[This was a response to a person who did a video warning against a person named Hamza Yusuf, but also repeated a common misconception that the Ash`ari (and Maaturidi) schools of Sunni theology are actually Mu`tazilah schools of thought. This is not the case as we will demonstrate below.]
_____________ [I will not include the person’s name] it would be more accurate to say that Hamza Yusuf is from the “apologist”-“semi-perennialist” school of thought. There is one statement of his in a UK interview, which (apparently–assuming someone didn’t doctor the video) he did make an explicit statement of kufr that comes from the Mu`tazilah school, in which he said: “Murder is such a heinous crime because it interrupts the appointed time of death.” That clearly contradicts the Sunni `Aqidah, such as, what At-Tahawi mentioned in his Creed in which At-Tahawi said: “Wa daraba lahum aajaalaa,” that is, “He [Allah] has predestined their times of death.” Obviously, to claim that the human being changed or interrupted what Allah has predestined is itself kufr.
With that said, it is inaccurate to claim that the Sunnis, the Ash`aris (and Maturidis) are a faction of the Mu`tazilah or anything like the Mu`tazilah. Both schools of theology deemed the Mu`tazilah kuffaar for rejecting the Attributes of Allah. The Sunnis were between the extremes of the Mushabbihah (i.e., those who resemble God to the creations, such as, those who deemed Allah to be an object with literal organs, a size, location, direction etc. ) and those who, for instance, denied Allah’s Attribute of Knowledge, Predestining, or Eternal Kalaam (Communication), such as, the Mu`tazilah. The Mushabbihah, for instance, were/are literalists, who misconstrued Verses and Hadiths, and as a result, they thought Allah is a giant unidentified bipedal shadow-casting extraterrestrial object with a literal smiling face, fingers, and one shin.
As for the Mu`tazilah, they started from premises derived from Hellenic philosophy, and then tried to make the Deen comply with their false assumptions. Hence, they claimed, for instance, that Allah has to do what is best for the human beings. This is an assumption of theirs that has no basis in the Religion. (Allah does not owe us anything, and Allah is not obligated with anything.) This premise of theirs was something they derived from philosophy. What the Sunnis (Maaturidis/Ash`aris) did is demonstrate that the true `Aqidah is rationally consistent—and this was particularly needed in combating the Mu`tazilah, who placed reason before Revelation. The Sunnis (Ash`aris/Maaturdis) also exposed the absurdities of the Mushabbihah, such as, their claiming Allah doesn’t need anything, but then also claiming that Allah is inside a location or direction; or their claim that Allah doesn’t resemble anything, but that Allah is an object. It’s a canard going back centuries from the quasi-Hanbali Mushabbihah, who claimed that the Ash`aris/Maaturidis are “deniers of Allah’s Attributes” or that they are “Jahmiyyah.” The fact of the matter is that the Mushabbihah know the Ash`aris/Maaturidis are equipped with the proofs from both Scripture and reason to dismantle the claims of those who believe the Creator of time, space, and direction is subject to time, space, and direction. This is why the Mushabbihah lie and slander the genuine defenders of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah.