Talk:Ash'ari

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Notes[edit]

Some notes about this article:

  • it follows the convention of naming articles about the historical impact of a term or name of school by the name of that shool alone, as an adjective, e.g. Platonist. By contrast those that take an historical perspective are named by their period in time, e.g. early Muslim philosophy, those that take an ethical perspective by the religion or morality involved, e.g. Islamic philosophy, and the use of the term "Western" to mean all of the Mediterranean basin, including the 'Near East' whose history is not really separable. Culture centric terms like 'Dark Ages' or even 'medieval' or 'feudal' are probably bad in titles of articles that are not specifically about what those words mean as such.
  • It references most of the important conservative philosophers of Islam in this period, and is meant to parallel the article on the rival school of the Mutazilites, whose conflict with each other is characterized along with the earlier schools of hadith and kalam using isnah and ijtihad respectively, in the article on early Muslim philosophy - a methodological and historical treatment - thus given the time focused name 'early'. For contrast, a similar article on early Christian philosophy would have to describe the triumph of the Roman Catholic view over Gnostic and similar 'heresies', culminating in Augustine's City of God. In this case the 'early' Christians would be 1st to 5th century, and the 'early' Muslims are 6th to 15th century. Hopefully that's ok, as the point is to discuss the impact on Muslims and Christians, not to help boneheads who think there is such a thing as 'early' civilization in general.
  • Statements about Ataturk's moves and motivations could be better documented, but of course he didn't exactly say 'I'm trashing your culture deliberately' to the ulema, so this is necessarily a bit speculative. Would be nice to find a quote of some Asharite by any modern Turkish politician, but perhaps they're not obvious about it.
  • Statement about sociology of knowledge should be better documented and raised in that article. Likewise The Incoherence of the Philosophers itself needs a detailed article with deep analysis, like other influential papers, e.g. The Cruelty of Really Teaching Computer Science or On Fairy-Stories or The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences and lots more.
  • There's some discussion of The Muqadimmah in the meta, and whether its framework could be applied to editorial standards, so it's reasonable to say it's relevant to wikipedia.

This article as it stands today needs to be entirely re-done.

It contains many inaccurate statements:

  • Ibn Rushd is not a Mu'tazili. He is philosopher. There is a big difference.
  • Ibn Khaldun did not have a part in the rise of Ashari thought at all.
  • Ash'aris have nothing to do with the closure of the gates for ijtihad. It was in late medieval times, mainly under the Mamelukes and the Ottomans that this came into being.

The article also dwells a lot on history unrelated to Ashari thought in many cases (e.g. Khilafa downfall in 1924, Andalus fall in 1492, history authors in Islam, ...etc.)

It should be broken down into two separate articles:

  • Biography of Abu Al Hassan Al Ashari, the founder, his life, his debates, his works, his thought.
  • Ash'ari theology and thought, how they developed as a response to Mutazilis, its main proponents, and contrasting it with Salafi and Maturidi thought.

-- Khalid B. 15:32, 2004 Apr 8 (UTC)


