ILM al-KALAM, one of the 'religious sciences' of Islam. The term is usually translated, as
an approximate rendering, 'theology'.
It is difficult to establish precisely when 'ilm al-kalam came to mean an autonomous religious science (or branch of knowledge). In any case, whereas the term fiqh meant originally--especially in the Hanafi school (cf. fiqh akbar)--speculative meditation, hence distinguished from 'ilm in the sense of traditional knowledge, the term kalam, literally 'word', quickly acquired the senses of 'conversation, discussion, controversy' (cf. A. J. Wensinck, The Muslim creed, 193t, 79, quoting two hadiths of Muslim). In his Ihsa' al-'ulum, al-Farabi regards 'ilm al-kalam as 'a science which enables a man to procure the victory of the dogmas and actions laid down by the Legislator of the religion, and to refute all opinions contradicting them'. The doctors of kalam (mutakallimun) themselves were to take a very similar view: this is one of many well-known definitions: 'kalam is the science which is concerned with firmly establishing religious beliefs by adducing proofs and with banishing doubts' (from the Mawaqif of al-_dhi, 8th/14th cent.). Similarqdefinitions are to be found in Ibn khaldun, and again in Muhammad 'Abduh: they summarize a long elaboration, but add nothing new.
'Ilm al-kalam is the discipline which brings to the service of religious beliefs ('aqa'id) discursive arguments; which thus provides a place for reflexion and meditation, and hence for reason, in the elucidation and defence of the content of the faith. It takes its stand firstly against 'doubters and deniers', and its function as defensive 'apologia' cannot be over-stressed. A fairly common synonymous term is 'ilm al-tawhid, the 'science of the Unity (of God)', understood as concerned not merely with the divine unity but with all the bases of the Muslim faith, especially prophecy (e.g., al-Dhurdhani, Sharh al-Mawaqif, ed. Cairo 13t5, i, t6).
Another interpretation sometimes suggested explains 'ilm al-kalam as 'science of the Word of God'. The attribute of the Word and the nature of the qur'an were indeed among the first themes treated, and discussions on this subject continued throughout the centuries. But this was by no means the first question undertaken (see below, a II) nor that later treated at most length. It seems much more likely that kalam referred at first to discursive arguments, and the mutakallimun ('loquentes') were 'reasoners'. This was the case as early as the time of Ma'bad al-Dhuhani (d. 80/699-700). Kalam became a regular discipline when these arguments and discussions dealt with the content of the faith. It is this character of discursive and reasoned apologia which was to attract the attacks both of the traditionists and of the falasifa (a IV, below).
II.--The great schools.
A. First tendencies.
--It seems that it is from the battle of ‘iffin and the schisms to which it gave rise that can be dated not of course the first meditations on the content of the faith but their grouping into tendencies and schools. The appearances of the three main politico-religious traditions, kharidhi, Shi'i and Sunni, set before Muslim thinkers the problem of the validity of the imama [q.v.] and the 'status of believer' which the imam must possess; thence arose the question of faith and the conditions for salvation and the question of man's responsibility or lack of responsibility; then, as parallel considerations, the nature of the Qur'an (created or not created) and hence the stress laid upon the divine attribute of the Word; then finally, the more general problem of the divine attributes, their existence and their connexion with the divine essence, and its Unity. Many other questions were added in course of time; but already at this early period--the age of the Umayyads and the early 'Abbasids--the essential themes which were to constitute 'ilm al-kalam had arisen. Whatever may have been the effect of external influences--discussions with Mazdean zanadiqa on good and evil in human actions or with the Christian theologians of Damascus on the Word of God, and the discovery of Greek science and philosophy--kalam tended at first to take shape over specifically Muslim problems. The external influences probably had some effect as a result of the controversies, emphasizing some aspects of the subjects dealt with, giving direction to the choice of arguments and (still more, perhaps) the method of argumentation. The fact remains, however, that 'ilm al-kalam is certainly not an Arab adaptation of Mazdean or Christian theology but arose within the Muslim community, where it preserved its own originality.
It would be risky and tedious to attempt to establish the dates of the very first attitudes adopted. So far, these are hardly known except through later works of heresiography (notably of al-Ash'ari, al Baghdadi, al-Shahrastani, Ibn Hazm) and refutations. Again, it is not always the same thinkers who are linked together under this or that comprehensive label (e.g., qadariyya); and mere tendencies should not be transformed into 'schools' in the strict sense. This or that mutakallim may be presented as showing diverse--even opposing--tendencies according to the problem he is dealing with. There follow here, as a general indication, a few points of reference.
The qadariyya were those most opposed to the Umayyad regime, most critical of the ways of the court at Damascus. The name was ordinarily applied to those who recognized that man had a power (qudra) over his acts so extensive that determination (qadar) belonged to man alone, and who saw in 'works' thus freely performed an integral part of the faith. Hence the man who deliberately committed a great sin became kafir, infidel. This last tenet, which does not seem to have been supported by all, was to remain one of the characteristics of kharidhi thought.--Ghaylan and Ma'bad al-Dhuhani are the members of the qadariyya most frequently quoted. To them may be added, but with reservations, Wasil b. 'Ata' and 'Amr b. 'Ubayd (tnd/8th century), who are regarded as the founders of the Mu'tazili school and are, with them, sometimes called 'political mu'tazilis". This tendency re-appears in later kharidhi or Shi'i kalam. The term qadariyya was later readily applied to the Mu'tazilis proper, who disclaimed it. Some of them, interpreting differently the etymology of the term, used it of those who upheld the absoluteness of the divine Decree (qadar); this interpretation is found later in the works of their opponent Ibn Taymiyya.
In this second sense, qadariyya becomes practically synonymous with what had been its opposite, Dhabriyya (or Mudhbira [q.v.]), the upholders of dhabr, the divine 'compulsion', which ccreates man's acts, good or bad, so that nothing is attributed to the man who performs them. The Mu'tazilis regarded as Jabriyya those (including Ash'aris) who rejected their doctrine of qadar. Ash'ari heresiographers accorded the term Jabriyya--perhaps somewhat hastily--to the disciples of Jahm.
It was on the question of faith, sin and salvation that the Murdhi'a [q.v.] disagreed with the kharidhis. A great sin (kabira) does not involve loss of faith. On the basis of qur'an, IX, 106, the sinner's future fate is left in suspense (irdha'), awaiting God's decision. It is Ghaylan and Ghassan (who seem to have had Hanafi connexions) who are usually (e.g., by al-Shahrastani) named as belonging to the Murdhi'a.
Later heresiographers constricted these diverse tendencies into condensed formulas, which probably over-simplified and distorted them. But in these very first efforts to support politico-religious attitudes by means of rational argument the main lines of later discussions are already drawn. With greater or less success, the qadariyya anticipate some of the main theses of the Mu'tazila; the Ash'aris were to seek a 'happy mean' to reconcile the 'compulsion' of the Dhabriyya and human responsibility; the Murdhi'a prefigure, to some degree, in their treatment of the problem of retribution in the next world, the explanations of the Maturidi-Hanafis and many Ash'aris. Full discussion of this question would require a detailed study (which would however be risky for lack of documentation) of ghaylan, who is sometimes classed with the qadariyya, as having asserted human liberty of choice, and sometimes with the Murdhi'a, thanks to his theory of the future lot of the sinful believer.
