Category Archives: Philosophy & Theology

The Limitations of Science

by Dr. David Stewart

Science has lifted us from the ignorance of the Dark Ages into the understandings we hold today. It has increased our standards of living, lengthened our life spans, and enriched our lives in every way. Music, the arts, our governments, our social customs, our religious beliefs, our educational institutions, our recreations, our modes of travel, our means of communicating, our working, our eating, our sleeping—all aspects of our culture have been transformed by the touch of technology. It is little wonder, then, that we have become conditioned to look to science for the solutions of all our problems and for the answers to life’s questions.

But science, powerful as it is, is a false god. Awed by the spectacular material advancements science has brought us, we have come to expect more of science than it is capable of delivering. Many individuals, not recognizing the limitations of science, stand in expectation of results that will never come. Science does not have all the solutions. It does not have all the answers. It never has and it never will.

The purpose of this [article] is to clearly present science for what it is—no more and no less. Many answers can be obtained by the scientific method, but there are many more that cannot. It is not my intent to destroy your faith in science. As a lifetime professional scientist myself, I am duly respectful of its potential. I am also aware of its limitations. When it comes to consideration of life in its fullness, these limitations are very great. Therefore, while I don’t want to destroy your faith in science, I do want to disturb it and to encourage you to question its validity as an approach to living.

While the essence of science is characterized by its inherent lack of mysticism, to the non-scientist it often bears a veil of the mystical. One of the most common persuasive devices of the advertiser is to cloak its advocacy in the jargon of science: “If it sounds scientific, it must be right,” so goes the unspoken implication. And people buy it. It is my hope that this writing will serve to demystify science for those unfamiliar with its inner workings. It is not in our best interest, as human beings, to hold science in a degree of esteem that exceeds its capabilities.

Science is not the only approach of inquiry into the nature of life. In fact, it is an approach that fails in most of life’s situations. While it has great capabilities, it can only do so much and no more. This [article] will assist you in obtaining a realistic expectation of science, because without a realistic expectation you will not be able to rely upon it when appropriate and you will be disappointed when it fails.

Science may be a high-speed aircraft in some ways, but an airplane cannot get you everywhere. If you want to walk about your home, visit a neighbor, enjoy a stroll through the woods, climb the heights of a mountain, fish in your favorite stream, or travel to places without airports, you cannot do it with an aircraft. Modes of locomotion must be appropriate to the circumstances. Likewise, modes of inquiry must be appropriate to the subject matter. In the case of the scientific mode of inquiry, it is inappropriate to most of life’s important questions.

For example, when someone smiles at you, do you need a blood test and a urinalysis to appreciate why they smiled at you? Of course not. You simply look them in the eyes with an open heart and you know.

In order to clearly understand the limitations of science, one must first have a clear picture of what science is. Interestingly enough, there is a large fraction of scientists who do not have an accurate and complete picture of the boundaries of science. This might sound hard to believe, but it is true. It is entirely possible to practice science to a high level of success in obtaining useful, valid results, while at the same time never being fully aware of its limits.

In an analogous way, it is entirely possible, if not common, for doctors to practice medicine without being aware of its limits. In fact, it is not at all uncommon for people to confuse medicine with science. And neither is it unusual for doctors to confuse science with technology. The practice of medicine, while it may be partially described as “applied technology,” is not a science.

While medicine bases some of its practices on scientifically derived data, the practice of medicine is not, itself, a science. Medicine is a discipline of opinion where accepted standards of practice are determined by a consensus of the majority, not by the scientific method.

The reason the limits of science are not widely recognized and understood lies in our educational systems, which train scientists and health care providers in how to exercise the methods of science and apply their results, but do not encourage a questioning of the fundamental assumptions behind the methods themselves. The purpose of medical training is unquestioning indoctrination, not cognitive education. It is to promote, protect, and apply the prevailing paradigm—not to question it.

The Limits of Science in a Nutshell

The limits of science can be condensed into the following nineteen statements:

1. Science explains nothing; it can only describe.
2. Science proves nothing; it can only verify or disprove.
3. Science cannot deal directly with subjective experience; it can only deal with the objective.
4. “Scientific” does not necessarily mean right, valid, or best; it only means that a certain method was followed.
5. “Objective” does not necessarily mean right, valid or best; it only means that observations are independent of the observer and can be measured scientifically.
6. “Subjective” does not mean invalid or irrelevant; it only means that observations are dependent upon the observer and cannot be measured scientifically.
7. Most of the things we experience and value in life are subjective and are, therefore, beyond science.
8. Belief in science is an act of faith and is, in itself, a choice made subjectively and personally, not scientifically.
9. Science is limited by time; tomorrow’s research can not help us today and yesterday’s events cannot be directly observed.
10. Science is limited in space in the infinite sense; there will always remain portions of the universe beyond its reach because of distance to the furthest reaches of intergalactic space.
11. Science is limited in space in the infinitesimal sense; there will always remain portions of the universe beyond its reach within the subspace and the subparticles of atoms.
12. Science is limited in its ability to observe natural living processes because the effect of the observer changes, if not halts, the process.
13. Science is limited by its instruments and apparati of observation. It can only study that which its apparati are designed to observe or detect.
14. Science is limited by experimental error; its results can be no better than the reliability of its data.
15. Science is limited by human bias in the application of the scientific method itself.
16. Science is limited by human bias in the choices of topics upon which the method is applied.
17. Science is limited in its impact upon society in that people, and even professionals, generally do not follow scientific facts unless the facts agree with their feelings and/or preheld beliefs.
18. The scientific method is not the only valid method of inquiry into the nature of things—there are others, and when it comes to practical inquiry into the subjective, other methods must be used because, in such experiences, science fails.
19. Science (as practiced today) is limited by the a priori assumption that there is no willful, conscious, participating God within the processes studied by science. Hence, God is not a factor to be considered.

Excerpted from the book: The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple: God’s Love Manifest in Molecules – pages 618 – 654


By Firas al-Khateeb

The rise of Muslim intellectual achievement that began in the mid-eighth century was partially a by-product of a massive translation effort undertaken by the enormous Muslim empire. Ancient Greek, Latin, Persian, and Indian works were translated into Arabic, primarily at Bayt al- Ḥikmah in Baghdad. While much of the translation was in the field of empirical sciences, some of it had to do with ancient Greek philosophical ideas. The works of Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato were translated. The result of this was the development of a school of theology based on reason and rational thought, known as the Mu‘tazila.

Origins of Mu‘tazilism

Mu‘tazilism was a very broad and dynamic theological movement, and it’s thus difficult to pinpoint exactly where and how it began. What is clear, however, was the impact of ancient Greek philosophical reasoning on the movement. A prime contention of the Mu‘tazila was that rationalism can be used to understand not just the physical world, but also the nature of God and creation.