Ibn Rushd, a Mutazilite, famously responded that "to say that philosophers are incoherent is itself to make an incoherent statement." But this shallow response could not refute Al-Ghazili's view. This statement is incorrect because Ibn Rushd was most certainly not a Mutazilite and his response was not shallow since he wrote a whole book to address Al-Ghazali's objections. "The famously responded" thing seems to be a quote from the beginning of the book. --Vonaurum 07:37, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Has this article been replaced yet? What is the title? This is one of the worst pieces of work I've ever seen on Wikipedia. In addition to what was pointed out above, "The Incoherence..." is not really a work of systematic Ash`ari theology, though al-Ghazali was an Ash`ari. Rather it is a refutation and concerns philosophy, not theology. In fact, it's not even his major work of theology, let alone one of the leading books of the school. The Ihya "Revival..." is not a work of theology at all. The closing of the door of ijtihad is not a matter of theology, but one of jurisprudence, and again, has nothing to do with Ghazali or the Ihya. The paragraph beginning "Modern commentators blame..." is utter nonsense even from the perspective of a modern critic of the Ash`arites. Like Ghazali, while Razi and Ibn Khaldun are well known, they are not the major proponents of the Ash`ari school - rather they are so well known because they stand out from the school as their own thinkers. The Ottomans themselves and the leading official scholars were mainly Maturidi, not Ash`ari. The article does illustrate some basic tropes from a certain perspective on Islamic history, common to both 19th century Orientalists and 20th century Muslim modernizers: that the Mu`tazilites were "rationalists" and were therefore responsible for early Islamic scientific advances; that othodoxy stamped out that scientific spirit, and closed the door to "ijtihad," which is taken to mean free and rational thought. The paradigm itself is flawed - the Mu`tazilites may have been rationalists of a sort, but not such that any 20th century rationalist would recognize them, and ijtihad is a narrow jurisprudential procedure having no bearing on scientific inquiry. Our author here seems to have a weaker grasp than most on the details of his own paradigm. Thus, he conflates Ash`arism with Ottoman Maturidism - the two schools combined representing orthodox Islamic thought. He also draws on the big names from medieval Islamic thought - perhaps drawing them from the section headings of a chapter in a survey Intro. to Islam course in a Western university or a high school history class in somewhere like Tunisia, Syria, or Pakistan. Ironically, even in the modernist world view Ibn Khaldun especially is singled out as an exception to the intellectual repression of medieval Islamic orthodoxy, but our author fails to spare him. Anyway, what I meant to say is, will someone please replace this drivel - perhaps with a stub or a redirect if there's something better under another name. 216.164.23.6 08:34, 1 February 2006 (UTC)AGretlein

Ugh, I was hoping maybe "Early Muslim Philosophy" would prove better, but the same drivel is abbreviated there. One important point, while it is relevant to discuss Mu`tazilism and Ash`arism in the context of Islamic philosophy, they are not philosophical schools. They are theological schools. While there is some merit in identifying a group of big-p "Philosophers" for whom ancient philosophy was the cornerstone of their theology - i.e. the neo-Platonists and Aristotelians and later the Ishraqis - the Mu`tazilites, Ash`arites, and Maturidis studied, practiced, and taught philosophy - and in the case of the latter two schools, do to this day. 216.164.23.6 08:42, 1 February 2006 (UTC)AGretlein again.

This Article needs to be taken down[edit]

I am an Islamicist at Yale University and would like to inform the powers-that-be at Wikipedia.org that this article is completely inaccurate and should be removed until an expert can rewrite it from scratch. I suggest looking at the Encyclopedia of Islam article on the Ash`arites for inspiration. I do not have the time to do this myself, unfortunately. I entered the article to correct a few mistakes that hit me in the first paragraph and then realized that the job required too much effort. My view changes may clash with the rest of the article because I quit after paragraph three (or so). Thanks for your attention.


I agree - unlike Mutazila article which is well researched, This one is full of misinformation and inaccuracies. abdulnr 01:37, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

I am not expert enough to recognize all the possible errors. One error that might be missed by an Muslim re-writer is the statement that Europe was not producing honest histories in the 13th century. There are a dozen counter-examples beginning with the Heimskringla. To judge by Ibn Khaldun's weird idea of Europe the Europeans knew more about the Muslims than vice versa. In the 13th century. In the 10th things might have been different.

