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History of Islamic Theology (‘Ilm al Kalām)

History of Islamic Theology (‘Ilm al Kalām)

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Course Description

« This is a science that involves arguing with logical proofs in defense of the articles of faith and refuting innovators who deviate in their dogmas from the early Muslims and Muslim orthodoxy. The real core of the articles of faith is the oneness of God (tawḥīd). »
(Ibn H̱aldūn, Muqaddima, VI, §14)

This course is an introduction to the History of the Islamic Theology organised into three general sections.

• The first section will explore the origins and the early development of ‘Ilm al Kalām.

• The second section will study some important forms, concepts and content introduced by some fundamental texts of Islamic Theology in interaction with the other major religious disciplines: Exegesis, Jurisprudence, Heresiography, Sufism and Islamic philosophy.

• The third section will be devoted to the modern theological debates in muslim countries. We will consider new questions such as : How have modern contexts shaped Muslim reformers’ understanding of the Qurʾān and of the Islamic tradition, and how have the reformers’ interpretations decontextualized Islamic classical theology ?