al-Manhul to Iljam:The science of Kalam and the Mutakallimun According to al-Ghazali
One of the most important thinkers in the history of Islamic thought, al-Ghazalis views caused serious changes in many of the Islamic sciences. In particular, he has a special position in the kalam. He not only started a new era in the history of the kalam, but he also influenced the later development of that science in terms of both its contents and its methods. Moreover, he made important observations on, and critique of, both the previous legacy and current application of kalam. Aware of the essential and foundational role of the kalam among the Islamic sciences, al-Ghazali drew attention to the problems stemming from its method and its problematic applications at the time. The criticisms he made, however, sometimes appeared to have turned into a wholesome questioning of kalam itself, which also seemed to contradict his emphasis on the value of the kalam and the position he placed this discipline among other Islamic sciences. For this reason, his views on theologians and the science of kalam, as well as his contributions to kalam, have been discussed in the literature. Within this framework, there have been radically different arguments on this point, ranging from his complete loyalty to the Asharî school to his total or partial abandonment of this school, from his tendency to Sufism to his transformation of the kalam into a metaphysics, and to his hostility towards the kalam and philosophy. This article discusses al-Ghazalis views on the science of kalam and the theologians in a chronological manner, and tries to investigate his perception of the kalam.
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