Imam al-Maturidi

“one of the two foremost Imams of the mutakallimûn of Ahl al-Sunna, known in his time as the Imam of Guidance.”

 ”There is not much [doctrinal] difference between Ash`aris and Maturidis, hence both groups are now called Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a.”

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 mutakallimûn of Ahl al-Sunna, known in his time as the Imam of Guidance (Imâm al-Hudâ), 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 kalâm. Both al-Maturidi and al-Tahawi followed Abu Hanifa and his companions in the position that belief (al-îmân) 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 zâ’id).3

Among al-Maturidi’s works:

* Kitab al-Tawhid on the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna. In it he states the following:

“The Muslims differ concerning Allah’s place. Some have claimed that Allah is described as being ‘established over the Throne’ (`alâ al-`arshi mustawin), and the Throne for them is a dais (sarîr) carried by the angels and surrounded by them [as in the verses]: {And eight will uphold the Throne of their Lord that day, above them} (69:17) and {And you see the angels thronging round the Throne} (39:75) and {Those who bear the Throne, and all who are round about it} (40:7). They adduced as a proof for that position His saying: {The Merciful established Himself over the Throne} (20:5) and the fact that people raise their hands toward the heaven in their supplications and whatever graces they are hoping for. They also say that He moved there after not being there at first, on the basis of the verse {Then He established Himself over the Throne} (57:4).

“Others say that He is in every place because He said {There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be} (58:7), and {We are nearer to him than his jugular vein} (50:16) and {And We are nearer unto him than ye are, but ye see not} (56:85) and {And He it is Who in the heaven is God, and in the earth God} (43:84). This group consider that to say that He is in one place at the exclusion of another necessitate a limit for Him, and that every limited object comes short of whatever is greater than it, which would constitute a disgraceful defect. Further, they consider that to be in one place necessitates need to that place together with the necessity of boundaries….

“Others deny the ascription of place to Allah, whether one place or every place, except in the metaphorical senses that He preserves them and causes them to exist.

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