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The Censor of Kalaam (theological rhetoric): A Consensus of the Ages

The Salaf al-Salih condemmned Kalâm, very harshly. They are unanimous in their rejection of it, as narrated from the Imams and their students. There is not a single evidence from the righteous predecessors who are known with religious leadership and who took part in Kalâmi discussions or approved of it. Many books have been written on this. Refer to authors like Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Batta al-‘Ukbari, Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi, Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami, Abu’l-Fadl al-Muqri, Abdallah al-Ansari al-Harawi, Ibn Tahir al-Maqdisi, Abu’l-Muzaffar al-Sam’ani etcetera.

Here are a few statements from the Imams of the past. These words carry authority with the Ahl al-Sunnah and they provide ample evidence with respect to their agreement in forbidding and censuring Kalâm, whether called: ‘Ilm al-Kalâm, ‘Ilm Usul al-Din or anything else. If it is based upon the foreign ‘knowledge’ of the Greeks and their like, it was rejected.

Kalâm – A Short Overview

What is Kalâm? Kalâm is today usually translated as scholastic theology or speculative theology. It is a way or mode of argumentation and discussion – probably also the reason why it is called kalâm, lit. speech – which finds its origin outside of Islam, nay outside Arabia!

If we go back to the history of this ‘science’, we’ll find it being ‘founded’ by the foreign Greeks. Definitely, some of the terms and meanings handled by mutakallimûn are already found with philosophers of the past. Indeed, the pre-Socratici used some definitions of expressions which would become the ‘core of [all] Kalâm’ afterwards (with Kalâm I mean here: Arabic Kalâm, i.e. which is written in Arabic or coming forth from it such as Jewish Kalâm).

A founding father of the Greek philosophy is Herakleitos, an Ionian philosopher. He is one of the earliest of dialectic philosophers who influenced Socrates, Plato and many others. Indeed, al-jadal (lit. disputation, argumentation) is counted as dialectic by many scholars of Usul al-Fiqh and Usul al-Din. However, not all types and forms of jadal are likened to the Greek dialectics. There is jadal that is allowed and there is jadal that is forbidden and blameworthy, differently from Kalâm as this will be clear.

After Herakleitos, a ‘founding father’ of dialectics which is an important art for the Mutakallim, two Greek scholars are influential in the history of Greek philosophy, but even more so in the history of Muslim philosophy (meaning: utilized by Muslims or people of the Qibla): Leukippos and Demokritos. The former introduced the atomic theory, the backbone of all Kalâm, which would find a home in the Muslim world – unfortunately.

The atomic theory of Democritus is about ‘space’, which is occupied by countless seperable ‘parts’. These ‘parts’ have nothing in them and they occupy all ‘space’; they also are attributed with undivideness: for this reason they are called ‘atoms’. Leukippos and Democritos could not imagine, when they first coined this term and gave it a definition, what impact their atomic theory would have in the world! There is much more to say about ‘atoms’, called by the Arab Mutakallimun and philosophers: Jawâhir (sing. al-jawhar). It is not far-off to say that Democritos is the founder of all Kalâm, even though it was just a begin.

Through Greek thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristoteles and Roman thinkers as Plotinus, the Greek-Latin heritage of philosophers about God, life, being, dialectics, atoms, accidents, void, space, contingency, origination, duration, attribute, meaning etc. crept into the Muslim Ummah. This started in the first two centuries of Islam, i.e. the formative period. Names of Muslims that can be brought in relation with these foreign terms, definitions and theories (the Greek science were eventually called ‘ulûm al-‘ajami, i.e. foreign sciences) in its earliest times can be found in Ibn al-Nadmi’s Fihrist and elsewhere.

The first important Mutakallimûn – some might call them the founders of Arabic Kalâm – are probably Wasil b. ‘Ata and ‘Amr b. ‘Ubayr, the founding fathers of Mu’tazilah. al-Ja’d b. Dirham, Ma’bad al-Juhani and others may have utilized also Greek ‘speech’ in discovering beings and formulating matters. Below you might find references to ‘Amr b. ‘Ubayd’s involvement in Kalâm, considered then: philosophy (falsafah). And Kalâm is philosophy in that stage of Arab scholarship, since it was not fully developed. Another important contributor would be Jahm b. Safwan, who would fit according to some modern scholars into the tradition of Neo-platonic thinkers. A rare debate between Jahm and some Buddhists (who also had an atomic theory, like the Hindus before the Arabs) is recorded in Ahmad’s Radd ‘ala’l-Zanaqidah wa’l-Jahmiyyah.