As to the article. There should be a careful and accurate description as to what Ashari literature before al-Ghazzali has actually come down to us. Wolfson seems to be reduced to quoting Ibn Hazm (whomm, I imagine, must also be included) constantly. Kleinecke 05:55, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

This is really a terribly written and uninformed article. Why hasn't it been taken down? [User:dillis] 01:47, 21 September 2006

If you read Ibn Khaldun's muqadimmah you will see clearly that he was a genius who used avicennian logic which comes from aristotle (well kinda anyway), and invented many things. i reckon this one has been put up by people who want to lead muslims away from their history of intellectual engagement. Don't know why on earth anyone got the idea that ibn khaldun was anti-rational. [user:qirmat] 21:21, 15 Jan 2007 __________________________________________________________________

The article sucked, so I copied and pasted the Encyclopedia of Islam article. It's a bit outdated but can be added to. Please format the article if you know how. Mercy

You can't do that. See Copyright.

What the...?[edit]

I merely reorganized the article so that it is easier to be edited by those who have more expertise on the subject. I didn't check anything factual or conceptual about the article, but still I have to say it's a BIG MESS.

The eponymous guy changed his views from Mutazilite to the independent thought of his to the abandonment of kalam altogether. Now that may have caused confusion about who is to be called an Ash'arite.

Also, wasn't that same guy who talked about the concepts of khalq and kasb? What about that?

The lack of sources is yet another bad issue. I guess it isn't of Wikipedia's spirit to just cram opinions over opinions.

SOMEONE SHOULD LOOK AT IT! and that is CAREFULLY, falks! -- Wayunga 11:52, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

urgent editing needed[edit]

parts of this article are partial to the content.

this is an important topic and cannot be left like this. Either take it down or redo it properly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.194.22.147 (talk) 22:31, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Could you maybe be more specific as to which parts of the article you feel should be changed? MezzoMezzo 05:00, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I deleted the following, because it is speculative: "

Factors affecting the spread of the school of thought include a drastic shift in historical initiative, foreshadowing the later loss of Muslim Spain and Columbus' landing in the Western Hemisphere - both in 1492. But the decisive influence was most likely that of the new Ottoman Empire, which found the Asharite views politically useful, and were to a degree taking the advantages of Islamic technologies, sciences, and openness for granted. Which, for some centuries after as the Ottomans pushed forth into Europe, they were able to do - losing those advantages gradually up until The Enlightenment when European innovation finally surpassed and eventually overwhelmed that of the Muslims."

And the connection between Asharites and Ottoman Empire is definitely wrong. The Ottomans pushed Maturiditism.

NPOV[edit]

Concerning the (anti-)rationalism of the Asharites, the statements of the article "Is Ghazali really the Hulagu of science in Islam" are cited as the truth. Yet that article itself recognizes that its position is a minority one and that the position that it argues against is prevalent "in present-day literature". Thus, citing its position as the correct one is against WP:NPOV, specifically WP:NPOV#Undue weight.--91.148.159.4 (talk) 16:09, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, probably a true observation. A Jagged case (Cleanup) listed here near the top. Wikipedia articles regarding Islam is not very reliable yet. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 09:57, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Asharis.com[edit]

I am against using polemical, biased and dishonest websites like Asharis.com. They often provide wrong translations and misunderstandings. Such a site should not be used without further examination. 86.52.55.254 (talk) 09:30, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

As someone who reads and speaks Arabic fluently, I have never, at any time, found inaccurate translations on the site. They have been academically honest in showing the texts and making some valid criticisms of the Ash'arite school which have already been made by earlier authorities in Islamic theology, in addition to showing that the early Ash'arites are quite different from modern Ash'arites (which isn't a controversial claim in academic Muslim circles). Now that being said, the site is polemical. Per WP:RS, the source doesn't need to be neutral but simply honest, and the site is honest. Neutrality per WP:NPOV applies to editors, not sources. The answer is simply for us to use the site sparingly and mention, very clearly, when Ash'aris.com is simply providing a translation - which again, they are both skilled and honest with - and when the site is making polemical, non-neutral claims. As a hobbyist in Islamic theology who also has access to physical copies of most of these texts in question, I will volunteer my time to verify any of their translations should a dispute arise. MezzoMezzo (talk) 12:36, 1 May 2013 (UTC)