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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the theology of the early Muʿtazilites. First we consider the state of the sources in which their positions are preserved, the individual figures involved, and their historical context. We indicate the relation of Muʿtazilites to their contemporaries, orthodox and heretical, and enumerate the central tenets of their theology. Then we consider the outstanding features of early Muʿtazilite theology in practice, beginning with its grounding in the philosophy of nature and the various physical theories associated with the school, together with speculation concerning their provenance. Finally we examine various aspects of the philosophical system in detail, including the divine attributes, the nature of God, philosophical anthropology, and free will.

Keywords: Muʿtazilites, Islamic theology, kalām, Christian disputation, Muslim faith, natural philosophy, divine attributes, human action, Muʿtazilite cosmology, free will

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