Terms in Zaydī-Muʿtazilī Thought: Critical Edition and Translation of Ibn Sharwīn’s Ḥaqāʾiq al-ashyāʾ Treatise

Kader 19 (2):813-854 (2021)
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Abstract

The Zaydī-Muʿtazilī interaction, which dates back to the early periods, increased when The Būyid vizier al-Ṣāḥib b. ʿAbbād invited Qāḍī ʿAbd al-Jabbār to Rayy and many Caspian Zaydī scholars studied with Qāḍī. Ibn Sharwīn, who is mentioned among the students of Qāḍī ʿAbd al-Jabbār and accepted as one of the Zaydī- Muʿtazilī scholars, is one of these names. The works of Ibn Sharwīn, who had writings in the field of kalām and fiqh, did not remain within the borders of the Caspian and reached the Zaydīs of Yemen; one of these works is Ḥaqāʾiq al-ashyāʾ. Considering that, unlike other theological schools, there are not many works on the definitions of theological concepts in Muʿtazilī literature and -as far as is known- did not reach today, this treatise helps to understand better especially the terms in Zaydī- Muʿtazilī theology and the effects of Bahshamiyya on Zaydī thought. This work, edited and translated based on the only extant manuscript only manuscript found in Yemen and a previous publication, on the one hand, is important in understanding the point of view of Zaydī- Muʿtazilī thought on the disciplines of theology, jurisprudence, debate, history of Islamic sects, on the other hand, it is a helpful resource for understanding the terms used in the theory of aḥwāl, which is still an intricate issue. Ibn Sharwīn in his Ḥaqāʾiq al-ashyāʾ; explains over 150 terms in relation to cosmology such as substance, accident, line, surface, space; to ontology such as existing, non-existence, originated (muḥdath); to epistemology such as knowledge, creed, ignorance, doubt, skepticism, obligatory and acquired knowledge; to methodology such as evidence, madlūl, debate, and disputation; to fiqh such as sunnah, farḍ, mandūb, cause, command-prohibition, general-particular (ʿumūm-ḫuṣūṣ); to the history of sects such as ʿadliyya, compulsionists (mujbira) and qadarī; to divinity such as the oneness of God (tawhīd); to justice such as promise and threat (al-waʿd wa-l-waʿīd), good and evil, necessary and acquired, grace, compensation, repentance, major and minor sins; to the theory of al-aḥwāl such as attribute of the essence, determinant (muḳtaḍī), entail (muḳtaḍā), muṣaḥḥiḥ, cause. Describing ḥadd that corresponds to “definition” and ḥaḳīḳat that he used together with it as collectively exhaustive, mutually exclusive, Ibn Sharwīn defines knowledge, power, living (ḥayy), speech (kalām), speaker (mutakallim), permanent (bāqī) etc. in a way that is true for both God and human beings. While making these definitions, he draws on poems, linguistic usages and verses and divides the nouns into three parts at the end of his work, namely linguistic, religious and conventional (sharʿī and waḍʿī); in particular, he gives detailed information about metaphors and parts of truth. Another striking aspect of the work is the explanation of the meanings of the imperative mood which is included in the subjects of the Methodology of Fiqh.

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