The Problem of Authenticity of Constitutive Root Text al-Fıqh al-Akbar and the Contribution of Ottoman Intellectuals I

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Öztürk M. B.

Marife Dini Araştırmalar Dergisi, vol.22, no.1, pp.69-92, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.33420/marife.1101216
  • Journal Name: Marife Dini Araştırmalar Dergisi
  • Journal Indexes: ATLA Religion Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.69-92
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


The main aim of the study is to determine and analyze al-Māturīdī’s (d. 333/944) view of philosophy in general in the context of Ta’wīlāt al-Qur’ān. Among the tafsirs that have survived from the beginning to the present day, Ta’wīlāt is the first to include the views of philosophers with the word philosopher (al-falāsifa). Therefore, al-Māturīdī is the first person to openly refer to the non-religious elements while interpreting religion. But he set the principle to be followed during interpretation. This is a kind of fitness analysis and is very useful. The operation of the principle is divided into two phases. According to that, it is possible to benefit from the accumulation of philosophy books, if they do not contradict the Qur’ān. al-Māturīdī gave examples of this in his own tafsir work. Here this article contains a detailed investigation of the mentioned examples. In addition, attention will be drawn to the role of al-Muʿtazila literature in al-Māturīdī’s philosophical accumulation. As Ta’wīlāt al-Qur’ān is a book of tafsir, it seems that for the first time it has been opened for discussion by taking into account the views of philosophers.

In this study, first, al-Māturīdī’s efforts to understand and interpret philosophical accumulation will be revealed. Of course, he does not open to the evaluation of philosophy as a systematic whole, but he does not remain completely indifferent to the knowledge of philosophers in various fields. In Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, a separate heading was not created for philosophers, and they were not criticized. From this point of view, it can be said that Maturidi did not recognize the philosophers as a systematic and specific group. In this way, scattered references to philosophy in al-Māturīdī’s tafsir become understandable. The philosopher’s understanding of God, nature, and man did not reach al-Māturīdī in an organized way, but the various views attributed to them were in common. al-Māturīdī gave life to alternative ideas within the framework of uncertain issues, regardless of their source. al-Māturīdī cites sections from the general approaches to humans and nature produced by philosophers. While some of these transfers are trying to understand the mentioned accumulation, some of them are trying to evaluate positively or negatively. As can be seen, while determining the content of the concept of wisdom, the ideas of philosophers are adopted here. al-Māturīdī, who conveyed the approaches of the philosophers in the context of the soul-body relationship, which concerns the quality of the hereafter, touched on the meanings they attributed to the concepts. In addition to understanding, quoting, and transferring from them, al-Māturīdī also criticizes them. While criticizing groups outside the religion of Islam, the method followed does not differ except for minor nuances. All non-Islamic religions, cultures, thoughts, and traditions, which contradict God’s monotheism, sending prophets and books, and questioning people after death, have been criticized from the same perspectives. Māturīdī, who has the identity of Kalām, first tries to justify the correctness of his own thought, and after determining the truth, moves on to the refutation of the false. This is a method and shows that criticism is not made unconsciously and blindly. When we look at the general philosophical criticisms in al-Māturīdī’s commentary, it is seen that he attributes the authority of the events that occur in nature to the only God in order to show that there is no place to take refuge but God. No event, big or small, is outside the knowledge, power, and will of God. The physical multiplicity in nature is used as evidence for divine unity. Finally, this study investigated where al-Māturīdī conveyed philosophy or the various views of philosophers. If we ask in short terms, Has al-Māturīdī read a philosophy book? If he has not read a philosophy book directly, from what source does he quote the approaches of philosophers about an event related to the viscera of livestock? Based on some signs, al-Māturīdī became aware of the philosophical background thanks to the works of the Mu‘tazila school. As a matter of fact, the names of the books written clearly show that the Mu'tazila established the connection with the philosophical sources before al-Māturīdī. Considering that al-Māturīdī is a Mu‘tazila critic, it can be said that he studied various books belonging to them and had knowledge about non-religious groups during this review. Since most of the source books have not survived, a mutual reference between al-Māturīdī and Mu‘tazila in the context of philosophy has not been made. But if the power of the signs can be trusted, the Mu‘tazila became al-Māturīdī’s window to the outside world.