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Ashʿarism or Ashʿari
Ashʿari
theology (/æʃəˈriː/;[1] Arabic: الأشعرية‎ al-ʾAšʿarīyya or الأشاعرة al-ʾAšāʿira) is the foremost theological school of Sunni
Sunni
Islam which established an orthodox dogmatic guideline[2] based on clerical authority, founded by Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari
Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari
(d. AD 936 / AH 324).[3] The disciples of the school are known as Ashʿarites, and the school is also referred to as the Ashʿarite school, which became the dominant strand within Sunni
Sunni
Islam.[4][5] It is considered one of the orthodox schools of theology in Sunni
Sunni
Islam,[6] alongside the Maturidi
Maturidi
school of theology.[7][8] Amongst the most famous Ashʿarites are Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Nawawi, Al-Ghazali, Izz al-Din ibn 'Abd al-Salam, Al-Suyuti, Ibn 'Asakir, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Qurtubi
Al-Qurtubi
and Al-Subki.[9]

Contents

1 History

1.1 Founder 1.2 Development

2 Beliefs 3 Criticism 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

History[edit] Founder[edit] Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari
Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari
was noted for his teachings on atomism, among the earliest Islamic philosophies, and for al- Ashʿari
Ashʿari
this was the basis for propagating the view that God
God
created every moment in time and every particle of matter. He nonetheless believed in free will, elaborating the thoughts of Dirar ibn 'Amr and Abu Hanifa
Abu Hanifa
into a "dual agent" or "acquisition" (iktisab) account of free will.[10][page needed] While al- Ashʿari
Ashʿari
opposed the views of the Mu'tazili
Mu'tazili
school for its over-emphasis on reason, he was also opposed to the view which rejected all debate, held by certain schools such as the Zahiri ("literalist"), Mujassimite ("anthropotheist") and Muhaddithin ("traditionalist") schools for their over-emphasis on taqlid (imitation) in his Istihsan al‑Khaud:[11]

"A section of the people (i.e., the Zahirites and others) made capital out of their own ignorance; discussions and rational thinking about matters of faith became a heavy burden for them, and, therefore, they became inclined to blind faith and blind following (taqlid). They condemned those who tried to rationalize the principles of religion as 'innovators.' They considered discussion about motion, rest, body, accident, colour, space, atom, the leaping of atoms, and Attributes of God, to be an innovation and a sin. They said that had such discussions been the right thing, the Prophet and his Companions would have definitely done so; they further pointed out that the Prophet, before his death, discussed and fully explained all those matters which were necessary from the religious point of view, leaving none of them to be discussed by his followers; and since he did not discuss the problems mentioned above, it was evident that to discuss them must be regarded as an innovation."

Development[edit] Ashʿarism became the main school of early Islamic philosophy
Islamic philosophy
whereby it was originally based on the foundations laid down by Abu al-Hasan al- Ashʿari
Ashʿari
who founded the school in the 10th century based on the methodology taught to him by his teacher Abdullah ibn Sa'eed ibn Kullaab. However, the school underwent many changes throughout history resulting in the term Ashʿari, in modern usage, being extremely broad, e.g. differences between Ibn Fawrak (d. AH 406) and al-Bayhaqi (d. AH 384).[12][13] For example, the Asharite view was that comprehension of the unique nature and characteristics of God
God
were beyond human capability. The solution proposed by Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari
Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari
to solve the problems of tashbih and ta'til concedes that the Divine Being possesses in a real sense the attributes and Names mentioned in the Quran. Insofar as these names and attributes have a positive reality, they are distinct from the essence, but nevertheless they do not have either existence or reality apart from it. The inspiration of al- Ashʿari
Ashʿari
in this matter was on the one hand to distinguish essence and attribute as concepts, and on the other hand to see that the duality between essence and attribute should be situated not on the quantitative but on the qualitative level — something which Mu'tazili
Mu'tazili
thinking had failed to grasp.[14] Beliefs[edit]

Part of a series on Islam Aqidah

Five Pillars of Islam

Shahada Salah Sawm Zakat Hajj

Sunni Six articles of belief

God Prophets Holy books Angels The Last Judgement Predestination

Sunni
Sunni
theological traditions

Ilm al-Kalam

Ash'ari1 Maturidi

Sunni
Sunni
Murji'ah Traditionalist2

Shi'a Twelver3

Principles

Tawhid Adalah Prophecy Imamah Qiyamah

Practices

Salah Sawm Zakat Hajj Khums Jihad Commanding what is just Forbidding what is evil Tawalla Tabarra