We are dealing therefore with tendencies rather than with established 'schools of theology', and with overlapping views which later were to diverge. Thus it is with the adherents of the sect of the Jahmiyya [q.v.], who regarded as their founder Jahm b. ‘afwan (executed in 1t8/746) but whose tenets are known only from the refutations of their opponents. To summarize: on the problem of qadar they would ally themselves with the Jabriyya, and on that of faith with the Murdhi'a. Beyond this, however, they refused to recognize any distinct existence of the divine attributes, stripping them away (ta'til) from the divine essence in order the better to protect its perfect and absolute unity. Finally, they supported the thesis of the created Qur'an, and gave an allegorical interpretation to the anthropomorphic features in its text. Thus there arose a certain confusion between them and the Mu'tazilis (e.g., on the subject of 4irar b. 'Amr), although the latter took position against them both for their excessive ta'til and for their rejection of human freedom of action.
B. The Mu'tazili schools (for the origin of the name, details on the historical development of the school and its doctrines, see mu'tazila).
The first Mu'tazilis were contemporaries of the various tendencies and groupings surveyed above. It is sometimes difficult and perhaps pointless to distinguish them from the qadariyya.
But after 13t/750, when 'Abbasid authority was asserting itself at Baghdad, discussions on the validity of the imama lost their relevance, to be replaced by the defence of religious dogmas in general against attacks of zanadiqa of all types. Doctrinal positions became so defined and systematized that one may speak of a regular school (or rather schools), whose vocabulary and methods of argument were to be influenced as a result of the activity of translation from works of Greek science and philosophy
After the 'founders', Wasil b. 'Ata' and 'Amr b. 'Ubayd, and the 'forerunner', 4irar b. 'Amr, we find two Mu'tazili groups taking shape, at Basra and Baghdad respectively, between the end of the tnd/8th and the beginning of the 4th/10th century. Each embraced varying tendencies, but can justly be called a 'school' (madhhab) (see W. Montgomery Watt, Free will and predestination in early Islam, Edinburgh 1948, 65, for a table of the chief representatives of these schools and the links of their affiliation; list in L. Gardet, Les grands problemes de la theologie musulmane: Dieu et la destinee de l'homme, Paris 1967, t6).
One may, with Montgomery Watt, regard Abu 'l-Hudhayl al-'Allaf (d. ca tt7/841) as the founder of the Basra school and, in a sense, of doctrinal Mu'tazilism itself. The great names in this school are Mu'ammar, al-Nazzam (both of whom did not refrain from criticizing al-'Allaf), the great writer al-Jahiz, al-Jubba'i and his son Abu Hashim (d. 3t1/933). The doctors of Basra, in grappling with the doctrinal problems that arose, advanced original solutions in the field of natural philosophy or in noetics: the theory of atoms (dhuz'), of Abu 'l-Hudhayl, the semi-conceptualism of the 'modes' (ahwal) of Abu Hashim.
The school of Baghdad was perhaps less illustrious than that of Basra. It derived from Bishr b. al-Mu'tamir (d. between t10-t6/8t5-40), who was for a time imprisoned by Harun al-Rashid, was criticized by Abu 'l-Hudhayl, and was to influence Mu'ammar. Al-Murdar, øhumama, al-khayyat and al-Ka'bi (d. 319/931) brought fame to this group.
As the oft-quoted remark of Ahmad Amin (4uha al-Islam, Cairo, iii, t04) puts it, the Mu'tazilis were 'firstly men of religion and secondarily philosophers'. It is not (pace D. B. Macdonald in EI1, s.v. Kalam) the atomic theory (nor that of the 'modes') which characterizes the mutakallimun, but their primary concern to engage in disputation and argument to defend the faith against the zanadiqa of the period, the 'free-thinkers' inspired by Mazdeism or Manicheism, and later by pure Greek rationalism. Although nuances of doctrine, sometimes important, divided them, they were inspired by one and the same spirit: respect for reason ('aql) in the defence of religious tenets ('aql becoming even the criterion (mizan) of the Law), the concern to purge the notion of God of all 'multiplicity' and anthropomorphism, the desire to proclaim and justify the absolute divine perfection. The Mu'tazilis themselves defined themselves as 'the people of Justice and Unity'.
(We may note the influence of Mu'tazilism on Jewish thought elaborated in the Arabic milieu; it too possessed a kalam, which opposed the Muslim doctors when necessary but which largely borrowed from them its problematics, its method and its systems of argument. Sa'adyah Gaon (Sa'id al-Fayyumi) was the most famous Jewish mutakallim).
The five principal bases (usul) or theses upon which Mu'tazili problematic was elaborated are known: (1) the divine Unity (al-tawhid): the divine attributes are meaningful only when taken in a strict via remotionis (tanzih), which their opponents readily identified with the ta'til of the Jahmiyya. God the Creator, an absolutely spiritual being, is inaccessible and can be seen neither in this world nor in the next. (t) Justice (al-'adl): God acts with a purpose. Things, by their nature, contain both good and evil. God can will only the good, and is obliged to accomplish that which is better (al-aslah). Thus He neither wills nor commands that which is evil. Man, 'creator of his own acts' by a contingent power (qudra) which God has created in him, is responsible for what he does, and God is obliged to reward or punish him accordingly. (3) 'The promise and the warning' (al-wa'd wa 'l-wa'id) or 'the names and the decrees' (al-asma' wa 'l-ahkam): to possess faith is to perform the acts prescribed by the qur'an. Whoever commits a 'great sin' and does not repent is destined for hell. The thesis elaborates the 'decrees' for the believer and the unbeliever. It deals also with 'traditions' (akhbar): contrary to the normal doctrine, it does not insist that all the 'transmitters' should be believers; and ijma' [q.v.] is not infallible. (4) 'The intermediate state between faith and lack of faith (al-manzila bayn al-manzilatayn)--the position of the 'believer who sins' (fasiq [q.v.]), a characteristic thesis of the school. The sinner is neither a true believer (mu'min), nor a true infidel (kafir). He has failed to perform the 'witness of the limbs', but his faith in God keeps him within the Community. It is here that are discussed the conditions for imama and the respective merits of the first four Caliphs. (5) 'The enjoining of what is good and the forbidding of what is evil' (al-amr bi 'l-ma'ruf wa 'l-nahy 'an al-munkar): this thesis at first was of major prominence, but later lost relevance. 'The enjoining of what is good' is an obligation upon every Muslim (contra: al-Asamm, of Basra). As against the more prudent view prevailing later, the Mu'tazilis advocated direct intervention, if necessary with the sword. One may and should depose guilty leaders, one may and should compel opponents, on pain of death, to profess the true doctrine (cf. al-Ash'ari, Maqalat, ed. Cairo, ii, 466). This was the attitude of the Mu'tazilis, in their days of triumph under al-Ma'mun, when they denounced to the courts the supporters of the doctrine of the uncreated qur'an.
The fact remains that the writings of the great Mu'tazilis, apart from the polemical Intisar (a defence of Mu'tazilism by al-khayyat, against Ibn al-Rawandi), are available to us only at second hand. After being for a time the official doctrine, Mu'tazilism was in its turn condemned and most of its productions were destroyed. It is only recently (in about 1958), that there have come to light, in the Yemen, the writings of a Mu'tazili (unfortunately, late), the qadi 'Abd al-Dhabbar (d. 415/10t5): first al-Mughni fi abwab al-tawhid wa 'l-'adl, a true 'summa', now (1969) being edited in Cairo, and second the Kitab al-Madhmu' fi 'l-muhit bi 'l-taklif (ed., not without mistakes, by J. J. Houben, Beyrouth 196t). To these may be added the work of synthesis Sharh al-usul al-khamsa (ed. Cairo 1384/1965 by 'Abd al-Karim 'Uthman), probably compiled by a Zaydi disciple, the imam al-Mandakim. We may mention also, in the line of 'Abd al-Jabbar's teaching, the Mu'tamad fi usul al-fiqh, by his disciple the jurist Abu 'l-Husayn Ibn al-tayyib al-Basri (ed. Damascus by Hamidullah).
