ASH'ARI [Abu-l Hasan 'Ali ibn Isma'il ul-Ash'ari], (873-935), Arabian theologian, was born of pure Arab stock at Basra, but spent the greater part of his life at Bagdad. Although belonging to an orthodox family, he became a pupil of the great Mu'tazalite teacher al-Jubba'i, and himself remained a Mu'tazalite until his fortieth year. In 912 he returned to the faith of his fathers and became its most distinguished champion, using the philosophical methods he had learned in the school of heresy. His theology, which occupied a mediate position between the extreme views on most points, became dominant among the Shafi'ites. He is said to have written over a hundred works, of which only four or five are known to be extant.
See W. Spitta, Zur Geschichte Abu 'l-Hasan al Aš'ari's (Leipzig, 1876); A.F. Mehren, Exposé de la reforme de l'Islamisme commencée par Abou. 'l-Hasan Ali el-Ash'ari (Leiden, 1878); and D.B. Macdonald's Muslim Theology (London, 1903), especially the creed of Ash'ari in Appendix iii.
(G. W. T.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)