Essentially, the philosophy and dialectics of the Greek and Romans and their followers krept in the period of the Salaf. The Qadarite Mu’tazilah and the Jahmiyyah are factually the masters of this discipline. Important contributors in Kalâm were: Abu’l-Hudhayl, Dirar b. ‘Amr, al-‘Allâf, Bishr b. Ghiyat, al-Mu’tamir, al-Nazzam, al-Ka’bi and Abu ‘Ali al-Jubba’i. From the Jahmite-Mu’tazilite Kalâm several schools sprung out or forms were developed, each party utilizing Kalâm in defense of their beliefs and theories against others: Shi’ite-Zaydite school, Shi’ite-Rafidite school, Kullabite-Ash’arite school etc. A lot influenced by the Greek-Latin heritage, many times through Christian theologians and natural philosophers with pantheïstic beliefs such as Sabi’iyyah, renounced the Kalâmi disciple or its backbone (the dividing of existence into eternal and originated, the theory of atom, body and accident, together with the principles and rules that govern their modes of argument); they are the philosophers, i.e. the pure ones. For Aristoteles and others have rejected many of it foundations, beside Plato and others. al-Kindi, al-Farabi and eventually Ibn Sina are considered philosophers who have a travelled a different path than the Mutakallimun; Ibn Rushd would follow Greek philosophy extremer than all of them and in his rejection of the Mutakallimun, altogether.

In the Ash’arite tradition Kalâm would find a continuance, untill our day. Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash’ari himself was trained in the Mu’tazilite Kalâm, drilled in dialectic of the Mu’tazilah. He continued most of this Kalâm in his writings, just like Ibn Kullab would have done before when debating the Mu’tzilite Mutakallimun, even though he renounced some of its most crucial arguments (i.e. the dalil al-hudûth: the argument of contingency) in a later work. It is his heir Abu Bakr b. al-Baqillani – incorrectly considered the one who introduced the Atomic theory, he revised or renewed it – who would give Kalâm a new input. Through Ibn al-Juwayni and others it received an important place among the Ash’arites. Manuals on Kalâm from Ibn al-Juwayni are considered the best, together with those of his students. Today, the most revered Mutakallimun of the later Ash’arite tradition – and probably their best – are: al-Shahrastani, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Sayf al-Din al-Amidi, al-Baydawi, Shams al-Din al-Isfahani, al-Taftazani etcetera. Today many read into the works of al-Dhurdhani, al-Dawani, al-Laqani, al-Fadali and other later Ash’arites.

Kalâm as defined by me – in short and not exhaustive – is a discipline, or a so-called science, or a handicraft, finding its origins in dialectics, atomic theory, logic and other subjects, originally coming from the Greek-Latin (and possibly Buddhist) tradition. It is picked up and used by the early Qadarites, Jahmites and Mu’tazilites. Some Muslim philosophers used it too, even though they would become the enemies of the Mu’tazilah who are the Ahl al-Kalam par excellence. Through the Mu’tazilah Sunnites got influenced: men like al-Karabisi, al-Harith al-Muhasibi and the crucial Ibn Kullab. Eventually, al-Ash’ari continued it as a former Mu’tazilite in the [Kullabite-] Sunnite tradition. His followers made it even one of the most important and necessary subject for a Muslim, some of these same followers considered the ignorasmus of Kalâm even not a Muslim. Kalâm has terms (ma’ani), expressions (alfâz) and definitions (istilahât); it has rules and principles. It is blamed and condemned critically by the Salaf, and it is not based on anything close to the Qur’an or Hadith or even Athar of the Sahaba.

The Censure of Kalam by the Salaf

The following are statements from scholars of the Salaf concerning Kalâm. I have left out so many more, in order to be brief. I want to draw attention to one particular manner in which Kalâm has been condemned: unconditional.

All statements here, except a few which I shall explain later with Allah’s Permission, are unconditionally critical of Kalâm. If Kalâm had any good in it, no scholar from the Salaf would blame it unconditionally. Indeed, scholars who came after them agreed unanimously in their rejection of Kalâm and its people – as preceded in the Intro.