Seven pillars of Ismailism4

Walayah Tawhid Salah Zakat Sawm Hajj Jihad

Other Shia concepts of Aqidah

Imamate Batin Sixth Pillar of Islam

Other schools of theology

Khawarij5 Ibadi6 Murji'ah

Qadariyah Muʿtazila7 Sufism8

Including: 1Jahmi; 2Karramiyya; 3 Alawites
Alawites
& Qizilbash 4Sevener-Qarmatians, Assassins
Assassins
& Druzes 5Ajardi, Azariqa, Bayhasiyya, Najdat
Najdat
& Sūfrī 6Nūkkārī; 7 Bahshamiyya
Bahshamiyya
& Ikhshîdiyya 8Alevism, Bektashi Order
Bektashi Order
& Qalandariyya Islam
Islam
portal

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The Ashʿarite view holds that:

God
God
is all-powerful, therefore all Good and Evil is the result of His decree.[15] The unique nature and attributes of God
God
cannot be understood fully by human reasoning and the senses.[16] What God
God
does or commands is per definition just and what God prohibits is by definition unjust.[17] Reason is God
God
given and must be employed judge over source of knowledge.[18] Only God
God
knows the heart and knows who belongs to the faithful and who not.[19] It is possible, that God
God
forgives sins those in Hell.[20] Support of kalam. Although humans possess free will (or, more accurately, freedom of intention), they have no power to create anything, thus simply decide between God's given possibilities.[21] This doctrine is now known in Western philosophy as occasionalism. The Quran
Quran
is the uncreated word of God
God
in essence, however it is created then it takes on a form in letters or sound.[22] Intellectual inquiry is decreed by the Qur'an and by Muhammad, thus interpretations of the Quran
Quran
(Tafsir) and the Hadith
Hadith
should keep developing with the aid of older interpretations.[23] Knowledge of God
God
comes from studying the holy names and attributes in addition to studying the Quran
Quran
and the Hadith
Hadith
of Muhammad.[citation needed] God
God
has angels.[24] Belief in Prophets in Islam
Islam
Prophets from Adam to Muhammad.[25] Belief in the Five pillars of Islam.[26]

Criticism[edit] German orientalist Eduard Sachau
Eduard Sachau
blamed the theology of Ashʿari
Ashʿari
and its biggest defender, al-Ghazali, specifically for the decline of Islamic science starting in the tenth century, and stated that the two clerics were the only obstacle to the Muslim world
Muslim world
becoming a nation of "Galileos, Keplers and Newtons."[27] Others, however, argue that the Ashʿarites not only accepted scientific methods but even promoted them. Ziauddin Sardar
Ziauddin Sardar
points out that some of the greatest Muslim scientists, such as Ibn al-Haytham and Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, who were pioneers of the scientific method, were themselves followers of the Ashʿari
Ashʿari
school of Islamic theology.[28] Like other Ashʿarites who believed that faith or taqlid should apply only to Islam
Islam
and not to any ancient Hellenistic authorities,[29] Ibn al-Haytham's view that taqlid should apply only to prophets of Islam
Islam
and not to any other authorities formed the basis for much of his scientific skepticism and criticism against Ptolemy and other ancient authorities in his Doubts Concerning Ptolemy
Ptolemy
and Book of Optics.[30] Some authors have questioned the spiritual value of discussion methods employed by the Ashʿarites and other dialectical theologians. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, himself a leading figure of the Ashʿari
Ashʿari
school, said at the end of his life: "I employed all the methods which philosophy and dialectic had provided, but in the end I realised that these methods neither could bring solace to the weary heart nor quench the thirst of the thirsty. The best method and the nearest one to reality was the method provided by the Qur'an."[31] See also[edit]

List of prominent Ash'aris Early Islamic philosophy Islamic philosophy Islamic schools and branches Sufism Muʿtazila Bi-la kaifa

Notes[edit]