'Abd al-Jabbar makes frequent reference to the 'early masters' of the school ('our shaykhs'), more readily to the school of Basra, and especially to al-Dhubba'i and Abu Hashim. Thus we now possess quotations from the early doctors and resumes of their thought presented from the Mu'tazili viewpoint: this reveals, incidentally, how objective are the Maqalat of al-Ash'ari (and tends to prove that the first part at least of this work was composed during the years that the author adhered to Mu'tazilism). Again, the late date when 'Abd al-Jabbar was teaching induced him to conduct polemic against the Ash'aris and set out the replies of the Mu'tazilis to the attacks mounted against them. The discovery of these works in the Yemen is another proof that under the challenge of the 5th/11th century reaction the influence of the school continued to be felt in non-Sunni milieus.
Before passing on from the climate of thought of the first great schools of 'ilm al-kalam, we may mention the group whom al-Ash'ari calls Ahl al-ithbat or Muthbita (cf. W. Montgomery Watt, op. cit., 104 ff.). It is by no means easy to define it precisely. It comprised a certain number of thinkers, 4irar, al-Nadhdhar, Muhammad Burghuth, whom later heresiographers readily classed as Mu'tazilis; but they were opposed by various supporters of the school of Basra (thus al-Nadhdhar was opposed by Abu 'l-Hudhayl and al-Nazzam), and al-Ash'ari saw in them his forerunners. They are said to have taught, inter alia, that God is the creator of human actions, and to have foreshadowed the theory of kasb or iktisab, which defined and limited man's possession of the acts thus created. Reference to the Ahl al-ithbat allowed al-Ash'ari to present himself as being in no sort an innovator in the field of 'ilm al-kalam.
C. The Ash'ari reaction.
--The 'resurgence of Sunnism' under al-Mutawakkil and throughout the 5th/11th century was accompanied by an indictment of Mu'tazilism and concurrently, at least by Hanbali and Zahiri traditionists, of kalam as such: what was questioned was the basic principle of reasoned and discursive argument starting from the tenets of the faith. 'Ilm al-kalam however not only survived but renewed itself, thanks to the new direction given to it by Abu 'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari (t60-3t4/873-935), a former Mu'tazili. He is rightly regarded as the founder of the Ash'ariyya [q.v.], the most accepted and official school of kalam from the 4th/10th century to the 19th century. A certain number of his works (notably Luma', Ibana) have survived, and his Maqalat al-Islamiyyin remain today an unrivalled source for our knowledge of the earlier tendencies and schools.
Throughout the centuries, several very famous names brought renown to Ash'ari kalam. It is certain that manifold tendencies appeared in this school, and that varying--even divergent--attitudes were adopted. Thus al-Baqillani summoned to the service of Ash'ari tenets the atomism first expounded by Abu 'l-Hudhayl; however, al-Juwayni did not follow him at all on this point, but took up again the theory of 'modes' of Abu Hashim (and Baqillani), which was abandoned by al-Ghazali. But the basic viewpoints from which the major tenets of the faith are thought out remain the same; in spite of doctrinal differences--due largely to historical accidents and the diversity of the opponents it was necessary to refute--it is legitimate to speak of an Ash'ari 'school' (singular), perhaps more coherent than the Mu'tazili schools had been.
Is it necessary, as has been suggested, to admit a radical distinction, even a split, between the thinking of the school's founder and that of the school named after him? It is true that in the Ibana, al-Ash'ari precedes his 'credo' by a declaration of obedience to the teaching of Ibn Hanbal, and that although the declaration of faith which became traditional in the school could find justification in the Luma' yet it is notably different from those set out in the Ibana and the Maqalat. Nevertheless, the obedience to Ibn Hanbal declared by al-Ash'ari did not deceive the Hanbalis, who violently attacked the very principle of the defence of the faith by rational argument; and again, many propositions of the Luma' had to await elucidation by later disciples, who were influenced in their turn by new historical circumstances. Thus there are not two "Ash'arisms", one of the founder and one of his followers, but, fundamentally, a single common attitude which was to be progressively developed and variously coloured by successive apologetic discussions.
This common attitude is the unblurred affirmation of God as the inscrutable Almighty, Who does not act 'with a purpose in view' and Who 'is not to be questioned'. In the strictest sense, God is 'the sole Being and the sole Agent'. He does not command an act because that act is just and good; it is His command (amr) which makes it just and good. God is the creator of human acts, of which man is merely the receiving subject (mahall). But God 'attributes' to a man his acts (theory of kasb or iktisab), and hence are justified both human responsibility and the Judgement promised in the Qur'an. Every statement of the Qur'an corresponds to reality; the 'ambiguous'q(mutashabih) verses are absolutely true as regards their affirmation of existence, but the anthropomorphisms which they present must be accepted bila kayf, 'without asking how'. With a return to Hanbali attitudes and against the Mu'tazilis it is asserted that the Qur'an is uncreated (ghayr makhluq) and that the divine attributes are real. The attribute of the Word is not that it is 'contingent': it subsists in God. But the school later taught the existence of the interior (dhati) divine Word, which is uncreated, and tended to admit that the 'signs' which express it are created: such a distinction was to incur the vehement criticism of the Hanbali doctors.
A common attitude, we have said, but one which was continuously to seek to justify itself dialectically before its various opponents: first the Mu'tazilis, al-Ash'ari's own favourite targets for controversy, and then the 'literalists', such as the Karramiyya who were opposed by Ibn Furak; later still the falasifa, and many others. Often enough the Ash'aris borrowed from their opponents this or that way of posing the problem and even the methods of argument, so that it is possible to establish the following distinct chronological phases: (1) the works of the founder, al-Ash'ari; (t) the first disciples: al-Baqillani, who adopted the theory of atoms and the theory of modes, which later were sometimes accepted and sometimes passed over in silence or rejected; al-Baghdadi; Ibn Furak, the opponent of the Karramiyya; al-Bayhaqi and al-Dhuwayni, supporters of the 'modes'; (3) this last, al-Dhuwayni, al-óhazali's teacher in kalam, is already a forerunner of that line which Ibn khaldun calls 'the moderns' and which continued to summarize and discuss the attitudes of the great falasifa; this line gained glory from the most renowned mutakallimun: al-Ghazali, al-Shahrastani, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (one of the most original thinkers of this school), al-Isfahani, al-Iji, al-Jurjani, al-Dawani (on whose works Muhammad 'Abduh later wrote a commentary): these 'moderns' did not refrain from employing a certain degree of (moderate) ta'wil to explain the anthropomorphic elements in the Qur'an (cf. al-Razi's Kitab Asas al-taqdis); (4) the manuals of 'fossilized conservatism', which merely repeated and systematized the solutions presented by the masters of old time, reproducing their replies to Mu'tazilis or falasifa who were progressively less familiar directly: the works of al-Sanusi of Tlemcen, al-Laqani, al-Fudali, al-Badhuri.
