Islamic Studies Māturīdī
Recep Alpyağıl
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 November 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0232


Abū Manṣūr Māturīdī (d. 944) is one of the most influential thinkers in Sunnī theology, which has widely been followed by the Muslim world. After Māturīdī’s death, his name became the name of a theological school, Māturīdism. He was the contemporary of Ashʿarī (d. 935). Although Māturīdism has always been associated with Ashʿarism, Māturīdī’s theological method seems more rationalist and closer to Muʿtazilites than Ashʿariyya. Māturīdī’s epistemological position is between the extreme views of the rationalists and the traditionalists of his time. Kitāb al-Tawhīd, the main work of Māturīdī, is the oldest treatise on theology that begins with an exposition of the theory of knowledge in Islam. Māturīdī has also put forth important commentary on the Qur’an, commencing a new hermeneutical method. Māturīdī is more concerned with the pursuit of the subject-matter of the Qur’anic content as a whole, rather than simply concentrating on certain lexical, grammatical, or historical narrations. He was a rationalist critic of the views of Zoroastrians, Manichaeans, Marcionites in his time.

General Overviews

Although Māturīdī is an important figure for classical and post-classical Islamic intellectual history, studies on Māturīdī are rare. Rudolph 2015 is an exceptional monograph on him. Ayyub 1983 (cited under Bibliographies), Speight 1987, and Madelung 1991 provide simple overviews for readers studying Māturīdī for the first time. Ceric 1995 is a well-organized text that deals with his doctrine and theological method. Nagel 2000 and Watt 1985 account for a general history of Islamic theology and its wider intellectual and sociopolitical context.

  • Ceric, Mustafa. Roots of Synthetic Theology in Islam: A Study of the Theology of Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī (d. 333/944). Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: ISTAC, 1995.

    One of the best works on Māturīdī theology. Contains useful information about Māturīdī’s method in Kalam, his main theological ideas, and influences.

  • Madelung, Wilferd. “Māturīdī.” In The Encyclopaedia of Islam: New Edition. Edited by C. E. Bosworth, 846–847. Vol. 6. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1991.

    A good historical overview on Māturīdī.

  • Nagel, Tilman. The History of Islamic Theology from Muhammad to the Present. Translated by Thomas Thornton. Princeton, NJ: Marcus Wiener, 2000.

    A recent general history of Islamic theology. English translation of Geschichte der Islamischen Theologie, first published in 1994. Analyzes Māturīdī’s legacy within the context of rationalism in chapter 5.

  • Rudolph, Ulrich. Al-Māturīdī and the Development of Sunnī Theology in Samarqand. Translated by Rodrigo Adem. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015.

    English translation of Al-Māturīdī und die Sunnitische Theologie in Samarkand, first published in 1997. Best account of Māturīdī’s life, works, historical pioneers, and followers to date.

  • Rudolph, Ulrich. “Ḥanafī Theological Tradition and Māturīdism.” In The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology. Edited by S. Schmidtke, 280–296. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

    One of the latest studies on Māturīdī. Brief but excellent summary of the emergence of the Māturīdī school within the Ḥanafī theological tradition.

  • Speight, R. Martson. “al-Maturidi.” In The Encyclopedia of Religion. Edited by M. Eliade, 285–286. Vol. 9. New York: Macmillan, 1987.

    Brief but helpful encyclopedia-style introduction to Māturīdī.

  • Watt, W. Montgomery. Islamic Philosophy and Theology: An Extended Survey. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1985.

    An introductory textbook on the history of Islamic theology. Māturīdī school is treated in chapter 3. Still useful, although rather dated.

  • Watt, W. Montgomery. The Formative Period of Islamic Thought. Oxford: Oneworld, 1998.

    An introductory text about the different early Islamic sects. Provides the doctrinal differences between Māturīdism and Ashʿarism.

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