Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » World Religions » Abrahamic Religions » Islam » Apologetics

Apologetics refers to the systematic approach to the defense of a particular religious belief by dialogue and persuasion. In general use, apologetics is used in debates over issues of theology and religion.

Islamic apologetics is known as Ilm al-Kalām, which means the science of discourse. Often shortened to Kalām, or referred to as Islamic scholastic theology, apologetics is used to establish and to defends the principles of Muslim faith against nonbelievers, skeptics, or those who would denounce or slander the Prophet Mohammad or Islam. Those who have an expertise in Islamic apologetics are known as mutakallim.

For our purposes here, we will sometimes refer to the discipline simply as apologetics or Islamic apologetics, however.

Early in the history of the Islamic religion, apologetics became necessary in order to refute charges made by Christians, Jews, and pagans. Within the Muslim community, as well, there were questions over various teachings, such as how divine justice could predestine someone to hell for circumstances that were beyond their control, such as being born to a non-Muslim family in a non-Muslim land.

Unlike Christian theology, Islamic theology wasn't developed systematically, nor was it a product of speculation. Rather, it developed as a reaction to debates and issues that challenged Islamic belief, as well as over problems that came up due to the mingling of faith and politics. Some of the main theological issues were the relationship of faith to works, the nature of God and the Quran, predestination, and free will. The legitimacy of the Muslim caliph was also called into question.

Another topic that Islamic apologists have had to deal with in past and present times is the relationships between civil law, Sharia law, and the Quran. Law is the primary science in Islam and, to the Muslim, the law is essentially religious. Throughout Muslim history, the Sharia has been the source of law and guidance in morality, and a central issue for believers in Islam. Yet, Muslim scholars soon found that there were significant differences in the doctrines that were taught by different law schools or practices in different parts of the Muslim world. The Quran is the primary source of God's revelation and law, as well as the source of Islamic principles and beliefs, yet it does not contain a comprehensive code of laws. Its legal prescriptions are in the form of broad moral directives

By the 10th century, the development of Islamic law was largely completed, but the task of relating these laws to the directives written in the Quran was left up to Islamic apologists, particularly when challenged. In addition, there are questions of how Sharia law can be conjoined with civil or criminal laws, particularly in countries that are made up of people of multiple religions.

Although all Muslims are obliged to seek knowledge in Islam, the study of Ilm al-Kalām is considered to be more than could reasonably be required of all Muslims, and is generally reserved for qualified scholars.

In recent years, but in other times in the history of Islam as well, Islamic apologists have had to deal with charges of terrorism from outsiders, as well as either justifying or condemning certain violent actions within the community of Muslims.

The focus of this category is on Islamic apologetics, which may also be known as Muslim apologetics, Ilm al-Kalām, or Kalām. Sites offering resources for Islamic apologetics, as well as those that were created to refute charges that have been made against Islam. Those that are simply offering information and informational resources should be submitted to the Introduction to Islam category instead.



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