ash-Shawkani and the Zaydis

1 month 2 days ago #1052 by Imam Rassi Society
I wondered if the Zaydis have any books on hadith forgery by the Umayyads? Or any narrations from Imam 'Ali or later Imams refuting these traditions?

Last question if I may take your time - once again your time much is much appreciated..

Did the works of al-Shawkani have any impact on Zaydism? Does his work carry any weight in Zaydi circles? I hear that the Zaydi madhab at times is under threat from Salafism and that some Zaydis are opposing the 'traditional (Hadawi) school'? At times it seems a vew is being created that the 'Hadawi' wing of Zaydism is the minority group within 'Zaydis'.

Thank you for your questions!

As for your first question, I don't believe that there is a book dedicated to Umayyad forgeries per se. There is a short work dedicated to forged ahadith in general. But these narrations are moreso declared forged because of their conflict with the Qur'an and logic. Our imams, upon them be peace, generally refute certain ahadith throughout their works and I don't think that there is a work dedicated specifically to Umayyad forgeries.

Regarding the impact of ash-Shawkani's work, I would say that it has had some influence but primarily as a response to him and not because of him. By that, I mean that ash-Shawkani emphasised the need to corroborate Zaydi thought with Sunni standards because he used Sunni standards to attack the Zaydi madhhab. That's not to say that our imams and scholars did not use Sunni narrations before him; however, Zaydis saw the need to "step up" in terms of meeting the challenge of Sunni/Salafi methodology because of ash-Shawkani.

I mean, his book Nayl al-Awtaar is a refutation of one of our imam's books Al-Bahr az-Zakhkhaar. One of these scholars who met the challenge of ash-Shawkani was Shahiid Allama Muhammad as-Samaawi. He wrote numerous refutations of ash-Shawkani's works and used ash-Shawkani's own methodology to attack him. A host of other Zaydi scholars followed and really brought Zaydism into the fray of refuting Salafi ideas. As a result, the Zaydi approach became more refined in dealing with opponents as well as perceived as less insular than before. Ash-Shawkani's opinions have no weight in Zaydi circles primarily because he eventually dropped the madhhab and later attacked its methodology. The most ironic thing is that the ash-Shawkani Masjid in Sanaa is a primarily Zaydi masjid! ?

Yes, the Zaydis of the Yemen do feel a sense of threat from the Salafiya there. Prior to the spread of Salafi thought and ideas in the Yemen, the Zaydis and Shafi'is lived in harmony and peace without much disturbance to each other. However, with the preponderance of Salafis as well as the persecution of Zaydi ulema, Zaydis have felt the pressure of this spread. Even in traditionally Hadawi-dominated areas such as Sa'dah, Salafi madrassas and masaajid have been erected and maintained. Traditionally, the Zaydiya have been tolerant of other schools of thought and typically posit a quietist attitude even towards the salafiya. For example, I used to sometimes pray at a masjid with a Zaydi muezzin and Salafi/Sunni imam. However, this attitude is quickly shifting with the emergence of more militant and forthright Salafis delving into the political landscape of the Yemen.

The separation of the Hadawiya and Zaydiya is pretty recent as the two terms have been used interchangeably for a long time. This is primarily because of a movement in Yemen to 'reapproach' Zaydi thought excluding the perspective of Imam al-Haadi (as). That is to say that some scholars, such as Sheikh al-Imrani, feel that since the views of al-Haadi and the subsequent imams from his line have always had a monopoly on what Zaydism is, some of the apparent conflicts between al-Haadi's views and the Musnad Imam Zayd, for example, have been casually overlooked or just plainly disregarded. Even to this day, some of most staunch Hadawi scholars would never say that a narration in Musnad Imam Zayd is weak although it clearly conflicts with the madhhab of al-Haadi (as).

The response has always been that the Zaydi madhhab embraces a wide span of different views when it comes to fiqh. So, although a person may not follow a view as narrated from Imam Zayd (as), his methodology would still be considered 'Zaydi' because of the adherence to Zaydi usuul. This is not unlike other madhaahib in which one may not adopt the founder's position though one is an adherent to the founder's school.

Hopefully, I answered your questions! And Allah knows best!


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