The Mu‘tazila adapted Greek philosophical reasoning and attempted to understand it in an Islamic context. To them, the Qur’an and Sunnah were not necessarily the only sources of truth. Like the Greeks, they elevated the role of reason in understanding the world to be equal to, or in some cases, higher than revelation. Using rationalism and reason (dubbed kalam), the Mu‘tazila came to conclusions regarding God that most other scholars considered to be outside of mainstream Muslim belief.

Mu‘tazili belief was summarized by its adherents into five principles:

  • Unity: The basic concept that the Mu‘tazila organized themselves around was Tawhid, the Oneness of God. While this is a concept that all Muslims accept, the Mu‘tazila took it a step further than most in insisting that the attributes of God (as exemplified by his names in the Qur’an, such as al-Raḥman, the Source of Mercy) should not be considered part of God himself. Based on their reasoning, they believed that God’s essence should not be associated with His names and attributes, for fear of falling into a form of polytheism as Christians had through their concept of the Trinity.
  • Justice: Like the ancient Greeks, the Mu‘tazila believed in absolute free will. In their view, God does not predetermine the lives of humans, but rather that they make decisions entirely independently of what God wills. As a result, they believed that humans are bound to a fate on the Day of Judgment that is entirely determined by Divine justice (‘adl). The Mu‘tazila rationalized that any faḍl (mercy) exercised by God was a violation of justice and incompatible with His nature.
  • The Promise and the Threat: A by-product of the third point, the Mu‘tazila believed in al-wa‘d wa al-wa‘id, a belief that God is bound by an obligation to exercise absolute justice.
  • The Intermediate Position: The Mu ‘tazila believed that any Muslim who died after committing a grave sin but before repenting for it, was to be considered neither a believer nor a disbeliever in God. They claimed that such a person was in an “intermediate position” that would be judged separately by God.
  • Commanding Good and Forbidding Evil: This is a primary belief in Islam, taken directly from the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ. In their interpretation of it, however, force may be used to command what they saw as good and forbid evil, a concept that directly led to the Miḥna.

The Miḥna

The Mu‘tazila gained ascendancy in the ‘Abbasid caliphal government during the reign of Caliph al-Ma’mun (r. 813-833). The founder of Bayt al-Ḥikmah accepted Mu‘tazili beliefs as truth and used his position as the most powerful man in the Muslim world to enforce them. In an inquisition known as the Miḥna (Arabic for “the test”), al-Ma’mun (and his successors al-Mu‘tasim and al-Wathiq) imprisoned, tortured, and killed scholars of Islamic theology that did not follow the official governmental positions regarding Mu‘tazili belief, especially the idea that the Qur’an is not the uncreated, eternal Word of God.

While many scholars accepted the government’s official dogma, or at least remained silent on it, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal refused and was famously tortured during the reigns of al-Ma’mun and his successors for it. Due to his insistence on the uncreatedness of the Qur’an and the supremacy of traditional Islamic belief over Greek rationalism, he clashed with the official ‘Abbasid government position that the Qur’an is created and that man has total free will.

The Miḥna was wildly unpopular with the general population. Riots in the streets of Baghdad threatened ‘Abbasid rule, and in 848, Caliph al-Mutawakkil ended the Miḥna and released Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal from prison. But the Miḥna had already done its damage to the Mu‘tazili cause. The brutal methods used by those in power to led to the inevitable decline of Mu‘tazilism.

Theological Alternatives

The unpopularity of Mu‘tazili thought among the general population was further compounded by the opposition of more orthodox-minded approaches towards theology. The Mu‘tazila believed, after all, that reason supplants revelation, and many of their resulting theological conclusions directly contradicted orthodox Islamic belief as stated in the Qur’an. Various Muslim scholars thus attempted to refute Mu‘tazili thought and re-emphasize the role of the Qur’an and Sunnah in deriving Islamic belief.

The first approach was that of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, who insisted on the truth of traditional Islamic belief, but was not in favor of proving it using the kalam that Mu‘tazila believed in. This way of understanding theology became known as the Athari approach to ‘aqidah (belief). Proponents of the Athari approach resisted diving into rational explanations of God, free will, or metaphysics. Instead, they relied on a literal understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah to guide their ‘aqidah. While the Athari approach is firmly within the realm of traditional, mainstream Islam, it did little to turn back the tide of the Mu‘tazila, who fundamentally rejected the Athari approach as being un-intellectual and irrational.

A more direct and effective opposition to Mu‘tazilism came from the Ash‘ari and Maturidi schools of ‘aqidah. These two approaches, founded by Abu al-Ḥasan al-Ash‘ari (d. 936) and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 944), accepted the use of kalam, but only to defend traditional Islamic belief as stated in the Qur’an. The Ash‘aris and Maturidis refused to use reason to derive new beliefs that contradicted revelation as the Mu‘tazila had, and attempted to use the same reason that the Mu‘tazila championed against them. Al-Ash‘ari and al-Maturidi were contemporaries who independently arrived at similar conclusions regarding reason, and thus founded their two parallel schools. For the most part, these two approaches are identical. They both accept the same orthodox points about ‘aqidah that the Atharis champion, and only differ on minor issues that generally come down to no more than semantics.

Throughout the tenth and eleventh centuries, the scholars of these two schools became masters of philosophy, logic, and rationalism. They managed to find a balance between reason and revelation that the Mu‘tazila could not, and formed a series of arguments based on reason that refuted key Mu‘tazili beliefs such as the createdness of the Qur’an and the inability of God to have mercy on sinners. These scholars argued that God’s attributes not separate from Him, but are simply no more than characteristics that He describes himself by. And that believing so is not a form of polytheism, but orthodox Islamic belief as typified by the Quran and Sunnah. By using reason with the Mu‘tazila considered the highest form of human thought and achievement, they managed to win converts to a more traditional understanding of ‘aqidah.

The greatest scholar of the tradition-based kalam approach was the eleventh century Ash‘ari scholar Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111). He saw the Muslim world as plagued by numerous unorthodox theologies, such as Ismai‘ili (Sevener) Shi‘ism, propagated by the Fatimid Empire in Egypt, and the remnants of Mu‘tazilism. His works thus rely heavily on kalam to prove traditional Islamic beliefs, while also invoking spirituality to guide the layman towards a life of subservience to God. His most profound work was Tahafut al-Falasifah(The Incoherence of the Philosophers), in which he addressed all the major theological claims of Muslim philosophers and the Mu‘tazila and refuted them using their own methods.

What is remarkable about al-Ghazali’s career is that he did not physically fight his theological opponents, yet effectively vanquished them through his writings. Mu‘tazilism did not entirely die out after al-Ghazali, but its popularity dropped precipitously. Outside of Shi‘ism, which adopted some Mu‘tazili concepts, it is difficult to find much in the way of Mu‘tazili works from the eleventh century onwards.

