Revival and Reform in Islam: The Legacy of Muhammad al-Shawkani

Publication Year


"This intellectual biography of Muhammad al-Shawkani, one of the founding fathers of modern Islamic reformism, is also a study of an important transitional period in Yemeni history which saw the shift from traditional Shi'ism to Sunni reformism. The transition propelled political, religious and social change. While Shawkani espoused a socio-religious order which echoed aspects of Western thinking, the book demonstrates that it was indigenous to Islamic thought. Shawkani's ideas remain vital to the intellectual debates happening in Islam today." TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Charismatic authority: the Qasimi Imamate in the seventeenth century
2. Becoming a dynasty: the Qasimimi Imamate in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
3. The absolute interpreter and 'Renewer' of the thirteenth century H
4. The triumph of Sunni traditionism and the re-ordering of Yemeni society
5. Clashing with the Zaydis: the question of cursing the Prophet's Companions (sabb al-sahaba)
6. Riots in Sanaa: the response of the strict Hadawis
7. Shawkani's legacy
  Review “This important book tells us important things about: (a) Yemenī intellectual history; (b) the proto-history and history of Islamic reform movements; (c) the impact of Wahhabī thought, and not least (d) Muhammad b. ‘Alī al-Shawkānī (1760–1834). It interlaces a masterly account of Yemenī political history with a survey of al- Shawkānī’s political biography and religious ideas so that the reader can grasp, more fully that any account of Islamic ideas with which I am familiar, the inter-relationship of concept and context. … [T]his book [is] indispensable both as a monograph and as a model for other scholars of Islam.”—A. Kevin Reinhart, MESA Bulletin  
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge; New York