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islam flrastirmalari Dergisi, Sayi 1, 1997, 19-29 

The Authenticity of the Manuscript of 

Maturidi's Kitab al-Tawhid: 

A Re-examination 

M. Sait Ozervarli* 

This paper attempts to determine the authenticity of the manuscript of Abu 
Mansur al-Maturidi's Kitab al-tawhid. While some scholars have questioned 
its authenticity, this paper finds that the copy of the manuscript is authentic 
and reliable or that it is at least a version of the Kitab al-tawhid. In this 
paper, after discussing Maturidi's importance to kalam and the doubts 
expressed by other scholars about the manuscript, the published edition 
by F. Kholeif of the Kitab al-tawhid is compared mainly to the second 
most important Maturidite kalam book, the Tab$irat al-adilla, by Abu'l- 
MuHn al-Nasafl (d. 508/1 114) as well as to some other books and materials 
since they referred to Maturidi or to this book. Nasafi, when referring to 
Maturidi, includes a number of quotations and paraphrases on various 
subjects that are like those in the published Kitab al-tawhid providing strong 
support that the text is Maturidi's main kalam book. There are also direct 
references to the Kitab al-tawhid where in different words the same meanings 
are expressed. Finally, the paper points out that the early descriptions of 
the Kitab al-tawhid by scholars in the Hanafite circle fit that of the surviving 

The discovery at the beginning of the 1 950 's of a manuscript by Abu Mansur 
al-Maturidi (d. 333/944) of his important book, Kitab al-tawhid, 1 has made it 
possible for his views and developments in the early period of Islamic theology 
(kalam) to become better known. However, doubts have been voiced by some 
scholars about the authenticity of this manuscript, which is the only copy found 

M. Sait Ozervarli, Ph.D., is a research fellow at the Center for Islamic Studies (TDV Islam Arastirmalan 
Merkezi), Istanbul. 

Cambridge Library ms. Add. no. 365 1 . The manuscript was edited after much delay: Abu Mansur al- 
Maturidi, Kitab al-tawhid, ed. Fathalla Kholeif (Beirut: Daral-Machreq, 1970). In this paper referen- 
ces made to Kitab al-tawhidare to this edition. In fact, this edition does contain mistakes, but another 
edition by Bekir Topalogfu of Marmara University in Istanbul is underway. 

ISAM, istonbul 1 997 

islom flro^tirmolon Dergisi 

so far. 2 What is in question is whether or not it is a book by Maturidi, whether or 
not it is his Kitab al-tawhid or some other book by him, as well as whether or not 
it is a later compilation of his smaller treatises. Several scholars have taken up 
these questions, but their studies have not been thorough or complete enough 
and a more detailed study is needed in order to reach a sound conclusion. There- 
fore, in this paper I want to re-examine the authenticity of Kitab al-tawhid by 
comparing it mainly to the second most important Maturidite kalam book, the 
Tabsirat al-adilla, by Abu'l-Mu c in al-Nasafi (d. 508/1 114) as well as to some other 
related books and materials. Before doing this, however, I want to consider 
Maturidi and his place in kalam so that the importance of determining the authen- 
ticity of his book is better understood. I also want to mention briefly the doubts 
that have been expressed by the other scholars. 

1. The Place of Maturidi in the History of Kalam 

Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, who lived in Samarqand, the cultural centre of the 
Mawara al-Nahr region in central Asia, has not until recent times been very well 
known of. Historians of kalam have under-estimated his contribution to Sunnite 
doctrine, so there is a lack of academic research about him. In fact, since he was a 
follower of the Hanafite tradition and the founder of the Maturidite school of kalam, 
he is just as important as Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash c ari (d. 324/936) in Sunnite theology. 

Maturidi has also been neglected in biographies {tabaqat) and in books on the 
history of Islamic thought despite his great contribution to kalam. For example, 
he is not mentioned in Ibn Nadim's al-Fihrist, Ibn Khallikan's Wafayat, Safadi's 
al-Wafi, Ibn Imad's Shadharat, Sam c ani's al-Ansab, Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddima, 
Suyuti's Tabaqat al-mufassirln, nor in Dhahabi's SiyaraHam al-nubala. The best 
tabaqat sources for Maturidi are Qureshi's al-Jawahir al-Mudiyya (the first book 
on Hanafites) , 3 Ibn Qutlubogha's Taj al-tarajim, 4 and Laknawi's al-Fawaid al-ba- 
hiyya, 5 and they mainly repeat almost the same tiny bit of information about his 
work and some of his teachers and students. In the major kalam books of the clas- 
sical period, Maturidi and his school are again not mentioned. This neglect is still 
evident even in books that focus on the various theological schools and that 
mention even the smallest groups in detail, such as Baghdadi's al-Farq, Ibn 
Hazm's al-Fisal, and Shahristani's al-Milal. 

The fate of Maturidi's other significant work, Ta'wllat al-Qur'an was more fortunate since there are 
several manuscripts of it in different libraries around the world. For information about these and com- 
mentaries of the work in Istanbul libraries, see Manfred Gotz, "Maturidi und sein Kitab Ta'wilat al- 
Qur'an", Der Islam, 41 (1969), pp. 63-70. The complete publication of Ta'wllat by Ibrahim andSay- 
yid 'Awadayn has been restarted and is still continuing following on the earlier edition of the first 
volume that they did (Cairo: Majma* ai-a"ia ii al-shu*un ai-lslamiyya, 1971). 
5 Abd al-Qadir al-Qureshi, al-Jauahlr al-muctlyya fi (abaqat al-Hanaflyya, ed. = Abd al-Fattah M. al- 
Hulu (Cairo: Isa al-Babi al-Halabi, 1979), vol. 3, pp. 360-361. 

