Abstract and Keywords
The basic tenet of Islamic belief is affirmed in the shahāda, the testimonial: “I testify that there is no God but God and Muhammad is the emissary of God.” To affirm this statement is to become a Muslim. The oneness of God and the primacy of Muhammad's prophetic mission are the two indispensable components of the faith. The various orthodox creeds, from the ninth century onward, include many other articles about God's nature and attributes, the Prophet's mission and status, human freedom and responsibility, the life of the world-to-come, and the true meaning of belief and unbelief, among others. These formulations were hard-won. Behind the triumphant articles of faith, seemingly so immutable, lay centuries of fierce disagreement. This article discusses the beginnings of theology in Islam, the Mu'tazilite school, classic Sunni Kalam, the transformation of Kalam, other less “classic” theologians, and modern developments.
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