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Māturīdī theology or Māturīdism[1] (Arabic: الماتريدية: al-Māturīdiyyah) is one of the main Sunnī schools of Islamic theology,[1] founded by the Persian Muslim scholar, Ḥanafī jurist, reformer (Mujaddid), and scholastic theologian Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī in the 9th–10th century.[1][2][3][4]

Al-Māturīdī codified and systematized the theological beliefs already present among the Ḥanafite Muslim theologians of Balkh and Transoxania[5] under one school of systematic theology (kalām);[6][7] he emphasized the use of rationality and theological rationalism regarding the interpretation of the sacred scriptures of Islam.[2][5][6][8][9][10] Māturīdī theology is considered one of the orthodox creeds of Sunnī Islam alongside the Aṯharī and Ashʿarī,[1][4][11] and prevails in the Ḥanafī school of Islamic jurisprudence.[1][4][5][12]

Māturīdism was originally circumscribed to the region of Transoxania in Central Asia[1][3][4][5][7][11] but it became the predominant theological orientation amongst the Sunnī Muslims of Persia before the Safavid conversion to Shīʿīsm in the 16th century, and the Ahl al-Ray (people of reason). It enjoyed a preeminent status in the Ottoman Empire and Mughal India.[1][4][7][11] Outside the old Ottoman and Mughal empires, most Turkic tribes, Hui people, Central Asian, and South Asian Muslims also follow the Māturīdī theology.[7] There have also been Arab Māturīdī scholars.[13]


The Māturīdī school of Islamic theology holds that:

  • All the attributes of God are eternal and not separated from God.[14]
  • Ethics have an objective existence and humans are capable of recognizing it through reason alone.[15]
  • Although humans are intellectually capable of realizing God, they need revelations and guidance of prophets and messengers, because human desire can divert the intellect and because certain knowledge of God has been specially given to these prophets (e.g. the Quran was revealed to Muhammad according to Islam, who Muslims believe was given this special knowledge from God and only through Muhammad did this knowledge become accessible to others).[14]
  • Humans are free in determining their actions within scope of God-given possibilities. Accordingly, God has created all possibilities, but humans are free to choose.[14]
  • The Six articles of faith.[16]
  • Religious authorities need reasonable arguments to prove their claims.[17]
  • Support of science and falsafa (philosophy).[18]
  • The Māturīdites state that imān (faith) does not increase nor decrease depending on one's deeds; it's rather taqwā (piety) which increases and decreases.[19]
  • The Māturīdites emphasize the importance of monotheism.

Regarding ʿaqīdah (creed), unlike many Aṯharīs (traditionalistic theologians), al-Māturīdī doesn't hold that angels are necessarily infallible. Pointing at Surah al-Baqara, he notes that angels too, have been tested.[20] Referring to Surah al-Anbiya, he points out, angels who claim divinity for themselves are sentenced to hell.[21] About Iblīs, otherwise known as Satan, he states, disputing whether he was an angel or a jinn before his fall is useless, as it is more important to know, that he has become a devil and enemy of humans.[22]

Māturīdism holds that humans are creatures endowed with reason, which differentiates them from animals. The relationship between people and God differs from that of nature and God; humans are endowed with free-will, but due to God's sovereignty, God creates the acts the humans choose, so humans can perform them. Ethics can be understood just by reason and don't need prophetic guidance. Al-Māturīdī also considered the ḥadīth to be unreliable when they are at odds with reason.[23] Furthermore, Māturīdī theology opposes anthropomorphism and similitude, but simultaneously does not deny the divine attributes.

Māturīdism defends the idea that paradise and hell are coexisting with the temporal world, against the assertion of some Muʿtazila that paradise and hell will be created only after Judgement Day. The attributes of paradise and hell would already take effect on this world (dunya). Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi (944–983) states that the purpose of simultaneous existence of both worlds is that they inspire hope and fear among humans.[24]: 168 

Concept of faith[edit]

Al-Māturīdī's doctrine, based on Ḥanafī jurisprudence, asserted man's capacity and will alongside the supremacy of God in man's acts, providing a doctrinal framework for more flexibility and adaptability. Māturīdism especially flourished and spread among the Muslim populations in Central Asia from the 10th century onwards.[25]

According to Māturīdism, belief (ʾīmān) does neither increase nor decrease depending on observation of religious law. Instead, deeds follow from faith. Based on Surah Ta-Ha verse 112, if a Muslim does not perform the deeds prescribed by sharia, he is not considered an apostate as long they don't deny their obligation.[26] Similarly, the angel's and prophet's obedience derive from their insights to God's nature and not result from their creation.[20] Abu'l-Qasim Ishaq al-Samarqandi draws an analogy on Harut and Marut, who are sinful yet not unbelievers.[27] Since human's rationality is expected to acknowledge the existience of a creator independently from revelation, unlike al-ʾAshʿarīyah, Māturīdism holds people who have not heard from a prophet are accountable for their unbelief.