Qasim Ibn Qutlubogha, Taj al-tarajlm, ed. M. H. S. Yusuf (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 1992), pp. 249- 

Muhammad e Abd al-Hay al-Laknawi, al-Fawald al-bahlyya /! tarajlm al-Hanaflyya, (Cairo: Matba'at 
al-Sa c ada, 1906), p. 195. 


The Authenticity of Kitob al-Tawhid 

On the other hand, among Hanafites, Maturidi has gained a high standing. 
Pazdawi (d. 492/1099) mentions Maturidi as one of the leaders (ruesa) ofAhlal- 
sunna wa'l-jama c a, which he regarded as their kalam school. 6 Samarqandi (d. 539/ 
1 1 44) , a commentator on Maturidi's Ta'wilat, also presents him as a leader of Sunnis 
(Rels Ahl al-sunna) . 7 Maturidi is also cited in al-Qand fi dhikri 'ulemai Samarqand. 8 
In Hanafite circles Maturidi was the main source referred to in Nasafi and Nur al- 
Din al-Sabuni's works. For later Hanafites, for instance Bayadi-zada, the seven- 
teenth century Ottoman theologian, he is seen as an interpreter of Abu Hanifa 
himself. 9 Ibn Taymiya (d. 728/1328), a Salafite and opponent of kalam metho- 
dology, also refers to Maturidi several times calling him a follower of Abu Hanifa. 10 

Among Ash'arites it was Taftazani (d. 793/1390) , a commentator on a well- 
known Maturidite treatise, al-Aqaid al-Nasaflyya, who openly discusses this 
school, its founder, and the main differences between them and Ash'arites. 11 
Another commentator at about the same time, Subki (d. 771/1370), must also 
have been aware of Maturidi since he commented on al-Aqida, a short treatise 
that is mistakenly attributed to Maturidi. 12 Subki also cites Maturidi in his Tabaqat 
al-ShafiHyya, which also includes his own poetic treatise, Qaslda al-nuniyya, 
about the theological differences between Ash'arites and Hanafites (interestingly 
not Maturidites). 13 There are some recent studies focusing on Maturidi's life and 
theology, too. 14 

6 Abu'1-Yusr al-Pazdawi, Usui al-dln, ed. Hans Peter Lins (Cairo: Daru Ihya al-kutub al-'arabi, 1 963) , 
p. 3. He sometimes refers to Maturidi's views (see, for some examples, p. 34, 70, 87, 123). 

7 c Ala al-DIn al-Samarqandi, Mizan al-usul ft nataij al-uqdl, ed. M. Zaki e Abd al-Bar (Qatar: Matabi' al- 
Dawha al-Haditha, 1984), p. 3. 

8 Abu Hafs c Omar al-Nasafi, al-Qand ft dhikri 'ulemai Samarqand, ed. N. M. al-Faryabi (Riyadh: Mak- 
tabat al-kawthar, 1991), p. 32, 311 and 420. This edition is based on an incomplete manuscript of al- 
Qand (Istanbul Suleymaniye Library, Tarhanvalide, no. 70), from which two large parts including 
Maturidi's biography are unfortunately missing, but he is mentioned in a few of the other biographies. 

9 Bayadi-zada Ahmad, Isharat al-maram mln Ibarat al-lmam (Cairo: Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi, 1 949) , 
p. 23, 29. Isharat lists the differences between Hanafites/Maturidites and Ash'arites on pp. 53-56. 
Bayadi-zada's al-Usul al-munifa li'l-Imam Abi Hanifa, which collects and systematizes Abu Hanlfa's 
theological views given in his short treatises, has recently been edited by ilyas Qelebi (Istanbul: Mar- 
mara Universitesi Ilahiyat Fakiiltesi Vakfi Yayinlan, 1996). 

10 Taql al-Din Ibn Taymiya, Dar'u ta'arud al-'aql wa'l-naql, vol. 2, ed. M. Rashad Salim (n.p., Dar al- 
kunuz al-adabiyya, 1978), p. 245; al-Iman, ed. M. al-Zaydi (Beirut: Daral-kitab al-arabl, 1993), pp. 
372-373; Majmu' fatawa, vol. 6, ed. A. M. K. al- e Asimi (Riyadh: n.p., 1381 A.H.). 

11 Sa c d al-Din al-Taftazani, Sharh al-Maqasid, ed. 'A. TJmayra (Beirut: c Alam al-kutub, 1989) vol. 5, 
pp. 231-232 (, ashabu Abi Mansur al-Maturidi...) Gima- 
ret cited Kastali's quotation and noted that he could not find this passage in Sharh ai-Maqasid (see 
Theories, p. 171, n. 120). 

12 Taj al-Din al-Subki, al-Sayf al-Mashhur ft Aqidat Abi Mansur, ed. M. Saim Yeprem (Istanbul: Private- 
ly printed, 1939). A Persian treatise which is attributed to Matundi entitled Wasaya wa-munacat or 
Fawaid, (Fatih Library Istanbul, no. 5426, ff. 235 a -240 a and Hiiseyin Celebi Library, Bursa, no. 1187/ 
8, ff. 112 b -117 a ) published in Farhang-i Iran-zamin (9, 1961) by Iraj Afshar is quite unlikely to be 
his because of its mystical content and an approach that is different. 