D. Maturidi-Hanafi tendencies.
These became, with Ash'arism, the second officially approved line of teaching. 'Tendencies', we say deliberately, and not 'school', believing correct the remarks of Father Allard on this subject (Le probleme des attributs divins dans la doctrine d'al-Ash'ari et de ses premiers disciples, Beirut 1965, 4t0). Al-Ash'ari himself treated the Hanafiyya as a branch of the Murdhi'a (Maqalat, i, t0t-3). However, we are here concerned with a line of thought sufficiently coherent to deserve study in its own right.
It appeals on the one hand to the ancient texts entitled al-Fiqh al-akbar and Wasiyyat Abi Hanifa, and on the other to al-Maturidi of Samarqand (d. 333/944), the author of a Kitab al-Tawhid edited by one of his pupils. The Hanafi professions of faith (see A. J. Wensinck, op. cit.) have their peculiar characteristics: the connexion between islam and iman, the statement of faith by qawl, etc. But al-Maturidi, in advance of his contemporary al-Ash'ari, seems to have combated various falasifa (and also dualists, materialists, esoteric sects; secondarily, Mu'tazilis and anthropomorphists). Although he, like others, deals with the divine attributes and Names, the main question which concerns him is the creation of the world. It is very possible that he did not literally 'found' a school, but all the same many mutakallimun looked to him as a point of reference. In later years it becomes difficult to distinguish clearly between followers of al-Ash'ari and of al-Maturidi: although Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, al-Dawani, al-Laqani are Ash'aris under the influence of al-Maturidi, Abu 'l-Barakat al-Nasafi and al-Taftazani may be regarded as belonging primarily to the Maturidi-Hanafi line and only secondarily to Ash'arism (they accepted the theory of atoms).
Indeed as compared with Ash'arism, Maturidi-Hanafism, as presented by certain manuals (e.g., 'Abd al-Rahim Ibn 'Ali, Kitab Nazm al-fara'id, Cairo, tnd ed.) puts forward solutions which are more psychological and intellectuallist in character. As to the first: God creates in man the asl, the 'root' of his acts, whatever they may be, but it is human freewill which gives them a good or an evil specification. As to the second (seeAllah, p. 413): the divine decree (qadar) and predetermination (qada') are no longer related to the divine will (as with the Ash'aris) but to the divine knowledge; and the connexions between the one and the other in time and in eternity are reversed [see al-kada' wa'l-qadar].
E. Modern period.
The revival (nahda) of Arabo-Muslim thought, which has taken place from the end of the 19th century, has concerned particularly culture in the general sense, predominantly in the field of literature and under the strong influence of modern Western thought, but it has had its repercussions upon the 'religious sciences'. We have in mind here the reformism of the Salafiyya, and thus in exegesis (tafsir) and in usul al-fiqh. Is it legitimate to speak of a resurgence in 'ilm al-kalam? To answer this question we adduce the Radd 'ala 'l-Dahriyyin ('Refutation of the materialists') of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (Cairo 19t5), and, still more, the Risalat al-tawhid of Muhammad 'Abduh, and some other writings of the latter. Al-Afghani's work, attacking contemporary 'doubters and deniers' is prompted by a concern for defensive apologia. 'Abduh's Risala aims at being an attractive exposition of Islam calculated to affect and interest modern man. We may note that it defines 'ilm al-kalam as being 'the establishment of religious beliefs and the explanation of prophecies', in order to 'seek to conserve and establish religion' (Cairo 1353, 5).
The interest of the Risalat al-tawhid arises from the fact that it claims to reject nothing inherited from the great periods of the past and to put to profit the positive achievements of every school. Muhammad 'Abduh adheres primarily, but without rigidity, to Ash'arism (divine names and attributes; no 'end' to God's actions, etc.). But he does not hesitate to draw inspiration from attitudes customarily regarded as Maturidi, or even to adopt Mu'tazili positions. Hence arises his famous declaration: 'The Law came to reveal what exists; but it is not the Law which made this good (hasan)' (ibid., 80). 'Abduh seeks to pass beyond the disputes of past ages in order to reconcile the various tendencies in kalam.
All the same, his role was less that of a thinker (or 'theologian') than that of a reformer. When he comes up against the mystery (ghayb) of divine Action on the world, he does not attempt to bring to bear on it his intelligence as illuminated by the revealed truth, in the way that such a thinker as Fakhr al-Din al-Razi felt himself obliged to do. In order to maintain both the affirmations of the faith and of human experience, he prefers to take refuge in an admission of ignorance: 'As for going further, seeking to reconcile God's Omniscience and Will (which are proved to us) with man's freedom of action (which are demonstrated by evidence), that is to seek to penetrate the mysteries of the divine Decree; and we are forbidden to plunge into this abyss and concern ourselves with matters that reason is nearly incapable of grasping' (ibid., 61; cf. Fr. tr. by Michel and M. 'Abd al-Raziq, Paris 19t5, 43). The distinction should be noticed between 'proof' (by the qur'anic text) of divine Omniscience and Will, and the (experimental) 'evidence' of his freedom which man achieves. It may be said that in giving this reply Muhammad 'Abduh is not carrying forward 'ilm al-kalam but re-stating in new terms a traditional problem, and leaving it open.
III.--Method and problematic.
A. Argumentation and types of reasoning.
Thus the solutions advanced and the criteria selected are extremely varied; but they have in common the fact that they always vary according to the doctrine being defended or the adversaries being opposed. We will limit ourselves to a few remarks on the two great 'schools'. Mu'tazilism sought to valorize, under the attacks of the zanadiqa, the absolute Unity and the absolute Justice of God; but this valorization quite quickly becomes, thanks to the arguments advanced to bring conviction, a 'justification': the divine Essence and Action become justified before and through human reason ('aql). It is to counter this reduction of the mystery that the Ash'aris take their stand, proclaiming the Omnipotence and the Omniscience of God, rejecting any ontological basis for human freedom of action, but seeking to refute the Mu'tazilis (using the same weapons as they) and at the same time, on the other flank, anthropomorphists (mudhassima) of every shade.
IIn both cases, for Ash'aris as for Mu'tazilis, the starting point for the dialectical arguments assumes that confidence may be placed in 'aql, and that a harmony is to be acknowledged between religious law and the efforts of reasons brought to bear on it. This is, we believe, the primary basis of 'ilm al-kalam, that which above all makes of it an autonomous discipline--and not this or that cosmological or noetic theory, whether it is dealing with atoms or with modes. But whereas in Mu'tazilism reason may and should account for its agreement with the Law, in Ash'arism it is the Law which defines the limits of reason and controls its activity. In both cases, the religious Law is the bearer of absolute truth--delimited, in the view of the Mu'tazilis, by the criterion of 'aql, whereas for the Ash'aris it is only because the Law enjoins upon him to do so that man may 'reflect upon the signs of the universe'.
The method of 'ilm al-kalam is thus basically explicative and defensive. It always postulates the existence of an opponent who is to be won over. Not merely the choice of arguments but even the method of presenting them will vary according to the nature of the opponents. It is noteworth that 'rational' arguments were often the first to be ad-qvanced; they are primarily dialectical, and pursue very subtle lines of reasoning; whereas the 'modern' manuals clothe them in a syllogistic guise. Up to al-Juwayni, and sometimes also with the 'moderns', they are based on logic 'with two terms', on the classical Semitic pattern, by way of implication and involution, or concordance, or opposition. A suggestive summary is found in the Bayan 'an usul al-iman of al-Sumnani, a disciple of al-Baqillani (cf. Gardet and Anawati, Introduction a la theologie musulmane, Paris 1948, 358-61, 365-7).
