Maturidi's epithet or nisba refers to Māturīd (or Māturīt), a locality in Samarkand.
He studied under his teachers, Muhammad bin Muqatil al-Razi (d. 248 H/ 662 CE), Abu Nasr al-Ayadi "al-Faqih al-Samarqandi" (d. 260 H?), Nusayr bin Yahya al-Balkhi (d. 268 H/ 881 CE) and Abu Bakr al-Juzjani (d. 250 H?). He narrated Abu Hanifa's Kitab al-Alim wa Mut'alim from Abu Bakr al-Juzjani, who narrated it from Muhammad ibn Muqatil ar-Razi (and Abu Sulayman al-Juzjani).
His chains to Abu Hanifa are given as follows:
He took from Muhammad bin Muqatil al-Razi (d. 248 H), from Muhammad al-Shaybani (d. 189 H), from Abu Hanifa (d. 150 H).
He took from Abu Nasr al-Ayadi (d. 260 H?), Nusayr al-Balkhi (d. 268 H) and Abu Bakr al-Juzjani (d. 250 H?), who all took from Abu Sulayman al-Juzjani (d. 200 H?), who took from both Muhammad al-Shaybani and Abu Yusuf (d. 182 H), who both took from Abu Hanifa.
He took from Muhammad bin Muqatil al-Razi and Nusayr al-Balkhi, who additionally both took from Abu Muti al-Hakam al-Balkhi (d. 199 H) and Abu Muqatil Hafs al-Samarqandi (d. 208 H), who both took from Abu Hanifa.
He took from Abu Nasr al-Ayadi, who took from Abu Ahmad bin Ishaq al-Juzjani (died mid- third century), who took directly from Muhammad al-Shaybani, who took from Abu Hanifa.
Al‑Maturidi was born at Maturid, a village or quarter in the neighbourhood of Samarkand. He came from the renowned family of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari of Madinah. This statement is also corroborated by the fact that some other Arab families of Madinah also settled in Samarkand.
Relatively little is known about the life of Maturidi, as the sources available "do not read as biographies, but rather as lists of works that have been enlarged upon by brief statements on his personage and a few words of praise." What is evident, however, is that the theologian lived the life of a pure scholar, as "nothing indicates that he held any public office, nor that he possessed more disciples, popularity, or association with the Sāmānid court of Bukhārā than anyone else." It is accepted, moreover, that Maturidi had two principal teachers, namely Abū Bakr al-Jūzjānī and Abū Naṣr Aḥmad b. al-ʿAbbās al-ʿIyāḍī (d. ca. 874–892), both of whom played significant roles in the shaping of Maturidi's theological views. Maturidi is said to have lived the life of an ascetic (zāhid), and various sources attribute numerous miracles (karāmāt) to him. Although he is not usually considered a mystic, it is nevertheless very possible that Maturidi had some interaction with the Sufis of his area, as "Hanafite theology in the region could not always be sharply separated from mystical tendencies," and many of the most important Hanafi jurists of the area were also Sufi mystics.
Maturidi defined faith (īmān) as taṣdīḳ bi ’l-ḳalb or "inner assent, expressed by verbal confession (ịḳrār bi ’l-lisān)." For Maturidi, moreover, Islamic works (aʿmāl) are not a part of faith. Additionally, Maturidi held that "faith cannot decrease nor increase in substance, though it may be said to increase through renewal and repetition."
Maturidi supported using allegorical interpretation with respect to the anthropomorphic expressions in the Quran, though he rejected many of the interpretations the Mutazilites would reach using this method. In other instances, Maturidi espoused using the traditionalist bilā kayf method of reading scripture, which insisted on "unquestioning acceptance of the revealed text." Maturidi further refuted the Mutazilites in his defense of the Attributes of God "as real and eternally subsisting" in the Essence of God (ḳāʾima bi ’l-d̲h̲āt). His chief theological divergence from Ashʿarī was that he held the attributes of essence and action to be "equally eternal and subsistent in the Divine Essence." Thus, "he insisted that the expressions 'God is eternally the Creator' and 'God has been creating from eternity (lam yazal k̲h̲āliḳan)' are equally valid, even though the created world is temporal." Furthermore, Maturidi staunchly defended the Beatific Vision (ruʾya, literally "vision [of God]") against the Mutazilites, but "consistently rejected the possibility of idrāk, which he understood as grasping, of God by the eyes."
