al-Shawkaani

 — al-Shawkaani —

-Name of the Mufassir:

He is Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah al-Shawkaani. He was a scholar of Yemen during his time and an important caller to the way of the salaf. He authored a number of valuable books in the areas of tafsirfiqh, and ‘aqeedah. He died in the year 1250Ah/1839CE.

-Name of the Book:

Fath al-Qadeer fee Fannay al-Riwaayah wa’l-Diraayah min ‘Ilm al-Tafseer [فتح القدير في فني الرواية والدراية من علم التفسير]

-General Description of the Book:

In the beginning of his tafsir, al-Shawkaani mentioned that most of previous works of tafsir could be classified into one of two groups. Firstly, those which restricted themselves to collecting and conveying the narrated statements and explanations of the Prophet, the Companions and those who followed them in goodness. Secondly, there were those which relied primarily on linguistic explanations or other sciences. al-Shawkaani explained that he wanted to combine both of these emphases in his work. As such, his work is valuable for its narration-based tafsir as well as his focus on linguistic explanations and fiqh discussions. It is also distinguished for its focus on refuting deviant beliefs and clarifying the salafi ‘aqeedah and manhaj.

‘Aqeedah:

The author was a strong proponent of the salafi ‘aqeedah, as is clear from many of his written works. However, his tafsir does contain some instances of ta’weel of Allah’s names and attributes due to the influence of al-Qurtubi’s tafsir and others on this work.

Fath al-Qadeer devotes considerable spaces to issues of salafi ‘aqeedah and manhaj, as well as refuting deviant beliefs and understandings. The Mu’tazilah beliefs of al-Zamakhshari and the Zaydiyyah of Yemen both received special attention in this area, among others. He was also highly critical of al-taqleed throughout his book.

-Stance regarding isnaads (chains of narration):

Conveying authentic narrations containing the tafsir of the Prophet, the Sahabah, the Taabi’oon and so on was an important goal of al-Shawkaani in his tafsir. However, he explains in his introduction that he still may have  included some weak narrations in his work, either knowingly due to them being corroborated by other stronger chains of narration or perhaps to illustrate a linguistic benefit, or unknowingly due to his use of narrations included in previous works of tafsir such as ibn Jareer, al-Qurtubi, ibn Kathir, al-Suyooti, etc. without any indication of their authenticity.

al-Shawkaani drew heavily on al-Durr al-Manthoor of al-Suyooti for his narrated statements. He would sometimes follow up a narration with some notes regarding its veracity or its narrators, however his work does contain a number of weak or fabricated ahaadeeth without any indication of their status.

-Stance regarding Fiqh (legal) Rulings:

al-Shawkaani was an expert and a mujtahid in fiqh, and thus gave fiqh a prominent place in his tafsir. He would routinely mention the various positions of the scholars of different madhhabs, their points of differing and accompanying evidences. Beyond reporting these matters, he would also weigh the various positions and indicate which opinion he felt to be the most correct, as well as include his own points of fiqh-related benefits. He drew heavily on the tafsir of al-Qurtubi in regards to his fiqh discussions, but was by no means limited to repeating them.

-Stance regarding Qiraa’aat (different recitations):

He would routinely mention the well-known recitations and discuss some of their linguistic implications. He would occasionally mention odd recitations as well.

-Stance regarding Israa’eeliyyaat (Judaeo-Christian traditions):

There are very few instances of Israa’eeliyyaat narrations in this tafsir, though some of his explanations do contain traces of their influence.

-Stance regarding poetry, linguistic analysis, grammar, etc.:

al-Shawkaani devoted considerable attention to issues of language throughout his tafsir and routinely quoted the explanations of previous experts such as Abu ‘Ubaydah, al-Firaa’, ibn Faaris, etc. He included discussions of many linguistic topics including grammar, morphology, the root meanings of words, etc., and he regularly employed Arabic poetry in his explanations.

Bibliography:

القول المختصر المبين في مناهج المفسرين لمحمد بن حمد الحمود النجدي

التفسير والمفسرين لمحمد حسين الدهبي

التيسير لمعرفة المشهور من أسانيد وكتب التفسير  لعلي بن أحمد الرازحي


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See also: Recommended Books of Tafsir