Shatibi: A Scholar Forgotten by the Past and Exploited by the Present

Shatibi, who was educated and brought up in the eighth century Andalusia, is nowadays recognized for his visionary perspective on the fiqh thought. This perspective criticizes the approach of passing judgement by leaning on particulars (juz'iyyat) and ignoring the general rules or purposes of religion/Islam (kulliyyat al-sharia or maqasid al-sharia). Although this point constituted his most distinguishing quality, Shatibi was also a multifaceted scholar and an effective preacher. He produced serious works in all areas of the Islamic sciences and warned the public against the corrupted religious and Sufi perceptions as a result of which he encountered harsh reactions but nevertheless continued his struggle for truth throughout his life. After his demise, he fell into oblivion as evidenced by a lack of reference to his unique approach in classical literature. In contemporary times, on the other hand, we face another portrait of Shatibi, who is frequently mentioned but falsely credited by scholars to get ratification for secular life through his maqasid thought.


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