ASH'ARIYAH. The theological doctrine of the Ash'ariyah, the followers of al-Ash'ari, is commonly re­garded as the most important single school of system­atic theology in orthodox Islam. The school and its members are commonly referred to in Arabic as al­ash'ariyah and its members often as al-asha'irah (the "Ash'aris"). Ash'ari masters during the tenth and elev­enth centuries CE most commonly refer to themselves and the school as ahl al-haqq ("those who teach the true doctrine") or ahl al-sunnah wa-al-jama ah ("the adherents of the sunnah and the consensus [of the Muslim community]") and sometimes as ahl al-tahqiq ("those whose doctrine is conceptually clear and verified"). It should be noted, however, that other groups, including some opponents of the Ash'ariyah, use the same expressions, and the first two in particular, to describe themselves. Ash'ariyah is not, as such, identified with any single juridical tradition (madhhab); most Ash'ari theologians were Shafi'i, and some were famous as teachers of Shafi'i law, but a large number of them were Malik!, the most famous being the Maliki qadi ("judge") al-Baqillani.

The history of the school can be divided into two clearly distinguishable periods, the division falling about the beginning of the twelfth century CE. The first period, often referred to as that of classical Ash'ari theology, is characterized by the formal language, analysis, and argumentation of the Basran kalam employed by al­Ash'ari himself, while the second is characterized by the language, concepts, and formal logic of philosophy (falsafah), that is, of the Islamic continuation of Greek philosophy. [See Falsafah.] The school received strong offi­cial support under the Seljuk vizier Nizam al-Mulk (d. 1092), with many of its masters appointed to chairs of the Shafi'i law in the colleges (madrasahs) that he founded. Many scholars identify the acme of the school with the great Ash'ari masters of this period. Many, most notably Georges C. Anawati and Louis Gardet, have seen the introduction and adaptation of Aristotelian logic and concepts as analogous to the via nova of Western Scholastic theology and accordingly hold that the Ash'ari thinking of the later period is more sophisticated and more truly theological than that of the earlier period.

Principal Figures. We have very few concrete data concerning the teaching of al-Ash'ari's immediate dis­ciples. Abu Bakr al-Qaffal al-Shashi, Abu al-Hasan al­Bahili, and Abu Sahl al-Saluki are regularly cited in the theological writings of later Ash'ari thinkers, but the only theological work by one of his direct disciples that is known to have survived is the Ta'wil al-ayat al­mushkilah (The Interpretation of Difficult Verses) of Abu al-Hasan al-Tabari. In formulation and conception this work appears to follow the teaching of al-Ash'ari rigidly: the proof for the contingency of the world and the existence of God, for example, is not the one universally employed by the Ash'ariyah of succeeding generations, but depends directly on al-Ash'ari's Al-luma' (The Concise Remarks). The most important of al-Ash'ari's im­mediate disciples, however, was certainly al-Bahili; al­though al-Qaffal's student al-Halimi (d. 1012) is cited with some frequency by later authorities, it is three students of al-Bahili who dominate Ash'ari thinking in the next two generations. These are the qadi Abu Bakr al­Baqillani (d. 1013), Abu Bakr ibn Furak (d. 1015), and Abu Ishaq al-Isfara'ini (d. 1027).

Several of al-Baqillani's theological writings have survived and are published: two compendia of moderate length, Al-tamhid (The Introduction) and Al-insaf (The Equitable View), and a major work on the miraculous character of the Qur'an, I'jaz al-Qur'an (The Inimitability of the Qur'an). Of his longest and most important work, Hidayat al-mustarshidin (The Guidance of Those Who Seek to Be Guided Aright), however, only a part, yet unpublished, of the section on prophecy is presently known. A number of important works that are commonly cited appear not to have survived at all, among them a tract on the ontology of attributes and predicates entitled Ma yu'allal wa-ma la yu'allal (What Is Founded in an 'Illah and What is Not) and Al-naqd al-kabir (The Major Critique), which is perhaps a longer recension of his Naqd Al-naqd (The Critique of The Critique), a work written in response to the Naqd Al-luma' (The Critique of [al-Ash'ari's] Al-luma') composed by the great Mu'tazili master 'Abd al-Jabbar (d. 1024). Ibn Furak's Bayan ta'wil mushkil al-hadith (The Clear Interpretation of Difficult Traditions) was very popular in later times and survives in many copies, but among his dogmatic writings only a few short works, none of them published, are known to have survived. (The lengthy Usul al-din [Basic Doctrines] contained in the Ayasofya collection of Istanbul and attributed to him in several European handbooks is by his grandson.) Of al-Isfara'ini's writings, only one short compendium ('aqidah), yet unpublished, is known to have survived, although a large number of theological works are cited by later Ash'ari writers, among them Al-jami' (The Summa), Al­mukhtasar (The Abridged Compendium), Al-wasf wa-al­sifah (Predications and Attributes), and Al-asma' wa-al-­sifat (The Names and Attributes [of God]).