Yohei Matsuyama points to al-Māturīdī's wording, referring to the only obligation to believe in a maker (sani), not Allah, and concludes, it is only necessariý for salvation to construct a belief in a creator, not necessarily accepting the theological doctrinal formualtions of Islam.[28] Toshihiko Izutsu likewise argues that "believing in islam" refers to submission to the maker, by voluntarily surrendering to the Divine Will, and not necessarily accepting a religious formula.[29]

Yet, al-Māturīdī' did not view all religions as equal. He criticizes Christians, Jews, Zorastrians and atheists (dahriya). However, he draws a distinction between other monotheists and non-monotheists, criticizing Judaism and Christianity while talking about prophets not about God.[30] Dualistic religions faced criticism about their concept of God, arguing that an omnibenevolent deity, who creates only good, opposed to a devil, who is responsible for everything evil, implies a deficit in God's omnipotence and is incompatible with God's nature.[31]

According to Abu'l-Qasim Ishaq, children cannot be considered unbelievers and all of them go to paradise.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rudolph, Ulrich (2016) [2014]. "Part I: Islamic Theologies during the Formative and the Early Middle period – Ḥanafī Theological Tradition and Māturīdism". In Schmidtke, Sabine (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 280–296. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199696703.013.023. ISBN 9780199696703. LCCN 2016935488.
  2. ^ a b Alpyağıl, Recep (28 November 2016). "Māturīdī". Oxford Bibliographies – Islamic Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0232. Archived from the original on 18 March 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b Rudolph, Ulrich (2015). "An Outline of al-Māturīdī's Teachings". Al-Māturīdī and the Development of Sunnī Theology in Samarqand. Islamic History and Civilization. Vol. 100. Translated by Adem, Rodrigo. Leiden: Brill Publishers. pp. 231–312. doi:10.1163/9789004261846_010. ISBN 978-90-04-26184-6. ISSN 0929-2403. LCCN 2014034960.
  4. ^ a b c d e Henderson, John B. (1998). "The Making of Orthodoxies". The Construction of Orthodoxy and Heresy: Neo-Confucian, Islamic, Jewish, and Early Christian Patterns. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. pp. 55–58. ISBN 978-0-7914-3760-5.
  5. ^ a b c d MacDonald, D. B. (2012) [1936]. "Māturīdī". In Houtsma, M. Th.; Arnold, T. W.; Basset, R.; Hartmann, R. (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition. Vol. 3. Leiden and Boston: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/2214-871X_ei1_SIM_4608. ISBN 9789004082656.
  6. ^ a b Harvey, Ramon (2021). "Chapter 1: Tradition and Reason". Transcendent God, Rational World: A Māturīdī Theology. Edinburgh Studies in Islamic Scripture and Theology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9781474451673.
  7. ^ a b c d Bruckmayr, Philipp (January 2009). "The Spread and Persistence of Māturīdi Kalām and Underlying Dynamics". Iran and the Caucasus. Leiden and Boston: Brill Publishers. 13 (1): 59–92. doi:10.1163/160984909X12476379007882. eISSN 1573-384X. ISSN 1609-8498. JSTOR 25597393.
  8. ^ Zhussipbek, Galym; Nagayeva, Zhanar (September 2019). Taliaferro, Charles (ed.). "Epistemological Reform and Embracement of Human Rights. What Can be Inferred from Islamic Rationalistic Maturidite Theology?". Open Theology. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter. 5 (1): 347–365. doi:10.1515/opth-2019-0030. ISSN 2300-6579.
  9. ^ Жусипбек, Галым, Жанар Нагаева, and Альберт Фролов. "Ислам и плюрализм: Что могут предложить идеи школы аль-Матуриди? Журнал Аль-Фараби, Алматы, No 4 (56), 2016 (p. 117-134)." "On the whole, the authors argue that the Maturidi school which is based on 'balanced theological rationalism', 'metaphysics of diversity', 'subjectivity of faith' and 'to be focused on justice and society-centeredness'"