The bulk of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah (Sunni Islam) came to accept the Athari, Ash‘ari, and Maturidi approaches to ‘aqidah as legitimate. And while knowledge of kalam and rational discourse meant to prove Islamic orthodoxy is not considered to be mandatory on every Muslim in Sunni Islam, that field of Islamic sciences has been used throughout history to defend orthodoxy. In the past hundred years, opposition to the use of kalam has developed among some Muslims who believe it to be an unlawful innovation and who fail to differentiate it from Mu‘tazilism. Yet throughout Islamic history, the use of kalam to defend Islamic beliefs as relayed in the Qur’an and Sunnah has been almost universally accepted. It was, in fact, the kalam-based traditional approach of the Ash‘aris and Maturidis that helped bring about the fall of the unorthodox Mu‘tazili approach towards theology in the first place.


Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid, and Richard McCarthy (trans.). Deliverance from Error. Beirut: American University of Beirut, 1980.

Brown, Jonathan. Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy. London: Oneworld, 2014.

Yusuf, Hamza. The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi. Zaytuna Institute, 2007.

ﻓﻠﺴﻔﮧ ﺍﻭﺭ ﻋﻠﻢ ﮐﻼﻡ ‏

ﮨﻢ ﺟﺐ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﮧ ﭘﮍﮬﺎﺗﮯ ﮨﯿﮟ ﺗﻮ ﮐﮩﺘﮯ ﮨﯿﮟ ﯾﮧ ﺣﮑﻤﺖ ﺍﻭﺭ ﺩﺍﻧﺶ ﻣﻨﺪﯼ ﺳﮯ ﮨﮯ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﯽ ﺑﮍﺍ ﺣﮑﯿﻢ ﻭ ﺩﺍﻧﺶ ﻣﻨﺪ ﻣﺪﺑﺮ ﻣﻔﮑﺮ ﺁﺩﻣﯽ ﮨﻮﺗﺎ ﮨﮯ ﻟﯿﮑﻦ ﺑﻨﺪﮮ ﻧﮯ ﺍﺏ ﺗﮏ ﺟﺘﻨﺎ ﻗﺪﯾﻢ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﮧ ﭘﮍﮬﺎ ﺍﻥ ﺳﮯ ﺯﯾﺎﺩﮦ ﻋﻘﻞ ﮐﺎ ﺩﺷﻤﻦ ﮐﻮﺉ ﻧﻈﺮ ﻧﮧ ﺁﯾﺎ ﺍﻥ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﯿﻮﮞ ﮐﯽ ﺳﺐ ﺳﮯ ﺑﮍﯼ ﺑﺪﻗﺴﻤﺘﯽ ﯾﮧ ﮨﮯ ﮐﮧ ﯾﮧ ﺳﺎﺭﯼ ﺯﻧﺪﮔﯽ ﺍﻭﮨﺎﻡ ﺍﻭﺭ ﻭﺳﻮﺳﻮﮞ ﻣﯿﮟ ﮔﺰﺍﺭﺗﮯ ﮨﯿﮟ ﺍﻥ ﮐﮯ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﯿﺎﻧﮧ ﻣﻮﺷﮕﺎﻓﯿﻮﮞ ﮐﯽ ﮐﻮﺉ ﭨﮭﻮﺱ ﺑﻨﯿﺎﺩ ﺍﻥ ﮐﮯ ﭘﺎﺱ ﻧﮩﯿﮟ ﯾﮧ ﻟﻮﮒ ﮐﺘﻨﮯ ﻋﻘﻞ ﻣﻨﺪ ﮨﮯ ﺍﺱ ﮐﺎ ﺍﻧﺪﺍﺯﮦ ﺍﺱ ﺳﮯ ﻟﮕﺎﺋﯿﮟ ﮐﮧ ﺑﻌﺾ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﯿﻮﮞ ﻧﮯ ﺭﻧﮕﻮﮞ ﮐﺎ ﺍﻧﮑﺎﺭ ﮐﯿﺎ ﺍﻭﺭ ﺩﻟﯿﻞ ﯾﮧ ﺩﯼ ﮐﮧ ﺩﯾﮑﮭﻮ ﺑﺮﻑ ﮨﻤﯿﮟ ﺳﻔﯿﺪ ﻧﻈﺮ ﺁﺗﺎ ﮨﮯ ﻟﯿﮑﻦ ﺣﻘﯿﻘﺖ ﻣﯿﮟ ﺍﺱ ﮐﺎ ﺭﻧﮓ ﺳﻔﯿﺪ ﻧﮩﯿﮟ ﮨﻮﺗﺎ ﻭﮦ ﺗﻮ ﺍﺱ ﮐﮯ ﺫﺭﺍﺕ ﻣﺎﻟﯿﮑﯿﻮﻟﺰ ﺍﺗﻨﮯ ﻣﺼﻔﯽ ﮨﻮﺟﺎﺗﮯ ﮨﯿﮟ ﮐﮧ ﮨﻤﯿﮟ ﺳﻔﯿﺪ ﻧﻈﺮ ﺁﺗﺎ ﮨﮯ ﭘﺲ ﮨﺮ ﺭﻧﮓ ﺍﺳﯽ ﻃﺮﺡ ﺁﻧﮑﮭﻮﮞ ﮐﺎ ﺩﮬﻮﮐﺎ ﮨﮯ۔۔۔۔ ﯾﺎﺧﺪﺍﯾﺎ !!! ﺍﺭﺳﻄﻮ ﺟﯿﺴﺎ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﯽ ﺳﯿﺎﮦ ﺭﻧﮓ ﮐﻮ ﺗﺴﻠﯿﻢ ﻧﮩﯿﮟ ﮐﺮﺗﺎ ﺍﻭﺭ ﺩﻟﯿﻞ ﯾﮧ ﺩﯾﺘﺎ ﮨﮯ ﮐﮧ ﺳﯿﺎﮦ ﮐﻤﺮﮮ ﻣﯿﮟ ﮐﺴﯽ ﮐﻮ ﺑﭩﮭﺎﺩﻭ ﺍﻭﺭ ﮐﻤﺮﮮ ﺳﮯ ﺑﺎﮨﺮ ﺍﯾﮏ ﺷﺨﺺ ﻣﻮﻡ ﺑﺘﯽ ﻟﯿﮑﺮ ﮔﺰﺭﮮ ﺗﻮ ﺍﺳﮯ ﻣﻮﻡ ﺑﺘﯽ ﻧﻈﺮ ﺁﺋﮯ ﮔﯽ ﺍﮔﺮ ﺑﯿﭻ ﻣﯿﮟ ﺳﯿﺎﮦ ﺭﻧﮓ ﺣﺎﺋﻞ ﮨﻮﺗﺎ ﺗﻮ ﯾﮧ ﻣﻮﻡ ﺑﺘﯽ ﻧﻈﺮ ﻧﮧ ﺁﺗﯽ ۔۔۔۔ ﺷﺎﺑﺎﺵ ۔۔ ﺷﺎﺑﺎﺵ۔۔۔۔ ﺍﯾﮏ ﺧﻮﺩ ﺳﺎﺧﺘﮧ ﻗﺎﻋﺪﮦ ﻧﮑﺎﻻ ﮐﮧ ﺍﻟﻮﺍﺣﺪ ﻻ ﯾﺼﺪﺭ ﻣﻨﮧ ﺁﻻ ﺍﻟﻮﺍﺣﺪ ﺍﻭﺭ ﭘﮭﺮ ﮐﮩﺎ ﮐﮧ ﺍﻟﻠﮧ ﺳﮯ ﻋﻘﻞ ﺍﻭﻝ ﮐﺎ ﺻﺪﻭﺭ ﮨﻮﺍ ﺍﻭﺭ ﭘﮭﺮ ﻭﮦ ﻓﺎﺭﻍ ﮨﻮﮔﯿﺎ ﺍﻭﺭ ﯾﻮﮞ ﻋﻘﻮﻝ ﻋﺸﺮﮦ ﮐﮯ ﻗﺎﺋﻞ ﮨﻮﮔﺌﮯ ﻟﯿﮑﻦ ﺣﻤﺎﻗﺖ ﮐﺎ ﺍﻧﺪﺍﺯﮦ ﺍﺱ ﺳﮯ ﻟﮕﺎﺋﯿﮟ ﮐﮧ ﺍﺱ ﻋﻘﻞ ﺍﻭﻝ ﮐﯿﺴﺎﺗﮫ ﺗﯿﻦ ﭼﯿﺰﯾﮟ ﺍﻭﺭ ﺑﮭﯽ ﺗﺴﻠﯿﻢ ﮐﺮﺗﮯ ﮨﯿﮟ ﺍﯾﮏ ﺍﺱ ﮐﺎ ﺟﺴﻢ ﺩﻭﺳﺮﺍ ﻧﻔﺲ ﻧﺎﻃﻘﮧ ﺗﯿﺴﺮﺍ ﺍﺱ ﮐﺎ ﻋﻠﻢ ﺍﺏ ﺍﻥ ﮔﺪﮬﻮﮞ ﺳﮯ ﭘﻮﭼﮭﻮ ﮐﮧ ﺍﻟﻮﺍﺣﺪ ﻻﯾﺼﺪﺭ ﻣﻨﮧ ﺁﻻ ﺍﻟﻮﺍﺣﺪ ﮐﺎ ﻗﺎﻋﺪﮦ ﮐﮩﺎﮞ ﮔﯿﺎ ؟ ﺟﺴﻢ ﺗﻌﻠﯿﻤﯽ ﺍﺑﻌﺎﺩ ﺛﻼﺛﮧ ﮨﯿﻮﻟﯽ ﺻﻮﺭﺕ ﻧﻮﻋﯿﮧ ﺧﺮﻕ ﻭ ﺍﻟﺘﯿﺎﻡ ﻗﺪﻡ ﺫﺍﺗﯽ ﻭ ﻧﻮﻋﯽ ﺣﺎﺩﺙ ﺫﺍﺗﯽ ﻭ ﻧﻮﻋﯽ ﺟﯿﺴﮯ ﻣﺎﯾﮧ ﻧﺎﺯ ﺑﮑﻮﺍﺳﯽ ﻣﺴﺎﺋﻞ ﮐﮯ ﺗﻮ ﮐﯿﺎ ﮐﮩﻨﮯ ۔۔۔۔ ﮨﻤﺎﺭﮮ ﻣﺘﺎﺧﺮﯾﻦ ﻣﺘﮑﻠﻤﯿﻦ ﻧﮯ ﻣﺤﺾ ﺩﻝ ﭘﺸﻮﺭﯾﻮﮞ ﮐﯿﻠﺌﮯ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﮯ ﮐﻮ ﮐﺘﺐ ﮐﻼﻡ ﻣﯿﮟ ﺩﺍﺧﻞ ﮐﯿﺎ ﻭﺭﻧﮧ ﻣﺘﻘﺪﻣﯿﻦ ﮐﯽ ﮐﺘﺐ ﺍﻥ ﺳﮯ ﺧﺎﻟﯽ ﮨﯿﮟ ﺩﻟﭙﺸﻮﺭﯼ ﮐﺎ ﻟﻔﻆ ﺍﺱ ﻟﺌﮯ ﻟﮑﮭﺎ ﮐﮧ ﺑﻌﺾ ﻣﺘﮑﻠﻤﯿﻦ ﻧﮯ ﺳﻮﻓﺴﻄﺎﺋﯿﮧ ﺟﯿﺴﯽ ﺧﻼﺋﯽ ﻣﺨﻠﻮﻕ ﮐﻮ ﺍﺱ ﮐﮯ ﺗﯿﻦ ﺧﯿﺎﻟﯽ ﻓﺮﻗﻮﮞ ﻋﻨﺎﺩﯾﮧ ﻋﻨﺪﯾﮧ ﻭ ﻻﺍﺩﺭﯼ ﮐﯿﺴﺎﺗﮫ ﺫﮐﺮ ﮐﯿﺎ ﺍﻭﺭ ﻏﻀﺐ ﺧﺪﺍ ﮐﺎ ﮐﮧ ﺍﻥ ﮐﻮ ﻣﻮﻗﻒ ﮐﻮ ﻣﺪﻟﻞ ﺑﯿﺎﻥ ﮐﺮﮐﮯ ﺍﺱ ﮐﺎ ﺟﻮﺍﺏ ﺑﮭﯽ ﺩﯾﺎ ﺍﺏ ﺍﺳﮯ ﻣﺤﺾ ﺩﻟﭙﺸﻮﺭﯼ ﺍﻭﺭ ﺗﺸﺤﯿﺬ ﺍﻻﺫﮨﺎﻥ ﻧﮧ ﮐﮩﺎ ﺟﺎﺋﮯ ﺗﻮ ﮐﯿﺎ ﮨﮯ ؟

