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علم الكلام

English translation: Al-Kalam, Islamic speculative (dialectical) theology

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Arabic term or phrase:علم الكلام
English translation:Al-Kalam, Islamic speculative (dialectical) theology
Entered by: Fuad Yahya
Options:
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07:12 Apr 11, 2005
Arabic to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Religion
Arabic term or phrase: علم الكلام
واحدة من المواد التي تدرس في إحدى المدارس الإسلامية بالهند.
soamo19
Singapore
Local time: 11:37
Al-Kalam
Explanation:
This is a traditional Islamic topic that should be left that way. No other term quite expresses the meaning, although it can be translated as "speculative theology."

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Note added at 15 mins (2005-04-11 07:27:49 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Al-Kalam is a particular branch of Islamic theology that tackled some topics that many Muslim theologians felt had better be left alone. The field required the raising of questions to which there were no ready-made answers, so it led to a multiplicity of conflicting answers and the prospect of heresy. Those who refrained from participating in this speculative endeavor referred to those who engaged in it as المتكلمين, which was a disparaging epithet, meaning that they \"talked\" about things that were too sacrosanct to deal with in human language and that had not been explicitly talked about by the Prophet or his Companions.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 2 mins (2005-04-11 09:14:53 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Briefly commenting on the interesting discussion of Ahamd Wadan and Dr. Wathib Jabouri:

It is true that the term \"theology,\" although of a Western origin, can be, and has been, used across disparate traditions, including the Islamic tradition. In fact, the term \"theology\" has become so general in its common usage that, when applied to Al-Kalam, I think it ought to be delimited by some modifier to distinguish it from other closely related disciplines and traditions. I have suggested \"speculative\" because the modus operandi of this discipline is rational, human speculation, but I have seen other modifiers used as well. Reflecting again, I think \"Islamic speculative theology\" would be even more accurate in order to distinguish it from its Western counterpart(s). But no matter which English terms are used to explain Al-Kalam, I think that its unique history requires maintaining the term Al-Kalam.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 hrs 8 mins (2005-04-12 04:21:22 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To clarify even further why the unmodified term \"theology\" or \"Islamic theology\" would be be inappropriate as a direct translation of the term \"Al-Kalam,\" consider the fact that some great Muslim theologians, such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Arabi, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Taymiya, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, were opposed to or at least uncomfortable with both the dialectical methods of al-Kalam and the conclusions of most of al-Mutakallimeen. Among the great Sunni theologians, only Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari felt fully comfortable engaging in the practice. Al-Ash`ari\'s early training was actually in the Mu`tazili school, hence his great skill in handling Kalam\'s dialectical method.

Muslims have a great theological tradition, and it would be a gross misrepresentation to label al-Kalam as the sole embodiment of that tradition. In general, Muslims practice theology by elucidating the central Qur\'anic propositions about the Creator and the universe, using the established principles of Qur\'anic exegesis, relying on the Sunna as the main source of illumination, and appealing to common sense. Theology thus practiced is called \"Tawheed.\" Its singular theme is the absolute oneness of the Most High.

Al-Kalam, therefore, is a special branch of Islamic theology. Its content is clearly theological, but it is not the sole embodiment of the Islamic theological tradition.
Selected response from:

Fuad Yahya
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +3Al-KalamFuad Yahya
5 +2TheologyDr. Wathib Jabouri
5Philosophy of speech
Suleiman Al Saqer
3rhetoric
Alexander Yeltsov


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
علم الكلام
Theology


Explanation:
Good luck

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Note added at 1 hr 10 mins (2005-04-11 08:23:18 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/H009.htm

Islamic theology
\'Ilm al-kalam (literally \'the science of debate\') denotes a discipline of Islamic thought generally referred to as \'theology\' or (even less accurately) as \'scholastic theology\'. The discipline, which evolved from the political and religious controversies that engulfed the Muslim community in its formative years, deals with interpretations of religious doctrine and the defence of these interpretations by means of discursive arguments


Dr. Wathib Jabouri
Local time: 13:37
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  shfranke
0 min

neutral  ahmadwadan.com: Theology is علم الآهوت which is different than the targeted term. Please see the link I added to my voting to Fuad.
45 mins
  -> The term "Theology" is not confined to any religion, rather it is universal. Please refer to the website mentioned below. Also, to let the English reader understand the translation, you need to use the English equivalent of Arabic "al-Kalam".

agree  Mazyoun: That is the correct answer.
9 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
علم الكلام
rhetoric


Explanation:
?

