The Shift of Al-Shawkani's Theological Thinking in Tafseer Fath al-Qadeer from Zaydi Shi’i to Ash’ari Sunni
AbstractThis article aims to examine Al-Shawkani's theological thinking in Fath al-Qadeer exegesis which allegedly underwent a shift of thought from Zaydi (the Fivers) to Ash’ary (the Twelver) Shi’i sect. Fath al-Qadeer exegesis is Al-Shawkani's masterpiece in the field of commentary. Al-Shawkani was a leading scholar in Yemen in the late medieval period to modern era. He grew up in a Zaydi Madhab (school of thought). Nevertheless, he used to contradict with his original madhab, thus there was a shift in his theological thinking. Al-Shawkani's shift of thought seemed to be clear when he commented theological verses in Fath al-Qadeer exegesis. Referring to Al-Shawkani's arguments on theology, such as issues on seeing God in the hereafter, the coming of God, martyrdom, and on istiwa' (God’s residence), Al-Shawkani was more likely to take side with the arguments proposed by the Ash’ary rather than those by the Zaydi or Mu’tazili madhab. In fact, Al-Shawkani frequently criticized Mu’tazili thoughts with various propositions, both naqli (nash) and aqli (reasoning). Only in terms of the Quran position, whether it is qadim (no begining) or creature (novelty), Al-Shawkani took an independent stance. This shift of thought is very reasonable considering that Al-Shawkani as a Shiite of Zaydi who is moderate in theology wants to open himself to accept theology from other madhabs which are considered more correct.
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