Skip to main content

Muʿtazilites

Muʿtazilites (Arab., ʿitazala, ‘separate from’). An early theological school in Islam, which espoused the use of reason in finding a middle way between unbelief and naïve fideism. The ‘intermediate state’ may have political origins, neutrality in the conflict between ʿAlī and his opponents, and separation from it. The founding of the theological school is attributed to Wāṣil b. ‘Aṭā’ and ʿAmr b. ʿUbaid, AH c.105–30. Theologically, the Muʿtazilites were characterized by five principles (uṣūl): (i) Aṣl al-tawḥīd, strict monotheism and repudiation of anthropomorphism; (ii) Aṣl al-ʿadl, the absolute justice of God, which led to emphasis on the freedom and accountability of humans, and to the reality of God's ‘promise and threat’ of heaven and hell (which, on a strong view of qadar, could have no effect on human decisions, because God knows and determines the outcome); hence (iii) Aṣl al-waʿd waʾ l-waʿīd, the promise and the threat, which have real consequence in the forming of belief (īmān); (iv) Aṣl al-manzila baina ʾl-manzilatain, the state between the states (of Sunnis and Shiʿites) in relation to the caliphate (khalīfa); (v) Aṣl al-amr bi ʾl-maʿrūf, commanding the good and forbidding the evil, appropriate action in spreading the faith, and in establishing a Muslim society. The Muʿtazilites were opposed by those who gave primacy to the Qurʾān over reason, especially al-Ashʿarī and al-Māturīdī.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Muʿtazilites." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Muʿtazilites." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mutazilites

"Muʿtazilites." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved October 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mutazilites

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.