13 Subki, labaqatal-ShaftHyya (Cairo: Isa al-Babi al-Halabi, 1965), vol. 3, p. 384. Subki indicates that 
Maturidi differed from Abu Hanifa and agreed with the Ash'arites related to the problem of declaring 
one's faith conditionally (istithna) while Baqillani, who was an Ash'arite, agreed with Abu Hanifa 
that God gives favors to unbelievers, too. 

14 Among them the following examples are worth mentioning: A. K. M. Ayyub e Ali, Aqidat al-Islam 
wa'l-lmam Maturidi (Dhaka: Islamic Foundation, 1983); 'Ali = Abd al-Fattah al-Maghribi, Imam Ahl 


islam Rro.5t1rmalo.r1 Dsrgisi 

Maturidi 's works reveal that he was aware of intellectual developments in his 
time since he knew of Aristotle and the translation of his Logic (Kitab al-mantiq) 
which included the famous categories. 15 In addition, he used the term philosophy 
{falsafa) and philosophers {falasifa) in his work. 15 Another point of originalitiy is 
his discussion, as the first Islamic theologian (mutakallim) , of the problem of 
knowledge (masail al- c ilm) . 1 7 Morever, Maturidi had immense knowledge of dual- 
ist beliefs (Sanawiyya) and of other old Persian religions. His Kitab al-tawhid in 
this way has become a primary source for modern researchers with its rich mate- 
rials about Manicheanism (Maniyya) , a group of Brahmans (Barahima) , and some 
controversial personalities such as Ibn al-Rawandi, Abu Isa al-Warraq, and 
Muhammad b. Shabib. 18 

2. The Doubts about the Authenticity of Kitab al-tawhid 

Joseph Schacht, in his article that announces the discovery of Kitab al-tawhid, 
described the Cambridge manuscript as an authentic book by Maturidi. 1 9 Howev- 
er, later on Michel Allard was not so sure stating that, "sur l'authenticite de Kitab 
al-tawhid, il est difficile de se prononcer avec certitude". 20 He is surprised that the 
main kalam books, at least the ones he studied, did not mention either the Matu- 
ridite school or its founder. 21 

Meanwhile, the one surviving manuscript of Kitab al-tawhid was published 
by F. Kholeif in 1970, and research by students of Islamic theology began based 

al-sunna wa'l-jamaa Abu Mansur al-Maturldl wa arauh ai-kalamlyya (Cairo: Maktabat Wahba, 
1985); Balqasim al-Gali, Abu. Mansur al-Maturldl: Hayatuh wa arauh al-kalamlyya (Tunis: Dar al- 
Turki, 1989); Mustafa Ceric, Roots of Synthetic Theology In Islam: A Study of the Theology of Abu 
Mansur al-Maturldl (Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization [1S- 
TAC] , 1 995) . Important articles include Joseph Schacht, "New Sources for the History of Muhammad- 
an Theology", Studia Islamlca, I-II (1953-54), pp. 23-42; W. Montgomery Watt, "The Problem of al- 
Maturidi", Melanges d'lslamologle: Volume dedie a la memoire d'Armond Abel, ed. Pierre Salmon 
(Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1974), pp. 267-268; R. M. Frank, "Notes and Remarks on theTabaT in the Teach- 
ing of al-Maturidi", Melanges d'lslamologle: Volume dedle a la memoire d'Armond Abel, ed. Pierre 
Salmon (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1974), pp. 137-149; ]. Meric Pessagno, "Intellect and Religious Assent: 
The View of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi", The Muslim World, 69/1 (1979), pp. 18-27; Lutpi Ibrahim, 
"Al-Maturidi's Arguments for the Existence of God", Hamdard Islamicus, 3/4 (Winter 1980), pp. 17- 
22; Salim Dakkash, "Mulahazat manhajiyya wa-adwa tarikhiyya 'ala 'Kitab al-Tawhid' li-Ebi Mansur 
al-Maturidi", Hawliyatfar" al-adab al-'arabiyya, Universite Saint-Joseph, 2 (1982-1983), pp. 43-59; 
J. M. Pessagno, "The Uses of Evil in Maturidian Thought", Studia Islamlca, 60 (1984), pp. 59-82. 

15 Kitab al-tawhid, p. 147; Ta'wilat al-Qur'an, H. Selim Aga Library, Istanbul, no. 40, fol. 13 a . 

16 Kitab ai-tawhid, p. 25 and 189. 

17 Ibid, pp. 7-11. cf. Schacht, "New Sources", p. 41 and Dakkash, "Mulahazat manhajiyya", p. 55. 

18 See G. Vajda, "Le Temoignage d'al-Maturidi sur la doctrine des manicheens, des daysanites et des 
rnarcionites", Arabica, 13 (1966), pp. 1-38; Guy Mannot, "Matoridi et le manicheisme", Melanges 
de I'lnstltut Domlnlcain d'Etudes Orientates de Calre, 13 (1977), pp. 39-66; Sarah Stroumsa, "The 
Barahima in Early Kalam", Jarusalem Studies in Arabic 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 Pes- 
sagno, "The Reconstruction of the Thought of Muhammad Ibn Shabib", Journal of American Orien- 
talSoclety, 104/3 (1984), pp. 445-453. 

19 See Schacht, "New Sources", pp. 24, and 41 . 

20 Michel Allard, Le Probleme des attributs diuins (Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, 1965), p. 421. 