Among the Ash'ariyah of succeeding generations, the principal figures some of whose theological works are available and in part published are 'Abd al-Qahir al­Baghdadi (d. 1037), who studied with al-Isfara'ini; Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi (d. 1056), best known as a traditionist and jurisconsult; Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri (d. 1072), a student of both Ibn Furak and al-Isfara'ini, renowned as a teacher and writer on Sufism; his student Abu Sa'd al-Mutawalli (d. 1086), best known as a jurisconsult, and Abu Bakr al-Furaki (d. 1094), a grandson of Ibn Furak and son-in-law of al-Qushayri. We have none of the theological writings of Abu al-Qasim al-Isfara'ini (d. 1060), though his commentary on the Mukhtasar of Abu Ishaq al-Isfara'ini is often cited along with others of his works. His disciple Abu al-Ma'ali al-Juwayni (d. 1085), known as Imam al-Haramayn (Imam of the Holy Cities, that is, Mecca and Medina, to which he was forced to flee for a time), was not only one of the foremost Mus­lim theologians of any period but also the leading Shafi'i legist of his age.

A number of al-Juwayni's dogmatic works have sur­vived and are published, most important his Irshad (Guidance), the Risalah al-nizamiyah (The Short Tract for Nizam [al-Mulk], twice published under the title Al­'aqidah al-nizamiyah), and Al-shamil fi- usul al-din (The Complete Compendium of the Basic Doctrines), which is a very extensive exposition (tahrir) of al-Baqillani's commentary on al-Ash'ari's Al-luma'. A significant portion of Al-shamil is preserved, and the substance of the remainder survives in an abridgement of some two hundred folios by an unknown author, entitled Al-kamil fi  ikhtisar Al-shamil (The Perfect Abridgement of Al­shamil). Although the second major period of Ash'ari theology, already foreshadowed in some of al-Juwayni's work, is inaugurated by his most famous student, al­Ghazali, several of his disciples continued to pursue ka­lam in the traditional form, and their surviving works are of great importance as sources for our understand­ing of the development of the school in the classical period. These are the Usul al-din (Basic Doctrines) by al-Kiya' al-Harasi (d. 1110), a highly respected jurisconsult, and Al-ghunyah fi al-kalam (Sufficiency in Kalam) by Abu al-Qasim al-Ansari (d. 1118), of whose commen­tary on the Irshad of al-Juwayni a significant fragment is also preserved.

Doctrines and Methods of the Classical Period. The school of al-Ash'ari universally holds that the sources of theological knowledge are, in order of priority, the Qur'an, the sunnah, the consensus of the Muslim com­munity, and human reason, and their basic teaching varies little from one master to another during the classical period. God's being is eternal (qadim) and unconditioned; in his "self" (nafs, dhat) and in his "essential attributes" (sifat al-nafs), his nonexistence is impossible. Every being other than God and his essential attributes exists as an action of his that is finite, corporeal, and temporal, and therefore altogether unlike him. Temporal beings are referred to as God's "attributes of action" (sifat af'alihi), since it is they that are asserted to exist when any predicate of action such as "creates" or "sustains is said of him.

Though questioning the denumerability of the "essential attributes" of God, the Ash'ariyah all recognize seven principal ones: life, cognition, volition, the ability to act, sight, hearing, and speaking. They hold these to be real (thabitah) and distinguishable, as what is asserted by "wills" is distinct from what is asserted by "knows," and so forth; they are neither simply identical with God's "self" nor are they other than it, since "other" implies separability and therefore contingency. The objects of his ability to create are infinite and are known to him as such. What he knows will be, he wills to be, and nothing comes to be that he does not will; whatever comes to be, comes to be through his ability to act when and as his will determines.