Alexander Yeltsov
Local time: 07:37
Native speaker of: Russian
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11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
علم الكلام
Philosophy of speech


Explanation:
A title was launched on those people who depend on Arabic rhetoric and grammer in explaining the Holly Quran and Hadieth and deriving rules . and was referred to by this illusion faction as opposite to depending on verses and Hadieth in explaining themselves ......etc.

Suleiman Al Saqer
Jordan
Local time: 06:37
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Arabic
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
علم الكلام
Al-Kalam


Explanation:
This is a traditional Islamic topic that should be left that way. No other term quite expresses the meaning, although it can be translated as "speculative theology."

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 15 mins (2005-04-11 07:27:49 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Al-Kalam is a particular branch of Islamic theology that tackled some topics that many Muslim theologians felt had better be left alone. The field required the raising of questions to which there were no ready-made answers, so it led to a multiplicity of conflicting answers and the prospect of heresy. Those who refrained from participating in this speculative endeavor referred to those who engaged in it as المتكلمين, which was a disparaging epithet, meaning that they \"talked\" about things that were too sacrosanct to deal with in human language and that had not been explicitly talked about by the Prophet or his Companions.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 2 mins (2005-04-11 09:14:53 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Briefly commenting on the interesting discussion of Ahamd Wadan and Dr. Wathib Jabouri:

It is true that the term \"theology,\" although of a Western origin, can be, and has been, used across disparate traditions, including the Islamic tradition. In fact, the term \"theology\" has become so general in its common usage that, when applied to Al-Kalam, I think it ought to be delimited by some modifier to distinguish it from other closely related disciplines and traditions. I have suggested \"speculative\" because the modus operandi of this discipline is rational, human speculation, but I have seen other modifiers used as well. Reflecting again, I think \"Islamic speculative theology\" would be even more accurate in order to distinguish it from its Western counterpart(s). But no matter which English terms are used to explain Al-Kalam, I think that its unique history requires maintaining the term Al-Kalam.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 hrs 8 mins (2005-04-12 04:21:22 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To clarify even further why the unmodified term \"theology\" or \"Islamic theology\" would be be inappropriate as a direct translation of the term \"Al-Kalam,\" consider the fact that some great Muslim theologians, such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Arabi, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Taymiya, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, were opposed to or at least uncomfortable with both the dialectical methods of al-Kalam and the conclusions of most of al-Mutakallimeen. Among the great Sunni theologians, only Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari felt fully comfortable engaging in the practice. Al-Ash`ari\'s early training was actually in the Mu`tazili school, hence his great skill in handling Kalam\'s dialectical method.

Muslims have a great theological tradition, and it would be a gross misrepresentation to label al-Kalam as the sole embodiment of that tradition. In general, Muslims practice theology by elucidating the central Qur\'anic propositions about the Creator and the universe, using the established principles of Qur\'anic exegesis, relying on the Sunna as the main source of illumination, and appealing to common sense. Theology thus practiced is called \"Tawheed.\" Its singular theme is the absolute oneness of the Most High.

Al-Kalam, therefore, is a special branch of Islamic theology. Its content is clearly theological, but it is not the sole embodiment of the Islamic theological tradition.

Fuad Yahya
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 199

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Iman Khaireddine
31 mins

agree  ahmadwadan.com: http://www.alargam.com/sorts/kalam/101.htm I meant by the link to show readers what is meant by Al-Kalam
42 mins
  -> Many Muslims would justifiably refer to alargam.com as a "loopy" website.

agree  Saleh Ayyub
1 hr

disagree  Mazyoun: علم الكلام هو الالهيات وهو علم يدرس في كل اللغات وكل الأديان وجواب الدكتور الجبوري هو الأصح هنا وهو ما يدرس في الجامعات ااسلامية في اللغة الانجليزية.
9 hrs
  -> The content of Al-Kalam is unmistakably theological, but the unmodified term "theology" is far too broad a name to fit the specific tradition of Al-Kalam, with its distinctive issues, proponents, and political implications; hence the name "Al-Kalam."

agree  Mona Helal: this link supports Fuad's input: http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ei/kalam.htm
18 hrs
  -> Here is a brief article from the concise edition of Encyclopedia Britannica http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article?tocId=9368845
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Changes made by editors
Jun 5, 2005 - Changes made by Fuad Yahya:
FieldOther » Art/Literary
Field (specific)Certificates, Diplomas, Licenses, CVs » Religion


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