Al-Ash'ari facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsAbū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʿarī
A depiction of Baghdad from 1808, taken from the print collection in Travels in Asia and Africa, etc. (ed. J. P. Berjew, British Library); al-Ashʿarī spent his entire life in this city in the tenth-century
Champion of Islam
Imām of the Scholastic Theologians
Imām of the Sunnis
|Venerated in||Sunni Islam|
|Major shrine||Tomb of al-Ashʿarī, Baghdad, Iraq|
|Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʿarī|
Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʿarī in Arabic calligraphy
|Born||AH 260 (873/874)
Basra, Abbasid Caliphate
|Died||AH 324 (935/936) (aged 64)
Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate
|Title||Imām al-mutakallimūn, Imām ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʿah|
|Works||Maqalat al-Islamiyyin wa Ikhtilaf al-Musallin (The Treatises of the Islamic Schools), al-Luma' fi al-Rad 'ala Ahl al-Ziyagh wa al-Bida' (Refutation to Heresy), Al-Ibanah 'an Usul al-Diyanah, Risalah ila Ahl al-Thaghr|
|Influenced||the entire Ash'ari school|
Al-Ashʿarī ( الأشعري; full name: Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Ismāʿīl ibn Isḥāq al-Ashʿarī; c. 874–936 (AH 260–324), reverentially Imām al-Ashʿarī) was an Arab Sunni Muslim scholastic theologian and eponymous founder of Ashʿarism or Asharite theology, which would go on to become "the most important theological school in Sunni Islam".
According to scholar Jonathan A.C. Brown, although "the Ash'ari school of theology is often called the Sunni 'orthodoxy,'" ""the original ahl al-hadith, early Sunni creed from which Ash'arism evolved has continued to thrive alongside it as a rival Sunni 'orthodoxy' as well." According to Brown this competing orthodoxy exists in the form of the "Hanbali über-Sunni orthodoxy".
Al-Ashʿarī was notable for taking an intermediary position between the two diametrically opposed schools of theological thought prevalent at the time. He opposed both the Muʿtazilites, who advocated the extreme use of reason in theological debate and believed the Quran was created, as opposed to uncreated. Ashari refuted this by stating "if the Quran was created then that implied God created this knowledge, and thus did not have knowledge of the Quran before this, and this contradicts God's omnipotence as he is all knowing, and therefore must have always had knowledge of the Quran". The Zahirites, Mujassimites and Muhaddithin, were also opposed to the use of philosophy or kalam, and condemned any theological debate altogether.
Al-Ashʿari's school eventually won "wide acceptance within some sects of Sunni Islam. However the Shi'a do not accept his beliefs, as Ashari's works involved refuting Shi'ism and Mu'tazilism, which was the doctrine held by Shi'as. His original versions of his text did not survive.