The Noble Scholar, (Member of the Permanent Committee of Major Scholars, Kingdom of Saudi al-ʿArabīa) mentioned in the highly beneficial booklet ‘A Glimpse at the Deviated Sects’ (Salafī Publications), concerning the roots of the Ashāʿirah.
This is the madh′hab of the Ashāʿirah which split off from the Muʿtazilah and the Muʿtazilah split off from the Jahmiyyah, and then many more sects branched off, all having their foundation in the madh′hab of the Jahmiyyah.
The madh′hab of the Ashaa’irah branched off from the Muʿtazilah and the name is an ascription to Abū al-Ḥasan al-Asha’aree (may Allāh have mercy upon him) who used to be a Muʿtazilī, then Allāh favoured him and he recognised the falsehood of the Muʿtazilī madh′hab. So he stood in the mosque on a Friday and announced his disassociation from the madh′hab of the Muʿtazilah. Then he took off his thawb (long shirt) and said: “I have discarded the madh′hab of the Muʿtazilah just as I have discarded this thawb of mine”.
However, he then followed the madh′hab of the Kullābiyyah, the followers of ʿAbdullāh ibn Saʿīd ibn Kullab”, Who used to affirm seven attributes and negate all the others (Ibn Kullāb) said:
“This is because the intellect only points towards or indicates seven attributes: Knowledge, Power, Will, Life, Hearing, Sight and Speech”. And he said: “This is what the intellect indicate:, as for that which that the intellect does not indicate, then it is not affirmed.”
Then, Allāh blessed Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī, so he left the madh′hab of the Kullābiyyah and returned to the madh′hab of Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, died 241H, (may Allāh have mercy upon him) and he said: “I say that which the Imām of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah, Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal says’ “Allāh made istiwaa (ascension) over the Throne and He has a Hand and a Face.” And in his books: ‘Al-Ibānah ‘an Uṣūlid-Diyaanah’ and ‘Maqālāt al-Islāmiyīn wa Ikhtilāf al-Mūsáleen’, and he mentioned that he was upon the madh′hab of Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal. However he held on to some ideas which differed from the truth.
However, most of his followers remained upon his previous madh′hab, the Kullābiyyah, and thus they are called al-Ashaa’irah, an ascription to al-Ashʾarī during his first madh′hab.
However since he returned to the madh′hab of Ahl al-Sunnah wal- Jamāʿah, then to ascribe this Asha’ree madh′hab to him is injustice. It is more appropriate to say ‘the madh′hab of the Kullābiyyah’ and not the madh′hab of Abū al Ḥasan al Ashʾarī. This is because he repented from it as mentioned in his book ‘Al-Ibānah ‘an-Uṣūlid-Diyaan’ where he clarified his return and his clinging to what Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah were upon, especially Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, even if he (Abū al Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī) had some remaining deviations, such as his statement regarding the Speech of Allāh: “Verily it is the meaning itself which stands alone and the Qurʾān is an interpretation of the Speech of and not His Speech itself”
This is the madh′hab of the Ashaa’irah which split off from the Muʿtazilah and the Muʿtazilah split off from the Jahmiyyah, and then many more sects branched off, all having their foundation in the madh′hab of the Jahmiyyah.