21 "Aucun d'entre eux que ce soit Baqillani, Ibn Furek, Bagdadl, Baihaqi ou Guwalnl, ne parte d'une 
ecole maturidite de theotogie ou de son foundateur". (Ibid, p. 420). 


The Authenticity of Kitab al-Toujhid 

on it. Several reviews and studies of it were done, too. Daniel Gimaret in his Theo- 
ries de I'acte humain en theologie while explaining the Maturidite 
position on human acts dealt also with the question of the authenticity of Maturi- 
di's Kitab al-tawhid as the primary source of his school of thought. After quoting 
Schacht's and Allard's opinions given above on the issue, he poses two questions: 
whether the Cambridge manuscript really was Maturidi's and if it was, whether 
the manuscript was his Kitab al-tawhid. By comparing four passages from Nasa- 
fi's Tabsirat al-adilla (Cairo manuscript, Dar al-kutub, 6673) with the Kholeif edi- 
tion, he answered his first question positively: "Par consequent, le ms. de Camb- 
ridge est bien authentiquement un texte de Maturidi" ? 2 However, as for his se- 
cond question, he was not quite sure that the text was the Kitab al-tawhid itself: 
"il n'est pas du tout sur que Kh. [Kholeif edition] represent Tawhid de Maturidi". 
He argues that some quotations in the Tabsirat al-adilla from the Kitab al-tawhid 
were not found in the existing copy of it. 23 

The present state of affairs related to the existing copy of the Kitab al-tawhid 
and its authenticity have been examined by J. Meric Pessagno, as well. He con- 
sidered the Kitab al-tawhid "a book compiled by a follower from smaller treatises 
of the master" , 24 He regarded the use of the customary praise of God {hamdala) 
at the beginning of some chapters, which is normally written only on the front 
page of books, as unusual and questionable. 25 Also, he finds the lack of organiza- 
tion, the lack of connection between some of the chapters, and the last chapter 
added from another manuscript, as other reasons supporting his view. 

These opinions will be discussed in the section that follows my own compari- 
son of quotations from Tabsirat al-adilla and Kitab al-tawhid, where I will also 
discuss other related materials in order to solve the authenticity problem. 

3. A Re-examination of the Kitab al-tawhid's Authenticity 

The author of the Tabsirat al-adilla, Abu'l-Mu c in al-Nasafi, should be regarded 
for the Maturidite school in the same way that Baqillani or al-Gazzali are for the 
Ash'arite school, as the second great scholar of the school, 26 and the Tabsiratal- 
adilla, his main book, 27 as the second source. In fact, it is almost like a commentary 

22 Gimaret, Theories de I'acte humain en theologie musulumane (Paris: J. Vrin, 1980), pp. 175-177. 

^<j LuliX, y. i/O. 

24 Pessagno, "Uses of Evil", p. 62. 

25 See Kitab al-tawhid, p. 96, 1 1 0, 22 1 . One of these hamdalas also begins with basmala, and the other 
with the word nabtadiu. which means "we begin". 

26 izmirli Ismail Haqqi, Muhassal al-kalam iua'1-hikma (Istanbul: Awqaf-i Islamiyya Matbaasi, 1336 
A.H.), p. 7. On the life and works of al-Nasafi, see M. Yurdagur, "Kurucusundan Sonra Maturidiyye 
Mezhebinin En Onemli Kelamcisi Ebu'i-Mutn en-Nesefi'nin Hayati ve Eserleri", Diyanet Dergisi, 21/ 
4 (1985), pp. 27-43. 

27 Abu'l-Mu'in al-Nasafi, Tabsirat al-adilla, ed. Claude Salame, 2 vols. (Damascus: Institut Frangais de 
Damas, 1993). Another edition based on manuscripts found in Turkish libraries is being prepared for 
publication by Huseyin Atay (Ankara: Diyanet isleri Baskanligi Yayinlan, 1 993) . I have used the Salame 
edition which is complete, although it contains some mistakes and is based on fewer manuscripts than 
the Atay edition. 


Islam Rrajtirmalon Dergisi 

of Maturidi's Kitab al-tawhid. It helps us to understand much more easily the 
ideas and terminology in Maturidi's work. 28 Sabuni, the author of al-Kifaya and 
al-Bidaya, in his discussion with Razl said that he had not seen any other book 
more accurate than the Tabsirat al-adilla. 29 Unfortunately, Nasafi's book has also 
not been as well known in the history of kalam as it should have been. 30 The 
connection between Nasafl and Maturidi in the Tabsirat al-adilla is clear and needs 
no further proof. 31 Because Nasafl admires Maturidi, he refers to his ideas several 
times, and he always supports his views against Mu'tazilite and Ash'arite think- 
ing. In addition, he gives a list of the scholars of the Hanafite-Maturidite school in 
Transaxonia and their works, which is not available in any other source. 32 

Nasafl throughout Tabsirat al-adilla refers to the views of Maturidi mostly as 
"qala al-Shaikh al-Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi", without naming his work. Not 
just four quotations, as Gimaret indicated, but quite a number refer to Maturidi 
personally, and they are found exactly, or almost exactly, as in the surviving copy 
of the Kitab al-tawhid. Below is a list of some of them: 