The claim of the existence of Sunni Kalâm is a fallacy! It is a despicable saying, worse than claiming Ta’wil. That is because Kalâm is foreign, more than Ta’wil. Kalâm comes from the polytheists, the Saba’nians, the Christians, the philosophers, atheists and their ilk. It does not matter that some scholars, how great they may be, indulged in it. The unanimity of the Salaf precludes any doubt concerning its forbiddance, and what they actually forbade.

I’m aware of the ‘defense’ of Kalâm, by some. Their support or praise for it is explained by:

a) their ignorance concerning Kalâm or their inadequate knowledge of it

b) their deception, after knowing that Kalâm is forbidden and blamed

First of all: people who support certain views irreconcilable with the related Ijma’, should use a reliable way of deducing certain opinions. One should not simply set aside an Ijma’, based upon the act of some scholar or the opinion of another. For if we allow things forbidden unanimously, except by one or two, we might permit everything wherein a dissent opinion can be recorded.

Second: people should not blindly follow an opinion, whoever he may be; let alone if he is a very late scholars, not from the Salaf! Every opinion does not stand on its own, except by proof. And not every proof is admissable, except after close scrutiny. Here I like to draw attention to what al-Bayhaqi, Ibn ‘Asakir and whoever followed them in that opinioned in this matter – wrong and mistakenly. We shall clarify that, soon, Insha’Allah.

[If Allah Wills, I shall explain some ambiguous passages]

Imam Malik said:

“Whoever seeks the religion through Kalâm becomes a Zindiq! And whoever seeks money [through alchemy] becomes bankrupt. And whoever seeks the strange narrations becomes a liar!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam wa-Ahlih 4:115 no.873]

Abd al-Rahman b. Mahdi said:

“I entered upon Malik, and with him was a man asking him. So he said: ‘It seems you are from the companions of ‘Amr b. ‘Ubayd? May Allah curse ‘Amr! Verily, he innovated this innovation of Kalâm; and if Kalâm had been knowledge, then the Companions and the Followers would have spoken about it, just as they spoke about the rules and regulations.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:116 no.874]

Imam Malik stated:

“I do not like Kalam except in what involves ‘Amal (action), but as for Kalam about God, silence is better than it.”

Malik used to say also:

“Kalâm concerning the religion I hate. And the people of our land (i.e. Madinah al-Munawwarah) have not ceased to detest it and to prohibit from it, like the idle speech founded in the opinion of Jahm and al-Qadar and everything that resembles that. And speech (kalâm) is not liked, except when it has action under it. So as for speech (kalâm) concerning the religion of Allah and concerning Allah ,the Mighty and Majestic, then silence is beloved to me. For I have seen the people of our country prohibiting from speech concerning the Religion, except that which has action under it.”

[Source: Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, Jami’ Bayân al-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi p. 415]

Malik also said:

“‘Beware of the innovations!’ It was said, ‘O Abu ‘Abdallah, what are the innovations?’ He said: ‘Ahl al-Bida’, those who speak concerning the Names of Allah and His Attributes and His Speech and His Knowledge and His Power; and they do not remain silent about that which the Companions and the Followers, and those who followed them in goodness, kept silent!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:115 no.872]

Malik said:

“Even if a man commits all of the major sins, except for Shirk with Allah, then he returns from these desires and innovations,’ and he mentioned Kalâm, ‘he enters Paradise.'”

[Source: Abu Nu’aym al-Isfahani, Hilyat al-Awliya’ 6:325; something similar has been narrated from al-Shafi’i, see Damm al-Kalam no.1137 and no.1138]

Imam Abu Hanifah said:

“The Ashab al-Ahwa’ in Basra are many. And I entered it twenty odd times, sometimes I stayed there for a year or more, or less, under the impression that the science of Kalâm (‘ilm al-kalâm) was the greatest of sciences.”