ﺍﻧﮩﯽ ﺧﺮﺍﻓﺎﺕ ﮐﯽ ﻭﺟﮧ ﺳﮯ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﮧ ﻣﯿﮟ ﺩﺳﺘﺮﺱ ﻧﮧ ﺭﮐﮭﻨﮯ ﻭﺍﻟﮯ ﺟﻠﯿﻞ ﺍﻟﻘﺪﺭ ﻋﻠﻤﺎﺀ ﻧﮯ ﻋﻠﻢ ﮐﻼﻡ ﮐﮯ ﺣﺮﺍﻡ ﮨﻮﻧﮯ ﮐﺎ ﻓﺘﻮﯼ ﺩﯾﺎ ﮐﮧ ﺍﻥ ﺍﻭﮨﺎﻡ ﮐﻮ ﭘﮍﮪ ﮐﺮ ﺁﺩﻣﯽ ﻣﺰﯾﺪ ﻭﮨﻤﯽ ﮨﻮﺟﺎﺗﺎ ﮨﮯ۔۔۔۔ ﺍﻭﺭ ﺣﻘﯿﻘﺖ ﺑﮭﯽ ﯾﮩﯽ ﮨﮯ ﮐﮧ ﺍﮔﺮ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﮧ ﭘﺮ ﻋﺒﻮﺭ ﻧﮧ ﮨﻮ ﻋﻠﻢ ﮐﻼﻡ ﺍﯾﮏ ﺧﻄﺮﻧﺎﮎ ﻋﻠﻢ ﮨﮯ۔۔۔