Tabsirat al-adilla Kitab al-tawbdd 

(C. Salame edition) (F. Kholeif edition) 

p. 47, lines 19-20 p. 38, lines 4-5 

p. 140, lines 1-6 p. 40, lines 13-19 

p. 163, lines 2-11 p. 107, lines 1-11 

p. 365, lines 18-21 p. 47, lines 6-9 

p. 438, lines 5-7 p. 81, lines 4-7 

p. 489, lines 1-4 p. 202, lines 16-18 

p. 590, lines 7-13 p. 266, lines 3-10 

p. 691, line 15-p. 692, line 7 p. 294, lines 1-8 

p. 705, lines 10-18 p. 303, line 15-p. 304, line 1 

p. 821, lines 11-17 p. 396, lines 16-20 

The occurrence of all of these references and more are extremely significant 
because a kalam scholar, when quoting his master, normally uses his main kalam 
book, and the Kitab al-tawhid is Maturidi's main kalam book, as Pazdawi, Nasafl, 
and others have noted. Thus, if the surviving manuscript, which systematically 
deals with all of the kalam subjects, is not the Kitab al-tawhid, then it also can not be 

28 Without reading the Tabsirat al-adilla one can not evaluate or analyze the Kitab al-Tawhid (see M. S. 
Yazicioglu, "Maturidi Kelam Ekolunun iki Biiyuk Simasi: Ebu Mansur Maturidi ve Ebu'1-Muin NesefT", 
Ankara Universitesi llahiyat Fakultest Dergisi, XXVII [1985], p. 298). 

29 Fakhr al-DIn al-Razi, Munazarat Fakhr al-Din al-R&zl fl bilad Mawara al-Nahr, ed. F. Kholeif (Beirut: 
Dar al-Mashriq, 1966), pp. 23-24. 

30 As Hadji Khalifa emphasized, although c Omar al-Nasafi's Aqlda was shorter than its Table of Con- 
tents, it was much more popular tuan Tabsirat ai-auiua (see Hauji Knaiiia, Kashf al-zunftn an asami 
al-kutub wa'l-fundn, eds. Kilisli M. Rifat and S. Yaltkaya, Istanbul, 1941-1943, vol. I, p. 337). 

31 Cf. All Abdulfattah al-Maghribi, al-Firaq al-kalamlyya al-Islamiyya (Cairo: Maktabat Wahba, 1986), 
p. 380. 

32 See Tabsirat al-adilla, pp. 356-360. This part of the Tabsirat al-adilla was edited in an article earlier 
by Muhammed b. Tavit at-Tanci in "Abu Mansur al-Maturidi", Ankara Universitesi llahiyat Fakultest 
Dergisi, I-II (1955), pp. 3-12. 


The Authenticity of Kitab al-Tatuhid 

one of his other kalam works which contain only particular subjects. Maturidi's 
other kalam books, as listed by Nasafi, except for Kitab al-maqalat, are books that 
refute certain persons, books, or groups, and they are not systematic kalam 
works. 33 However, the Maturidi quotations, when checked, are about a variety of 
kalam subjects. As far as Maturidi's Kitab al-maqalat, books with this title, such 
as the Maqalatof al-Ash'an are known to give information about theological sects 
and groups {madhahib wa firaq) among Muslims. Therefore, among the complete 
list of his books, given by Nasafi, there is only Maturidi's Kitab al-tawhid that is 
his complete book of kalam. The name of the book itself also indicates this since 
Him al-kalamis also known as Him al-tawhid. 

Besides the clear references made to Maturidi personally in the Tabsirat al-adil- 
la, some of which are listed above, Nasafi also uses passages from Maturidi with- 
out referring to him. 34 He also provides some examples of Maturidi's style, for 
example, the word "hastiyya", which means existence (in Arabic wucud), al- 
though it was Persian, and we find, many times, the same word in the surviving 
copy of Kitab al-tawhid. 35 

Regarding Nasafi's actual references to the Kitab al-tawhid itself in the Tabsi- 
rat al-adilla, which occur at least four times, excluding the one cited among the 
list of Maturidi's works, some of them are quite exact while some of them express 
the same meaning using different words. 

In his first quotation, in the section in which he rejected the Magian (Ma/us) 
idea of having two separate Gods, one good and one evil, Nasafi, gave four rea- 
sons {hikma) for the creation by God of things considered to be evil. What Nasafi 
explained in a similar way to Maturidi is found in the Kitab al-tawhid in the sec- 
tion about the wisdom of God in having secret purposes for creating harmful 
things, 36 and also in the section against the ideas of dualists (Sanawiyya) . 37 Na- 
safi, at the end of this section, refers to a Kitab al-tawhid section, masail al-ta'dil 
wa'l-tajwir, for more details about what justice and injustice are, saying, "wa- 
waraa hadhihi'l-ma'ani allati bayyanaha ma'anin kathiratan dhakaraha al-Shaikh 
al-Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi rahimahullah fi masail al-ta c dil wa'l-tajwir min 
Kitab al-tawhid, a'radna an zikriha wa'ktafayna bi-hadha al-qadr..." 38 In Maturi- 
di's text, in the section that the editor entitled "Divine Acts", the words justice 
Cadtj and injustice (jawr) are used frequently, and probably it is to this section 
iricii lNasau was leiernng. m icu.i, muoi ui uic uuco, oun,n ao uivmc J-W.W nave 

33 Three of them are written in opposition to Kami's books (Rad AwSU al-adilla li-al-Ka'bl, Rad Tahdhlb 
al-jadal li-al-Ka'bl, and Rad Wa'id al-fussaq li-al-Ka'bl), to oppose the Qaramita group {al-Rad 'ala 
usul al-Qaramita and al-Rad 'ala furu' al-Qaramtta) , and others include al-Rad 'ala Usui al-khamsa 
ll-al-Bahlll and Bayein wahm al-Mu'tazila (see Tabsirat al-adilla, p. 359) . 