[Source: al-Kurdi, Manâqib Abi Hanifah p. 137]

From Hammad b. Abi Hanifah its related:

“My father, may Allah have mercy upon him, entered upon me one day and with me were a group from the Ashab al-Kalâm, and we were arguing at a door. So when I heard him approaching the house, I went out to him. So he said to me: ‘O Hammad, who is with you?’ I said: ‘So and so, and so and so, such and such, and such and such’, and I named to him those who were with me. Then he said to me: ‘O Hammad, leave alone Kalâm.’ He said: ‘And my father was not a man who mixed things up, nor was he from amongst those people who commanded something, then prohibited it.’ So I said to him: `O father, did you not used to command me with it?’ He said: ‘Yes, O son of mine, and today I prohibit you from it.’ I said: ‘And why is that?’ So he said, ‘O my son, verily these retarded ones are from the people of Kalâm, from amongst those who you will see that they used to be upon one word and one religion, until Satan came between them. So now you find amongst them enmity and differing, so be upon clarity'”

[Source: Muwaffaq Ahmad al-Makki, Manaqib Abi Hanifah p. 183]

Imam Abu Hanifah said to Abu Yusuf:

“Beware of speaking to the common folk (al-‘âmmah) about the foundations of the religion by way of Kalâm, since they are a people which blindly follow you, so they will become pre-occupied with that.”

[Source: Muwaffaq Ahmad al-Makki, Manaqib Abi Hanifah p. 373]

Abu Hanifah said:

“I use to count Kalâm the most preferred science. And I used to say: This al-Kalâm concerns the foundation of the religion. I then returned myself after what passed of my age and pondered. and said: [in myself]: Verily, the preceders from the Companions of the Prophet, peace and the blessing be upon him, and the Followers and those who followed them were not passed by anything what we perceive [today]. And they were better able and acquainted and knowledgeable about the realities of things; furthermore, they did not rise against disputants and discussers, nor did they partake in it but rather held off from that (i.e. Kalâm). They prohibited that strongly.. – until he says – ..after this what we’ve described manifested to us concerning their conditions, we abandoned dispute and debate and plunging into Kalâm; and we returned to that where the Salaf were upon.”

[Source: al-Kardari, Manaqib Abi Hanifah p.137-138]

Imam al-Shafi’i’s famous statement:

““My judgment with respect to the partisans of Kalâm is that they be smitten with fresh leafless palm branches, that they be paraded among the communities and tribes, and that it be proclaimed: “This is the punishment of him who has deserted the Book and the Sunna, and taken up Kalâm!”

[Source: al-Bayhaqi, Manâqib al-Shafi’i 1:462 and many others]

Imam al-Shafi’i said also:

“My judgement concerning them is the judgement of ‘Umar upon Subaygh!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:293 no.1140]

Imam Ahmad said during the Mihna:

“I am not a person of argumentation or Kalâm. I am only a person of narrations and reports.”

[Source: Hanbal b. Ishaq, al-Mihnah p. 54]

From Ahmad b. Khâlid [al-Khallâl] who said:

“I heard al-Shafi’i say: ‘I have not spoken to a man in Bid’ah, except one man; and he was Shi’ite.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:296 no.1145]

From al-Hasan al-Za’farani who said:

“I heard al-Shafi’i say: ‘I have not debated with anyone using Kalâm except once, and I seek forgiveness from Allah for that.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam wa-Ahlih 4:296 no.1146; also al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 10:30]

From Rabi’ it is narrated that al-Shafi’i said:

“I have not debated anyone for winning, except that the truth is with me.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:295 no.1143]

From al-Za’farani who cited al-Shafi’i:

“I have not debated anyone except as an advice (illa ‘alâ nasîha)”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam wa-Ahlih 4:295 no.1144]

From al-Rabi’ b. Sulaymaan who said:

“al-Shafi’i said: ‘If I wanted to, I could have written a large book against every opponent. However, Kalâm is not from my nature, and I do not like that anything from it should be attributed to me.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam wa-Ahlih 4:308-309 no.1168]

al-Muzani said:

“I heard al-Shafi’i say: ‘al-Kalâm curses the Ahl al-Kalâm’.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:299 no.1150]

Imam Ahmad stated:

“Whoever is given to Kalâm will not succeed, and whoever is given to Kalâm will not be free from becoming Jahmite.”

[Source: al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 11:291 and others]

Imam Ahmad said:

“Do not sit with the people of Kalâm, even if they are defending the Sunnah.”

[Source: Ibn al-Jawziy, Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad p. 205]

And from Imam Ahmad who said

“If you see a man loving Kalâm, then warn against him!”