  10. ^ Schlesinger, Sarah J. "The Internal Pluralization of the Muslim Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina: From Religious Activation to Radicalization." Master’s Research Paper. Boston University (2011).
  11. ^ a b c Gilliot, C.; Paket-Chy, A. (2000). "Maturidite theology". In Bosworth, C. E.; Dani, Ahmad Hasan; Masson, Vadim Mikhaĭlovich (eds.). History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Vol. IV. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. pp. 124–129. ISBN 92-3-103654-8.
  12. ^ Cook, Michael (2003). Forbidding Wrong in Islam, an Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 6.
  13. ^ Pierret, Thomas (25 March 2013), Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution, Cambridge University Press, p. 102, ISBN 9781139620062
  14. ^ a b c Cenap Çakmak Islam: A Worldwide Encyclopedia [4 volumes] ABC-CLIO 2017 ISBN 978-1-610-69217-5 page 1014
  15. ^ Oliver Leaman The Biographical Encyclopedia of Islamic Philosophy Bloomsbury Publishing 2015 ISBN 978-1-472-56945-5 page 311
  16. ^ Oliver Leaman The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia Taylor & Francis 2006 ISBN 978-0-415-32639-1 page 41
  17. ^ Ulli Roth, Armin Kreiner, Gunther Wenz, Friedo Ricken, Mahmut Ay, Roderich Barth, Halis Albayrak, Muammer Esen, Engin Erdem, Hikmet Yaman Glaube und Vernunft in Christentum und Islam. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer Verlag 2017 ISBN 978-3-170-31526-6 page 83
  18. ^ Ulli Roth, Armin Kreiner, Gunther Wenz, Friedo Ricken, Mahmut Ay, Roderich Barth, Halis Albayrak, Muammer Esen, Engin Erdem, Hikmet Yaman Glaube und Vernunft in Christentum und Islam Kohlhammer Verlag 2017 ISBN 978-3-170-31526-6 page 83
  19. ^ Cenap Çakmak Islam: A Worldwide Encyclopedia [4 volumes] ABC-CLIO 2017 ISBN 978-1-610-69217-5 page 1015
  20. ^ a b Ulrich Rudolph Al-Māturīdī und Die Sunnitische Theologie in Samarkand BRILL, 1997 ISBN 9789004100237 pp. 54-56
  21. ^ Yüksek Lisans Tezi Imam Maturidi'nin Te'vilatu'l-kur'an'da gaybi konulara İstanbul-2020 2501171277
  23. ^ Rico Isaacs, Alessandro Frigerio Theorizing Central Asian Politics: The State, Ideology and Power Springer, 2018 ISBN 9783319973555 p. 108
  24. ^ Lange, Christian (2016). Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions. Cambridge United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-50637-3.
  25. ^ Marlène Laruelle Being Muslim in Central Asia: Practices, Politics, and Identities Brill Publishers, 11.01.2018 ISBN 978-90-04-35724-2 p. 21
  26. ^ Yerzhan, K. "Principles of Abu Mansur Al-Maturidi, Central Asian Islamic Theologian Preoccupied With.pdf." A. Akimkhanov, A.Frolov, Sh.Adilbaeyva, K.Yerzhan (2016): n. pag. Print.
  27. ^ a b Tritton, A. S. "An Early Work from the School of Al-Māturīdī." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, no. 3/4, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1966, pp. 96–99,
  28. ^ Zhussipbek, Galym, and Bakhytzhan Satershinov. "Search for the theological grounds to develop inclusive Islamic interpretations: Some insights from rationalistic Islamic Maturidite theology." Religions 10.11 (2019): 609. p. 5
  29. ^ Zhussipbek, Galym, and Bakhytzhan Satershinov. "Search for the theological grounds to develop inclusive Islamic interpretations: Some insights from rationalistic Islamic Maturidite theology." Religions 10.11 (2019): 609. p. 6
  30. ^ Zhussipbek, Galym, and Bakhytzhan Satershinov. "Search for the theological grounds to develop inclusive Islamic interpretations: Some insights from rationalistic Islamic Maturidite theology." Religions 10.11 (2019): 609. p. 3
  31. ^ Bürgel, J. Christoph. "Zoroastrianism as Viewed in Medieval Islamic Sources." Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions (1999): 202-212.

External links[edit]