Muhammad ash-Shawkani (1759-1834 CE ) was a Yemeni scholar of Islam, jurisprudent, and reformer.
His full name was Muhammad
ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullaah al-Shawkani . The surname "ash-Shawkani" is derived from Hijrah ash-Shawkan, which is a town outside San‘a’
Born into a Zaydi Shi'a Muslim
family, ash-Shawkani later on adopted the Salafi
ideology within Sunni Islam
and called for a return to the textual sources of the Quran
. He viewed himself as a mujtahid
, or authority to whom others in the Muslim
community had 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. 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.
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 a jurists 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.
- Books written about him: Revival and Reform in Islam: The Legacy of Muhammad al-Shawkani by Bernard Haykel.