The Mu‘tazilite Political Theory: The Afdaliyya and Mafdūliyya Doctrine
İslamic Quarterly, Cilt: 48, Sayı:4,
Because the Koran and the Sunna have not included clear references that would regulate the procedure of choosing the head of state, Islamic sects or schools of thought envisioned a variety of political theories. This diversity stems from the way the schools interpreted the religious texts and the formative phase of the Islamic history. In this context, the Mu‘tazilite thinkers looked at the problem from the standpoint of freedom to elect the supreme leader. Hence, they suggested that the task and privilege of electing the head of state belongs to Muslim community. Within the school, there emerged two major inclinations about the qualities and traits of the person who would be established as supreme leader (imām). While one of them adopted an idealistic and anachronistic project of imāma (leadership), the other took more realistic political attitude. This article aims to address the Mu‘tazilite political theory which centers on such terms as imāma (leadership), afdaliyya (the necessity of leader’s being excellent) and mafdūliyya (the legitimacy of the less excellent’s leadership).
Mu‘tazila, Islamic political theory, caliphate, afdaliyya, mafdūliyya, Rāfidī, Abū al-Huzayl, Bishr bin al-Mu‘tamir, the mihne incidents (oppression or trial) and the ‘Abbaside rule