Al-Ghazzali's final word on Kalam

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Date: Winter 2011
From: Islam & Science(Vol. 9, Issue 2)
Publisher: Center for Islam & Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 8,165 words
Lexile Measure: 1650L

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Abstract :

Al-Ghazzali's last work on speculative theology--Iljam al-'awam 'an 'ilm al-kalam ("Saving Muslims from Speculative Theology")--reflects a significant departure from the Ash'ari school of thought and arrival at the 'way of the salaf' (madhhab al-salaf). This so-called salafi path espoused in Iljam is indicative of the theological approach of Traditionalists, especially Hanbalis, which vehemently rejected Kalam and allegorical interpretations of divine attributes. In Iljam, his opponents are not so much the Mu'tazilis as they are the Hashwi anthropomorphists. Although he still recognized Kalam as a scholastic discipline that basically met the goal of protecting the Sunni creed and defending it against heresies, he was convinced that its method ultimately failed to delineate a decisive hermeneutic path to intimately knowing God and His attributes. This paper briefly examines al-Ghazzali's Iljam, its key theological constructs, its relative importance within the Sunni corpus on Kalam, and the scholarly debate over the meaning of the 'Way of the Salaf.' Keywords: Ash'ari interpretation; al-Ghazzali; Iljam; Kalam; 'Way of the Salaf'; common folk.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A274307799