The reformist reaction

Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari represents a theological trend that sought to reform the dominant rationalist Mu'tazilite thinking of the time and secure a more qur'anically faithful style of monotheism. Ash'ari, whose work The Treatise (al-Risala) is still studied in Sunni institutions, was sceptical about any systematic recourse to Greek thinking to explain Islamic revelation and to prove the validity of its tenets. The Ash'arite tradition succeeded in diminishing the study of philosophy as an independent discipline, and to this day traditional theological learning in Islam often rejects not only falsafa but also the thoroughgoing rationalist doctrine espoused by the Mu'tazila, even though Ash'arism did come to incorporate major areas of Greek logic, and much of the metaphysical terminology and categories.

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