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Muʿtazilism in a 20th century Zaydī Qurʾān commentary*

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Abstract The Zaydīs in Yemen are the only current within Islam that fostered the continuous transmission and study of Muʿtazilī kalām up to the present time. This article aims to examine the presence and quality of Muʿtazilī kalām in a major Zaydī composition of the 20th century, namely ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-ʿAǧrī’s (1320-1407/1902-1987) Miftāḥ al-saʿāda, which was completed in May 1952. The Miftāḥ and other works of Zaydī scholars written during the first half of the 20th century provide us with valuable insights into Zaydī-Hādawī scholarship in Northern Yemen prior to the Republican revolution of 1962 and furnish important information about the education of 20th century Zaydī-Hādawī scholars and the contents of their libraries. The wide range of Muʿtazilī and non-Muʿtazilī sources used and quoted in the Miftāḥ sheds light on the distinct impact of various phases of a centuries-old school- and teaching-tradition.

Affiliations: 1: Research Unit Intellectual History of the Islamicate World, Freie Universität Berlin


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