[Source: Ibn Battah, al-Ibanah 2:54 and others]

Imam Shu’bah b. al-Hajjâj said:

“Sufyan al-Thawri used to hate the Ahl al-Ahwâ’ and prohibit strongly sitting with them. And he used to say: ‘Upon you are the Athâr and beware of Kalâm concerning Allah’s Essence!'”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam wa-Ahlih, 4:171 no.950]

Abu Isma’il Abdallah al-Ansari al-Harawi said in a chapter-heading of his marvellous book:

“Dhikr of the harshness of al-Shafi’i upon the Ahl al-Kalâm and his rejection of it”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam wa-Ahlih, 4:264]

al-Muzani said:

“I used to study Kalam and so when al-Shafi’i came I went to discuss with him a matter having to do with Kalâm, and he said to me: ‘Do you know where you are?’ I replied: ‘Yes, I am here in the mosque of Fustat.’ Then he said to me: ‘You are at Târân!’

Abu’l-Qasim al-Anmâti, the student of al-Muzani, said in explication:

‘Târân is: a place in the sea of Qulzum where no ship is ever safe.’

He said: ‘He then proceeded to as me a question pertaining to jurisprudence. I responded to it, whereupon he raised certain points that exposed the inadequacy of my answer. I then replied with another answer, to which he raised further objection and so again expressed dissatisfaction with my answer. Whenever I tried to answer him, he would expose the weakness of my response. He then said to me: ‘If this is Fiqh which is based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and people introduce such things into it, how much more [dangerous is] Kalâm, wherein disputation is tantamount to Kufr?!.’ At this I abandoned Kalâm and devoted myself to the study of Fiqh.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:280 no.1125; refer also to Ibn al-Jawziy in: Baz al-Ashhâb and the Kitab Akhbar al-Sifat]

al-Muzani said:

“I asked al-Shafi’i on an issue concerning al-Kalâm. He responded with: Ask me about something where if I’m mistaken in it you say ‘You’re wrong’. Do not ask me about a thing where if I’m mistaken in you’ll say ‘You’ve disbelieved!'”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:286 no.1131]

Muhammad b. Abdallah b. Abd al-Hakam said:

“al-Shafi’i said to me: O Muhammad! If a man asks you a thing concerning al-Kalâm, then do not answer him. If he asks you about bloodmoney, one say: A dirham or less than a dirham. He says to you: You’re wrong. And if he asks you a thing about Kalâm and you slip he says to you: You have disbelieved!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:286 no.1132]

al-Muzani said:

“I heard al-Shafi’i say to Rabi’ [b. Sulayman]: O Rabi’! Accept from me three matters: Do not indulge [in speech] concerning the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace and the blessing upon him, for your opponent on the Day of Resurrection will be the Prophet, the peace upon him; nor occupy yourself with al-Kalâm, for I have encountered from the Ahl al-Kalâm al-Ta’tîl (i.e. pure stripping Allah of His Attributes)!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:288 no.1134]

Muhammad b. Dawud said:

“Nothing has been preserved in al-Shafi’i’s age at all that he spoke in anything with respect to Ahwâ’ nor has [anything] been ascribed to him or known from him, with the fact of his hatred to the Ahl al-Kalâm wa’l-Bida’.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam 4:282 no.1126]

Ahmad b. Hanbal stated about him:

“The best habit (in another version: device) which was in him, is that he had no desire for Kalâm; Fiqh was his only concern.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:282 no.1127]

Isma’il b. Yahya said:

“al-Shafi’i’s Madhhab was antipathy (al-karâhiyyah) of indulgence into al-Kalâm.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:290 no.1135]

From al-Hasan al-Za’farani who said:

“al-Shafi’i use to hate Kalâm and prohibit it.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:302 no.1156]

al-Za’farani said about al-Shafi’i that he forbade Kalâm in his assembly and say:

“We are not people of Kalâm!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam wa-Ahlih 4:309 no.1169]

From al-Muzani who said:

“al-Shafi’i use to forbid indulgence into Kalâm.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:303 no.1158]

Muhammad b. ‘Aqil b. al-Azhar said:

“A man came to al-Muzani asking him something about al-Kalâm, so he replied: ‘I hate that. Rather, I forbid him like al-Shafi’i forbade it. For I have heard al-Shafi’i say: ‘Mâlik was asked about Kalâm [concerning] al-Tawhid, so Malik said: Impossible to imagine the Prophet, peace and the blessings upon him, to have learned his Ummah the cleansing of the back but not to have taught them al-Tawhid! And Tawhid is what the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: I have been ordered to fight the people untill they say: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. So whatever is protected by blood and possession that is the reality of al-Tawhid!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:283 no.1128]

Imam al-Shafi’i said:

“None has taken upon himself al-Kalâm and succeeded!”

