Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Ismail al-Ashari was born in the city of Basra

, Iraq, in 873. He was descended from the Asharia clan of Yemen who had governed Iraq during the time of the Prophet’s Successors. The foremost amongst the clan had been Abu Musa Al-Ashari, on whom the Prophet Muhammad had once singled out: “If the Asharis go on an expedition or if they only have a little food among them, they would gather all they have on one cloth and divide it equally among themselves. They are thus from me and I am from them“. Works The Ashari scholar Ibn Furak numbers Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari's works at 300, and the biographer Ibn Khallikan at 55;[10] Ibn Asāker gives the titles of 93 of them, but only a handful of these works, in the fields of heresiography and theology, have survived. The three main ones are: • Maqālāt al-islāmīyīn,[2] it comprises not only an account of the Islamic sects but also an examination of problems in kalām, or scholastic theology, and the names and attributes of Allah; the greater part of this works seems to have been completed before his conversion from the Mutaziltes. Kitāb al-luma[3] Kitāb al-ibāna 'an usūl al-diyāna,[4] an exposition of his developed theological views and arguments against Mutazilite doctrines. However the works is disputed as the last or the first books upon rejecting Mu'tazilite as mentioned by Imam Abu al-Hasan `Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Muqri (Ibn Matar) who died in the year 306: "Imam al-Ash`ari composed it in Baghdad upon his arrival there." [11]

• •

opposed the doctrines of the Mu'tazila The chief points on which he opposed the doctrines of the Mu'tazila were: (1)He held that God had eternal attributes such as knowledge, sight, speech, and that it was by these that He was knowing, seeing, speaking, whereas the Mu'tazila said that God had no attributes distinct from His essence. (t) The Mu'tazila said that qur'anic expressions, such as God's hand and face, must be interpreted to mean 'grace', 'essence' and so on. Al-Ash'ari, whilst agreeing that nothing corporeal was meant, held that they were real attributes whose precise nature was unknown. He took God's sitting on the throne in a similar way. (3) Against the view of the Mu'tazila that the qur'an was created, al-Ash'ari maintained that it was God's speech, an eternal attribute, and therefore uncreated. (4) In opposition to the view of the Mu'tazila that God could not literally be seen, since that would imply that He is corporeal and limited, al-Ash'ari held that the vision of God in the world to come is a reality, though we cannot understand the manner of it. (5) In contrast to the emphasis of the Mu'tazila on the reality of choice in human activity,

the school still had many powerful and brilliant patrons. His many followers came to be known as the Ash'ariyya [q. Al-Ashari went into spiritual retreat. He had the advantage. of having an intimate and detailed knowledge of the views of the Mu'tazila (as is shown by his descriptive work. in his sleep.). In the time of Al-Ashari. xix. JRAS. cf. and immediately went to a mosque to make public his repentance and repudiation of Mutazilite beliefs. cemented opposition for the Mutazilite school amongst traditional scholars. He had doubts about the positions that the Mutazilites held. cf. "O Ali.v. which were denied or rationally interpreted by the Mu'tazila. Jamal alDin al-Afghani. the Prophet confirmed the favor that had been bestowed on the clan of Asharia through the words: “They are thus from me and I am from them“. seems to have been the first to do this in a way acceptable a large body of orthodox opinion. (7) Al-Ash'ari maintained the reality of various eschatological features. (6) While the Mu'tazila with their doctrine of al-manzila bayn al-manzilatayn held that any Muslim guilty of a serious sin was neither believer nor unbeliever. In fact. good and evil. Asad al-Muhasibi. Maqalat alIslamiyyin. the Balance and intercession by Muhammad. Strothmann. he does not appear to have held the doctrine himself. though he hid the fact through a Shia device called taqiya. Al-Ash'ari was not the first to try to apply kalam or rational argument to the defence of orthodox doctrine. though he was familiar with the concept. though. in Islam. "Support the positions that have been transmitted from me. though they mostly deviated from him on some points. R. too. in which the Prophet also promised that Al-Ashari would receive divine aid in the effort." And thus. the Bridge. The mihna. the Basin. is commonly attributed to al-Ash'ari himself. but was liable to punishment in the Fire. while the Mutazilite school eventually waned amongst Sunni Muslims. father of modern-day Salafism. it remains a significant part of Shia Islam. t46 f. Al-Ash'ari. 19t9. and prayed for guidance. The dream occurred three times. and He creates the acts of men by creating in men the power to do each act. but. the Prophet Muhammad began to appear to him.] or Asha'ira. everything. Al-Ashari had little doubt that the dream was real. 1943. or disambiguation. however. At around 912.al-Ash'ari insisted on God's omnipotence. during the month of Ramadan. Then. 193-t4t). which was in later times characteristic of the Ash'ariyya. (The doctrine of 'acquisition' or kasb [q." the Prophet said. for they are the truth. where he began to re-examine many of his beliefs. as the inquisition came to be known. among those who had made similar attempts earlier was al-Harith b. is willed by God. al-Ash'ari insisted that he remained a believer.v. had also been a Shia Muslim who favored Mutazilism doctrines. Istanbul. .].

