The answer of Shaykh al-Islam Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Husayn al-Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) on the enemies of Kalaam [Islamic linguistics] what mistakenly is often translated as “philosophy”. What in it is a lie against the choice of words and against the terminology.
Who was al-Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) first?
Amirul Mu’mineen fi al-Hadith Shams ud-Deen adh-Dhahabi (rahimahullah) said of him:
“Hafidh, a scholar, the precise, the jurist, Shaykh al-Islam …. if he had wanted he could establish his own legal school.”
[Tadhkirat ul-Huffaz, al-Dhahabi]
The Shafi’s say that without him there would be no Shafi’i school of law.
And al-Juwayni (rahimahullah) says of him:
“There is no one amongst the Shafi’s who has an advantage over Imam Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh) himself except Al-Bayhaqi, because of his many books and his assistance to his Madh-hab.”
It is the following statement from Imam Shafi’i [meaningful]:
“My opinion of the people of Kalaam is that you have to beat them with palm leaves.”
And the statements generally of the Salaf, where they talk bad about the Kalaam, as they refer to the Kalaam of atheists and sects such as the Mu’tazilah, Qadariyah, Karramiyah, Hashawiyyah etc.
Imam al-Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) said with regard to these statements:
“Allah knows best, but with theological rhetoric [Kalaam], they meant only those of the innovators. During their time only the innovators were known to deal with theological rhetoric. The Ahlus Sunnah, however, was very concerned with this until they were obliged to do so..”
Imam Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh)’s student Abu Bakr al-Muzani (rahimahullah) handed down:
“I debated with a certain person who asked me questions that almost caused me to get doubts about my religion. I came to Ash-Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh) and told him this matter. He said to me, “Where are you?” I answered, “In the mosque!” He said, “No! You are in a Taran [in the Red Sea] and its waves are falling down on you! This is a popular topic of atheists and it is so and so (he Muzani gave the answer). That the servant of Allah ﷻ with everything He has forbidden – except Shirk encounters, is better for him than Kalaam ”!
Imam al-Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) comments on this story in his manaqib as follows:
“This shows that Ash-Shafi’i (rahmatullah alayh) had excellent knowledge of this subject [Kalaam] and saw the duty to respond, if necessary, to the distortions of the atheist. With Kalaam, and – Allah knows best – he meant the atheism of the atheists and the false teachings of the innovators.”
[Manaqib Al-Imam ash-Shafi’i, p. 458]
And Shaykh al-Islam Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) also said:
وكيف يكون كلام أهل السنة والجماعة مذموما عنده وقد تكلم فيه وناظر من ناظره وكشف عن تمويه من ألقىلى سمع بعض أصحابه من أهل الأهواء شيئا مما هم فيه?
“And how could he [al-Shafi’i] consider the kalaam of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’a as criminal when he himself followed it, debating with those who debated [Kalaam] and the errors Uncovered doubts among some of his disciples?”
[Manaqib Al-Imam ash-Shafi’i]
And Hafs al-Fard debated and defeated one of the Mu’tazilah with that of the Imam ash-Shafi’i, himself said about him:
ما تكلم في هذا مثله ولا أقدر منه على هذا
“No one who is more akin to him [Shafi’i] [in this area] than he did in it [i.e. in Kalaam]”
[Manaqib al-Imam ash-Shafi’i, p. 456]