34 For an example, see Tabsirat al-adilla, pp. 541-543; cf. Kitab al-tawhid, pp. 256-258. 

35 Tabsirat al-adilla, p. 162; cf. for example Kitab al-tawhid, p. 7, 24, 41, 42. 

36 Kitab al-tawhid, pp. 108-110. 

37 Ibid, pp. 113-114, 116. In refuting the ideas of Magians on p. 174-175, he referred to his explana- 
tions made before. 

38 See Tabsirat al-adilla, p. 98, lines 3-5. 


islam flro.5t1rmo.lan Dergisi 

been provided by the editor since the text is divided into chapters or mas'ala that 
are not usually titled. However, for its content "Mas'ala ft al-ta'dll wa al-tajuir" 
would be a more appropriate title than "Mas'ala ft afalillah", the title Kholeif 
chose. 39 In fact, Nasafi, who strictly followed Maturidi's classification, used the 
title Masail al-ta'dil wa al-tajoir in his book about this subject. 40 

Nasafi's second and third quotations occur at the end of a long section on 
God's uncreated speech in which he gives details on different opinions about the 
possibility of hearing without sound. After citing other views, he emphasized that 
Maturidi supported the idea that normal hearing cannot happen without sound 
and that thinking otherwise would be irrational, so he said at the end of his sec- 
tion on the Qur'an that hearinga speech was only through sounds: "wa yastahilu 
idafatu kawnihi masmuan ila ghayr al-sawt, fa-kana'1-qawl bi-cawazi sama'i ma 
laysa bi-sawtin khurujan 'an al-ma c qul, wa hadha huwa madhhab al-Shaikh Abi 
Mansur al-Maturidi, nassa c aleyhi ft Kitab al-tawhid ft akhir Mas'alat al-Qur'an 
wa qala inna sama'a'l-kalam laysa ilia sama'u sawtin dallin c alayh". 41 Just before 
this reference, in the second quotation, he expressed the idea that Maturidi, at the 
beginning of his section on God's attributes, indicated the possibility of hearing 
through other means than sound. Thus, knowing sounds and inner secrets are 
also called hearing: "wa qad ashara al-Shaikh Abu Mansur al-Maturidi ft awwali 
Mas'alat al-sifat min Kitab al-tawhid ila javazi samai ma wara'a'1-sawt, fa innahu 
qal: al-ilmu bi'1-aswat wa khafiyyat al-damir yusamma sam c an". 42 

Although there seems to be a contradiction between these two passages, as 
Gimaret pointed out, when they are compared with the Kitab al-tawhid, it can be 
understood that Maturidi makes an exception to his general opinion. He accepts 
that ordinary hearing would not exist without sounds, but at the same time he 
does not exclude the possibility of an extraordinary secret hearing which he calls 
"knowing". Maturidi's view about hearing and the exception he has made can be 
found in a sentence in the surviving copy of Kitab al-tawhid. It is in the chapter 
on the attributes of God: "wa aydan anna ghayr al-sawt la yutakallamu fihi bi- 
tasmi'in, wa jaizun an yutakallama bi-ta c allumin". 43 In Maturidi's section about 
the speech attribute (kalam) , which is most probably what Nasafi has called 
Mas'alat al-Qur'an, by making a connection between the kalam attribute and the 
Qur'an, he also explains the possibility of hearing the speech of God by means of 
the tongue, letters, and sounds: "Fa-in qala qailun: hal asma'a'llah kalamahu 
Musa haythu qal: 'wa-kallama'llahu Musa taklima', qila: asma c ahu bi-lisani Musa 
wa bi-hurufin khalaqaha wa sawtin anshaah". 44 

39 Kitab al-tawltfd, pp. 2 1 5-22 1 . Nasafi, who usually follows Maturidi, started with "Masail al-ta'dil wa 
al-tacwir" immediately after prophetical subjects (see Tab$irat al-adllla, p. 539). 

40 Tabsirat al-adilla, p. 539. 

41 Ibid, p. 305, lines 1-4. 

42 Ibid, p. 304, lines 5-6. 

43 See Kitab al-tawhid, p. 5 1 , line 5. Kholeif added the word kull at the beginning without any mark, 

and read the word bi-ta'allum as bi-'ilm (cf. ms. fol. 24 b ). 

44 Ibid, p. 59, lines 3-8. 


The Authenticity of Kitab ol-Tawhid 

The fourth quotation from the Kitab al-tawhid in the Tabsirat al-adilla appears 
in the chapter on the human capacity to act (istifa'a) . Nasafi's quote indicates that 
Maturidi was among those who made a distinction between having the prerequi- 
sites that enable the capacity to act which are being in good health and able (al- 
sihha wa al-salama) and the power to act (qudra) itself. Thus, there is the pos- 
sibility that a healthy and able person could be both powerful or powerless at any 
instance calling for acting. Thus, a powerful person on one occasion can be 
powerless at other times. The text in Arabic is this: "wa man qala minhum inna 
al-sihha wa al-salama ghayr al-qudra, fa-innahu yaqulu innahu yukhlaqu fi aw- 
wali ahwalih imma sahihan saliman qadiran c ala'l-fi1, wa imma sahihan saliman 
'ajizan c an al-fil, wa yajuz an-yakuna ft al-halat al-thaniya wa-ma ba'daha 
hakadha, fa sawwa bayn al-ahwal wa-lam yufarriq bayna al-halat al-ula wa bay- 
na ghayriha min al-ahwal, wa ilayhi dhahaba al-Shaikh Abu Mansur al-Maturidi 
rahimahullah fi Kitab al-tawhid". 45 