ﺍﻟﺒﺘﮧ ﻣﯿﺮﺍ ﻣﺸﻮﺭﮦ ﮨﮯ ﮐﮧ ﻋﻠﻢ ﮐﻼﻡ ﺳﮯ ﭘﮩﻠﮯ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﮧ ﭘﮍﮬﯿﮟ ﺟﺐ ﻓﻠﺴﻔﮧ ﭘﮍﮪ ﮐﺮ ﺩﻝ ﻭ ﺩﻣﺎﻍ ﮐﻮ ﺍﻭﮨﺎﻡ ﺟﮑﮍ ﻟﮯ ﺗﻮ ﭘﮭﺮ ﻗﺮﺁﻥ ﻭ ﺣﺪﯾﺚ ﮐﻮ ﮐﮭﻮﻟﺘﮯ ﺍﻭﺭ ﭘﮍﮬﺘﮯ ﺟﺎﺋﯿﮟ ﺍﯾﮏ ﺍﯾﮏ ﻟﻔﻆ ﮐﯽ ﺣﻘﺎﻧﯿﺖ ﮐﺎ ﺣﻖ ﺍﻟﯿﻘﯿﻦ ﮨﻮﻧﮯ ﻟﮕﮯ ﮔﺎ ۔۔۔۔

Transcending Belief

By Hamza Tzortzis


In philosophy a belief is something we regard as true or likely to be true. It is something that we consider to be a representation of an actual state of affairs. Beliefs do not necessarily require justification or evidence. Beliefs can be about meaningless things, like the fact that you’re wearing shoes or that your plate is in the kitchen. Some philosophers regard beliefs as having propositional attitudes. Which can be as mundane as “I have 3 pens in my pocket”.

Islam is a form of knowing that transforms one’s state of being; it effect what’s in their heart, what they say and how the act in the world—how they relate with themselves and others.

To be is to be related

Islam affects our relations to other beings and things. A belief doesn’t necessarily change your state of being. For example, you may believe that good foods include: grains, vegetables and fruit. However what you ate last week will probably not be related to your belief about good foods (because you ate fried chicken, chocolate, sweets etc). We can conclude that your beliefs do not necessarily effect your state of being (how you relate to the world).

You may argue that adherents of Islam do not necessarily relate to the world as people who submit to God. Many Muslims err, sin and make mistakes. This is true. However a Muslim will have a state of being that can be described as a necessary level of humility before God with an intention to worship Him. If one is arrogant (to an excessive level) and never intends to worship God, then it will be very difficult to describe that person as a Muslim.

Islam necessarily transforms your state of being to the level of humility before God and with the heartfelt intention to worship Him (the degree of which can change). However beliefs do not necessarily transform your state of being. They may do nothing to your heart, what you say and how you relate to the world.

Saying that there’s no deity worthy of worship except God (Allah) and the Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessings be upon him) is His final Messenger is a form of knowing that transforms one’s state of being: what they feel in their heart, what they say with their tongue and how the act and relate to themselves and the world.

To conclude, God and His messenger know best.


What is Eschatology?

[By Muslim Debate Initiative]

In short Eschatology is a part of Theology concerned with Death, Judgement Day and the Final Destination of the Human Soul.

In Abrahamic Faiths Eschatology has a common theme with fairly distinct differences in their respective narratives.

Why does eschatology matter for Muslims?

Eschatology matters because it is one of the major events that a Muslim MUST have faith in. The Judgement Day is culmination of the mankind’s journey before Akhirah. The Quran and Hadith is filled with verses where Allah promises due compensation for all of our deeds.

Allah says in the Quran:

““Truly pious are those who believe in Allah and the Last Day.” [Al Baqarah:177]

Now for over a millenia the Final Hour has been a topic of fascination for the scholars and laity alike and many books and essays have been penned regarding them.

And throughout the millenia and through many crisises people have prematurely predicted the Final Hour and as such many Ahadith had been fabricated, attributed and exaggerated.

Some scholars do it to captivate their followers. To instill Imaan in them.

– There have been cases where documentaries with wild conspiracy theories and fabricated Ahadith had changed many people into becoming more practicing. Example: The Arrivals.
Some do it to incite people into rebellion.

– In more recent times Juhayman Al Otaibi incited some Muslims to rebel against Saudi regime by telling them that the end times are upon us. He took over the Masjid Al-Haram and claimed that he had the Mahdi with him. Much violence and bloodshed followed.

– On more than one occasion the Al-Qaeda had been hailed as the fabled army of Mahdi from Khurasan by certain activists. Their speeches were so convincing that it duped many Muslims into looking past the atrocities perpetrated by these organizations.

Some do it to legitimize the action of certain regimes.

– Back in the day it was to defend the reign of the Ummayads against the Abbasid insurrection.

– Nowadays it’s certain scholars (self-proclaimed or otherwise) attempting to put their own spin in the Syrian Civil War. Some tried to legitimize the actions of ISIS. Some tried to legitimize the actions of the Syrian-Russian coalition.

Regardless of how Eschatology is used it has a powerful effect on Muslims and religious people in general. And that is why it is extremely important for Muslims to have a proper understanding of the Islamic perspective on Eschatology so that we don’t fall into the traps that are often employed by certain individuals.

When the Final Hour will come, Allah knows best. It is important that we remain true to our Islamic ethos and not make rash decisions simply because someone says, “the hour is nigh.”

Atheism: The Irrational Doctrine

Twenty evidence of the fact that Atheism is the worst doctrine on earth .. !!

1 – Atheism violates the first law of Newton.
The first law of Newton says that “an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in steady motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force (static or dynamic).” So there must be an external force that made the Big Bang to happen at that very moment and forced the universe to begin at that very moment.

2 – Atheism violates the first law of thermodynamics.
Law of Conservation of energy or what is known as the first law of thermodynamics says ((matter/energy cannot be created nor can it be destroyed.)) If we contemplate in this law, we come to conclusion that the universe cannot exist. According to this law, the universe does not exist or it’s present in the presence of the Creator.

3 – Atheism violates the second law of thermodynamics.
The second law of thermodynamic says that the universe is now heading towards thermal death when the temperature of all organisms and particles becomes equal. So the universe as scientists say is heading toward disintegration, towards demolition, towards cooling and towards thermal death “thermal death of universe”, while atheism says that the universe is moving towards complexity and towards building a struggle to develop. So scholars consider the second law of thermodynamics to carry the end of Darwinism and selective evolution. And these are laws, not theories.. so the science on the side while atheism and Darwinism are completely on the other side.

