Muhammad ash-Shawkani

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Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Shawkani
Born 1759 CE
Died 1834 CE/1250 AH
Era Medieval era
Region Yemeni scholar
School Sunni Islam
Main interests
Theology

Muhammad ash-Shawkani (1759–1834 [1]) was a Yemeni scholar of Islam, jurisprudent, and reformer.

Name[edit]

His full name was Muhammad Ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Shawkani.[2] The surname "ash-Shawkani" is derived from Hijrah ash-Shawkan, which is a town outside San‘a’[3]

Biography[edit]

Born into a Zaydi Shi'a Muslim family, ash-Shawkani later on adopted the ideology within Sunni Islam and called for a return to the textual sources of the Quran and hadith. As a result, he opposed much of the Zaydi doctrine.[4] He also opposed Sufism.[5] He is considered as a mujtahid, or authority to whom others in the Muslim community have to defer in details of religious law. Of his work issuing fatwas, ash-Shawkani stated "I acquired knowledge without a price and I wanted to give it thus."[6] Part of the fatwa-issuing work of many noted scholars typically is devoted to the giving of ordinary opinions to private questioners. Ash-Shawkani refers both to his major fatwas, which were collected and preserved as a book, and to his "shorter" fatwas, which he said "could never be counted" and which were not recorded.[7]

He is credited with developing a series of syllabi for attaining various ranks of scholarship and used a strict system of legal analysis based on Sunni thought. He insisted that any jurist who wanted to be a mujtahid fī'l-madhhab (a scholar who is qualified to exercise ijtihad within a school of Islamic law), was required to do ijtihad, which stemmed from his opposition to taqlid for a mujtahid, which he deemed to be a vice with which the Shariah had been inflicted.[8]

Legacy[edit]

Salafis in Saada, as well as Zaydi converts to Wahhabism, would later claim ash-Shawkani as an intellectual precursor, and future Yemeni regimes would uphold his Sunnization policies as a unifier of the country[9] and to undermine Zaydi Shi'ism.[10]

Beyond Yemen, his works are widely used in Sunni schools.[11] He also profoundly influenced the Ahl al-Hadith in the Indian subcontinent (such as Siddiq Hasan Khan) and Salafis in Saudi Arabia and across the globe.[12]

Works[edit]

  • Nayl al-Awtar
  • Fath al-Qadir, a well known tafsir (exegesis)
  • al-Badr at-tali [13]
  • Tuhfatu al-Dhakirin – Sharh Uddatu Hisna al-Haseen: a superb one volume commentary on the collection "Uddatu Hisna al-Haseen", on ahadith of Adhkar, by Ibn Al-Jazari (d. 833H)
  • Al-Fawaid al-Majmu'ah Fil Ahadith ul Mau'zoo'ah a collection of fabricated hadith
  • Irshad ul Fuhoola book on Usul al-fiqh
  • Ad-Durur ul-Bahiyyah fil-Masaa'il il-Fiqhiyyah - a concise Fiqh manual
  • Ad-Daraaree Al-Mudhiyyah Sharh ud-Durur il-Bahiyyah - his detailed explanation of his Fiqh manual, Ad-Durur
  • Adab ut-Talab wa Muntaha al-Arab - advice on the etiquette and manners of one who is seeking Islamic knowledge
  • Al-Qawl ul-Mufeed fee Hukm it-Taqleed - An explanation of the ruling regarding blind following (Taqleed) of the opinions of Fiqh schools (Madhaahib) and its harms.
  • Al-Sayl al-jarrar - includes the denunciation of a text written by the Zaydi Imam Al-Mahdi Ahmad bin Yahya.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Revival and Reform in Islam: The Legacy of Muhammad al-Shawkani by Bernard Haykel
  1. ^ Fatwa / What does "family" mean?
  2. ^ “Dogs in the Islamic Tradition and Nature” (Article Included)
  3. ^ al-Badr at-Taali' bi Mahaasin man Ba'd al-Qarn as-Sabi' , vol. 2 pg.214
  4. ^ Farhad Daftary (2 Dec 2013). A History of Shi'i Islam (revised ed.). I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857735249. In his view, Zaydi theological and legal teachings had no basis in revelation but reflected the unsubstantiated opinions of the Zaydi imams and therefore had to be rejected. 
  5. ^ Farhad Daftary (2 Dec 2013). A History of Shi'i Islam (revised ed.). I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857735249. Al-Shawkani also manifested the general Zaydi, as well as traditionist Sunni, aversion towards Sufism. 
  6. ^ cited in Messick, Brinkly The Calligraphic State:Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society, Berkeley 1993, p.145
  7. ^ cited in Messick, Brinkly The Calligraphic State:Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society, Berkeley 1993, p.150
  8. ^ On his call for ijtihad and opposition to taqlid, see Hallaq 1984:32–33
  9. ^ Barak A. Salmoni; Bryce Loidolt; Madeleine Wells (28 Apr 2010). Regime and Periphery in Northern Yemen: The Huthi Phenomenon. Rand Corporation. p. 72. ISBN 9780833049742. 
  10. ^ Farhad Daftary (2 Dec 2013). A History of Shi'i Islam (revised ed.). I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857735249. Since 1962, republicans in Yaman have continuously used al-Shawkani's teachings and works to undermine the past doctrines of the Zaydi imamate and Zaydi Shi'ism itself. The modern Yamani state has indeed pursued an anti-Zaydi policy in the guise of Islamic reform, drawing extensively on al-Shawkani's teachings. 
  11. ^ Oxford University Press (1 May 2010). Islam in Yemen: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide. Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780199804351. 
  12. ^ Böwering, Gerhard; Crone, Patricia; Mirza, Mahan, eds. (2013). The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought (illustrated ed.). Princeton University Press. p. 507. ISBN 9780691134840. 
  13. ^ Fatawa of the rightly guided Imams on Mawlid
  14. ^ Farhad Daftary (2 Dec 2013). A History of Shi'i Islam (revised ed.). I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857735249. In his book entitled al-Sayl al-jarrar, al-Shawkani denounced the Kitab al-azhar fi fiqh al-a'immat al-athar of Imam al-Mahdi Ahmad b. Yahya al-Murtada (d. 830/1437), the legal corpus of opinions recognised by the Hadawi Zaydi school, which, according to him, represented opinions not rooted in the revelation. 

Further reading[edit]