As God is one, so each of his essential attributes is one: he knows an infinity of objects in a single, eternal cognition and wills the existence of an indefinite num­ber of beings in a single, eternal volition. Since he has neither needs nor desires, he cannot be said to act for a motive or reason. Neither his acts nor his commands can be rationalized; since he is the absolute Lord of creation, they are right and just ('adl) simply because they are his, independently of any apparent good or harm they may constitute or cause with respect to any creature. [See Attributes of God, article on Islamic Con­cepts.]

God makes himself known to the believer in a special way in the Qur'an, and one of the issues most vehemently contested between the Ash'ariyah and their op­ponents, both the Mu'tazilah and the Hanabilah, is the validity and sense of the thesis "the Qur'an is the un­created speech of God." According to the Ash'ari analysis, "speech" or "speaking" (kalam) refers to an interior intention that is materially signified and expressed by spoken, written, and remembered expressions (huruf). God's eternal attribute of speaking is one and undivided: it becomes differentiated into statements, commands, and so on in its material articulation in a par­ticular language by means of which it is revealed and manifested. Thus the believer's recitation (qira'ah) of the Qur'an, like the written copy, is created, but what is recited (maqru'), that is, the intention made present and understood, is the uncreated speaking of God.

The Qur'an is miraculous not merely because it fore­told and foretells future events, but in a unique way be­cause of the sublimity of its rhetorical expression. According to the Ash'ariyah God is properly described only by those expressions "by which he has described himself," that is, those given in the Qur'an and in the tradition. [See I'jaz for further discussion.] Although God's being is beyond the grasp of human intelligence, these predicates, known as "his most beautiful names" (asma'uhu al-husna), are known to be true and adequate. The Ash'ariyah analyze them systematically, first, in order to reduce them referentially to God's "self," to one of his essential attributes, or to one of his "attributes of action," and second, to examine their spe­cific connotations. That God is in some real sense visi­ble they hold to be rationally demonstrable; that he will be seen by the believers in the next life is known only by revelation.

Ontological bases of Ash'ari thought. According to the Ash'ari theologians of the classical period, the world consists of two kinds of primary entities: atoms, which are conjoined to form bodies, and the entitative "attri­butes" or "accidents" that reside in these atoms, each of which contains a single discrete instance of each class (fins) of accident or its contrary. The atoms perdure through many instants, but the "accidents," since they exist for only an instant, are continually created anew by God. Events are the coming to be of entities, and since God causes the existence of every entity, the causation of one event by another (tawallud) is denied. The system is thus fundamentally occasionalistic, and the interrelationships between distinct entities as they exist separately in temporal succession are little discussed as such in the available texts. [See Occasion­alism.]

Events that are properly described as human actions (aksab) are defined as those that are the immediate objects of a "created ability to act" (qudrah muhdathah) and are limited to those events that take place in the agent as and insofar as they are intended by the agent. As entities they are ascribed to God, as his action; under other descriptions they qualify the part, and only the part, of the agent in which they occur and are so ascribed to him as his action. The human agent is prop­erly said to be able to perform the act he performs only at the moment he actually performs it; only at this in­stant does God create in him the ability to perform it. On this basis the Ash'ari theologians are accused of holding that individuals are in some instances com­manded by God to do what they are not able to do (taklif ma la yutaq). Though this is formally true, appropriate distinctions are made between an agent's not being able to do something (ghayr qadir) and his being unable ('ajiz) to do it, and accordingly between voluntary omission (tark) and involuntary omission. This analysis of human actions was radically opposed by the Mu'tazilah, who considered it to be deterministic. Viewed from the standpoint of the Ash'ari school, however, the issue is not one of freedom and determinism, but of whether or not any event can occur indepen­dently of God's will and action.

In fact, the question of determinism is treated ambiv­alently in most of the texts we have. Those events that occur regularly as the apparent consequences of human actions are not considered as true effects of the basic act, but are created by God occasionalistically accord­ing to the consistency of the "convention" ('adah) that he freely follows in ordering material events. Miracles are events that God has created with a radical depar­ture from the sequence in which he usually makes things happen, in order to verify the divine origin of a prophet's message. Belief (iman) is essentially the assent (tasdiq) of the believer to the truth of God's message transmitted by the prophet, and one in whom this as­sent occurs is by definition a believer (mu'min). The as­sent requires, but is distinct from, cognition and entails, but is distinct from, the performance of what God commands. God commands the belief of the unbeliever but does not will it (otherwise he would believe). The obedience of the believers is neither the cause nor the necessary condition of their reward in the life to come; it is simply a criterion arbitrarily decreed by God. [See Free Will and Predestination, article on Islamic Concept.]

Ash'arian methods. The Ash'ari school disapproves of taqlid, the unreflecting assent to religious dogmas by simple acquiescence to recognized authority. They hold that, at least on a basic level, the believer ought to know the sense and coherence of what he holds to be true and should rationally understand the validity of its foundation in the Qur'an and the teaching of the Prophet. According to the traditionalist method, creedal and theological statements are established and verified through the collection of a consistent body of citations from the Qur'an, the Prophet, and recognized authori­ties among the first generations of Muslims, so that any deviant thesis can be excluded on grounds of contextual incompatibility with these canonical sources. By contrast, the Ash'ari method proceeds to a formal, logical, and conceptual analysis of the terms of each thesis on the basis of a rigid set of definitions and distinctions, axioms and principles, which both explain the elementary sense and foundation of the thesis and exclude any counterthesis as unfounded or inconsistent in some respect.

Among the most conspicuous aspects of the Ash'ari texts are the formalism that dominates both their expression and their intention and the narrow delimitation of topics as defined by the particular thesis. Since rigorous coherence. In the process, a certain diversity of teaching became apparent in the works of the leading masters. The distinction between the necessarily existent (the eternal) and the contingent (al-muhdath, the temporal) was fundamental.

Beyond this, most of the Ash'ari theologians of the classical period understood being univocally, to the ex­tent that terms meaning "entity" (shay', dhat, mawjud) were applied to the atoms and their accidental proper­ties alike. The Ash'ariyah of this period were basically nominalists. God determines the various kinds of beings, creating each with its distinctive characteris­tics; the names of the classes or kinds of things by which their individual instances are called are given originally in God's instruction (tawqif), not by human convention. The basic adjectival or descriptive terms that ascribe distinct or accidental properties to things are derived from the names of those properties, as 'alim (knows) is derived from 'ilm (cognition) to describe a subject in which a cognition exists.

The question of what qualifications or predicates of a being are or are not grounded (mu'allalah) in distinct properties was the subject of considerable discussion. Because the foundation of the system lay in its analytic formalism, problems inevitably arose concerning the universality of many terms. These were especially acute since they held that terms that name both human and divine attributes (life, cognition, volition, for example) are basically univocal, while asserting at the same time that God and his eternal attributes are wholly unlike created beings and so belong to no class (jins) of enti­ties: we know that these terms name God's attributes truly and adequately because they are used by God in the Qur'an. Formulations to the effect that God's will, for example, "is a volition unlike volitions" stated but did not adequately resolve the problem.

Following a formula found already in al-Ash'ari, Ibn Furak and others held that things simply "deserve" (is­tahaqqa) to be called by the terms that describe them properly and truly. Any subject in which there exists a cognition, for example, "deserves" to be described by the expression knows, and the cognition is, in each case, the reason or cause of the predication ('illat al­wasf); what they have in common (jami') is this cause or reason. What any two cognitions, on the other hand, have in common is simply that they deserve to be named by the expression cognition. Some authorities will speak of their having the same "particular charac­teristics" (khawass, khasa'is). Al-Baqillani, however, adapting a concept from his Mu'tazili contemporaries, posits the reality of non-entitative attributes or "states" (ahwal) of things, which are the referential or ontological basis of the universality of descriptive terms. In this the Ash'ariyah, unlike the Mu'tazilah, did not consider it necessary to found their theology autonomously on philosophical reasoning, the theoretical principles and implications of their doctrine are not extensively set forth in the texts. One begins from and always returns to the basic definitions and distinctions, which are pre­sented and argued in what often appears to be a rather peremptory manner. Even where positions are argued at great length in terms of a variety of questions and against a number of counterpositions, as in al-Juway­ni's Al-shamil, the discussion of the basic issue seldom advances much beyond its original statement. Conse­quently, and especially given the limited sources cur­rently available, for a number of important questions it is extremely difficult to interpret what is explicitly pre­sented within the broader implications of the question. For this reason, the Ash'ari kalam of the classical period has been considered chiefly a dialectic exercise and one that is mostly, if not entirely, apologetic in character. The formal disputation (munazarah) was from the out­set a central element in the study and cultivation of the religious sciences in Islam, and as in the case of Western Scholasticism, it largely determined the literary expression of Muslim theology.

