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This book is an intellectual biography of Muhammad al-Shawkani, one of the founding fathers of Islamic reformism, and a history of the transition from traditional Shiism to Sunni reformism in pre-modern Yemen. The book demonstrates how Shawkani's ideas remain of central importance to modern Islamic thinking.
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'Haykel's thorough analysis of Sunni Traditionism in Yemen is a model study in its comprehensive utilization of local sources and the in-depth understanding of the debates of the era of al-Shawkani and the continuing importance of the issues raised in those debates. Haykel makes a very important contribution to understanding movements of revival and reform in Islam both as they developed in the eighteenth century and as they continue to develop at the beginning of the twenty-first century.' Islamic StudiesReseña del editor:
Revival and Reform in Islam is at once an intellectual biography of Muhammad al-Shawkani, and a history of a transitional period in Yemeni history. This was a time when a society dominated by traditional Zaydi Shiism shifted to one characterised instead by Sunni reformism. The author traces the origins and outcomes of this transition, presenting the first systematic account of the ways in which the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century reorientation of the Zaydi madhhab, and consequent 'sunnification' of Yemeni society, were intricately linked to tensions within the political realm. In advocating juridical systematization of religious belief and practice, Shawkani espoused a socio-religious order which in its dominant features echoed key aspects of Western modernity. Yet he did so in a context bereft of Western ideational influence. This study then presents a textured account of eighteenth-century Islamic reformist thought and challenges the meaning of modernity in an Islamic context.
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