What Is the Maturidi Position on Actions of Servants (Af’al al-’Ibad)?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


According to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Maturidi (may Allah have mercy on them), what is the status of the action of the servant? Is it created by Allah Most High? Is there any difference between their positions?


In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate.

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

Both schools of mainstream Islam affirm two undeniable realities:

  1. Allah is the creator of all things, and
  2. Human beings act with choice (ikhtiyar).

This choice is perceived by us, affirmed by the Quran, and rationally understood.

Imam Abu Hanifa says in al-Wasiyya:

“The servant and his actions, affirmations, and knowing are all created. Given that the servant is himself created, then his actions are more clearly created.”

He says in al-Fiqh al-Akbar,

“All the actions of humans are by their true acquisition (kasb), and Allah is their creator.”

As Imam Bayadi explains in Isharat al-Maram (p. 252-255), there are nuances in the differences between the Maturidis and Ash‘aris on this.

These subtleties of the reality of human actions and Divine Decree are best studied through systematic study of Islamic beliefs. For example, Sadr al-Shari‘a has four influential prolegomena on human actions in his Tawdih—with dozens of commentaries by leading scholars on this. Shaykh Zada and Ibn Kamal Pasha explain the differences with nuance in their treatises on the differences between the Ash‘ari’s and Maturidi’s. The issue is also addressed in the commentaries of Jawharat al-Tawhid, such as those of Imam Sawi and Imam Bajuri, both of which are taught at SeekersGuidance.

Do consider the courses at SeekersGuidance on Islamic beliefs.

Also see:

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), and his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of “Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004).” Since 2011, the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center has named Shaykh Faraz one of the 500 most influential Muslims.