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About the Symposium: Aims/Introduction

Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī (d. 333/944) is recognized as the co-founder of Sunnī kalām together with his contemporary Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ash‘arī (d. 324/936). He was a Ḥanafī theologian, jurist and Qur’an commentator. The Māturīdiyya is the theological school named after al-Māturīdī and considered as a continuation of Ḥanafī tradition in Khorasan-Transoxiana. On account of the historical fact that this region was mostly populated by Turks, the Māturīdiyya became predominantly widespread among Turks, and now the majority of the population living in Turkey, Central Asia, Balkan Peninsula, Middle-East, Caucasia and Indian Sub-Continent is members of this school.

In addition to his expertise in kalām, al-Māturīdī was well-versed in a wide range of religious and intellectual disciplines that include philosophy, religions other than Islam, history of theological and jurisprudential sects, exegesis of the Qur’an and Islamic law. He authored works in almost each one of these fields, though only two of these works have survived to our day in their complete forms: Kitāb al-Tawḥīd and Ta’wilāt al-Qur’ān. In general, the records of the later representatives of the Māturīdiyya school have been based on the former work, since the latter work was not available in front of them as a published primary source in the field. By the recent publication of this latter comprehensive and sizable work, researchers have found the opportunity to come closer to the actual discussions and teachings of al-Māturīdī. We hope that researchers in the field will enjoy the scholarly publication of Ta’wilāt al-Qur’ān and revise their previous works and conduct new research.

Ta’wilāt al-Qur’ān is one of the first examples of al-tafsīr bi-al-dirāya (exegesis by knowledge). In this work, al-Māturīdī interprets the Qur’anic verses by the help of other verses of the Qur’an; he makes use of related transmitted materials, ḥadith narrations, grammatical explanations, theological and religious formulations, jurisprudential theories and rational argumentations throughout his exegetical presentations. He also provides examples of critical textual readings when he takes historical and sociological factors into consideration in his analyses. In this regard, al-Māturīdī has been serving as a model to the succeeding generations in Qur’anic studies. With all these diverse dimensions Ta’wilāt al-Qur’ān is not only of importance to the studies in the field Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir) but also to other fields of Islamic studies such as kalām, methodology and principles of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), history of sects and religions.

Although there is only one copy of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd in the world, there are many manuscripts of Ta’wilāt al-Qur’ān in the libraries around the different parts of the world. This recent critical edition of this work was based on the four manuscripts and published between 2005-2011 in 18 volumes (one of which is an index volume) under the scholarly supervision and editorial control of Prof. Bekir Topaloglu (may his soul rest in peace). Afterwards, all 18 volumes have been translated into Turkish under the guidance of Prof. Topaloglu and Prof. Yusuf Sevki Yavuz.

Academic studies on al-Māturīdīyya have been ignored for a long while both in the East and the West, but nowadays gained momentum thanks to scholarly activities in the form of dissertations, original works, articles, symposiums. This international academic event aims to promote studies on Ta’wilāt al-Qur’ān and thus to demonstrate al-Māturīdī’s extensive contributions to Islamic sciences and his scholarly influence on his succeeding generations.

mam Maturidi