[Source: Damm al-Kalâm 4:285 no.1130]

From Imam al-Shafi’i is also narrated:

“People did not become ignorant nor differed except after their abandonment of the Arabic language and their inclination to the language of Aristoteles!”

[Source: al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 10:74 and al-Suyuti in Sawn al-Mantiq p.15]

The Qadi Abu Yusuf said:

“Whoever seeks the religion through Kalâm becomes a Zindiq! And whoever seeks the strange narrations becomes a liar! And whoever seeks money [through alchemy] becomes bankrupt!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalam wa-Ahlih 4:210 no.1009; narrated by many more incl. Waki’ in Akhbâr al-Qudat, Ibn ‘Adi in al-Kâmil, Abu’l-Fadl al-Muqri in his epitome Ahâdith fi Damm al-Kalam etcetera]

The Qadi Abu Yusuf said also:

“Knowledge (al-‘ilm) of disputes and Kalâm is ignorance (jahl); and ignorance (al-jahl) of disputes and Kalâm is knowlegde (‘ilm).”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:211 no.1010; also narrated by several Imams]

And from the Qadi Abu Yusuf is also related:

“..and none succeeds who permits something of Kalâm”

[Source: al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 8:838]

From Nuh al-Jami’ who said:

“I said to Abu Hanifah: What do you say regarding such things people innovated from the speech (min al-kalâm) about accidents (al-a’râd) and bodies (al-ajsâm)? He replied: Doctrines of the philosophers! Upon you is to follow the trace and path of the Salaf. Be on your guard against every novelty, for it is an innovation!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahilih 4:213-214 no.1015]

Imam Abu Hanifah said:

“Curse be upon ‘Amr b. ‘Ubayd! Verily, he opened up for the people a path to Kalâm in that which does not benefit them in terms of speech!”

Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Shaybani, the student of the Imam and the narrator of this report, said thereafter:

“And Abu Hanifah used to stress us upon al-Fiqh and prohibit us from al-Kalâm.”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:221-222 no.1029]

Abdallah b. Dawud said:

“I asked [Sufyan] al-Thawri about al-Kalâm, replied with: Leave it, its worthless!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:224 no.1032]

Abd al-Rahman b. Mahdi said:

“Whosoever seeks Arabic, in the end he becomes a well mannered; and whosoever seeks poetry, in the end he becomes a poet who satirize and eulogize with vanity; and whosoever seeks al-Kalâm, in the end his state is al-Zandaqah!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:227 no.1039]

Abdallah b. Dawud al-Khuraybi (d.213, an Imam from Kufah) said:

“The religion is not through Kalâm, but rather the religion is through the narrations.”

[Source: al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala 9:349]

‘Uthman b. Sa’id al-Darimi said:

“I went one day relating to Yahya b. Yahya [al-Nisaburi] part of Kalâm of the Jahmiyyah, to derive from him a refutation (naqd) of them. And in his assembly that day were al-Husayn b. ‘Isa al-Bistâmi, Ahmad b. al-Harîsh al-Qâdi, Muhammad b. Râfi’ and Abu Qudamah al-Sarakhsi as far as I remember and others from the Mashâyikh. Thereupon he became angry and said: Be silent! And the Mashâyikh who were in his assembly rejected greatly from me that I would relate their words and rejection!”

[Source: Abdallah al-Ansari, Damm al-Kalâm wa-Ahlih 4:253 no.1088]

Ibrahim al-Khawwâs, the pious student of the Salaf who died in 291 AH, said:

“There was no Zandaqah, nor Kufr, nor Bid’ah, nor audicity in the religion, except by way of Kalâm, disputation and hypocrisy..”

[Source: Abu’l-Fath al-Maqdisi, al-Hujjah fi Tarak al-Mahajjah 1:233]