Da’ud ibn Tamam ibn Ibrahim al-Shawni, also known as Da’ud ibn Ibrahim al-Shawni and also simply Shawni is the pseudonymous author of chiefly religious and philosophical literature. Born, according to various sources, between 1963 and 1969, Shawni's biography is as unclear as his own actual identity. The derivation of his name implies he is Arab and possibly from Shawni, a town in northern Egypt. However, this is the name he adopted as an author, and there is no additional evidence that he is from Egypt or even Arabic. His facility in English, which is the original language of his works, indicates he might have been raised or educated in the West.
Shawni's writings suggest that he is a Muslim, though his reliance on Christian and Jewish scripture and apocrypha in his works, as well as Hindu and Buddhist sources, hints at his willingness to embrace religious traditions outside of Islam, and hence his religious identity likewise remains unknown.
The nature of Shawni's works, which often rely upon the commonalities of world religions to support specific arguments, might imply that he is a believer in the Bahá'í Faith. However, nowhere does he make reference to that faith, its founders, or its central beliefs in his works.
In contrast, support can easily be mustered that he is Muslim, and strongly influenced by the strands of Sufi mysticism current more than 500 years ago and represented chiefly by Attar, Rumi, and Sanai. References to these three mystic poets are made in Shawni’s seminal work, The End of Reason.
Beyond such suggestions, however, there is no certainty as to Shawni's date of birth, country of origin, or religious affiliation.
Shawni is the author of at least three known works. These are In Herod’s Keep, The Madness of God, and The Men Who Have the Elephant. These three works are collected in a single volume entitled The End of Reason The second of the three works, The Madness of God, was translated into Indonesian and published by Pustaka Zahra under the imprint Dastan Books with the title Iblis Menggugat Tuhan. This translation and publication was undertaken without Shawni’s knowledge or permission but evidently he later came to an agreement with the publisher. Shawni had protested that the work, without reference to In Herod’s Keep and The Men Who Have the Elephant, which respectively immediately preceded and immediately followed The Madness of God, might be taken out of context. Nevertheless, Shawni had previously made The Madness of God available, evidently with his permission, through a web site which included other works of Sufi literature, prior to completion of the third book.
In a revision published in August 2006, Iblis Menggugat Tuhan, the text included both The Madness of God and The Men Who Have the Elephant in their entirety.
The End of Reason. Omphaloskepsis. ISBN 1-4116-8916-X
Iblis Menggugat Tuhan. Pustaka Zahra/Dastan Books. ISBN 979-3972-01-7