4 – Atheism is contrary to the Code of Ethics.
The original definition of morality: – Morals are those that come against self-interest .. against matter .. against reason
Moral obligation is a restriction of the human being and as Nietzsche said long ago: – The lack of power in human being is because of his ethical commitment.

So morals are not profitable practically .. there must be a value for ethics and this value is not of this world .. a value that is not measured by abstract materialistic standards and not subject to natural laws .. ethical behavior, sacrifice, supreme ideals, asceticism and altruism are the inherent morality either are meaningless or has a meaning in the presence of God…

5 – Atheism does not find an explanation to the law of pairs.
The secret of the wisdom of the repeated mentioning of the two sexes, male and female in the Qur’an: “And of everything We have created pairs that you may be mindful” [SURAH ADH-DHARIYAT-49]. “And that He created pairs, the male and the female” [SURAH AN-NAJM 45]. The contemporary philosopher Henri Bergson said that the repeated mentioning of the pairs is not intended for gratitude, but also meant something greater which is to alert that pairing is in plants, animals and even particles and which is a great evidence of the purpose and the denial of the chance, moronic Darwinism, randomness and senselessness.

6 – Material atheism is in contradiction with the immaterial self.
If a human being committed a crime and insisted that he did it unconsciously, each lawyer seeks to prove there was no intent, but from the material perspective, the crime took place and ended up on the reality and the offender is also admitting that he’s the perpetrator, but the law interferes to know the purpose, intent and self-condition during the commission of the crime and whether the crime took place unconsciously or not .. Here, we put self in position higher than facts and higher than abstract materialistic reality.. In reality, we do not really judge what happened in the world, but to judge what has occurred within the self .. This reflects the contradiction in principles between man and the world.

7 – Atheism is contrary to the laws of human rights.
Human rights is metaphysical pure issue and your saying that human beings are equal this is possible only if the human is a creature of God, so equality between human beings is exclusively ethical, not a natural, materialistic or mental fact, since people from the materialistic, natural or mental perspective are undoubtedly unequal and based only on religion, the weak can claim equality.

Those who are weak and poor in money, health and mind and excluded from the tables of the celebrations in the world, those who do not have anything to show or to prove about except through religion only, by which they demonstrate that they are equal to them or even better towards God than the wealthy, and this is where lies the frequent proof of the value of religion in equality.

8 – Atheism violates the privacy of all, since it does not recognize the sanctity and holiness.
No value to bunch of virtues that have been established by religions in the last tens of thousands of years. As Dr. Missiri says: – the atheist sees the ground as an exploited matter and his purpose is to achieve maximum satisfaction of it or as the thinker John Locke says: – If all hopes of human is limited to this world and if we enjoy life here in this world, it is not surprising nor illogical to look for happiness, even at the expense of parents and children.

So the ideas of impurity, holiness, chastity and purity are ideas derived from another world have nothing to do with the materialistic, Darwinian, imperative, cold world… If we were really the sons of this world, it will not seem to us as it has something dirty or sacred…

9 – Atheism is contrary to the law of cause and effect.
Of nothing comes nothing… there is no effect without a cause .. this common sense is erected in the mind because it is higher than the law and on it stands the modern science and goals’ purpose.

Descartes says: “I exist so who made me exist and who created me? I have not created myself. It has to be my Creator.” This Creator must exist and does not lack a creator and He should be named with all the attributes of perfection: “Or were they created without there being anything, or are they the creators?” [Surah at-Tur: 35] .. and it does not occur to us to deny this common sense because of the pretext that the mental delusion of the sequence of reasons to no end and it is mentally false or because of the pretext of our ignorance but it is the cause and the law of causality that is not based on observation as atheists claims since our senses just shows the pictures of the disjointed and sequenced phenomena and does not show us the relationship with the causality, so how can we know this relationship only if the mind has innate organized laws – the talk of Descartes – which with it, the human being can realize the sense of and then make new constructed judgments that does not depend on the senses

10 – Atheism contradicts the law of intent and care.
All assets on the ground fits to the human existence and operates accordingly to him, so it is not surprising to say that everything around us is subjected to our requirements of day and night, four seasons, space, surrounding air molecules and how all that situated to the human nature and his needs, and it is not unrealistic to the fact that we say that this harmony in the universe is designed specifically for the production of the human race and as our brother Majdi says: “By washing your hands, thousands of bacteria die, since Man is the fixed component in the world history, his spirit value and moral values will remain unchanged, so the human being was and will remain as human being from thousand years ago born by the past to thousand years later born by the future, neither his nature nor his intent will change.”

11 – Atheism is contrary to teleology.
Science is in constant progress … all scientists’ researches based on the existence of laws governing the world and controlling the matter .. the purpose of science in every search is to find the law governing this case since the science is teleological and therefore it is in constant progress .. and without the science adoption already of a law that governs all things for this progress, the science would not progress one step .. and here lies the contradiction in principle between messy atheism and teleological science.. and it is not imaginable that everything around us is governed by the law of teleology and the human is the only being responsible in this case.

12 – Atheism contradicts the law of consistency previous to consolidation.
Says Leibniz:- “the atoms are moving with God’s will and work ability that shows how they relate to each other, However, they are not really related, but the power of God to make each atom goes in motion that harmonizes the motion of other atoms, so what seems to us of this harmony is the impact of the law of “consistency previous consolidation” since the matter does not discern the laws applied on it. And there is no rational must to oblige the water to boil at one hundred degrees Celsius or its molecules to diverge with boiling, and as Hume says: – a science that explains that with former interpretations is very immature science since it does not do more than adopting the situation but without giving any reasons. And it’s unavoidable but to admit of the law of “consistency previous consolidation”

13 – Atheism violates the principle of the famous Barclay.
Says Hume:- no evidence obliges us to believe that there is something If our senses missed it and no evidence compels us to believe that the thing we saw today and then we left and we go back to see it in the second day is the same thing we saw on the first day, since we do not know about the outside world except of we what have in our mind from sensory perceptions, and the mind obliges that there must be a holistic mind that absorbs all things and be a witness by it, and as God says:- “Is it not sufficient as regards your Lord that He is a witness over all things?” [SURAH FUSSILAT – 53]

14 – Atheism is the founder of most criminal doctrines on the Earth.
Se Gore says: – The Darwinism doctrine is one of the despicable doctrines that are not supported except by the worst tendencies and contemptible feelings, since its father is infidelity and its mother is dirtiness.

Nazism was formed only on the discrimination of races and ethnicitiy.

Mao Zedong the atheist thug said: – All the lower animals will be executed and all who stood against the revolution is an evolutionary error, and said in a December 9, 1958 “mass graves provide a good fertilizer for the land.” As a result, 50 million people was killed in China.

