ASHʽARĪ [Abū-l Hasan ʽAli ibn Ismaʽīl ul-Ashʽarī], (873–935), Arabian theologian, was born of pure Arab stock at Başra, but spent the greater part of his life at Bagdad. Although belonging to an orthodox family, he became a pupil of the great Muʽtazalite teacher al-Jubbāʽī, and himself remained a Muʽtazalite 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 Shafiʽites. 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 ʽl-Hasan al Ašʽari’s (Leipzig, 1876); A. F. Mehren, Exposé de la reforme de l’Islamisme commencée par Abou. ʽl-Hasan Ali el-Ashʽari (Leiden, 1878); and D. B. Macdonald’s Muslim Theology (London, 1903), especially the creed of Ashʽari in Appendix iii. (G. W. T.)