The Ash`aris and the Maatureedis
As-Sawaadul A`zham: (The Vast Majority)
In brief, the purpose of this booklet is to debunk the ridiculous claim of the Salafis that “the Ash`aris and Maatureedis were always just a fringe, heretical cult, and were the minority.”
The reality is that all the years, the “vast majority” of the Ummah have been Ash`aris and Maatureedis. That is the case right up until the present day.
We shall list hereunder some of the well-known A’immah who were Ash`aris and some who were Maatureedis. Bear in mind that this is just a brief list and not an exhaustive one; the actual number of `Ulamaa throughout the ages who were Ash`aris or Maatureedis is innumerable.
Imaam ibn `Asaakir رحمة الله عليه writes in Tabyeenu Kidhbil Muftari, p.410:
“The majority of the `Ulamaa in all the lands were upon the Ash`ari Madh-hab (in `Aqeedah), and the A’immah of all the cities in all eras called towards it. Were there any of the Fuqahaa of the Hanafiyyah, the Maalikiyyah and the Shaafi`iyyah except that they were either in agreement with it, or attributed themselves to it, or were pleased with the praiseworthy effort he (Imaam al-Ash`ari) had made in the Deen of Allaah?”
Imaam ibn as-Subki رحمة الله عليه writes in at-Tabaqaat:
“Shaykhul Islaam Al-`Izz ibn `Abdis Salaam mentioned that the Shaafi`is, the Maalikis, the Hanafis and the great ones among the Hanbalis were all unanimous upon the `Aqeedah of (Imaam al-Ash`ari). His contemporary, the Shaykh of the Maalikis of that time, Imaam Abu `Amr ibn al-Haajib, agreed with him on this, as did another contemporary of his: the Shaykh of the Hanafis of that time, Imaam Jamaal-ud-Deen al-Haseeri.”
[Note: There is very little difference between the Ash`ari `Aqeedah and the Maatureedi `Aqeedah; in most cases it is just semantics. Thus, many `Ulamaa of the past when using the term “Ash`ari `Aqeedah” included the Maatureedi `Aqeedah in that as well. The Salafis of today do the same: when they condemn “The Ash`aris”, they are including the Maatureedis in that at the same time. The term Ash`ari was often used to refer to both the Ash`aris themselves as well as the Maatureedis, on account of the two Madh-habs being almost exactly the same. That is the reason why here, Imaam Al-`Izz ibn `Abdis Salaam, even though he mentions Imaam al-Ash`ari, he is referring to both the Ash`ari Madh-hab and the Maatureedi Madh-hab of `Aqeedah.]