Who was Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi and why Hanafis mostly follow him in theology?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
With regard to Abu Mansoor Al-Maatureedi, the Al-Mawsoo’ah Al-Muyassarah fi Al-Adyaan wal-Mathaahib reads:
“Abu Mansur Al- Maatureedi is Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Mahmood Al- Maatureedi Al-Samarqandi (from Samarqand). He is traced back to Maatureed, a suburb near Samarkand, behind the river, where he was born but his exact date of birth is not known.
No one wrote about his biography or how he was nurtured and educated, or by whom he was influenced. There was also no mention of his Shaykhs, except for a small number of them, such as: Naseer (or Nasr) ibn Yahya Al-Balkhi, from whom he learned the Hanafi Fiqh (jurisprudence) and theology (Ilm Al-Kalaam; literally “science of discourse”) [..] He died in 333 AH and was buried in Samarqand.
He authored many books in the principles of jurisprudence and Tafseer; the most famous of which are: Ta’weelaat Ahlus-Sunnah or Ta’weelaat Al-Qur’aan, whereby he elaborated on the text of the Quran, especially the verses about the Attributes (of Allah) which he interpreted according to the Jahmiyyah perspective.
The most famous of his books in theology is Kitaab At-Tawheed (At-Tawheed book), in which he established his theological theories and clarified his belief in the most important matters of faith.
By At-Tawheed, he meant Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah, and Tawheed Al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat (Names and Attributes), but from the Jahmiyyah perspective by negating many of the Attributes on the pretext that Allah is high above possessing such attributes and rejecting then because this would making Him similar to His creation; by this he contradicted the methodology of the Salaf (righteous predecessors).” [End of quote]
The scholars have stated that the methodology of Abu Mansoor Al-Maturidi is not very different from the methodology of Abu Al-Hassan Al-Ash'ari.
Dr. Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Mahmood wrote in his book “Mawqif ibn Taymiyyah min Al-Ashaa’irah (The position of Ibn Taymiyyah in regard to the Ash'ariyah), whereby he wrote a chapter on the Methodology of Al-Maatureedi and his belief, and he mentioned the issues where Abu Mansoor Al-Maatureedi contradicted Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.
As regards to why the people of the Hanafi School follow him in creed, then it may be because he is a jurist from the Hanafi School of jurisprudence, and thus they followed him in creed in the same manner that they followed him in Fiqh (jurisprudence).
Allah knows best.
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