Contrary to popular assumption, Al-Maturidi was not a student of Al-Ash'ari. The historian al-Bayadi (d. 1078 H) emphasised this saying, "Maturidi is not Ash'ari's follower, as many people would tend to think. He had upheld Sunni Islam long before Ashari, he was a scholar to thoroughly explain and sytematically develop Abu Hanifa's and his followers' school".
While Al-Ash'ari were Sunni together with Maturidi, he constructed his own theology diverging slightly from Abu Hanifa's school. Gimaret argued that Al-Ash'ari enunciated that God creates the individual's power (qudra), will, and the actual act, which according to Hye, gives way to a fatalist school of theology, which was later put in a consolidated form by Al Ghazali. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica however, Al-Ashari held the doctrine of Kasb as an explanation for how free will and predestination can be reconciled. Maturidi, followed in Abu Hanifa's footsteps, and presented the "notion that God was the creator of man’s acts, although man possessed his own capacity and will to act". Maturidi and Al-Ash'ari also separated from each other in the issue of the attributes of God, as well as some other minor issues.
Although there was in the medieval period "a tendency to suppress Maturidi's name and to put Ashʿarī forward as the champion of Islam against all heretics," except in Transoxiana, Maturidism gradually "came to be widely recognised as the second orthodox Sunni theological school besides" Ashʿarīsm. It is evident from the surviving fifteenth-century accounts of Maturidi's tomb in the cemetery of Jākardīza in Samarkand that the theologian's tomb was "visited ... and held in honor for a long time" throughout the medieval period. This veneration of the theologian seems to have arisen out of traditions preserved by several later scholars which detailed Maturidi's wisdom and spiritual abilities. For example, Abul Muīn al-Nasafī (d. 1114) stated that Maturidi's spiritual gifts were "immeasurably plentiful" and that "God singled him out with miracles (kāramāt), gifts of grace (mawāhib), divine assistance (tawfiq), and guidance (irshād, tashdīd)."
Contemporary Salafism and Wahhabism, however, tends to be very critical of Maturidi's legacy in Sunni Islam due to their aversion towards using any rational thought in matters of theology, which they deem to be heretical, despite this antagonism being a position that conflicts with the consensus of Sunnism throughout history. As such, it is often said that mainstream "orthodox Sunnism" constitutes the followers of the theological traditions of Maturidi and Ashʿarī, while Salafism and Wahhabism have often been interpreted by the proponents of the two major schools to be minority splinter theological traditions opposed to the mainstream. Furthermore, the minor theoretical differences between the theological formulations of Maturidi and Ashʿarī are often deemed by their respective followers to be superficial rather than real, whence "the two schools are equally orthodox" in traditional Sunnism. The traditional Sunni point of view is summarized in the words of the twentieth-century Islamic publisher Munīr ʿAbduh Agha, who stated: "There is not much [doctrinal] difference between the Ashʿarīs and Māturīdīs, hence both groups are now called People of the Sunna and the Community."
^G. Vajda, Le témoignage d’al-Māturīdī sur la doctrine des Manichéens, des Daysanites et des Marcionites, in Arabica, xii , 1–38, 113–28
^ abcAkimkhanov, Askar Bolatbekovich, et al. "Principles of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, Central Asian Islamic theologian preoccupied with the question of the relation between the Iman/credo and the action in Islam." European Journal of Science and Theology 12.6 (2016): 165-176.
^ abcdÇandur, Yasemin. Ebû Bekir Ahmed b. İshak el-Cûzcânî ve Cûzcâniyye. MS thesis. Uludağ Üniversitesi, 2015. p.6
^Wan Ali, Wan Zailan Kamaruddin. "Aliran al-Maturidi dan al-Maturidiyyah dalam dunia Islam." Jurnal Usuluddin 8.1 (1998): 81-96.