The Atheist Che Guevara said: – “To send men to the firing squad, the juridical validation is not necessary. We must learn how to kill queues of people in a shorter time!!!”

The criminal atheist Lenin said: – “No mercy for the enemies of the nation, but kill, hang and confiscate.”

Marx said: – “We have no pity for you, and we do not ask for your sympathy, when the day will come, we are in practice: conscientious savages.” and Marx justify this criminal terrible approach, saying: – “When people accuse us of cruelty, we wonder how they forgotten the basics of Marxism?”

As a result, 250 million people was killed in one century by horrible Darwinian atheism and this is probably more dead people, more than all the wars from Adam (alayhis salaam) to this day.

15 – Atheism is against art and life.
The existence of another world along with the natural world is the primary source of every religion and art .. and If there was only one world, the art would be impossible. Atheism will never understand the essence of art and nature .. If there is no spirit of man so why we are keen to have the spirit of art?

When the science deals with the man, it looks at it as what is dead and what is not personal, while when an art deals with man, it looks at what is humane and teleological, since art is on a natural collision with the world and with all its sciences, that the silent rebellion and if there is absolutely no support to man with no room for his spirit and his self, then the art is not an area for him and the poets and tragedy writers deludes us and write nonsense that does not make sense.

Art in nature and its recognizing of the existence of another world is carrying revolutionary meanings of blasphemy of materialistic world… and that was understood by the famous French painter de Buffet when he said: – “the essence of art is uncomfortable and useless, it’s against society and the threat of it.” Therefore, the essence of works of art are fully and vaguely obscure, it’s a continuous rebellion on the reality. It is repeated confession of the existence of another world that we do not belong to and we will go to it one day .. confession of human suffering on the ground and its inability to achieve the paradise that lies within his dreams and to search for it .. Art is simply is the fruit of the relationship between the spirit and the truth.

So when you contemplate on deep painting.. When you read a great novel .. the human being feels a strange sense that is mysterious with transcendence and holiness and entering the world of eternity .. Art is exactly as religion, both are recognizing the existence of another world, but art is not a religion but an expression of religion. Art is the illegitimate son of the truth… while religion is the legitimate son of the truth ..

16 – Atheism represents abnormality in the history of civilization.
Atheism is nothing more than an intellectual abnormalities and mental pollution in the history of nations and civilizations, Will Durant says in his book The Story of Civilization:-  “There may be cities without walls, without armies, without plants but there is no city without a temple.”
And The author of the book why we say that God exists says:- “and there one who said that man is guided to God with revelation or without revelation, but with the revelation, it was better and thorough, and some argued that all the worships are revelation from God, but it might be an old revelation that was stained with myths from magicians and fortune-tellers, so the primitive nations sidetracked in their ignorance and God was sending Messengers to purify these beliefs from sidetracking.” And Schmidt and Lang – two of the researchers of the assets of religions – say that the origin of all religions in purpose is the Oneness and the diversity came in the later stages, and it have been discovered that inheritance of Indian American and Indigenous residents of the North America are similar in many decrees to monotheistic religions particularly in terms of punishment and reward and here where lies the argument on people, where they are equal in reason and requesting guidance .. and humans differ in religion, but they agree in what God wants them to do.

Sheikh Nadeem Aljssr said in his book, the story of Faith, p. 35: – It’s more likely that many philosophy of the ancients in Egypt, China and India are the remnants of forgotten history, so the owners of these philosophies were stacked among the philosophers and they might have come from prophets or prophets’ subordinates.

That’s why atheism is abnormal approach that appears in temporary image and quickly disappears and if it‘s beneficial to people, it would’ve stayed on the earth.

17 – Big Bang and the fall of the myth of the stable static universe.
In 1989, NASA had launched the satellite (Cuba) for the detection of cosmic radiation resulted from the Big Bang and compiling information on the radiation and this satellite was able in only 8 minutes just to give a complete picture of the radiation and it is proven that the universe is made and this is what knocked off the atheists in critical embarrassment.

A. S. EDDINGTON says: “Philosophically, the notion of an abrupt beginning to the present order of Nature is repugnant to me”

And DENNIS SCIAMA said that he did not defended the steady-state theory, not because he deemed it valid, but because he wished that it were valid. SCIAMA goes on to say that as evidences began to pile up, he had to admit that the game was over and that the steady-state theory had to be dismissed.. And that he must leave aside the theory of the stable universe and his colleague GEORGE ABEL said that he has no choice but to accept the Big Bang theory.

This prompted the atheist philosopher of the twenty century ANTHONY FLEW to say his famous aphorism: –

“Notoriously, confession is good for the soul. I will therefore begin by confessing that the atheist has to be embarrassed by the contemporary cosmological consensus.” .. because the science has proven the idea that were defended by religious books.

18 – What is the mystery behind the bias of modern science towards the Qur’an?
Gustave Le Bon says “Islam is religion of the most appropriate for scientific discovery”, and that’s the reason of the frequent convert to Islam in the scientific community of doctors, researchers and professors.
The wonderful Alija Izetbegovic Say: – Aristotle has wrote three scientific books (in physics in the heavens .. .. in the earth) These three books do not exist today with one sentence that is scientifically valid .. three books from a scientific perspective is equal to zero to ten, while the Qur’an as Maurice Bucaille says in his famous book (the Qur’an, Bible and the Torah in the perspective of modern science): – The truth is I did not find any verse from the Qur’an that is contrary to one scientific fact but the Qur’an already passed the modern science and corrected many of the scientific theories that were prevalent in his day, for example the idea that groundwater was formed through a deep gorge at the bottom of the continents moved underground water from the oceans to the depths of the earth did the Qur’an ratify this scientific myth which was prevalent in that times or said. “Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the cloud, then makes it go along in the earth in springs” [Surah Zumar 21] ….. The source of groundwater is made up of springs, rain and not from Aristotle gap in the depth of the continent …….. And so on.

19 – Atheism does not give an explanation for anything.
Atheism is not a solution but a confession of a failure in finding a solution and this is the beginning of atheism and the end of it ..
The famous atheist Richard Dawkins says in his book delusion: – “Atheists are like bunch of cats, every cat in different direction..” Every atheist is an independent church and as a Sheikh Moqbel Bin Hadi says “If ten people of falsehood meet, they separate in eleven ideas”, so you do not find two atheist with the same idea combined and this is the misfortune of atheism and its ravages, it is the indisciplined doctrine that does not have a clear explanation of any issue, does not have a value, it is “just a fun game mentality,” as said by Dr. Ahmed Okasha .. Atheism in itself is merely a superficial naive idea that is very lazy on a very deep and serious issue … Atheism is messy, nihilistic and skeptical. As one of the old brothers says:- “Since the science is in continuous progress and since there are laws and fixed facts, the function of science is to look for those laws and facts, therefore, there no existence of Atheism or the messy Agnosticism.”

