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How do we know that a verse in the Qur'an is general or specific?


Assalamu alikum,How do we know that so and so verse of Qur`an is general. And so and so verse is for specific people?For example following verse is generalat-Tawbah verse 102And [there are] others who have acknowledged their sins. They had mixed a righteous deed with another that was bad. Perhaps Allah will turn to them in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.Ibn Kathir commented: "This Ayah is general, covering all sinners who combine good and evil deeds, thus becoming partly impure, even though it was revealed about some people in specific. " [end quote]Following verse was for specific people"(O beloved!) And if they had come to you, when they had wronged their souls, and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger also had asked forgiveness for them, they (on the basis of this means and intercession) would have found Allah the Granter of repentance, extremely Merciful [4:64]Imam Ibn Abdul Hadi(704 h-744h) said in refutation of as-SubkiShow us the meaning of generality you have taken from this verse from only one sahaba, tabiyeen, Taba Tabiyeen or four Imams (Abu Hanifa, Maalik, Shafiee, Ahmad) or others from the people of hadith or Tafseer? or he practiced on it (as you mentioned), or guided towards it (like the way you explained). Your claim that all the scholars took its generality is a false claim[as-Sarim al-Munki fe Radd al-Subki page 321]


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu`alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.

As for the two verses you quoted in your question, they were sent down concerning a particular people, stressing that there is no problem to understand the first verse in a general sense. That is because the meaning it covers has also been included in other verses calling for repentance and indicating that Allah, the Exalted, accepts his repentance.

As such, controversy has to do with the second verse. As for this verse, I have recorded the disagreement between As-Subki and Ibn ʿAbdul-Haadi. As for As-Subki and those who held the same opinion as him, they did not base their evidence as to this verse on the maxim reading "The generality of the text, not the particularity of the cause, is what counts.” This is actually what is clarified by the author of Siyaanatu Al-Insaan who said, “There is no text of general meaning, so that we could claim that 'the generality of the text, not the particularity of the cause, is what counts, since all the words referring to the Ummah in this verse are but pronouns; it is a well-established maxim that pronouns indicate no generality, which is why none of those citing this verse as evidence, including At-Taqiy As-Subki, Al-Qasttalaani, and Ibn Hajar Al-Makki, opines that it revolves around kinship.

The opinion of those scholars is yet based on the generality of the cause, meaning that whoever does this act recorded in verse and becomes thus sinful is included under its meaning whether during the lifetime of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) or even after his death. However, this evidence is rejected by Ibn ʿAbdul-Haadi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, believing meanwhile that the understanding of the companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them indicates otherwise. According to Ibn ʿAbdul-Haadi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him if any of the companions committed an act from which he had to make repentance, he used to go to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I did so and so, so ask Allah to forgive me.” This actually marked the difference between the companions and the hypocrites.

However, when the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) passed away, none of his companions came to his grave and said the same statement. In truth, whoever claims that the companions did so has fabricated a lie against them, taking into account that the generation of the companions is the best in this Ummah. This is the duty that Allah, the Almighty, has dispraised those who did not do it, to the extent that He, the Exalted, declared "not doing it" as one of the signs of hypocrisy. As such, how is this matter thus neglected by the well-established Muslim scholars who instruct Muslims on the various branches of Sharee'ah including Hadeeth, Fiqh, and Tafseer, since they never instructed people to do something like that?!"

Allah knows best.

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