'Rational' arguments are followed (or sometimes preceded) by 'traditional' arguments, or, in other words, arguments from authority. These revolve around citations from the qur'an, on the one hand those adduced in direct support of an argument and on the other those quoted by opponents whose faulty interpretation of them is attacked. To these may be added hadiths, sometimes numerous, sometimes few. This is especially the procedure of the first great Ash'aris. Most of them also rely upon texts guaranteed by idhma'; 'It is agreed that ...' is a favourite argument. Al-Juwayni, among others, gives an important place to idhma'. The fact that these 'traditional' arguments are in some manuals listed after the 'rational' arguments indicates that the former are to be regarded as a confirmatur to the results of dialectical reasoning. The defensive and apologetic character of kalam is thus manifested in its very recourse to the tenets of the faith to supply arguments.
From al-Juwayni onwards, the old-style dialectic and its reasoning from two terms yields place (without disappearing) to reasoning in three terms of the syllogistic type, with its universal middle term, and its recourse, implicit or explicit, to the principle of causality [see 'illa]. The falasifa now become the usual opponents, as much as or more than the Mu'tazilis. They must therefore be refuted on their own ground, and Aristotelian logic (with Stoic influences) becomes more and more influential in the arguments of kalam. The first manuals of the so-called 'modern' tendency (the Muhassal of al-Razi, the Sharh al-Mawaqif of al-Dhurdhani, etc.) introduce questions regarding God and His Action with extended and purely rational discussions in which are surveyed the logical, cosmological, noetic and metaphysical themes of the falasifa. Logic is here treated according to the Aristotelian schemas, sometimes with modifications (notably the four or even five figures of the syllogism). Yet the old argumentation from two terms does not entirely disappear; an indication of this may be found in the favourite selection of reasoning by the dilemma: this is probably Aristotelian in manner, but the implicit middle term is often suppressed in favour of the argument from authority (of a fact or of a text) or in favour of the dialectical judgement of existence [see burhan].
The school of the 'moderns' may be distinguished from the first generations of the Ash'ariyya by its advancing of more subtle solutions and its posing of some new problems. It is distinguished particularly by its use of the syllogism with a universal middle term and by its recourse to causality, even when, on the ontological plane, the efficacy of secondary causes is denied. Hence, to take a rather summary view, it is possible to re-classify the schools as follows: Mu'tazili kalam and early Ash'ari kalam are opposed in the doctrines they maintain but may share the same attitude to the problems and use the same methods of reasoning; early Ash'ariqkalam and the Ash'arism of the 'moderns' support practically the same doctrines but differ perceptibly in their approach to the problems (adoption of 'philosophical preambles') and more still in their methods of reasoning; finally, 'fossilized conservatism' took up again the now classical doctrines and combined the dialectical and the syllogistic approaches, without always distinguishing one from the other.
Early Ash'ari kalam (al-Baqillani, al-Isfara'ini, and al-Ash'ari himself) professed, according to Ibn khaldun in his Muqaddima (Cairo ed., 3t6, tr. de Slane, iii, 59), the 'retroactivity of proofs', i.e., 'the nullity of a proof implies the nullity of that which it was sought to prove'. It is thus, according to L. Massignon's comment (Passion d'al-Hallaj, Paris 19tt, 550, n. 1), that al-Baqillani declared the atomistic view of the world to be 'co-essential' with the text of the qur'an. Such a procedure, Ibn khaldun adds, in which truths to be proved and probative arguments are interwoven, does not 'conform to the rules of the art'. This remark would be fully justified for a logical statement in three terms, but not in a dialectic of like and like (or its opposite). The 'proof' to be adduced is no longer the result of a deduction. It, too, is a fact, a witness of truth. For al-Baqillani, the atomistic discontinuity of the thing created 'proves' the absolute transcendence and subsistence of God, the sole Agent, in the sense that this is its opposite correlative, its muqabal, and that these two facts, presenting themselves to the spirit in a single apprehension, can only affirm themselves or deny themselves together (cf. Gardet and Anawati, op. cit., 359; L. Gardet, La dialectique en morphologie et logique arabes, in L'ambivalence dans la culture arabe, by J. Berque, J.-P. Charnay, and others, Paris 1967, 1t5-30). It is less the strictly logical validity of reasoning by implication and its 'conformity with the rules of the art' that is in question here than the degree of universality and probative validity of the two procedures, dialectical (with two terms) and syllogistic (with a universal middle term).
B. The formulation of problems.
This study of the methods of thought and of argument employed in 'ilm al-kalam emphasizes that the struggle of Ash'arism with Mu'tazilism is part of a continuous process. There is a split as to the chief doctrines professed but not (we cannot repeat too often) as to the type of arguments or the method of reasoning employed, nor as to the general lines or the plans of the treatises. From this point of view, kalam, as an established discipline, is greatly indebted to the Mu'tazilis. Their five usul continue, with some variants, to dominate the whole question: so it is in the Luma' of al-Ash'ari, and to a large extent also in the Tamhid of al-Baqillani.
From al-Juwayni onwards, however, and particularly from al-Razi, three new importations appear: (1) introductions or preliminary remarks, on the character of reasoning (al-Juwayni, Irshad), on the nature of kalam (al-Ghazali, Iqtisad), and finally on the general principles of logic, natural philosophy and ontology (al-Razi, al-Iji, al-Jurjani) become of ever increasing importance until they figure in the actual treatises themselves. (t) In the more strictly 'theological' themes, a distinction arises between on the one hand the ilahiyyat, i.e., the chapters concerning God, which (some attributes excepted) consist of a rational elaboration built up on scriptural bases, and on the other the sam'iyyat, the 'traditional' (ex auditu) chapters, whose very argumentation depends on positive data. The philosophical chapters and the ilahiyyat are combined under the term 'aqliyyat; the sam'iyyat deal with prophecy, with eschatology, with the decrees and the names (problem of faith) and with the enjoining of good. Some authors (al-Juwayni, al-Ghazali) make prophecy a link between ilahiyyat and sam'iyyat. (3) Finally, a distinction is made (a matter reconsidered by Muhammad 'Abduh) between 'that which is necessary in God' (existence and attributes), 'that which is possible for God' (visibility, creation of human acts, justification and reprobation, prophecy), 'that which is impossible' in God and for God (the contrary of the attributes). These various additions are often intermingled. Al-Juwayni, insisting on the tripartite division of the necessary, the possible and the impossible, included prophecy and the creation of acts in the chapter treating of 'what God can do', reserving the term sam'iyyat for the other 'traditional' chapters.
These new principles of distinction seem to be due to the influence of falsafa. It was in order to reply to the falasifa that the preambles and the philosophical chapters became more numerous; the term ilahiyyat is part of the vocabulary of the falasifa, and the distinction of the necessary, the possible and the impossible was made by them. The formulation of problems of the great Ash'ari treatises of the 'modern' age will therefore derive certainly from the old formulation of Mu'tazilism and its 'five bases', but also from the organization of philosophical knowledge characteristic of the falasifa (and in particular as presented by the summa or the compendium of Ibn Sina).