Maturidi's distinction related to the human capacity to act is clearly seen in 
the Kholeif edition of the Kitab al-tawhid: "al-aslu 'indana bi-ism al-qudra anna- 
ha £ ala qismayn: ahaduhuma, salamat al-asbab wa sihhat al-alat wa-hiya tata- 
qaddam al-afal, hakikatuha laysat bi-maj'ulatin li'l-aPal, wa-in kanat al-afal la 
taqum ilia biha...wa'1-thani, ma c nan la yuqdar c ala tabayyuni haddih bi-shay'in 
yusaru ilayhi siwa annahu laysa ilia li*l-fl c l, la yajuz wujuduh bi-halin ilia wa 
yaqa\i bihi al-fil 'indama yaqa'u ma c ah". 46 In addition, Maturidi's view about 
the possibility of there being change in having the power to act at different times 
is one of the points on which he disagrees with the Mu'tazilite Abu Qasim al- 
Balkhi, known also as al-Ka'bi: "wa-qala [al-Ka c bi] al-sahih al-salim annahu ya- 
juz an-yakhlu c an al-fi c l waqta kawnih, thumma lam-yajuz abadan. Qala al- 
Shaikh rahimahullah: wa-ma yaquluh khata'un, bal yajuz dhalik". 47 

The above analysis of the quotations in Tabsirat al-adilla from Maturidi and 
directly from the Kitab al-tawhid should help us to be quite sure that the surviv- 
ing text of the Kitab al-tawhid is authentic and reliable. It must also be recalled 
that references can be made without using the exact words used by the source. 
Looking for paraphrases is also important. We can at least conclude that the 
manuscriptis a version of the Kitab al-tawhid. 48 Of course, the discovery of some 
other manuscripts would make authenticating the work much easier. 49 Another 
problem is that the date of the transcription of this copy cannot be understood 
from the manuscript. What has been presented is actually the date the book was 
purchased at one time. This date is located next to the title of the manuscript and 

45 See Tabsirat al-adilla, p. 567, lines 10-14. 

46 See Kitab al-tawrtid, p. 256, lines 8-10 and 16-17. 

47 Ibid, p. 279, lines 5-7. Gimaret, also points this out (see Theories, p. 1 78). 

48 W. Madelung pointed a similar view in his article "al-Maturidi", in Encyclopedia of Islam (New Edi- 
tion) , 6 (1991), p. 846. 

49 In a forward, eihter by the author or the scribe, to the Berlin library manuscript (no. 1 84 1 ) of Hasan 
Kafi al-Aqhisari's (d. 1025/1616) Rawdat al-jannat ft usul al-itiqadM dated as 1147 AH., is noted 
that an old copy of Maturidi's Kitab al-tawhid had been seen and examined in Macca (cf. also Hans 


islam Rrajtirmalari Dergisi 

is incorrectly given as the transcription (istinsakh) date of the text 50 by Kholaif, 
Daiber, and Pessagno. The note is actually this: "al-hamdu li-llahi min ni'ami'l- 
mawla e ala 'abdih al-faqir ilayhi subhanah, Muhammad al-Amin al-Hanafi al- 
Shami wa-zhalika bi al-shira fi nisfi sha'ban sana 1 150". 51 The word bi-a.l-sh.ira 
(by purchase) could not be read and was omitted and the name of purchaser was 
misread. In fact, transcription dates are always put at the end and never at the 
beginning of manuscripts. 

Then, there are the questions about the customary praise of God (hamdala) 
used more than once since it was put at the beginning of some of the chapters 52 
and the lack of inner organization in the manuscript. Since Maturidi was one of 
the first Sunni theologians, systematization of Sunni kalam books had not yet 
been established. Also, the more frequent use of hamdala could be a part of the 
author's style. He might have used the basmala and hamdala expressions when- 
ever he restarted writing or dictating his book to his students such as after some 
long breaks. 53 A few unusual usages should not be allowed to cast doubt on the 
work's authenticity nor on whether it is viewed as a systematic kalam book once 
its contents have proven to be in harmony with the references made to it early on. 

Regarding the lack of inner organization in the manuscript, the comment of 
Abu'1-Yusr al-Pazdawi, who died about one and half centuries after Maturidi, is 
informative. He described the Kitab al-tawhid as being a "little obscure, lengthy, 
and difficult in its form". 54 This fits perfectly with the surviving manuscript. Al- 
most all of the scholars who have examined the manuscript, including the editor, 
agree that its language is strange and that due to long sentences full of preposi- 
tions the expressions used are usually obscure and confusing. 55 

4. Conclusion 

In the light of the references in Nasafi's Tabsirat al-adilla and the other evi- 
dence presented here, we can conclude that the only manuscript of Maturidi's Ki- 
tab al-tawhid is authentic and reliable. Firstly, there are a large number of quota- 
tions and paraphrases, where the work they are taken from is not mentioned, on 
various subjects in Nasafi's Tabsirat al-adilla, which is a systematic kalam book 

Daiber, "Zur Erstausgabe von al-Maturidl, Kitab al-Tawhid", Der Islam, 52/2 [1975], p. 302-303). 
Although such a note does not exist in the published copy of Raw dat al-Jannat (wrongly attributed 
to MTBirgiwiTlstenbuirH. Muharram Matbaasi, 1 305 A.'h.) , except for a reference to him (see p. 4) , 
it is very important, and'therefore, the Makka libraries should be searched for the manuscript. Whet- 
her the surviving Cambridge manuscript was the one Aqhisari saw in Makka remains unknown. 

