By Richard C. Martin
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Additional info for Defenders of Reason in Islam. Mu‘tazilism from Medieval School to Modern Symbol
Among the Sunni theologians, the majority of whom identified with the Ash'ari madhhab after the eleventh century, Mu'tazili doctrine was the target of attack and derision; Mu'tazili masters were often condemned from pulpits during the Friday prayer service. So, too, traditionalist mutakallimun were unrelenting public critics of rationalist theologians, particularly the Mu'tazila. Summary and Conclusion If the Mu'tazili madhhab had well passed its prime by the end of the eleventh century, its rigorous devotion to a rational understanding of divine unity and justice has nonetheless not been forgotten, or universally deprecated.
It was the custom in medieval Islamicate society for distinguished visiting scholars to pay calls on their intellectual peers, even (and especially) those belonging to contending madhhabs. With this background, we turn now to the author of the Kitab al-usul al-khamsa. Qadi 'Abd al-Jabbar His full name was Abu 1-Hasan 'Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad ibn Khalil ibn 'Abdallah al-Hamadhani al-Asadabadi (d. " He was born of peasant Persian parentage sometime around 932 or 937 in Asadabad (a village southwest of Hamadhan in western Iran).
Chapter 2 , the first chapter in the section of this book devoted to Qadi 'Abd alJabbar, takes u p the narrative of the history of Mu'tazili kalam. Understanding this narrative will allow us then to situate the two texts that are featured in each of the next two sections, on 'Abd al-Jabbar and Harun Nasution, respectively. Notes I . The endowed madrasa or college for advanced training in the religious sciences, especially law, developed as a prevailing institution in the eleventh century, although recent research has located earlier precedents.