The richest and most detailed manual, the Sharh al-Mawaqif of al-Jurjani, still studied in specialist courses of the great teaching-mosques, is arranged as follows: Two-thirds of the work (books-i-iv) treat of logic, natural philosophy and general ontology. The last third is divided between the ilahiyyat (the divine essence, the unity and unicity of God, His positive attributes, and His 'possible' attributes, namely, visibility and cognoscibility), the Actions of the Almighty (creation of human actions), the divine names, and the sam'iyyat (which are relatively short). There is no question here of a distinction between 'philosophy' and 'theology' in the Western sense and the attempt to harmonize them, but of a reply, which seeks to be exhaustive, to the treatises of the falasifa or of the Mu'tazilis. Since this reply seeks to use the weapons of the opponents, the vocabulary and the arguments of falsafa are found widely incorporated in 'ilm al-kalam. It is in a sense through the intermediary of the mutakallimun that the influence of the 'philosophers' penetrated Sunni thought in general.
IV.--The position of 'ilm al-kalam in Muslim thought.
--'Ilm al-kalam remains one of the officially recognized religious sciences. But in the universities of Muslim countries the faculties of religious sciences are called kulliyyat al-shari'a, a term generally rendered by 'Faculties of theology'; fiqh is there taught as much as, if not more than, kalam. Kalam, based as it is upon its function of defensive apologia, does not hold the leading place in Muslim thought that theology does in Christianity. To find an equivalent for 'theology' in the Christian sense it is necessary to have recourse to several disciplines, and to the usul al-fiqh as much as to kalam. We turn now to establish the limits and results of this fact, and to place it in its historical context.
A. Three opinions.
(a) In his Ihsa' al-'ulum, al-Farabi groups the sciences according to the schemes of Aristotelian classification, appending to them the strictly Muslim disciplines of fiqh and kalam. His summary of the methods of argument employed by the mutakallimun is far from being laudatory; he emphasizes, to put it at its highest, its apologetic character, and seems to make of kalam an extension of fiqh: 'the mutakallim procures the supremacy of the principles which the faqih uses as bases but without deducing from them any new consequences' (ed. Gonzalez Palencia, Madrid 193t, 56). (b) In his Iqtisad, al-Ghazali devotes three of the four chapters of his introduction (ed. Ankara 196t, 11-15) to the nature and the role of 'ilm al-kalam. This discipline has its place among the religious sciences because it is concerned with curing doubters of their doubts and refuting the denials of those who deny. But its role is essentially 'medicinal'; hence the study of it, as the Ihya' 'ulum al-din states (ed. Cairo 13t5/1933, i, 3), is an obligation upon the community (fard al-kifaya), but it is not the concern of every individual Muslim, for it could be dangerous for a simple soul firmly anchored in his faith. And the Munqidh min al-dalal (ed. Cairo 137t, 195t, 60) reproaches kalam for its insufficiently proved rational principles. (c) The authors of the great 'modern' manuals (hence Idhi-Jurjhani) on the contrary esteem kalam so highly as to define it as the most exalted science of all, since it 'proves' the truths known by faith. Some would make the study of it a personal obligation (fard al-'ayn) on every Muslim capable of undertaking it. This estimate is repeated verbatim by the manuals of 'fossilized conservatism'. For al-Badhuri, for example (Hashiya 'ala (...) Dhawharat al-tawhid, ed. Cairo 135t/1934, t6), faith through taqlid (meaning here mere acquiescence in what has been handed down) loses all value as compared with faith firmly rooted in science, 'an 'ilm, such as kalam can provide.
In fact throughout its history kalam had two great lines of opponents: on the one hand the Hanbali (and Zahiri) traditionists, who refused to bring rational arguments to bear on the absolute truths provided by faith; and on the other, the falasifa, who passed from silence, indeed from a concealed opposition (Eastern falasifa), to the most violent attacks (Ibn Rushd), when they themselves were attacked by the mutakallimun.
(a) Hanbali opposition.
The great period for Mu'tazili kalam was the reign of al-Ma'mun, when it rose to the status of official doctrine. It was then that the doctrine of the 'created Qur'an" was imposed by the secular arm, the supporters of the doctrine of the 'uncreated Qur'an" were persecuted and condemned by the courts, and Ibn Hanbal himself was accused and flogged. This period was later called al-mihna, 'the testing'. The reaction under al-Mutawakkil led Sunni Islam to deliver a decisive blow against the Mu'tazilis; they in their turn were dragged before the judges and their works (as we have noted) were destroyed. Now this historical movement, which (with G. Makdisi) we may call 'the resurgence of traditional Islam in the 1tth century' (Ibn 'Aqil, Damascus 1963), remained at first under the influence of the 'pious men of old', condemning any use of the reason, even the dialectic method, in making assertions relating to the faith.
It is true that the Ash'ari reform at first had acknowledged its respect for Ibn Hanbal; but it also sought to overcome the Mu'tazilis and to reply to them on their own ground. It had ambitions also to become the official doctrine of renascent Sunnism. The struggle between Hanbalis and Ash'aris became sometimes sharp, even violent, and some authors were able to speak of a second mihna when, after the death of al-Ash'ari, his tombstone was destroyed in the cemetery of Baghdad. In the 5th/11th century, the vizier al-Kunduri had Ash'arism cursed from the pulpits of Nishapur, and al-Juwayni was obliged to take refuge in Baghdad (although soon afterwards Nizam al-Mulk granted his favour to the Ash'aris). At about the same time, the Hanbali mystic al-Ansari was writing his Dhamm al-kalam wa-ahlih, one of the most vigorous attacks we possess. In the 7th-8th/13th-14th centuries, the famous Hanbali Ibn Taymiyya [q.v.] was to echo him, and to be himself attacked and condemned (to prison, for a time) under the pressure of the other juridical schools. When he mentions the opinions of the mutakallimun, for whose solution of any problem he denies any validity, he adduces the qadariyya and the Mu'tazila together, opposing to them only the Dhaharis, and thus not distinguishing the Ash'aris from them. (We should note that it is through the hearings granted to them by his Shi'i opponents that he often attacks Mu'tazili theses). It is true that 'ilm al-kalam ended by enjoying official recognition; but at the present day, wherever Hanbalism, and especially Ibn Taymiyya, exercise a considerable influence on contemporary movements for reform, the dialectical subtleties of the schools and the treatises are regarded with some suspicion.
(b) The quarrel of the Tahafut.
Quite early on, the campaign to defend the faith pursued by kalam led it to challenge the falasifa. Although it failed to overcome completely Hanbali opposition, it may be said that up to the end of the 19th century, and perhaps even today in some circles of thought, it played its part in branding falsafa with a mark of heterodoxy and relegating it to a peripheral position.
The first great faylasuf, Abu Yusuf al-Kindi, had some Mu'tazili friends and was himself regarded as a mutakallim. But al-Farabi (who made some severe criticisms of the methods of kalam) and Ibn Sina took their stand in a field of philosophical research which was quite different from that of the mutakallimun. Unlike the Mu'tazilis, wrote Ahmad Amin (4uha 'l-Islam, iii, t04), 'the falasifa were philosophers first and men of religion afterwards; they concerned themselves with religion only when their philosophical speculation was in disagreement with it and in order to harmonize the two'. We are now dealing not with a dialectical or apologetic defence of the faith, but with wide philosophical perspectives, which are largely inspired by Greek philosophy, though certainly containing some Muslim influences, and which aim to demonstrate their agreement a posteriori with the Qur'an. Rational research holds the first place, and agreement with the doctrines of the faith is achieved often enough by means of a broad interpretation (ta'wil) of the Qur'anic text. The milieu in which al-Farabi and Ibn Sina lived was strongly tinged with or even dominated by Shi'i influences, and interpretative glosses of the Qur'an were not uncommon. The orthodoxy of the 'philosophers' was hardly ever called into question there. But things were different from the 5th/11th century onwards, after the Sunni revival. Together with the Mu'tazilis and the anthropomorphists, the falasifa speedily became the opponents attacked by Ash'ari or Maturidi kalam. After objectively summarizing their thought in the Maqasid, al-Ghazali undertook to refute them in the famous Tahafut al-falasifa (ed. Bouyges, Beirut 19t7). He there denounced twenty of their tenets as erroneous, and branded four of them as incurring infidelity (takfir): the eternity of the world ante, the eternity of the world post, the symbolic interpretation of the resurrection of the body, and the divine lack of knowledge of the individual as such. The autobiography of the Munqidh min al-dalal in its turn emphasized the errors of the 'philosophers' and the danger for the faith which they represented. Some decades later al-Shahrastani won the nickname of 'adversary of the falasifa'.