50 See Kitab al-Tawhid, Editor's Introduction, p. 57; Pessagno, "Uses of Evil", p. 61; Daiber, p. 302. 

51 See the title folio of the manuscript of Kitab al-tawhid. 

52 Pessagno, "Uses of Evil", p. 61-62 

53 I agree with Professor Richard M. Frank's personal opinion that disorder and even being unusual is 
the character of the books of the period (see Pessagno, "Uses of Evil", p. 62, n. 1). 

54 Pazdawi, Usui al-din, p. 3. 

55 See Kitab al-Tawhid, Editor's Introduction, p. 58; Daiber, "Zur Erstausgabe", p. 303; Josef van Ess, 
"Review", Oriens, 27-28 (1981), p. 556; Gimaret, Theories, p. 178; Dakkash, "Mulahazatmanhajiyya", 
pp. 49-51; Ceric, Synthetic Theology, p. 52-53. 


The Authenticity of Kitob al-Tawhid 

itself, the originals of which can also be found in the surviving Maturidi text. 
Since the Kitab al-tawhid is Maturidi's only systematic kalam book, the variety of 
quotations about the different subjects of kalam cannot be from his other books 
on more specific subjects. This strongly supports the idea that the text is Maturi- 
di's main kalam book. Secondly, there are references directly to the Kitab al- 
tawhid and then statements where different words are used to express the same 
meaning as that found in the surviving text. This indicates that Nasafl was para- 
phrasing ideas in the Kitab al-tawhid or that there were some differences in the 
various manuscripts of the work, which is normal. The discovery of some other 
manuscripts of the Kitab al-tawhid would clarify this matter. I believe that a seri- 
ous search through Ottoman and Central Asian libraries will result in the dis- 
covery of some other copies. Thirdly, the early descriptions of the Kitab al-tawhid 
by scholars in the Hanafite circle, such as Pazdawi, stating that the style it is 
written in is often obscure and difficult to understand fit perfectly with the surviv- 
ing manuscript. Its language is strange and not standard Arabic. It contains long 
sentences full of prepositions, and they are usually confusing. Thus, we are able 
to conclude that the surviving text is an authentic and a true version of Maturidi's 
Kitab al-tawhid. 


MatiirMfye Ait Kitabu't-Tevhid'in 

Bilinen Ttek Nushasmin Otantikligi Meselesi 

Ehl-i siinnet'in baslica kelam mezheplerinden birinin kurucusu olan Ebu Mansur el- 
Maturidi'nin (6. 333/944) temel eseriKitabu't-teuhld'm halen tekyazma niishasi (Camb- 
ridge Ktp. nr. 3651) bilinmektedir. Fethullah Huleyf tarafindan tahkik edilerek nesre- 
dilen bu niishamn otantikligi hakkinda M. Allard, D. Gimaret ve J. M. Pessagno gibi bazi 
arastirmacilar tarafindan birtakim §upheler ileri surulmustur. Soz konusu arastirmacilar 
eserin Maturidi'ye aidiyyetinden, ona ait ise bunun KitB.bQ't-tevhid olup olmadigmdan 
emin olamamijlar, aynca da Maturidi'nin kiiciik risalelerinin sonradan bir araya getiril- 
mesinden ibaret bir derleme olma ihtimali uzerinde durmuslardir. Ancak yapilan ince- 
leme sonunda Maturidi mezhebinin ikinci onemli kelamcisi olan Ebii'l-Mum en-Nesefi'nin 
(6. 508/1114) Tebsiratu'l-edllle'de Matiiridi'den yaptigi alintilarm lafzen ya da kiiciik 
degisikliklerle mevcut Kitabu't-teuhtd nushasmda bulundugu goriilmustur. Dogrudan 
Kitabu't-teuhtd' t yapilan az sayidaki atiflann karsiiikian da -ifade farkliligi bulunmakla 
beraber- soz konusu niishada mevcuttur. Aynca Ebii'1-Yusr el-Pezdevi'nin (o. 492/1099) 
Kitabu't-tevhid'in dili ve iislubu hakkmdaki nitelemeleri mevcut niishaya tam manasiy- 
la uymaktadir. Boylece giiniimuze ula§an yazmamn Maturidi'ye ait Kitabu't-tevhid'm 

nncVinlprinrlqn Hiri nlHu^il cnpiiril riVtriaV^^^i*" PcAarin Haolra m'ichplarinin AnaHrtln t,o 

.■wu.luiCi.liiUvl.i uii. «^ll^tA^L^ uw>lxk4uL« ^.iViiLurvKtvui. n-iu^i. ill i/uyivu iiuljiiCiiuiiiiui J Lttuu\/lLt V ^* 

Orta Asya'daki kiitiiphanelerde bulunmasi da kuvvetle muhtemeldir. Nitekim Hasan KafT 
el-Akhisari'nin Raudatil'l-cennat /T usuli'l-i'tikadat adli risalesinin bir yazma ntishasm- 
da eski tarihli bir Kitabu't-teuhtd niishasinm Mekke'de goruldugii bildirilmektedir. Qok 
yonlii taramalarla tespit edilecek yeni niishalar bu konuda daha kesin bir htikum ver- 
meye yardimci olacaktir.