A number of leading Ash'ari theologians wrote works on dialectics (jadal). Although the form of their presen­tation is often dialectical, few if any classical Ash'ari works are dialectically apologetic in the strict sense of the term, for both the question and the argument are always presented and elaborated within the narrow context of the formal and theoretical presuppositions of the school's own doctrine, not those presupposed by the counterthesis or any other that might presumably be acceptable to both disputants. Even so, their Muslim opponents, at first chiefly the Mu'tazilah and later the Karramiyah, had a significant catalytic effect on the development of Ash'ari theology in the classical period: they were not simply a source of countertheses that had to be dealt with, but were also significant figures within the religious and intellectual milieu, and as such were, along with the Hanabilah, competitors for the allegiance of the Muslim community and in some cases for patronage too.

Philosophical problems. It was apparently under pressure from the Mu'tazili school of Basra, then ap­proaching its zenith, that Ash'ari theology made rapid advances in sophistication toward the beginning of the eleventh century. Concepts that had remained some­what vague or inadequately elaborated in the work of al-Ash'ari and his immediate disciples underwent revision and redefinition, while principles and constructs that had not been sufficiently thought through were redefined and the system as a whole brought into more

way, every cognition, whether created or uncreated (eternal), is qualified by a state of "being a cognition" ('ilmiyah), and every subject in which there exists a cognition is qualified by a state of "being cognizant" ('alimiyah). Similarly a human action (kasb) is qualified by a state of being a human action (kasbiyah). Among the Ash'ari masters of the classical period, only al­Juwayni accepted and defended al-Baqillani's concept of "states."

There were a number of other difficulties and differences among the Ash'ari theologians of the period, though these are less clearly presented in the available sources. The school agreed, for example, that God is able to create an infinite number of individuals belong­ing to any given class of beings, but did not agree as to whether or not he is able to create an infinity of classes other than those he has actually created. The question of whether, and in what way, God's will is general or particular with regard to its objects was debated, but exactly how the problem was treated by the various au­thors remains unclear. Likewise, al-Juwayni, and he alone, it would seem, held that God's knowledge of creatures is general and not particular, but again the available sources do not give us an adequate view of his thought on the question. Though the same basic distinc­tions are made with regard to the createdness of human actions, and the same set of basic propositions are for­mally maintained by all authorities, there are differ­ences concerning the way the concrete relationships be­tween the elements involved in human actions are understood. Some, among them al-Juwayni, hold that the relationship between the created ability to act and its object is simply intentional. The antecedent or concomitant actuality of motivation and volition is seldom discussed in the available texts, since it is not formally pertinent, given the way the basic question of the createdness of human actions is posed and treated. The most conspicuous deviation from the normal form of the school's teaching in this period is found in al­Juwayni's Risalah (or 'Aqidah) dedicated to Nizam al­Mulk. Although he maintains the basic theological dog­mas of the school, the way in which they are presented and explained is new and, in the case of some major elements, irreconcilable not only with the teaching of his predecessors but also with that of his own major theological writings. In many respects the work antici­pates the fundamental trend of the following period.

Later Ash'ariyah. With the rapidly increasing assimi­lation of ancient and Hellenistic learning, both scien­tific and philosophical, and its integration into the in­tellectual life of Islam, the change in both language and conceptualization that characterizes the second major period of Ash'ari theology was inevitable: the urgent need of Sunni orthodoxy to counter the growing influ­ence of Isma'ili gnosticism and of the philosophers (falasifah), particularly the Neoplatonism of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), made it imperative. The three most creative theologians of this period were al-Ghazali (d. 1111), al­Shahrastani (d. 1153), a student of Abu al-Qasim al-Ansari, and Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 1209). The major Ash'ari texts surviving from this period are more nu­merous and also more diverse than those of the earlier school, since many of them, especially those of al-Ghazali and al-Razi, enjoyed great popularity over the centuries, while the earlier works, rapidly outdated, became progressively more remote in concept and expression. The apologetic and polemic of the Ash'ari theologians of this period engage their rationalistic opponents directly, not merely in their own language, but on purely rational grounds, as in al-Ghazali's famous refutation of Ibn Sina's philosophy, Tahafut al-falasifah (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), and in al-Shahrastani's Musara'at al-falasifah (Wrestling the Philoso­phers Down). Where the formal and theoretical princi­ples of their doctrine were not much discussed in the texts of the classical period, they are now set forth in extensive detail.

The general attitudes of the three great masters of the period and the character of their thought manifest sig­nificant differences, however. Al-Ghazali's view of the nature and value of formal, systematic theology, in par­ticular, was not shared by other Ash'ari thinkers either before or after him. In the wake of intellectual and re­ligious crises, he became convinced that the only valid and certain knowledge of God is given in direct mysti­cal experience. As a result, where the common Ash'ari tradition held that systematic theology furnishes a sound and valuable, if not essential, conceptual foun­dation for one's belief, al-Ghazali insists that it is wholly inadequate. Since it cannot be grounded in autonomous human reason, moreover, it is at best founded in taqlid and, he concludes, has no valid func­tion other than as a dialectical apologetic. He did, how­ever, produce two kalam compendia in the traditional form, the Iqtisad fi al-i'tiqad (The Just Mean in Belief) and the Qawa'id al-'aqa'id (Foundations of the Creeds, which is book 2 of the first part of his Ihya' 'ulum al-din [The Vitalization of the Religious Sciences]). While these works by no means embody his entire theology, they are demonstrative of his dogmatic thought as it re­lates to the Ash'ari tradition.

In these works, as in al-Shahrastani's Nihayat al­iqdam fi 'ilm al-kalam (The Furthermost Steps in the Science of Kalam), one sees not so much a sudden and radical break with the past as an effort to rethink and recast the basic dogmas within an expanded theoretical framework, one that required and produced a definite, and ultimately definitive, movement away from the rigid kind of analysis and close restriction of topics that had characterized the school since its foundation. The traditional formulation of the basic dogmatic theses is thus consistently maintained, but the exposition and ar­gumentation of most of them is in many respects new and often impressive.

Against what they regard as an impoverished concep­tion of God's being held by the falasifah, al-Ghazali and al-Shahrastani set forth an understanding of the tradi­tional seven essential attributes that, in taking them more as aspects of God's "essence" than as distinct properties, is somewhat analogous to the position of the Mu'tazili school of Basra. The relation between God's eternal power, knowledge, and will and their temporal objects is more thoroughly and explicitly explored than in earlier Ash'ari texts and in different, more Aristotelian terms. God's speaking is conceived in terms akin to cognition, with all modalities of interior speech tending to be reduced to propositions. The attribute of "perdurance" (al-baqa'), previously rejected by a number of Ash'ari masters, is considered simply as a negative concept ("perdures" = "does not cease to exist") by al­Ghazali, who explicitly rejects the earlier conception of the ontological grounding of attributes.

Where the classical doctrine of the school had held that all beings other than God are corporeal, the Ash'ari theologians now recognize the existence of a host of "spirits" (arwah) belonging to the "upper world" (al­'alam al-a'la). The atomistic conception of material bod­ies continues to be stated in much the same terms as before, but on another level, living beings tend to be talked of not as mere composites of atoms and their dis­crete "accidents," but as beings having a real, essential unity. The conception of God as the sole cause of the existence of every contingent being is maintained, though now discussed and argued with somewhat dif­ferent terminology, as is the thesis of the createdness of human actions, which continues to be set forth on the basis of the same set of distinctions as in the texts of the classical period. The occasionalistic language that char­acterizes classical Ash'ari writing is formally retained, but its radical tone is to some extent mitigated and the function of secondary causes plainly recognized.