^Rudolph, Ulrich. Al-Māturīdī und die sunnitische Theologie in Samarkand. Vol. 30. Brill, 1997.
^Çandur, Yasemin. Ebû Bekir Ahmed b. İshak el-Cûzcânî ve Cûzcâniyye. MS thesis. Uludağ Üniversitesi, 2015.
^Aisyah, Dollah. Kaedah pentakwilan Al-Qur'an: Kajian perbandingan antara Al-Maturidi (M: 944) dan Al-Tabari (M: 923)/Aisyah binti Dollah@ Abdullah. Diss. University of Malaya, 2015. p.75 - transmission diagrams A, B and C correspond to 1, 2 and 3 below.
^Çandur, Yasemin. Ebû Bekir Ahmed b. İshak el-Cûzcânî ve Cûzcâniyye. MS thesis. Uludağ Üniversitesi, 2015. pp. 22-25 - the diagram on page 22 corresponds with 4 below, diagrams on pages 24 and 25 correspond to 2, 3 below respectively. The chain on page 23 was weakened by the researcher so has not been quoted.
^Al Maturidi, Kitab al Tauhid, MS. Cambridge, fol. 1, footnote al Sayyid Murtada, Sharh Ihya' of al Ghazali, Cairo, 1893, Vol.II, p.5.
^ abcUlrich Rudolph, Al-Māturīdī and the Development of Sunnī Theology in Samarqand, trans. Rodrigo Adem (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2015), p. 125
^ abcdefUlrich Rudolph, Al-Māturīdī and the Development of Sunnī Theology in Samarqand, trans. Rodrigo Adem (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2015), p. 131
^ abcMadelung, W., “al-Māturīdī”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs.
^İskenderoğlu, Muammer. "Al-Māturīdī and the Development of Sunnī Theology in Samarqand." (2016): 336-338.
^Williams, J. A. (1994). The word of Islam. London: Thames and Hudson. p. 145.
^Ali, A. (1963). Maturidism. In Sharif, p. 260. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
^Ali, A. (1963). Maturidism. In Sharif, p. 259. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
^Gimaret, D. (1980). The´ories de L’Acte Humain en The´ologie Musulmane. Paris: J. Vrin.
^Hye, M. A. (1963). Ash'arism. In Sharif, p. 226. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
^"Kasb". Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
^Shah, M. (2006). Later Developments. In Meri, J. W. (Ed.),Medieval Islamic civilization: an encyclopedia, (Vol. 1), (p. 640). New York:Routledge.
^Lucas, S. C.(2006). Sunni Theological Schools. In Meri, J. W. (Ed.),Medieval Islamic civilization: an encyclopedia, (Vol. 1), (p. 809). New York:Routledge.
^Hughes, A. (2004). Ash'arites, Ash'aria. In Martin, R. C. et al. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, (Vol. 1), (pp. 83–84). New York: Macmillan Reference USA
^DeWeese, D. (2004). Central Asian Culture and Islam. In Martin, R. C. et al. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, (Vol. 1), (p. 139). New York: Macmillan Reference USA
^See G. Vajda, "Le Témoignage d'al-Maturidi sur la doctrine des manichéens, des daysanites et des rnarcionites", Arabica, 13 (1966), pp. 1–38; Guy Mannot, "Matoridi et le manichéisme", Melanges de l'Institut Dominicain d'Etudes Orientales de Caire, 13 (1977), pp. 39–66; Sarah Stroumsa, "The Barahima in Early Kalam", Jarusalem Studies In Arable and Islam, 6 (1985), pp. 229–241; Josef van Ess, "al-Farabi and Ibn al-Rewandi", Hamdard Islamicus, 3/4 (Winter 1980), pp. 3–15; J. Meric Pessagno, "The Reconstruction of the Thought of Muhammad Ibn Shabib", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 104/3 (1984), pp. 445–453.