Hanbalis typically adopt a literal interpretation of the Quran and hadiths and despise all theology. One important issue in which the Mutazilites. CONCLUSION: In later life he moved to Baghdad. He greatly admired Ahmad ibn Hanbal because of the fact that the latter had remained steadfast in the face of Mutazilite persecution. Al-Ashari’s approach mirrored the approach of the Salaf. Al-Ashari cautioned that the Attributes are not to be understood in a crude anthropomorphic manner. Like Imam Ash-Shafi’i before him." . while on the other lay the firmly literal interpretations of the Hanbalis. then that is sufficient proof that he did so. That would have meant bestowing on God distinctly human characteristics. a trait that Imam Abdul Rahman ibn AlJawzi later accused some of his Hanbali colleagues of holding. they never understood the verses about God’s Attributes in a literal fashion. Al-Ashari made a robust argument that exclusive reliance on the Scripture alone is the attitude of the lazy or ignorant. Moreover. centuries after Al-Ashari. Revelation can be justified by reason only up to a certain point. One end of the spectrum lay the rationalist tendencies of his previous Mutazilite beliefs. refer to His Grace. The Mutazilites argued that when the Quran talks about God’s hands. While Al-Ashari also considered himself an adherent of the Hanbali methodology. Al-Ashari stated that if the Quran mentions that God created with His two hands.The position we take and the religious views we profess are: to hold fast to the book of our Lord and the Sunnah of the Prophet and to what has been related on the authority of the companions and the followers of the Imams of the Hadith. His method was to distill the best principles from both scripture and reason. However. but rather the descriptions just have to be accepted without asking how. while sole reliance on reason is dangerous. The Hanbalis. "…those who follow Abul Hasan Ashari and Abu Mansur Maturidi. Without doubt. Although the Salaf made no comment most of the time. we profess what Abu Abdullah Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal taught…and we contradict all who contradict his teachings. God’s Hands. a Hanbali scholar named Imam Abdul Rahman ibn Al-Jawzi would rise to criticize his contemporaries for extending Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s original position on God’s Attributes to zealous extremes. the verses must be interpreted metaphorically. the Prophetic dream that appeared to Imam Al-Ashari has had such a vast impact on the Islamic world that later scholars like Imam Ibn Hajar Haytami eventually came to define the entirety of Ahl al-Sunna waalJemaa as. who remain suspicious of all forms of theology. and died there in 3t4/935-6. asserted that if the Quran talks about God’s Hands. Al-Ashari developed a unique synthesis between opposing views of theology that trod between two extremes. eyes and face. for example. who read such verses without pausing and pondering over them. then it is God’s Hands and that is the end of it. the Hanbalis and Al-Ashari differed was on God’s Attributes. being literalists. the Two Imams of Ahl al-Sunna. He explained that it does not make linguistic sense to say that God had created ‘with My Grace’. The balance and relative stability that is inherent in al-Ashari’s theology endeared itself to most adherents of the major Schools of Jurisprudence. In fact. as some of the earlier generations of Muslim scholars had well understood. Anything beyond must simply be accepted as revealed truth. Al-Ashari followed Imam Ash-Shafi’i's School of Jurisprudence and possessed profound knowledge of the Quran and Hadiths. This is a principle known as bila kayf. with the exception of the Hanbalis.