The Muʿtazilism of al-Zamakhsharī: A Bahshamī or a Ḥusaynī?

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Kılavuz U. M.

ILAHIYAT STUDIES: A JOURNAL ON ISLAMIC AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES, vol.12, no.2, pp.237-293, 2021 (ESCI) identifier identifier


Al-Zamakhsharī’s Muʿtazilī identity is undisputed, aside from a few

isolated assertions or inquiries to the contrary. In fact, alongside

historical records that depict him as a loyal Muʿtazilī and even a

propagandist for his madhhab, the opinions he expressed and the

approaches he employed in his works serve as evidence for this claim.

The two Muʿtazilī schools that operated during his time in the Muslim

world, in particular in his own region of Khwārazm, were the

Bahshamiyyah and the Ḥusayniyyah. Considering this fact, in terms of

his theological identity, it could be asserted either that he is a member

of one of the Bahshamī or Ḥusaynī schools or that he positions himself

“in search of a broadly based, catholic Muʿtazilism” instead of taking a

clear stand. This study, while providing partial evidence for the latter

claim, argues that his Ḥusaynī identity is rather evident from his

ideological stance and opinions.