it would stand to reason that death would be more powerful than God and thus God could never “defeat” death.

In conclusion, this passage is vital for a Muslim’s da’wah to Christians. They quote it and share it, which makes it easier for us to reach out to them. This passage leads to unsettling beliefs for the Christians, God sets up rivals to Himself, God loses essential attributes, God is no longer all powerful, or at the least it can lead them to denying the hypostatic union (two natures in Christ, one divine, one human), by them arguing that death had power over one of the natures – the human or the divine, which is in itself blasphemy since the natures are unified and it is heresy to split them apart.

In contrast, in Islam, God is the master of life and death:

“How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.” – Qur’an 2:28.

and Allah knows best.

Exclusive Interview: Shaykh Mohammed Awal on James White and Da’wah Advice

Yesterday I sat down with the erudite scholar, Shaykh Mohammed Awal and we had a quick interview. Most importantly, he speaks on the controversial issue surrounding the cancellation of his debate with James White, the fascist and petulant behaviour of the cross dresser David Wood and anti-immigrant migrant, Sam Shamoun.

Please share this interview inshaAllaah (God Willing).

and Allaah knows best.

Understanding Abrogation in the Qur’aan

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Unfortunately, most Muslims learn of abrogation in the Qur’aan from the wrong persons. This simple explanation was provided by SeekersGuidance:

Abrogation is one of the lengthiest, most complex, and most important topics in both the science of Qur’anic exegesis [tafsir] as well as that of Legal Theory [usul al-fiqh]. Imam Suyuti mentions that a countless number of scholars authored works solely on the topic of abrogation, and that many Imams said, “No one is allowed to give explanation [tafsir] of the Book of Allah until they understand abrogation.” Our Master Ali [may Allah ennoble his face] asked a judge if he knew which verses abrogated others, to which the judge replied that he did not. Imam Ali said, “You are ruined, and you have ruined others.” [Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an]

Insha’Allah, the discussion below will serve as a brief overview of abrogation, followed by answers to the various points you bring up in your question. May Allah Most High provide us all clarity with these and related issues.

Abrogation: Definition

According to Hanafi legal theorists, “abrogation” [naskh] is defined as “the removal or annulment of one legal ruling by a subsequent legal ruling.”

Of course, the “change” entailed in abrogation is perceived only by humans. In Allah’s preeternal knowledge, each ruling had its appointed term. Therefore, some Hanafis put forth a more detailed definition as follows:

“A clarification of the end point of one legal ruling, an end point that was preeternally known to Allah Most High yet nevertheless concealed from those addressed by the Sacred Law, such that it appeared to be a lasting ruling from the perspective of humans.” Hence, abrogation entails replacement from our perspective, yet mere clarification from the Divine perspective, i.e., clarification of the termination of a legal ruling and the beginning of a new legal ruling in its place.

[Ibn Malak/Nasafi, Sharh al-Manar; Bazdawi, Usul al-Bazdawi; Ibn ‘Abidin/Haskafi, Nasamat al-Ashar Sharh Ifadat al-Anwar].

The key aspect of these definitions is the concept of “complete annulment or termination of a legal ruling,” that is, such that it is no longer applicable whatsoever [i.e., irrespective of whether abrogation itself is that termination or merely a clarification of that termination]. This basic understanding is shared in the definitions of major legal theorists of other schools as well, such as Imam Baqillani, Imam Ghazali, Imam Amidi, Imam Baydawi, Imam Mahalli, Imam Qarafi, Imam Razi and others.

[Amidi, Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam; Ghazali, Mustasfa; Baydawi, Minhaj al-Wusul ila `Ilm al-Usul; Dimyati/Mahalli/Juwayni, Hashiyat ala Sharh al-Waraqat; Qarafi/Razi, Nafa’is al-Usul fi Sharh al-Mahsul].

Abrogation: Differences in Technical Usage

It is important to understand that definitions were formalized later in Islam. Earlier scholars, especially of the first few generations [salaf], might have used similar terms yet with different meanings. One would have to examine the exact intent of an early scholar and how he used the term before arriving at any conclusions.

As Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) explains in his “An Approach to the Qur’anic Sciences,” the term “abrogation” had a very wide scope in the technical usage of earlier scholars, due to which in their view it included many verses that later scholars did not consider to be abrogation based on the above technical definitions [mustalah]. A common example is if an earlier verse is very general in its wording and then a later verse limits its scope or conditions it in some way – they would deem the earlier verse to be “abrogated” and the later verse to be its “abrogator.” They did not mean that the ruling of the earlier verse was completely replaced or annulled, but rather that it is no longer general but instead limited or contextualized in some way.

An example is the verse, “And marry not polytheist women until they believe.” (2:221) The ruling here is general in that it is unlawful for Muslims to marry any type of polytheist women, whether idol-worshipers or People of the Book.

Yet a later verse states, “[And you may marry] the chaste of those given the Book.” (5:5) This verse serves to limit the general scope of the earlier verse, whereby it is known that the prohibition refers only to polytheist women that are not from the People of the Book.

Earlier scholars would deem this to be a case abrogation: verse (5:5) serves to “abrogate” verse (2:221). However, it is clear that their understanding of abrogation was not a complete annulment of a previous ruling but rather a change in its scope or applicability.

Later scholars, however, would not deem such cases as abrogation, but only cases in which the earlier legal ruling is completely annulled. According to them, therefore, there are far less cases of abrogation in the Qur’an.

Imam Suyuti states that there were many verses that served to give exceptions or limitations to other verses, and “those who considered them as cases of abrogation were incorrect.” [Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an].

[Mufti Taqi Usmani, “An Approach to the Qur’anic Sciences;” Muhammad A. Zurqani, Manahil al-Irfan].

Finally, scholars of legal theory mention that limitation or specification of a general verse is not complete annulment but rather can be related to context and circumstances, while abrogation is complete annulment and therefore negates any usage or applicability of the earlier abrogated verse. [Ghazali, Mustasfa].

Further Reading: