Is Athari creed and salafism same thing?Are they trust worthy in aqaid?

Details of the Question
Assalam o alehkum, 1).Is athari creed and salafism same thing? 2).Ikhwan al muslimun(yusuf al qaradawi) athari as they say the are salafi? So is it fine to take fatwa from their website( in the matters related to aqaid?We are maturidhi. 3).Was jamad addin afghani, md abduh,Rashid rida and hasan al-banna athari?Also were they the founder of salafism?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Dear Brother / Sister, Sorry for the late answer. Some questions need detailed research. Thanks for your understanding.

First of all, we should state that it is necessary to make a decision based on the conformity of the views of a person with Ahl as-Sunnah, not what or how that person is called.

From this point of view, we should act in accordance with the madhhab of creed and practice we follow. However, we should know that it is permissible to act based on the other madhhabs of creed and practice of Ahl as-Sunnah.

It will be possible to lead a healthy religious life if we make our decisions based on these basic criteria.  

Answer 1:

Salaf lexically means the one who lived earlier, who came before somebody else. In Islamic terminology, it means the scholars who lived in the first period of Islam and who had methods and views of their own. The scholars who lived after them but who adopted the same methods are called salafiyya. Those who lived before are also called salaf al-mutaqaddimun (first period) in order to distinguish between them and those who came after them, who are also called salaf al-mutaakhkhirun (later). 

The scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah are divided into two as salaf and khalaf. The scholars who lived before the establishment of the creed sect of Ash'ari are called salaf and those who came after it are called khalaf.

The most distinctive difference between them is as follows: Salaf scholars do not find it appropriate to interpret the verses of the Quran and hadiths related to the metaphysical realm. They accept them as they are and refer the truth about it to Allah. They hold the view that it is not right to make judgments about them based on human mind.

We can say that khalaf scholars started with Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari. He was a kalam scholar; so, the first group of khalaf scholars usually consisted of kalam scholars. According to them, the pure and clear feelings and surrendering that were present in the people of the first period were worn away; so, in order to answer the wrong thoughts put forward by philosophers and groups of wrong ideas, it is necessary to use their weapon, to use human mind to answer the ideas put forward by their minds and to use the method of interpretation to explain the verses and hadiths that are mutashabih (ambiguous, allegorical).


However, the movement called Wahhabiyya that exists today claims to be salafi. This group, which dates back to two hundred years ago, is called Wahhabiyya because its founder is a person called Abdulwahhab. They are also Muslims. However, they make a lot of mistakes because they do not take into account the time and place; some of them do not approve Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafii, who are also salaf. They accuse Muslims of unbelief randomly. They recognize Imam Ahmad and Ibn Taymiya as their imams because they find some of their views appropriate; they claim that they follow Hanbali madhhab on the one hand and they say that it is not appropriate to follow a madhhab on the other hand.

We never accuse these Muslims of unbelief. However, we will try to correct their mistakes scientifically. We act based on love; we have no time for enmity.

Answer 2:

Yusuf Qardawi is a scholar of fiqh well known in the Islamic world. He has valuable scholarly works. He may have some fatwas and ideas expressed based on the local conditions and state. In general, he is well-known as a scholar who thinks within the framework of the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah, who knows the world and who wants to serve humanity.

You can benefit from his works. If he has some fatwas that are not in compliance with Ahl as-Sunnah, they are not followed.

Answer 3:

The schools of Maturidiyya and Ash'ariyya, which are two big representatives of Ahl as-Sunnah, agree on the issues that are regarded as the main topics of the science of kalam. Both madhhabs were contemporary but they tried to put forward their own ideas in different places with the help of the methods of the science of kalam. However, it is normal that there are some differences among their viewpoints related to some issues of kalam when they express or explain their views and ideas.

The scholars of both schools tried to prove the issues related to the creed presented by the Quran and the issues related to creed within the context of this understanding and realization through some logical and rational evidences. For, their basic thought was that reason and the verses of the Quran and sound hadiths never contradicted. According to them, if there seems to be a contradiction or controversy at first glance, it is necessary to search the data of the resources very well.    

Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi tried to propagate the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah. Both imams agreed on the outcome of the issues they explained but it is known that there were some differences between the methods of the science of kalam of both groups. Doubtlessly both kalam scholars tried to prove the understanding of belief/creed presented by the Quran through logical and rational evidences. Ash'ari and Maturidi were brought up in different cultural spheres but their aims and the fields they struggled in were the same. That is, their aim was to defend, explain and present the principles of the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah in the best way and to prove the wrong understandings and realizations of the People of Bid'ah through the Quran, hadiths and rational evidences. 

According to what Taşköprizâde states (d. 968/1561), there are two leaders of Ahl as-Sunnah in the science of kalam. One of them is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, who is a Hanafi and the other is Abu’l-Hasan al- Ash’ari, who is a Shafii. (Taşköprizâde, Miftahu’s-Sa’ada, Cairo 1968, p. 151)

Many scholars say that the differences between Ash'ariyya and Maturidiyya are not very big, that the differences originate from their methods, and that these issues are secondary issues rather than basic issues. They do not have so big differences as to describe each other as the people of bid'ah and deviation. (Beyâzîzâde, Ahmed Efendi, Isharatu'l-Maram min Ibarati'l-Imam, Egypt 1949, p. 8-9.) After all, these two schools are not regarded as the same but it is not possible to regard them as different. There are some Ash'ari kalam scholars who adopt some views of Maturidi school and some kalam scholars who adopt some views of Maturidi school. We can mention scholars like Ibnu'l-Humam and Mustafa Sabri as examples.  We can include many other scholars in the list because their place and references are within the scope of Ahl as-Sunnah. Then, they are the same in terms of their structure and essence but different in terms of their form and appearance.

Abu Nasr Tajuddin Abdulwahhab b. Ali b. Abdi'l-Kafi b. Ali b. Tamam as-Subki (d. 771/1370)15 mentions the differences between Maturidis and Ash’aris in his book Tabaqatu’sh-Shafi’iyyati’l-Kubra, (Cairo 1965), III/377-389 as follows:

“There is disagreement related to only thirteen issues between Tahawi and Ash’ari. The number of the differences between Ash’aris and Maturidis is only thirteen. Seven of them are related to words (form). Only six of them are related to meaning (content). The disagreement over these thirteen issues cannot be described as opposition." (as-Subki, Tajuddin Abdulwahhab b. Ali, Tabaqatu'sh-Shafi'iyyati'l-Kubra, Cairo 1965, III/378.)


Maturidi and Ash'ari had a moderate and reasonable way among groups like Hashawiyya, Mushabbiha and Mujassima and the rationalistic group Mu'tazila. Both scholars assumed a moderate way between Jabriyya and the extreme group of Rafizis and defended the belief of Ahl as-Sunnah; they both reached almost the same result in terms of method and madhhab.

It is natural to reach the same conclusions in madhhab when the same method is used. For, madhhab is nothing but the result of the method. It is known that Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari has profound knowledge about Islamic groups and sects. His book called "Maqalatu'l-Islamiyyin" is the greatest evidence for his knowledge regarding the issue. For, after gathering the disagreements of Muslims regarding creed in his book, he criticized the bid'ah views, primarily Aristotelianism, and philosophical views. Besides, he never ceased to be objective when he reported the views and mentality of madhhabs. [Taftazani, Kelâm İlmi ve İslâm Akâidi, trnsl. by Süleyman Uludağ (Mukaddime, elli yedi madde) İstanbul 1982, p. 40-51]

The works of Ash’ari, which reached today, are weaker than those of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, his contemporary, in terms of kalam culture and terminology. However, he is regarded as one of the founders of Sunni kalam school. In terms of his kalam views, Ash'ari proves the issues of creed through rational evidences and through verses of the Quran and hadiths. He deals with the issues the attributes of Allah and prophets angels, reckoning, punishment and reward within the framework of the Quran and hadiths. He does not regard his mind as the judge in order to interpret verses of the Quran and hadiths or to judge based on their apparent meanings. On the contrary, he regards the mind as an instrument to confirm the apparent meanings of the verses of the Quran and hadiths. (İsmail Efendizâde, Risala fi’khtilafati’l-Maturidi wa’l-Ash’ari, İstanbul 1287)

On the other hand, Imam Ash’ari was brought up in the presence of Mu'tazila views; he spent some part of his life spreading those views; therefore, he knows the mentality and philosophical methods of Mu'tazila very well. Due to this knowledge and thought, he is regarded as one of the scholars who tries to silence Mu'tazila by rejecting them using their own methods and weapons and criticizes them. (Şeyhülislâm Esad Efendi, Risala fi’khtilafati’l-Maturidi wa’l-Ash’ari, İstanbul 1287, p. 278-287.27)

Maturidi was brought up in a Sunni environment. He gives mind great importance without going to extremes. He regards both the mind (reason) and the Quran and hadiths as separate resources of knowledge. (al-Jabi, Bassam Abdulwahhab, al-Masailu'l-Khilafiyya bayna'l-Ashaira wa'l-Maturidiyya, Beirut 2003) For, he tries to make use of both the mind (reason) and the Quran and hadiths when he explains the Quran with the Quran. He tries to prove the principles of the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah through the evidences of the mind (reason) and the Quran and hadiths. On the other hand, it is possible to see the same method in Ash'ari related to the issues of the principles of creed.

Both Maturidi and Ash'ari reached the same conclusions regarding the issues like Allah's pre-eternal speech, attributes, ru'yatullah (seeing Allah), the deeds of His slaves, the state of those who commit major sins and intercession; and they determined the general principles of madhhabs


The issue of prophethood is one of the most important issues among the principles of Islam. In the history of Islamic thought, prophethood has been understood differently by various schools. Therefore, there is a disagreement between Maturidis and Ash'aris on the issue of the gender of prophets. Both schools of All as-Sunnah accept that prophets are male.  However, Ash'aris hold the view that prophets can also be female. Maturidis do not accept this view.  For, Maturidis, who say, "prophets can only be male", show the following verse as evidence:

"Nor did We send before thee (as Messengers) any but men, whom We did inspire― (men) living in human habitations.”(Yusuf, 12/109; see also an-Nahl 16/43; al-Anbiya 21/7.)

Imam Ash’ari and a few scholars who adopt the apparent meanings of the verses and hadiths concluded that Hz. Maryam was a prophet based on some verses. (Aal-i Imran, 3/42; Maryam 19/16-19) Those who hold the view that Hz. Maryam is a prophet base the difference between a rasul and a nabi on the following definition: "a nabi is a person who receives revelation from Allah whether he is appointed to convey the religion or not."(Bağçeci, Muhittin, Peygamberlik ve Peygamberler, İstanbul 1977, p. 73, ff)

Accordingly, the six women whose prophethood is in question are Hz. Hawwa (Eve), Hz. Sara, Hz. Hagar, the mother of Hz. Musa (Moses), Pharaoh's wife Asiya and Hz. Maryam. (Zabidi, Tajrid Sarih Translation and Explanation, trnsl by Kamil Miras, Ankara 1971, IX/150) However, Maturidis regard the revelation related to women mentioned in the Quran like revelation sent to other beings; that is, they say it is not revelation related to prophethood. They say what is sent to these women is probably a grant.


The disagreements are not related to creation, qada and qadar (destination), kasb (acquisition) and similar issues; they are generally secondary issues.  Maturidi's followers sometimes leave their imams and follow Ash'ari; similarly, Ash'ari's followers sometimes oppose their leaders and follow Maturidis. It should not be concluded that Ahl as-Sunnah madhhabs differ from one another acting upon the secondary differences; for, the main differences originate from principles and methods. It should also be known that Ahl as-Sunnah madhhabs agree unanimously on the issues that are wajib, permissible and impossible. However, they disagreed on some methods and principles that led them to these issues. When Ahl as-Sunnah mahhabs are searched carefully, it will be seen that they consist of three groups: Ahl al-hadith, those who base their way on mental thought, and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi and Ash'ari, on whom these two madhhabs agree.

Regarding the issues that are controversial between Maturidiyya and Ash'ariyya, which are the two biggest kalam schools of Ahl as-Sunnah, there has been a continuous struggle, in which both schools presented their evidence in the form of thesis and antithesis. In addition, each controversial issue was tried to be proved by presenting some evidences based on the Quran and hadiths.

The issues discussed by these two schools originate from the importance Islam gives to freedom of thought. Then, it is possible to reach the following conclusions:

1. These views of both madhhabs were not expressed randomly or as a result of personal ideas. It is seen that the views and issues put forward do not have any relevance with the practical lives of their followers, that they are of no use to their lives, that they do not cause any disagreements in practice and that they remained as ideas and views.

2. Maturidis did not always support one party and Ash'aris did not always support the other party. That is, it is necessary to be very careful about these issues and not to separate them as these and those, which will cause serious misunderstandings and mistakes. We can and must think that both of them are under the same roof and agree that these materials will lead us to the same conclusion. For, there are Maturidi scholars who adopt the same view as Ash'ari scholars regarding almost every issue and vice versa. To give an example, we can say that in the Ottoman madrasahs, which are known to follow Maturidiyya, the books of Ash'ari scholars were studied for many years; they never avoided saying, "My view is the same as this or that group." 

3. Ash'aris and Maturidis think of the same thing but they express it differently. The meaning is the same but the words are different. It is possible to see it as an indication of Islam's range of freedom of thought. Religious freedom means the existence of discussions. For, the understandings of people are different; their perceptions and the solutions they put forward have always been different. The thoughts of some people like "you shall accept religion as absolute", "you shall not talk about religion" and "you shall not discuss it" are groundless claims. Such a thought is the product of ignorance. There has not been any issue that has been discussed as much as religion in the world. The issues we have mentioned briefly above and these discussions should be evaluated within the wide range of the freedom.

The issue that makes us happy is that Ash'aris and Maturidis have never accused each other of unbelief and heresy though there are some controversial issues between them. Both groups have remained within the boundaries of Ahl as-Sunnah; they even seem to be united in the course of time in terms of thought. Disagreement might even be a means of mercy rather than a problem. The problem occurs when disagreement is transformed into conflict.

(see Dr. Halil TAŞPINAR, Mâtüridiye ile Ash’ariyye Mezhepleri Arasında İhtilaf mı? Suni Dalgalanma mı?, Cumhuriyet Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, Volume X/1, p. 213-250, Haziran 2006).

Answer 4:

Jamaluddin Afghani

Known as a foreseeing and broadminded scholar, Jamaluddin Afghani (1254-1314 / 1836-1897) is one of the people who awakened the east. He instilled the idea of freedom into the Islamic world and awakened Muslims. He was both a writer and a preacher. He had two aims:

To awaken Islam, to make reforms and to show the way of civilization.

To save the Islamic countries from the political and economic influence of the Europeans.

He tried to save Muslims from the darkness of ignorance and the quagmire of heedlessness. 

He was an implacable enemy of invaders. There are various views about his nationality. He went to Egypt but he could not stay there for a long time and went to Istanbul in 1286/1870. He preached in big mosques. He gave lectures at the university. He was sent to Iran by Abdulhamid II. However, Iranians refused his offers about the Islamic Unity.

Unfortunately, one of mistakes that are sometimes made in the Islamic world is the issue of takfir (accusing another Muslim of unbelief, blasphemy). Jamaluddin Afghani was also accused of unbelief. Mehmet Akif rejects it and says, "The most difficult thing in Islam is calling a person an unbeliever; however, we find it very easy to accuse a person whose virtues, knowledge, luck and fame we cannot stand or whose ideas and style of thinking we do not find appropriate. ( Mehmet Akif, Sırat-ı Müstakim, issue 91, Cumadalawwal 1328 / May 1326)

In conclusion, Jamaluddin Afghani is an important person who tried to make the Muslims who lived in the same period as him get rid of mistakes and backwardness. (For detailed information, see Osman Keskioğlu, “Cemaleddin Efgânî”, Ankara Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, issue 1962, Ankara 1963, p. 91 ff..; Hamid İnayet, Arap Siyasi Düşüncesinin Seyri, İstanbul 1997, p. 95 ff)

Muhammad Rashid Riza

Rashid Riza is a student of Abduh. He is an ardent supporter of Jamaluddin Afghani. It is known that he has no different views from theirs. There is one thing that distinguishes him from other innovators: to improve the caliphate and restore it to its state in the first period of Islam. According to him, the salvation of Muslims lies in removing the caliphate from Turks and giving it to Arabs again and establishing a system that enables an Arab to be elected a caliph. (Hamid İnayet, Arap Siyasi Düşüncesinin Seyri, İstanbul 1997, p. 178-180)

It is necessary to emphasize the following issue again: caliphs are neither angels nor prophets, who are innocent. They may do right things and they may do wrong things. It may originate from the structure of the society one lives in, some people he is influenced from and the different psychological structure that he is in. What is appropriate for the structure of the society he lives in might not be appropriate for another society. We should view the issue from this point and evaluate modernism and salafiyya with their pluses and minuses      and we should take the religious sensitivities of people into consideration. Doubtlessly, Islam addresses all centuries and all societies.  However, it is necessary to present it in accordance with the understanding of each century. What needs to be taken into consideration while doing it is to present it in accordance with the Quran and sound sunnah. Those who will do it are reasonable and rational people. Therefore, it is not possible to exclude the mind and science, which is a product of the mind.

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