Tag: ashari

Summary of Ash`ari-Maturidi differences

Nur al-Din Hasan ibn Abd al-Muhsin Abu al-Salah Zadeh (d. ca. 1225H / 1810CE), known as Abu Adhaba, compiled a brief treatise (al-Rawda al-Bahiyya fi-ma bayn al-Asha`ira wal-Maturidiyya) summarizing the differences between these two theological, kalam-based schools. He listed 7 issues of superficial disagreement, and 6 issues where the disagreement has more substance. Note that most of these issues are high-level academic issues of limited relevance to practical life, and the non-scholar need not concern himself with them. (Indeed, it may do more harm than good for someone who has not mastered the basics of Islamic theology (`aqida) to delve into these issues.

Superficial Issues

  1. Is it permissible to say, ‘I am a believer if God wills,’ ?
  2. Unbelievers who later accepts Islam: in the period before they believe are they described as شقي (wrteched) or سعيد (fortunate)?
  3. Can it be said that God bestows favor on an unbeliever?
  4. Does the status of ‘Messenger of God’ remain in effect after death in a literal sense?
  5. Does God’s will (irada) the same as God’s approval (rida)?
  6. What is the status of someone who believes by blind faith alone?
  7. By what metaphysical mechanism do human beings acquire (kasb) their deeds?

Issues of Substanace

  1. The hypothetical possibility of a righteous person being punished by God
  2. If the obligation to know God based on human reason, or scripture?
  3. Are God’s Attributes of Action eternal or not?
  4. It is possible to hear that aspect of God’s speech that is considered an eternal attribute?
  5. The hypothetical possibility of God’s tasking a person beyond their capability
  6. Regarding the precise nature of `isma (inerracy) of the Prophets.

NOTE: The above lists are not necessarily comprehensive. For example, we could potentially add at least two more:

  1. Regarding the permissibility of figurative interpretation of descriptions of God that might be deemed anthropomorphic. (Mentioned by Mulla `Ali Qari (d. 1014H / 1606CE), in his Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar)
  2. Whether good and evil can be discerned by human effort without the aid of revelation. (Mentioned by Ibn Kamal Pasha (d. 940H / 1534CE)