Ibn Rushd's response came in the next century. In his Tahafut al-Tahafut (ed. Bouyges, Beirut 1930), he applied himself to refute al-Ghazali and to justify the agreement between falsafa and Qur'anic teaching; in the apologia sua of the Fasl al-maqal (ed. and tr. L. Gauthier, Algiers 194t) and of the Kashf 'an manahij al-adilla (apud Falsafat Ibn Rushd, Cairo 1313 and 13t8), he calls into question even the legitimacy of kalam, accusing it of 'cutting the Law into pieces' and 'dividing people up utterly' (a similarly severe attitude to kalam is taken by Maimonides). It is remarkable that Ibn Rushd went so far as to re-employ (but more emphatically and severely) the criticisms which al-Ghazali had first outlined (see above, IV, A, b). In fact Ibn Rushd, who was to play such a role in the history of the Latin Middle Ages, seems (unlike his Eastern predecessors) to have had little influence on Muslim thought.
All the later handbooks of kalam summarize and refute unflaggingly the position of the falasifa, above all al-Farabi and Ibn Sina, hence acquiring (as we have noted) their long philosophical introductions. It should be recognized here that although the Muhassal of al-Razi and the Sharh al-Mawaqif of al-Jurjani continue to condemn as false many tenets of the falasifa, the resumes of them which they give are strongly analytical and aim at objectivity, whereas the refutations proposed are sometimes (especially in the Muhassal), no more than general affirmations. It is nearly always eastern falsafa which is in question and which therefore continued to influence the developments of 'ilm al-kalam. We find a kind of mixed genre arising--a sort of 'ilm al-kalam impregnated by falsafa, or a sort of falsafa moving into the field of the problems which belong to kalam. This was not always to the advantage of either discipline. Finally we may mention the attitude of Ibn Taymiyya, as violently hostile to falsafa as to kalam; that of Ibn khaldun, who practically repeats, with regard to falsafa, the distinctions and criticisms of al-Ghazali; and a third Tahafut, the work of the Turk khÙdhazade (9th/15th century), which, adopting al-Ghazali's title, sought to refute the Tahafut al-Tahafut of Ibn Rushd.
C. 'Ilm al-kalam and the juridical schools.
--'Ilm al-kalam presents itself as an explanation and a defence of the faith. It is on these grounds that Mu'tazilism combated the zanadiqa and the literalists of the first centuries, and that the Ash'aris challenged the Mu'tazilis, the literalists and the falasifa. We find however that the Hanbali line or heterodox £ahirism refuses to recognize the legitimacy of this undertaking. Now Hanbalism and Zahirism are schools of fiqh, and it is as such that they reject the dialectical argument of the mutakallimun but propose to ensure, by their own procedures, this defence of the faith which kalam claimed forqitself. Thus one may find in the works of such writers as Ibn Hazm or Ibn Taymiyya many expositions on the attributes of God, human actions, prophecy and faith, which convey as many or even more 'theological' matters as (for example) some late and stereotyped manuals of Ash'arism.
The other juridical schools, on the other hand, came to an easy accommodation with 'ilm al-kalam, its methods, and its argumentation. We are here dealing with attitudes arising from different families of thought, and the link between kalam and fiqh, emphasized already by al-Farabi, should never be forgotten. It may be said that Ash'arism developed most easily in a Shafi'i, sometimes in a Hanafi, and later in a Maliki climate; and that the so-called Maturidi tendency was in its early days so closely linked with Hanafism that one can justly speak of a 'Hanafi-Maturidi" line. Finally, the welcome accorded to Mu'tazilism by non-Sunni sects, principally Zaydism, is a point of considerable significance.
Thus if one wishes to establish the place of 'ilm al-kalam in Muslim thought, it should not be regarded as a discipline developing in a self-sufficient manner; it is linked with the other religious sciences, particularly usul al-fiqh, in a supple cultural unity which more than once dictated both the attitudes of its schools and the battles which it had to fight.
D. Present-day situation.
Ibn Rushd's attacks failed to shake the legitimacy which 'ilm al-kalam was recognized to possess. The attacks of the Hanbalis and the 'pious men of old', on the other hand, left a legacy of distrust and suspicion. We find some traces of this at the present day, to the extent that the influence of the 'men of old' (salaf) inspires the 'return to the sources' advocated by modern reform movements. It is true that 'ilm al-kalam, as embodied in its most eminent doctors, remains as a venerated achievement of the great cultural centuries of Islam. But if one excepts the attempt of Muhammad 'Abduh, it is difficult to point to any modern and living renewal; it might be truer to speak of a certain alienation from kalam.
Two reasons may, it appears, be advanced: (1) For too long the teaching of this 'religious science' in the great mosques had been given only by means of 'fossilized' manuals, without any striking intrinsic merit and without originality. (t) The subject-matter of a defensive apologia for the faith is meaningful only so far as it relates to immediate issues. Now the content of these manuals is dictated by the refutation of adversaries (the Mu'tazilis of the 3rd/9th century and the falasifa of the 4th/10th century) who have long since vanished from the scene, whereas the burning problems of today are ignored. A defensive apology must be based on new themes. Are the efforts of al-Afghani and 'Abduh in this direction to be continued? Interesting as their attempts are, they fall far short of the philosophico-theological standard achieved by the great doctors of the past. Al-Afghani and 'Abduh were first and foremost reformers and men of action, not mutakallimun.
We can conclude only with a series of questions. Will anything take the place of 'ilm al-kalam, with more widespread perspectives and serving a practical, rather than a speculative, attitude? Or shall we see a renewal, with regard to the tenets of the Muslim faith, in which the great questions raised in the past regarding God and man and the conditions for man's salvation will be taken up again, but this time taking account of the demands of scientific discoveries and present-day thinking? For this the scholar would require a two-fold objective acquaintance both with the great works of the classical age and with contemporary problems.
It is appropriate to emphasize here the recovery of favour enjoyed today by Mu'tazilism: not directly for its defence of the Unity and the justice of God, but for its assertion of human liberty, in the very elan of belief in the One God, the Creator, the Almighty. Ash'arism no longer appears to be necessitated by the demands of the faith. Will there take place a synthesis of the different tendencies of 'ilm al-kalam, operating through a revised set of philosophical equipment? The study of the text of the Qur'an and a more fully developed anthropology seem here to be called for, not to replace the 'questions concerning God' (ilahiyyat), but to open wider perspectives for their discussion. From the 3rd/9th to the 9th/15th century 'ilm al-kalam enjoyed a glorious past and produced works which demand the historian's fullest respect. It may be hoped that a new kalam, perhaps quite different from the old in its methods, its arguments and its approach, will one day arise, to play its part in animating a cultural recovery in the religious sciences of Islam.