The adoption of Aristotelian psychology is of signal importance. The changing perspective of the Ash'ari kalam is perhaps most conspicuously exemplified in al­Ghazali's discussion of what is morally good and bad, right and wrong. The traditional Ash'ari conception of ethical valuations in terms of obligation based in God's unconditioned command, license, and prohibition he rationalizes through a sort of utilitarianism of virtue: one ought always to act for his own ultimate good (that is, that to be achieved in the next life), and this is uniquely made known in God's revelation. He accounts for good (hasan) and bad (qabih) not directly in what is commanded and forbidden but, harmonizing Sufi teach­ing with an Aristotelian notion of virtue, in terms of ends (aghrad), where moral perfection is measured by one's nearness to God.

If in their kalam works al-Ghazali and al-Shahrastani seem to have harmonized or juxtaposed disparate con­ceptual frameworks in a synthetic unity, this is not the case with al-Razi, who maintained a profound commit­ment to the Muslim philosophical tradition. He wrote extensively on philosophy (as well as on medicine and other sciences), and in his principal kalam works, Ma'alim usul al-din (The Landmarks of Fundamental Doctrine) and the much longer Kitab al-arba'in fi usul al-din (The Forty [Questions] concerning Fundamental Doctrine), as also in his monumental commentary on the Qur'an, we find Ash'ari theology almost fully adapted to the conceptual universe of the philosophical tradition. Indeed, it seems possible that in some places al-Razi may follow his philosophical sources (chiefly Ibn Sina) so far as to compromise one or more of the fundamental theological tenets of the school. The number and diversity of his works are so great, how­ever, that with the present state of our knowledge it is not possible to come to a firm assessment of his thought.

After al-Razi, Ash'ari theology is continued chiefly in a series of manuals eclectically dependent upon the great writers of the past. The most famous of these, Al­mawaqif fi usul al-din (The Stages in Fundamental Doc­trine) of 'Adud al-Din al-Iji (d. 1355), has continued to serve as a textbook on theology to the present day. Among the various commentaries written on it, the most important and widely used is that of al-Jurjani (d. 1413), and together with this text the Mawaqif has gone through a large number of printed editions since the early nineteenth century.

Because of the differences in language and concep­tualization between the Ash'ari theology of the classical period and that of later times, especially after al-Razi, it is impossible to define or characterize the tradition in terms of a single way of conceiving, formulating, and dealing with theological and metaphysical problems. The original success of Ash'ari theology stemmed from the kind of coherent balance it achieved between ra­tional understanding and a religious sense that was rooted in a basically conservative reading of the Qur'an and the sunnah. Its development followed the religious and intellectual evolution of Sunni Islam. The unity of the school lies largely in its common adherence to a basic set of theses, which sets it apart from other Mus­lim schools of speculative theology, such as the Maturidiyah, on the one hand, and in its conceptual rationali­zation of these theses, which sets it apart from the more rigid traditionalists, on the other. Above all, it is the tradition's sense of its own continuity, beginning with the immediate disciples of al-Ash'ari, that allows it to be identified by itself and others as Ash'ari.

[For further discussion of Ash'ari theology, see Kalam and the biographies of al-Ash 'ari, al-Ghazali, al-Iji, Nizam al-Mulk, al-Razi, and al-Shahrastani. For discus­sion of related trends in Islamic theology, see Mu'tazilah; Hanabilah; and the biographies of Abu al-Hudhayl al-'Al­laf and al-Maturidi.]



Ess, Joseph van. Die Erkenntnislehre des 'Adudaddin al-Ici, Ubersetzung and Kommentar des ersten Buches seiner Mawa­qif. Wiesbaden, 1966. The extensive commentary here pre­sents a vast amount of valuable material on the history of a large number of questions treated by the Ash'ariyah and other Muslim theologians from the earliest period.

Frank, R. M. "Two Short Dogmatic Works of abu l-Qasim al­Qushayri: 'Luma' fi l-i'tiqad."' Mélanges de l'Institut Domi­nicain d'Etudes Orientales 15 (1982): 53-74.