^ "al-Ashʿari". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. ^ Cyril Glassé, Huston Smith The New Encyclopedia of Islam
Islam
Rowman Altamira 2003 ISBN 978-0-759-10190-6 page 63 ^ Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari fima Nussiba ila al-Imam al-Ash`ari (Ibn 'Asakir) ^ Abdullah Saeed Islamic Thought: An Introduction Routledge 2006 ISBN 978-1-134-22564-4 chapter 5 ^ Juan Eduardo Campo Encyclopedia of Islam
Islam
New York, NY 2009 ISBN 978-1-438-12696-8 page 66 ^ Pall, Zoltan. Lebanese Salafis Between the Gulf and Europe. Amsterdam University Press. p. 18. Retrieved 12 July 2016.  ^ Halverson, J. Theology and Creed in Sunni
Sunni
Islam. Springer. p. 9. Retrieved 12 July 2016.  ^ Aaron W. Hughes Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam
Islam
Columbia University Press 2013 ISBN 978-0-231-53192-4 page 193 ^ Hamad al-Sanan, Fawziy al-'Anjariy, Ahl al- Sunnah
Sunnah
al-Asha'irah, pp.248-258. Dar al-Diya'. ^ Watt, Montgomery. Free-Will and Predestination in Early Islam. Luzac & Co.: London 1948. ^ M. Abdul Hye, Ph.D, Ash’arism, Philosophia Islamica. ^ "Imam Bayhaqi".  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2013-02-13.  ^ Corbin (1993), pp. 115 and 116 ^ John L. Esposito The Oxford History of Islam
Islam
Oxford University Press 2000 ISBN 978-0-199-88041-6 p. 281 ^ John L. Esposito The Oxford History of Islam
Islam
Oxford University Press 2000 ISBN 978-0-199-88041-6 p. 281 ^ John L. Esposito The Oxford History of Islam
Islam
Oxford University Press 2000 ISBN 978-0-199-88041-6 p. 281 ^ Aaron W. Hughes Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam
Islam
Columbia University Press 2013 ISBN 978-0-231-53192-4 page 194 ^ Ron Geaves Islam
Islam
Today: An Introduction A&C Black 2010 ISBN 978-1-847-06478-3 page 21 ^ Ian Richard Netton Encyclopaedia of Islam
Islam
Routledge 2013 ISBN 978-1-135-17960-1 page 183 ^ Aaron W. Hughes Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam
Islam
Columbia University Press 2013 ISBN 978-0-231-53192-4 page 194 ^ Cyril Glassé, Huston Smith The New Encyclopedia of Islam
Islam
Rowman Altamira 2003 ISBN 978-0-759-10190-6 page 63 ^ Alexander Knysh Islam
Islam
in Historical Perspective Taylor & Francis 2016 ISBN 978-1-317-27339-4 page 163 ^ Abdullah Saeed Islamic Thought: An Introduction Routledge 2006 ISBN 978-1-134-22564-4 chapter 5 ^ Abdullah Saeed Islamic Thought: An Introduction Routledge 2006 ISBN 978-1-134-22564-4 chapter 5 ^ Abdullah Saeed Islamic Thought: An Introduction Routledge 2006 ISBN 978-1-134-22564-4 chapter 5 ^ Muzaffar Iqbal, Science and Islam, pg. 120. From the Greenwood Guides to Science and Religion Series. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. ISBN 9780313335761 ^ Sardar, Ziauddin (1998), "Science in Islamic philosophy", Islamic Philosophy, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, retrieved 2008-02-03  ^ Anwar, Sabieh (October 2008), "Is Ghazālī really the Halagu of Science in Islam?", Monthly Renaissance, 18 (10), retrieved 2008-10-14  ^ Rashed, Roshdi (2007), "The Celestial Kinematics of Ibn al-Haytham", Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 17 (01): 7–55 [11], doi:10.1017/S0957423907000355  ^ Rashid Ahmad Jullundhry, Quranic Exegesis in Classical Literature, pg. 53-54. Islamic Book Trust/The Other Press, 2010. ISBN 9789675062551

References[edit]

Frank, Richard M. Classical Islamic Theology: The Ash`arites. Texts and Studies on the Development and History of Kalam. Vol. III. Edited by Dimitri Gutas (Aldershot, Ashgate Variorum, 2008) (Variorum Collected Studies Series).

External links[edit]

Who are the Ash'arites? Dar al-Iftaa Al-Missriyyah The Ash'ari's School of Theology Dar al-Iftaa Al-Missriyyah Ashariyys - The Knights of Knowledge and the Pioneers of Success www.sunna.info

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