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The Maturidiyyah are a faction amongst the factions of Ilm al-Kalaam, sharing with the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah and Ash'ariyyah in the foundations of their approach (i.e. Ilm ul-Kalaam) but differing with them on subsidiary matters following on from those kalaamist foundations. There was no immediate faction known as the Maturidiyyah after the death of its founder, Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333H), but the sect and its creed became formalized and codified a few centuries later.
The Founder: Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333H)
The founder of the Maturidiyyah is Abu Mansur Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Mahmood al-Maturidi as-Samarqandi, an ascription to Maturid, a place near to Samarqand, beyond the river, in what is today Uzbekistan. There is not a great deal of biographical accounts present for him and his upbringing, who he took knowledge from, his learning and influences. The teachers mentioned for him are Abu Nasr Ahmad al-Iyaadee, Naseer bin Yahyaa al-Balkhee, Muhammad bin Muqaatil ar-Raazee, Abu Bakr Ahmad al-Jawzjaanee.
He is held in veneration and respect by the Maturidiyyah who give him lofty titles such as the "Imaam of the Mutakallimeen". He was a contemporary of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (d. 324H), but it is not established that they met. What is common to them both is that they were present in a time in which there were battles between the people of the Sunnah and and the innovators, the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah. The Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah were the pioneers of Ilm ul-Kalaam, and through that they entered much deviation amongst the Muslims. The Kullaabiyyah, Maturidiyyah and Ash'ariyyah were also Ahl ul-Kalaam, and thus their doctrinal positions represented an attempt to reconcile between what was laid down by their predecessors in certain affairs, especially in the subject of al-Asmaa was-Sifaat, and between the madhhab of the Salaf.
Abu Mansur al-Maturidi died in 333H, and he had a number of works, amongst them "Ta'weelaat Ahl is-Sunnah" in which he gathered together many ta'weels whose origins lay with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, in their ta'weels of the verses pertaining to the Attributes. He also has a book, "Kitaab ut-Tawheed", based upon the way and path of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in affirming Allaah's Ruboobiyyah through ilm al-kalaam whilst negating and figuratively explaining away the attributes, opposing the way of the Salaf in that, differing only with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in what can and cannot be negated or denied for Allaah without invalidating their devised rational proof for His existence. He also had refutations of the Mu'tazilah, the Raafidah, and the Qaraamitah.
The creeds of the Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah are all approximate to each other in that they are all based upon the negation of what they call "hawaadith" (events, occurrences) from Allaah - which is a term used to refer to actions of Allaah that are tied to His will and power. As they perceive the universe to be nothing but a collection of events (hawaadith), then whatever gives the presumption of an event in the revealed texts, must be explained away. Thus, their ta'weel of istiwaa (ascent), and nuzool (descent) and ghadab (anger), mahabbah (love), ridhaa (pleasure) and so on.
In their debates with the Mu'tazilah, they were not able to free themselves completely of the doubts and arguments of the Mu'tazilah against them in this regard, whilst they did manage to argue rationally for the affirmation of the attributes. Thus, the creed of these factions became settled upon affirming the Names and some of the Attributes whilst rejecting the Sifaat Fi'liyyah.
And all of these factions are in opposition to the creed of the Salaf, the people of Hadeeth, Aathaar and Sunnah, whose creed was to affirm for Allaah whatever Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) affirmed for Him whilst negating takyeef and tashbeeh from all of that, and sticking to the revealed texts in both affirmation and negation of attributes for Allaah, and shunning ambiguous, or new terms not found in the revealed texts and nor used by the Salaf.
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