I.--Some classic works of (or concerning) 'ilm al-kalam beyond those mentioned in the text: Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, al-Radd 'ala 'l-zanadiqa wa 'l-dhahmiyya, in Dar al-Funun Ilahiyat Fakültesi Medhmu'asË, 19t7
Sa'id al-Darimi, al-Radd 'ala 'l-dhahmiyya, ed. G. Vitestam, Lund-Leiden 1960
Abu 'l-Husayn al-khayyat, Kitab al-Intisar wa 'l-radd 'ala Ibn al-Rawandi al-mulhid, ed. by H. S. Nyberg with Fr. tr. by A. N. Nader, Beirut 1957
Abu 'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari, Maqalat al-Islamiyyin, ed. Ritter, Istanbul 19t9-1930, ed. 'Abd al-Hamid, Cairo 1950
idem, al-Ibana fi usul al-diyana, ed. Cairo 1348
idem, Kitab al-Luma' fi 'l-radd 'ala ahl al-zaygh wa 'l-bida', ed. with Eng. tr. apud R. J. McCarthy, The theology of al-Ash'ari, Beirut 1953
Abu Bakr al-Baqillani, Kitab al-Tamhid, ed. khudayri and Abu Rida, Cairo 1947, ed. McCarthy, Beirut 1957 (excellent critical edition)
'Abd al-qahir al-Baghdadi, Kitab Usul al-din, Istanbul 1346/19t8
idem, al-Farq bayn al-firaq, ed. Badr, Cairo 13t8/1910, ed. Istanbul 19t4
Ibn Hazm, Kitab al-Fisal fi 'l-milal, ed. Cairo 1347
Isfara'ini, al-Tabsir fi 'l-din ..., ed. Kawthari, Cairo 1359/1940
Abu Ma'ali Dhuwayni, Kitab al-Irshad ila qawati' al-adilla fi usul al-i'tiqad, ed. with Fr. tr. Luciani, Paris 1938, ed. M. Y. Musa and A. 'Abd al-Hamid, Cairo 1950 (better critical edition)
Shahrastani, Nihayat al-iqdam fi 'ilm al-kalam ed. Guillaume, Oxford 1934
idem, Kitab al-milal wa 'l-nihal (on the margins of Ibn Hazm's Fisal)
'Ali Ibn 'Asakir, Tabyin kadhib al-muftari fi-ma nusiba ila 'l-imam Abi 'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari, ed. Kawthari, Damascus 1347/19t8
Ibn Maymun (Maiemonides), Dalalat al-ha'irin (French tr. S. Munk as 'Le Guide des Egares', Paris 1856, t1960)
Razi, Muhassal afkar al-mutaqaddimin wa 'l-muta'akhkhirin min al-'ulama' wa 'l-mutakallimin, ed. Cairo n.d.
idem, al-Ma'alim fi usul al-din (on the margins of the Muhassal)
idem, Kitab Asas al-taqdis fi 'ilm al-kalam, ed. Cairo 13t7
idem, Kitab al-Arba'in fi usul al-din, ed. Cairo 1353
idem, Kitab Lawami' al-bayyinat fi 'l-asma' wa 'l-sifat, ed. Cairo 13t3
tusi, Tadhrid al-'aqa'id, ed. Tehran n.d.
idem, qawa'id al-'aqa'id, ed. Tehran 1305
idem, Talkhis al-Muhassal (on the margins of the Muhassal)
Ibn Mutahhar al-Hilli, Sharh Tadhrid al-i'tiqad, ed. Tehran n.d.
Idhi, Kitab al-Mawaqifqfi 'ilm al-kalam (see Dhurdhani)
Taftazani, Sharh al-'aqa'id al-nasafiyya, ed. Cairo 13t1
idem, Maqasid al-talibin fi usul al-din, ed. Istanbul n.d.
Dhurdhani, Sharh al-Mawaqif fi 'ilm al-kalam, ed. Cairo 13t5/1907
Ibn khaldun, Muqaddima, ed. Cairo n.d. (tr. de Slane, iii)
Ibn al-Murtada, tabaqat al-Mu'tazila, ed. T. W. Arnold, Leipzig 190t, ed. Diwald-Wilzer, Wiesbaden 1961
Dawani, Sharh 'ala 'l-'aqa'id al-'adudiyya, ed. Cairo 13tt. Many other names and works could be mentioned (particularly text books of 'fossilized conservatism': Sanusi, Laqani, Fudali, Badhuri). It is to be hoped also that important works still in manuscript will be published. For example: Maturidi, Kitab al-Tawhid
Sumnani, Bayan 'an usul al-iman
Dhuwayni, Kitab al-Shamil (in the press), etc. II.--Some studies on 'ilm al-kalam: W. Patton, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and the Mihna, Leiden 1897
D. B. Macdonald, Development of Muslim theology, jurisprudence and constitutional theory, New York 1903
I. Goldziher, Vorlesungen über den Islam, Heidelberg 1910 (Fr. tr. Le dogme et la loi de l'Islam, Paris 19t0)
M. Horten, Die philosophischen Systeme der spekulativen Theologen im Islam, 191t
Ahmad Amin, Fadhr al-Islam, Cairo 19t9
idem, 4uha 'l-Islam, iii, Cairo 1936
A. J. Wensinck, The Muslim Creed, Cambridge 193t
M. Ventura, La philosophie de Saadia Gaon, Paris 1934
J. Windrow Sweetman, Islam and Christian theology, London-Redhill, 3 vols. (i, 1945)
A. S. Tritton, Muslim theology, London 1947
Z. Djharullah, al-Mu'tazila, Cairo 1947
S. de Beaurecueil, óhazzali et S. Thomas d'Aquin, Cairo 1947
W. Montgomery Watt, Free will and predestination in early Islam, London 1948
idem, Islamic philosophy and theology, Edinburgh 196t
idem, Political attitudes of the Mu'tazila, in JRAS, 1963
L. Gardet and M. Anawati, Introduction
A. N. Nader, Falsafat al-Mu'tazila, Beirut 1950
idem, Le systeme philosophique des Mu'tazila, premiers penseurs de l'Islam, Paris 1956
Ch. Pellat, Le milieu basrien et la formation de Dhahiz, Paris 1953
J. Schacht, New sources for the history of Muhammadan theology, in St. Isl., i (1953)
Mubahat Türker, Ü± Tehafüt bakÌmÌndan felsefe ve din münasebeti, Ankara 1956
R. Caspar, Le renouveau mo'tazilite, in MIDEO, Cairo 1957
R. Brunschvig, Devoir et Pouvoir, in St. Isl., xx (1964)
J. Bouman, The doctrine of 'Abd al-Jabbar on the Qur'an as the created Word of Allah, in Verbum, Utrecht 1964
R. Rubinacci, La Professione di fede di al-Djannawuni in AIUON, 1964
M. Allard, Attributs divins
R. M. Frank, The Neoplatonism of Jahm Ibn Safwan, in Le Museon, 1965
idem, The Metaphysics of created Being according to Abu l-Hudhayl al-'Allaf, Istanbul 1966
L. Gardet (Dieu et la destinee de l'homme)
G. Vajda, Autour de la theorie de la connaissance chez Saadia, in REJ, 1967/t-4 (see also his Etudes sur Saadia, in REJ, 1948-9).
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Source: from the Encyclopedia of Islam --© 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands