Islam / Theology /
Also called: Ash'ari school; Ash'arite school
In Islam, theological orientation named after Abu l-Hassani l-Ash'ari who in the early 10th century promoted new ideas of understanding central concepts of Islam.
Prior to Ash'ari, the Mu'tazilis doctrine dominated Islamic theology. Opposition to Mu'tazilism seems to have predated Ash'ari, but it was with him that clear princples were defined. Among the core ideas of Ash'ari doctrine is:
Ash'arism first gained acceptance with the Shafi'i school of law, whereas the Hanafis accepted teachings of his contemporary al-Maturidi, which differed only marginally and Hanbali was in opposition to Ash'ari. Through the 10th to the 12th centuries Ash'aris slowly gained ground. Much help came from Al-Ghazzali who most successfully clarified the Ash'ari doctrine, and the embrace of Ibn Tumart, the founder of the Almohad Empire in western North Africa/Andalucia.
- God creates every moment in time, and every particle of matter. From this, cause and effect are merely illusions.
- Free will still exists. This is mainly of importance in relation to that human beings will be punished for evil acts.
- The Koran as created by God, but eternal in time.
- The nature and qualities of God are not possible for the human mind to comprehend.
- Still, human reasoning is a legitimate instrument for understanding of Islamic theology.
It is often suggested that before Al-Ash'ari, Islamic theology was built on methods from Christian theology, whereas the Ash'ari doctrine made Islam independent of this.