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|Topic: IMAM AL-MATURIDI|
Joined: 01 March 2000
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| Topic: IMAM AL-MATURIDI
Posted: 25 February 2006 at 4:07pm
Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheemassalamu alaikum
by Dr. G. F. Haddad
Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Mahmud Abu Mansur al-Samarqandi al-Maturidi al-Hanafi (d. 333) of Maturid in Samarqand, Shaykh al-Islam, one of the two foremost Imams of the mutakallimūn of Ahl al-Sunna, known in his time as the Imam of Guidance (Imām al-Hudā), he studied under Abu Nasr al-`Ayadi and Abu Bakr Ahmad al-Jawzajani. Among his senior students were `Ali ibn Sa`id Abu al-Hasan al-Rustughfani,1 Abu Muhammad `Abd al-Karim ibn Musa ibn `Isa al-Bazdawi, and Abu al-Qasim Ishaq ibn Muhammad al-Hakim al-Samarqandi. He excelled in refuting the Mu`tazila in Transoxiana while his contemporary Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari did the same in Basra and Baghdad. He died in Samarqand where he lived most of his life. The founder of the Egyptian Muniriyya Salafiyya Press, Munir `Abduh Agha wrote:
"There is not much [doctrinal] difference between Ash`aris and Maturidis, hence both groups are now called Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a."2
Al-Maturidi surpasses Imam al-Tahawi as a transmitter and commentator of Imam Abu Hanifa's legacy in kalām. Both al-Maturidi and al-Tahawi followed Abu Hanifa and his companions in the position that belief (al-īmān) consists in "conviction in the heart and affirmation by the tongue," without adding, as do Malik, al-Shafi`i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and their schools, "practice with the limbs." Al-Maturidi, as also related from Abu Hanifa, went so far as to declare that the foundation of belief consisted only in conviction in the heart, the tongue's affirmation being a supplementary integral or pillar (rukn zā'id).3
Among al-Maturidi's works:
* Kitab al-Tawhid on the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna. In it he states the following:
* Kitab Radd Awa'il al-Adilla, a refutation of the Mu`tazili al-Ka`bi's book entitled Awa'il al-Adilla;
* Radd al-Tahdhib fi al-Jadal, another refutation of al-Ka`bi;6
* Kitab Bayan Awham al-Mu`tazila;
* Kitab Ta'wilat al-Qur'an ("Book of the Interpretations of the Qur'an"), of which Ibn Abi al-Wafa' said: "No book rivals it, indeed no book even comes near it among those who preceded him in this discipline."7 Hajji Khalifa cites it as Ta'wilat Ahl al-Sunna and quotes as follows al-Maturidi's definition of the difference between "explanation" (tafsīr) and "interpretation" (ta'wīl):
* Kitab al-Maqalat;
* Ma'akhidh al-Shara'i` in Usul al-Fiqh;
* Al-Jadal fi Usul al-Fiqh;
* Radd al-Usul al-Khamsa, a refutation of Abu Muhammad al-Bahili's exposition of the Five Principles of the Mu`tazila;9
* Radd al-Imama, a refutation of the Shi`i conception of the office of Imam;
* Al-Radd `ala Usul al-Qaramita;
* Radd Wa`id al-Fussaq, a refutation of the Mu`tazili doctrine that all grave sinners among the Muslims are doomed to eternal Hellfire.
Most of the Hanafi school follows al-Maturidi in doctrine, but he evidently achieved lesser fame than al-Ash`ari because the latter entered into countless debates to defeat the opponents of Ahl al-Sunna while al-Maturidi, as Imam al-Kawthari said, "lived in an environment in which innovators had no power." The absence of a notice on Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi in al-Dhahabi's Siyar is a major omission in that masterpiece of biographical history.
1He narrated from Imam Abu Hanifa the saying: kullu mujtahidin musībun wa al-haqqu `inda Allāhi wāhid which means "Every scholar who strives [towards truth] is correct [whatever his finding], even if the truth in Allah's presence is one." Accordingly, al-Rustughfani differed with al-Maturidi who considered that the mujtahid is wrong in his ijtihād if his finding differs from the truth. Ibn Abi al-Wafa', Tabaqat al-Hanafiyya (p. 310, 362-363).
2In Namudhaj min al-A`mal al-Khayriyya (p. 134).
3Al-Tahawi, `Aqida §62: "Belief consists in affirmation by the tongue and acceptance by the heart." See "Ibn Abi al-`Izz," Sharh al-`Aqida al-Tahawiyya (4th ed. p. 373-374, 9th ed. p. 332). See also Risala Abi Hanifa ila `Uthman al-Batti in `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, Namadhij (p. 21-28).
4Something similar is narrated - without naming the angel - as part of a very long hadith from Ibn `Abbas by Abu al-Shaykh with a very weak chain in al-`Azama (4:1163-1179). Another hadith states: "The Messenger of Allah - Allah bless and greet him - told me that the sun, the moon, and the stars were created from the light of the Throne." Narrated from Anas by Abu al-Shaykh in al-`Azama (4:1140). See also al-Suyuti's al-Haba'ik fi Akhbar al-Mala'ik.
5Al-Maturidi, Kitab al-Tawhid (p. 72).
6Cf. Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-Zunun (1:518).
7Ibn Abi al-Wafa', al-Jawahir al-Mudiyya (p. 130).
8In Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-Zunun (1:334-335).
9The "Five Principles" of the Mu`tazila are:
Wallahu ta`ala a`lam wa ahkam.
Al-Lacknawi, al-Fawa'id al-Bahiyya fi Tarajim al-Hanafiyya p. 319-320 #412; Ibn Abi al-Wafa', al-Jawahir al-Mudiyya fi Tabaqat al-Hanafiyya p. 130, 310, 362-363; Al-Kawthari, introduction to al-Bayadi's Isharat al-Maram.
Allah bless and greet our Master Muhammad, his Family, and all his Companions.
Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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