20 – The return of scientific world to God
The physicist (Frederick Bermham) author of History of Science (Science historian) says: “ present, the scientific community deems the idea of God’s creation of the universe a more respectable idea than ever before for hundreds of years.”
Michael Behe says: “I am compelled to accept the existence of God since the result of all these cumulative efforts to examine the cell. ie: to examine life at the molecular level is a loud shout to the clear sharp design …
And I evidenced that by the return of hundreds of scientists and thinkers in the past few years to God and acknowledged that the cause of atheism is psychological rather than mental aspect.:

The famous astronomer (Fred Hoyle) says in his book Mathematics of evolution page 130: – “ fact, how the very clear scientific theory says that life is collected by a clever mind, however, the person marvels and wonders, why it’s not accepted widely as an intuitive … but most likely it’s psychological reasons rather than scientific.”

and as Hadhrat Hussain (radhiyallahu anhu) when he said: “O Allah!, an eye is blinded that doesn’t see You.”

To sum up, Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah) was right when he said: – “We are imagining a mule building the pyramids, but we do not imagine what is assumed by atheists when they deny the Divinity .. and as has been said in the Islamic history: – “The ox knows its master, the donkey knows its owner, but this one does not know …” or, as the Bible in the Psalms of David (Dawud alayhis salaam) says : ”The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. 14-1 .. or as our Lord saus in the Qur’an:- “And certainly We have created for hell many of the jinn and the men; they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear; they are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones” [SURAH AL-A’RAF 179]

The Origin of ‘Ilm al-Kalam

By Brother Ahab Badaiwi

‘Ilm al-Kalam, “Islamic theology”, represents one of the the most dynamic, intellectually-thriving, & philosophically-rich scholarly tradition in the world. But what’s the origin of kalam?

The story begins in the early 500s & 600s AD Middle East. Kalam emerged in multi-religious milieu of Middle East. Muslims as newest religious group & ruling minority sought to assert themselves amidst indigenous populations. Other competing religious groups at the time in Middle East spoke Aramaic, Greek, Middle Persian…Coptic, Armenian, & Arabic. Christians actively present in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, & Egypt. Zoroastrian scholarly activity palpable in Iraq & Iran. Mandean learned traditions attested in Iraq. Buddhist in Afghanistan & Central Asia. While some Jewish scholarly presence in Iraq.

Other religious traditions somewhat active in late antique Middle East include significant but sometimes-ignored religious experimentations & syncretic sects, such as Gnosticism, Neo-platonism, spiritual paganism, Alexandrian philosophy, hermeticism, Chaldaean oracles, & neo-pythorgansiam.

Before Islam Abrahamic communities in Middle East assimilated & carried forth Hellenic philosophical & scientific legacy & were engaged in centuries-long inter-religious debates & disputations. Nascent Muslim settlers came into contact with hellenised communities in Syria & Iraq.

Early religious commitments of Muslims ran their course towards development in spirit of inter-religious disputations. Two views prevail in academic community as to the origin of kalam. Josef van Ess opines that kalam didn’t start as polemic against unbelievers…
Van Ess of view that kalam started as inner-Islamic discussion through (mainly) political development. This is known as the internalist thesis. It reduces non-Muslim influences to minimum. In 1970s & 80s Van Ess came across two very early kalam texts dating back to 700s AD…
One was attributed to Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyya (rahimahullah) while other to Umayyad caliph ‘Umar II (rahimahullah) (d. 720). Harsh criticism promoted van Ess to revise his position to argue for a later date than originally assumed.

It is important to remember kalam has two distinct meanings that should be differentiated:

1) kalam as style of argumentation involving talk (ﻛﻠّﻤﺔ) with interlocutor by asking questions to reduce position of opponent to meaningless alternatives.

2) kalam as a scholarly tradition (Islamic theology) that employs kalam-style method. We should remember that Islamic theology shouldn’t be equated with kalam tout court. Why? Other Islamic theologies can be very critical of kalam, such as Hanbali theology, early Shi’i theology, etc

Kalam as style of argument has ancient roots in Middle East religious culture, before Islam. Following Council of Ephesus (431 AD) (& others) Christians in Middle East divided into rival factions determined to gaining ideological influence, vindicate beliefs, & refute beliefs of rival.

Shortly after Islamic Conquests Muslims were drawn into intra-Christian debates. Notable examples include debate between group of Muslim emigres and Abyssinian emperor & Prophet Muhammad with Christians of Najran. But who were most formidable debaters at dawn of Islam?

Evidence by Michael Cook & more recently Jack Tannous challenge van Ess’ internalist thesis. Cook notes that kalam-style arguments are present in Syriac Christological debates as early as 600s AD, such as in Monothelete document (extant manuscript held in British Library).

In terms of content, Seventh-century Christological debates invariably begin with disjunctive question (‘Do you believe X, yes or no?’) & then proceed methodically to discuss each of possibilities (‘if you say X, then it should be asked… but if you say Y, then…’),

The aim is to refute opponent’s response or show opponent’s view concurs with position of questioner. Syriac debates in 600s show remarkably similarity to earliest Muslim kalam texts which show same pattern (ﺍﻥ ﻗﺎﻝ … ﻓﻴﻘﺎﻝ ﻟﻪ) as 7th Century Syriac ones.

Academics conclude, then, that kalam genre in Islam is product of 7th century Syriac Christological schism. One view holds that Muslim learned art of kalam by either participating in Christological debates (Syria/Iraq) or through skilled Christian converts to Islam.

Closed reading go George’s Syriac polemics shows imitation of Greek Christological aporiai (type of argumentation in Ancient Greek philosophy & rhetoric) from 500s & 600s AD. Significantly George was Bishop of Christian Arab tribes of ‘Aqolaye (in Kufah) & Tu’aye & Tanukaye.

More accurate & recent assessment on origin of kalam focus on George Bishop of Arab tribes (d. 724). George wrote anti-Chalcedonian polemics in Syriac. Three such polemics survive showing author employing famous disjunctive formula to undermine opponent’s theological position.

These three Christian Arab tribes were all present in one of the earliest Christian-Muslim debate recorded by history: the debate between Jacobite Patriarch John Sedra & Hagarene (Muslim) ‘Umayr bin Sa’d al-Ansari, emir in Syria, that took place in year 644 AD.

Syriac sources describe the debate as “mamllā,” which translates to conversation or ﻛﻼﻡ in Arabic. This recent hypothesis on origin of kalam singles Arab Christians in Iraq & Syria as most plausible conduit for transmission of Islamic kalam (& later Islamic theology).

Kalam in Arabic corresponds to mamallā in Syriac. In both instances the term means “conservation,” “speech,” or “disputation”. Syriacs conflated translated Greek term theologia as mamllā alāhāyā (“speech regarding divinity”). But reading of this evidence requires caution.

It very possible that the Arab Christians present at debates took notice of fact that disputants acted as “spokesmen,” or memallēl alāhāyātā, that is, “one who speaks on divine matters,” the Syriac equivalent of the Arabic mutakallim.