Allah ﷻ has obligated every Mukalaf[1] to know that Islam is true. Knowledge however, is distinguished from false belief by virtue of evidence. For simple claims to truth are no better than others, if those claims are not well grounded in reason[2]. Thus, it is necessary to not only claim that Islam is true, but to also prove it to be so. The discipline dedicated to fulfilling this task is called ‘ilm Al-Kalam.

Defining “Kalam”

In his Tahzib Al-Mantiq wa Al-Kalam, Imam Sa’d Al-Deen Al-Taftazani offers a succinct definition for Kalam:

 الكلام هو العلم بالعقائد الدينية عن الأدلة اليقينية
Kalam is the knowledge of religious creeds, based on their decisive evidences[3].

The Mutakalim[4] therefore, is not only one who knows that Islam is true. But he is also one who knows why Islam is true. The job of the Mutakalim is as such, to demonstrate this truth to others.

Contents

This series is meant to summarize the fundamentals of Kalam, that will be then used in other submissions to build a rational case for Islam. The series is meant to be read as a single piece. Each article will assume the reader is familiar with the contents of the previous ones in the series.

Section 1 – Knowledge:

1.1. Knowledge
1.2. Ways of Knowledge
1.3. Concepts
1.4. Propositions

Section 2 – Judgements:

2.1. Standards of Judgement 
2.2. Categories of Rational Judgement
2.3. Categories of Nomic Judgement
2.4. Existence


 

[1] Mukalaf: the one who will be held accountable in the hereafter for his choices in this life.

[2] How else would the theological claims of a Muslim be any better than the claims of anybody else, except if those claims were supported with evidence?

[3] Tahzib Al-Mantiq wa Al-Kalam, (pg 15).

[4] Mutakalim: a scholar of Kalam.

2 thoughts on “Basics of Kalam: Introduction

    1. Logic (Mantiq) is the set of standards that when abided by, ensures that you make no mistakes when reasoning. As a science, it’s the study of conceptual knowledge and how to acquire it (specifically via definitions), and propositional knowledge and how to acquire it (via arguments). The end objective is to be able to accurately define concepts, and soundly argue for propositions.

      Given the above, clearly logic has many uses even outside of the religious sciences. After all, every field of study involves defining terminology, and arguing for propositions.

      ‘Ilm Al-Kalam is a more specific field. One that is concerned with proving the truth of Islamic creed. The end objective of Kalam is to be able to demonstrate the truth of Islam, and disprove alternative ideologies.

      Undoubtedly the two sciences are deeply connected. Since Kalam is a fundamentally rational endeavor (for example: one cannot convincingly argue that Allah ﷻ exists because the Quran says so… or that Allah ﷻ exists because such and such a scholar said so… rather, you need to rationally prove this without appealing to authority), we’re interested in sound rational arguments for the truth of Islam. And the soundness of arguments is the subject of logic.

      Note that you do not need to read any texts on logic to get started with Kalam, so don’t let that discourage you. You will need to get into logic however, if you wish to benefit from the more advanced books of Kalam.

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