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{{short description|The study of Islamic doctrine}}{{other uses}}{{Islam|texts}}ʿIlm al-Kalām (, literally "science of discourse"),Winter, Tim J. "Introduction", The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 4-5. Print. usually foreshortened to Kalām and sometimes called "Islamic scholastic theology",WEB, Mutahhari, Murtada, Qara'i, 'Ali Quli (translator), An Introduction to 'Ilm al-Kalam,weblink muslimphilosophy, 29 March 2018, is the study of Islamic doctrine ('aqa'id). It was born out of the need to establish and defend the tenets of Islamic faith against doubters and detractors.Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Linda Gale Jones, Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, p. 391. {{ISBN|1438109075}} A scholar of Kalām is referred to as a mutakallim (plural: mutakallimūn), and it is a role distinguished from those of Islamic philosophers, jurists, and scientists.Clinton Bennett, The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies, p. 119. {{ISBN|1441127887}}.The Arabic term Kalām means "speech, word, utterance" among other things, and its use regarding Islamic theology is derived from the expression "Word of God" (Kalām Allāh) found in the Qur'an.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Schacht, J., Joseph Schacht, Bearman, P., Encyclopaedia of Islam,weblink 24 June 2016, English, 2nd, Brill Publishers, Netherlands, 9789004161214, kalam meanings a) the reed-pen used for writing in Arabic script; b) Ottoman usage, used figuratively to designate the secretariat of an official department or service; c) in the sense of kalām Allāh (the "Word of God), must here be distinguished from 1) kalām meaning ʿilm al-kalām, “defensive apologetics”, or “the science of discourse”, 2) kalima, expressed kalimat Allāh, means “a” (single) divine utterance; d) theology., Murtada Mutahhari describes Kalām as a discipline devoted to discuss "the fundamental Islamic beliefs and doctrines which are necessary for a Muslim to believe in. It explains them, argues about them, and defends them" (see also Five Pillars of Islam). There are many possible interpretations as to why this discipline was originally called so; one is that the widest controversy in this discipline has been about whether the "Word of God", as revealed in the Qur'an, can be considered part of God's essence and therefore not created, or whether it was made into words in the normal sense of speech, and is therefore created.


As early as in the times of the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258 CE), the discipline of Kalam arose in an "attempt to grapple" with several "complex problems" early in the history of Islam, according to historian Majid Fakhry. One was how to rebut arguments "leveled at Islam by pagans, Christians and Jews". Another was how to deal with (what some saw as the conflict between) the predestination of sinners to hell on the one hand and "divine justice" on the other, (some asserting that to be punished for what is beyond someone's control is unjust). Also Kalam sought to make "a systematic attempt to bring the conflict in data of revelation (in the Qur'an and the Traditions) into some internal harmony".BOOK, Fakhry, Majid, second, A History of Islamic Philosophy, Columbia University Press, New York, 1983, xvii-xviii, Historian Daniel W. Brown describes Ahl al-Kalam as one three main groups in the time around the second century of Islam (Ahl ar-Ra'y and Ahl al-Hadith being the other two) clashing in polemical disputes over sources of authority in Islamic law. Ahl al-Kalam agreed with Ahl al-Hadith that the example of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was authoritative, but it rejected the authority of ahadith on the grounds that its corpus was "fill with contradictory, blasphemous, and absurd" reports, and that in jurisprudence, even the smallest doubt about a source was too much. Thus, they believed, the true legacy of the prophet was to be found elsewhere. Ahl al-Hadith prevailed over the Ahl al-Kalam and most of what is known about their arguments comes from the writings of their opponents, such as Imam al-Shafi'i.BOOK, Brown, Daniel W., Rethinking tradition in modern Islamic thought, 1996, Cambridge University Press, 0521570778,weblink 10 May 2018, DWBRTMIT1996, 13–5,

As an Islamic discipline

{{Muslim Beliefs|width=22.0em|Five Pillars}}Even though seeking knowledge in Islam is considered a religious obligation, the study of kalam is considered by Muslim scholars to fall beyond the category of necessity and is usually the preserve of qualified scholars, eliciting limited interest from the masses or common people.BOOK, Bennett, Clinton, The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies, Bloomsbury Academic, 2012, 1441127887, 119, The early Muslim scholar al-Shafi‘i held that there should be a certain number of men trained in kalam to defend and purify the faith, but that it would be a great evil if their arguments should become known to the mass of the people.BOOK, Black Macdonald, Duncan, Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence, and Constitutional Theory, Chapter=III, The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd, 2008, 158477858X, 187, Similarly, the Islamic scholar al-Ghazali held the view that the science of kalam is not a personal duty on Muslims but a collective duty. Like al-Shafi‘i, he discouraged the masses from studying it.The Hanbali Sufi, Khwaja Abdullah Ansari wrote a treatise entitled Dhamm al-Kalam where he criticized the use of kalam.Jeffry R. Halverson, Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam, 2010: p 37. {{ISBN|0230106587}}The contemporary Islamic scholar Nuh Ha Mim Keller holds the view that the criticism of kalam from scholars was specific to the Muʿtazila, going on to claim that other historical Muslim scholars such as al-Ghazali and an-Nawawi saw both good and bad in kalam and cautioned from the speculative excess of unorthodox groups such as the Muʿtazila and the Jahmis.WEB,weblink Nuh Ha Mim Keller - Kalam and Islam, As Nuh Ha Mim Keller states in his article "Kalam and Islam":

Major kalam schools





Hadith rejection

See also



Further reading

Eissa, Mohamed. The Jurist and the Theologian: Speculative Theology in Shāfiʿī Legal Theory. Gorgias Press: Piscataway, NJ, 2017. {{ISBN|978-1-4632-0618-5}}.

External links

{{Islam topics |collapsed}}{{Islamic philosophy}}{{Islamic theology}}

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