The Mutazilites and the Asharites Theological Stances Essay

One key theological around which these schools offered their different responses was that of the status of the Quran- what is it, exactly? Was it, itself something created or uncreated..

Mutazilites and the Asharites are two Islamic groups that have different theological stances. Mutazilah is an Islamic school founded by the Mutazilites who affirm that the ideal unity and everlasting nature of God makes possible for the creation of the Quran as it couldnt be co-everlasting with God. The name Mutazili originated from the 8th century as an Arabic translation, meaning one who separated. It originated from Basra and Baghdad. The Mutazillite school was started in Iraq by Wasil b. Ata, an apprentice of the renowned academic, Hasn al-Basri.

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They were the first group of Muslim to lift up the flag of prudence in the Islamic society. They were the ones who raised the banner of revolution independent and then continued to reflect the nature and the relationship between the two things separately. The school thrived through until the 11th century when the school in Basrs faced invasion and later forced the Mutazilite become a distinct movement. The Mutazilite doctrine is today regarded as heretical by the Sunnis people as it continues to be influential among those Shiites in Persia and the Zaydis in Yemen (Binymn & Qsim 1996).

On the other hand, the Ashari theology school was founded by a theologian, . Al-Ashari was the leading theological school in Sunni Islam. The formation of Ashari theology school was as a result of its founder Abu al-Hasans (who was once the head of the Basran school) denouncement of being a member of the Mutazillite and was now focused on opposing the Mutazilah. Those who attend the school are referred to as Asharites. The goals set to be accomplished by the two schools were the same to this was to ascertain the transcendence and unity of God. Although this is the case, they differed in their doctrines. Each school had its own separate doctrine; the Asharites, are known to have supported an Islamic occassionalist doctrine while the Mutazilite supported the Islamic philosophy of being which was influenced by Aristotelianism and Neoplantonism.

Mutazilites theological stance
Mutazilism is founded on five basic principles: first, the Divine unity, al-tawhid in Arabic; secondly, the Divine justice, al-adl; thirdly, the Divine promise and threat, ; fourthly, the place between the two places, ; and lastly, commanding the good and prohibiting the evil, al-amr bi al-maruf wa-al-nahy an al-munkar (Yasir 2008).

The Mutazilites believed in the principal of upholding morality. They believe in the objectivity of moral values regardless as to whether there was an existence of prophets or not. They believed that ethics existed and that it had its own autonomous significance. In other words, according to them every individual has the power to reason and decide what is morally good or what is morally wrong and to them, however, God is the one who is responsible of giving the affirmation verdict of reason. According to the Mutazilites, rational good and wrong acts are not necessary derived from all the apparent things but also reasonableness can be based on experience too.

The Mutazilites did not view the concept of causality as a simple scheme instead to them the scheme was rather a difficult fact in regards to the relationship they had upon their vision on atomism and their set position on qadr. They had strong advocates of free will that is why they opposed the fact that God had anything to do with the creation of mans actions. The Mutazilites were in support of the principle that man was responsible of creating his own actions based on the power God had given him. In the Islamic world, there it is very clear that there is no Islamic sect that regards justice as one of the divine attributes (Yasir 2008).

According to Mutazilites, it is reasonably possible to judge actions as either being evil or good. They use this as way through which they would be able to understand qadr. The Mutazilites believe that it would be unfair and act of injustice if God would be responsible of creating peoples actions and in the same scenario be the one responsible of punishing the them because of the action that he himself created while denying him the free will. The Mutazilites emphasized on Gods justice while the Ashrites gave supremacy to Gods omnipotence. Hence God should not be seen as the one responsible for the creation of mans deeds/actions. The Muzilites use the Sacred Law for their affirmation of the fact that the intellect have already been judged.

According to the Mutazilites, anything that had no meaning related to inherent of a being and had no extraneous essence was considered as an accident. Further explanations given by Al-Q Abd al-Jabbr state that once God is considered to have any power then it would imply that God was body since power can only reside on a body and then it would mean that accidents resided within God (Binymn & Qsim 1996). This would clearly be reasoned out that if God were a body, then God was created. Thus, the Mutazilite doctrine was majorly concerned with how best they would put Gods attributes and capabilities like God knows with His essence, or God knows with a knowing that is Himself, or Gods knowing implies that He is not ignorant, and so forth (Ghaffarian 2008).

Asharites theological stance
In theological implications of atomism, the Asharites beliefs are based upon the cosmological point of view in that an accident cannot last two possible instances in a given time. That is, once there has been an accident or there occurs an accident, then the accident stops to exist. According to the Asharites, under all means there can neither be an association of one event in time with another nor a perpetuity of two moments. That is to say that if a given object was to remain on the same position of rest, then there has to be a way in which the accident of rest can be created continuously and recreated after each successive instant so that an object can remain in the same position (Binymn & Qsim 1996).

Also according to them, only God has the power to create accidents to occur each day on individual persons during each instant time, meaning the Asharites believe that God controls everything in specific instances. Asharites affirmed that God had not at all changing attributes of life which include seeing, power, and ability to interpret other figurative attributes, hearing and any type of motion.

In regards to predestination, the Asharites held that the actions of a servant are directly created by God himself. God is responsible for the actions that a servant is engaged in without necessarily the servant rooting the acts. But the servant is the one who then faces the consequences of either being rewarded or punished for his action. Hence to them, free will is only an illusion because all actions are as a result of Gods will (Randall 1998). The theory was written by the founder of the theological school al-Ashar himself. The concept is commonly referred to as the theory of acquisition or kasb. The theory is based on Asharites belief that God is responsible for creating and recreating accidents each and every time. It is also because of the atomism factor that made the Asharites deny both ordinary fundamentality and the possibility of a human free will.

The Asharites believe that God does not favor evil deeds but only favors good deeds. Thus, to them there would be no acts that would be judged as either being neither good nor evil in terms of the roles played by human intellect and rationality because to them there is no action that is intrinsically just or unjust. For the Asharites, unless it is stated by God himself, there is no act that is neither good nor wrong.

Furthermore, they believe that God is not responsible for punishing any individual upon doing a certain action but any gift from him is a reward and any form of punishment is said to be his way of showing evenhandedness and there is nothing that is obligated to him (Groff & Leaman 2007). This is what the Asharites use to define what is evil. For them, it is evil to deny a man free will and be the one to punish him for participating in actions which God created. Their reasoning was that man did not have the capacity to determine what was good and what was evil only God had that power to decide.

The Al-Ashari and Mutazilites concepts compare and differ on various theological stances. On the comparison, Mutazilites just like the Asharites understand and state that God is almighty with His power, Allah qadir bi-qudratih (Groff & Leaman 2007). On the contrast, the Asharites beliefs are based upon the cosmological point of view in that an accident cannot last two possible instances in a given time. That is, once there has been an accident or there occurs an accident, then the accident stops to exist. On the contrary, Mutazilites described an accident as an unnecessary fundamental nature of material. According to the Mutazilites anything that had no meaning related to inherent of a being and had no extraneous essence was considered as an accident.

Another differentiating aspect is on the rational morality concept. The Mutazilites believe in the principal of upholding morality and on the objectivity of moral values regardless as to whether there was an existence of prophets or not and every person has the power to determine what is right and wrong. However, the Ashrites believe that it is only God who has power to determine what was right and wrong.

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