Frank, R. M. "al-Fusul fi l-usul: Part Two." Mélanges de l'Insti­tut Dominicain d'Etudes Orientales 16 (1983): 59-94.

Kholeif, Fathalla. A Study on Fakhr al-Din al-Razi and His Con­troversies in Transoxiana. Beirut, 1966. Contains text and translation of al-Razi's Munazarat fi-ma wara' al-nahr to­gether with a somewhat superficial commentary.

Klopfer, Helmut, ed. and trans. Das Dogma des Imam al-Hara­main al-Djuwainî and sein Werk al- Aqîdat an-nizâmîya. Cairo, 1958. A very brief discussion of al-Juwayni's teaching followed by the translation of the Nizamian creed.

K?bert, Raimund. Bayan muskil al-ahadit des Ibn Furak, Aus­wahl nach den Handschriften in Leipzig, Leiden, London and dem Vatikan. Analecta Orientalia, vol. 22. Rome, 1941. Although it does not contain the entire text, this edition and translation of Ibn Furak's Interpretation of Difficult Traditions does have the author's preface (omitted in Eastern editions of the work!), which is of considerable importance for under­standing the principles of Ash'ari theology and exegesis in the period.

Lucian?, J: D., ed. and trans. El-Irchâd par l'Imâm El-Harameïn. Paris, 1938.

McCarthy, Richard J. Freedom and Fulfillment: An Annotated Translation of al-Ghazali's al-Munqidh min al-Dalal and Other Relevant Works of al-Ghazali. Boston, 1980. Al-Ghazali is one of the most studied and translated of Muslim religious writers; this work contains a fulsome discussion of his personality and thought and an excellent critical bibliography in which studies on al-Ghazali and translations of his other works are listed and evaluated.


Allard, Michel. Le problème des attributs divins dans la doctrine d'al-As'arî et de ses premiers grands disciples. Beirut, 1965. A detailed study of the texts and teaching of al-Baqillani, al­-Baghdad!, al-Bayhaqi, and al-Juwayni; a valuable work.

Bouman, J. Le conflit autour du Coran et la solut?on d'al-Bâqillânî. Amsterdam, 1959.

Frank, R. M. "Moral Obligation in Classical Muslim Theology." Journal of Religious Ethics 11 (1983): 204-233. A general analysis of the theology of moral action in classical Ash'ari thought.

Frank, R. M. "Bodies and Atoms: the Ash'arite Analysis." In Medieval Islamic Thought: Studies in Honor of George F. Hourani, edited by M. E. Marmura, pp. 39-53. Toronto, 1984. A study of several basic concepts and their develop­ment during the period of the classical Ash'ariyah.

Gardet, Louis, and Georges C. Anawati. Introduction a la théologie musulmane (1948). 2d ed. Paris, 1970. Still the best introduction to the general topic and to the role and character of Ash'ari theology in Islam.

Gimaret, Daniel. Theories de l'acte humain en théologie musul­mane. Etudes musulmanes, vol. 24. Paris, 1980. Contains a detailed account of the teaching of al-Ash'ari and the most important Ash'ari thinkers into the sixteenth century CE, to­gether with translations and paraphrases of portions of a number of important works.

Hourani, George F. "A Revised Chronology of Ghazali's Writ­ings." Journal of the American Oriental Society 104 (1984): 289-302.

Jabre, Farid. La notion de la 'Ma'rifa' chez Ghazali. Beirut, 1958. A study of al-Ghazali's understanding of the nature of reli­gious knowledge and human knowledge of God.

Rubio, Luciano. "Los As'ar?es, te?logos especulativos, Muta­k?llimes, del islam." Ciudad de Dios 190 (1977): 577-605; 192 (1979): 355-391; 193 (1980): 47-83. An account, without much analysis, of the teaching of al-Baqillani, al-Juwayni, and al-Ghazali concerning creation and human action.

Watt, W. Montgomery. "The Authenticity of the Works Attributed to al-Ghazali." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1952): 24-45.

Watt, W. Montgomery. The Formative Period of Islamic Thought. Edinburgh, 1973. More a study of the period than of theology. An excellent introduction to the historical con­text of classical Ash'ari thought.


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