The Structural Formulation of the Asha’rite Dogma

Written By Dinda Revolusi on Kamis, 07 April 2011 | 17.47

The entry to the formulation of the Ash’arite system relies principally in understanding the Ash’arite perception of the concept of the relationship between the three circles of existence, namely God, man and the world.  The differences between all intellectual and civilizational systems are in fact, due to their perception of this relationship.  In terms of the Ash’arite formulation of this relationship, it is characterized by its abstract and formal form.  In this formulation, a concretization of one circle is deemed possible without any consideration to the other two circles, simply because it is impossible to formulate a creative relationship between the three circles –themselves formal- in the light of what is abstract and formal.  On that basis, the Ash’arites negate the idea of the relationship between the three circle due to the difference and contrast between them that goes beyond any formal and abstract intellectual construct.  To say the least, the Ash’arites came to the conclusion –by virtue of this formality and abstraction- that the only possible relationship between them is a “dictating and subjugating relationship” and not “interactive and assimilative one”.

In any case, the true relationship (true in the sense that it is necessary and not superficial) between any elements that can influence one another, has no place whatsoever in the Ash’arite system of thought.  In truth, it is not easy to explain the Ash’arites’ system of thought in the absence of a clear understanding of their negation of this relationship –as a necessary connection- between God, man and the world. 
Concomitant to their negation of this relationship is their intention to widely open the domain of the “dominance of the absolutes”. The aim of their system of thought and the cause of its formulation were principally to exhibit the dominance of the divine absolute at the expense of both man and the world.  That is why their system was crystallized as a complete reiteration of the concept of God, to the extent that the world seems to be void of anything but God.  This resulted in the dislodging of the objectivity and necessity of the world and the activity of man.  Hence, for the Ash’arite, the world and man are empty and fragile existence without value.  Accordingly, the true existence of God necessitates the marginality of any other existence. 
It might have been understood from that brief description that the sacrifice of the objectivity of the world and the activity of man for the sake of the dominance of the divine absolute, is the most passive results that the Ash’arite system of thought has ever produced.  Fortunately, this result is in a collision with one of God’s purposes of creation.  God has never created the world and man to institutionalize His dominance, but to constitute the knowledge of Himself, as He Himself states. The knowledge of Himself –and not the dominance over the other- is the real content of the relationship between God, man and the world.  And that is what the Ash’arites could not realize due to their prevailing perception of the absolute dominance of God over man and the natural world.
This absolutist structure, whose aim is to emphasize the dominance of the (divine or political) absolute, becomes even more apparent when the elements of the Ash’arite system of thought are structurally analyzed.  The structure of this system –it is important to note- is not discoverable only through the “realization of its external and sensitive relationships”;  a relationship that merely verifies the affinity between the elements of the system, but through the disclosure of the internal rational system that regulates all its elements.  Interestingly however, although the disclosure of this internal system -the structure that is- cannot be verified except through the elements of the system, these elements in their turn cannot be explained except through their affiliation to this structure.   Putting this in mind, the absolutist structure of the Ash’arite system is not merely a product of a simple realization of the superficial relationship that joins the elements of the system, because it is the internal rational system that regulates this relationship and acquires for it its rationality and interpretation.  In other words, a simple observation of the external affinities between various issues that the Ash’arites have dealt with, notably the issues of God, man and nature, will not lead to the disclosure of the structure of Ash’arite system.  What will lead to this is an internal rational system that these issues essentially revolve around.  It is here –and only here- that the structure of the Ash’arite system can be disclosed.

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