Shaykh hatim made an interesting observation some time ago, may Allah reward him for his brilliance and knowledge and benefit. This particular quote interested me considering it was outside of his normative explanations rooted in knowledge. This particular remark he made, it seems, as though he made it while leaving his thinking cap on the counter while making it.
He tweeted a jab against salafis with the following remark
“ ليس كل استدلال عقلي لتقرير العقائد والدفاع عنها يجعل التقرير كلاميا”، هكذا يقول بعض أدعياء السلفية المعاصرة ، ويعارضهم آخرون بأن جميعه مذموم!
فما الذي يجعله كلاميا مبتدعا عند الفريق الأول ؟
سيقولون : الجواب : أن يكون استدلالا عقليا خطأ .
وإلا فللدارمي ولابن تيمية استدلالات عقلية
جميل : إذن صححوا نقدكم المطلق لعلم الكلام ؛ بأن استدلالته الصواب صواب ، والخطأ خطأ ، وستكونون شركاءه في ذلك ؛ إلا إذا زعمتم أنكم معصومون في استدلالاتكم العقلية في التقرير والدفاع ورد الشبهات !
والواقع يثبت خطأكم ، وأن عموم صوابكم سبقكم إليه المتكلمون
Basically, he starts off (mis)quoting what he may have found some salafis say, by saying “Not every logical deduction in theological justification and apologetics is kalām.”
Firstly, if salafis have said this, this is out of ignorance. What is normally said is that logic (mantiq) is a completely different science than kalam (theosophical dialectic) altogether. The two are not the same or even slightly the same.
A “logical istidlal” in aqida is NOT kalam, and can never be kalam. That is not what is understood as kalam by both traditionalists (salafis) and mutakalimun. Please keep this in mind dear reader, as this is the premise from which he continues the basis for his jab. As you can see, if the premise is mistaken, then the outcome of it will likewise match in its integrity.
He then continues saying
“ This is a claim of some modern Salafis. Others from them will contest this group, saying that all of it is to be censured!”
The only group “from among them” who would say this are mufawwid atharis, the very group against salafis. Not sure exactly how he figures salafis differ in regard to kalam.
Now, from here, this is where his already faulty premise, starts going further down the rabbit hole of absurdity. He says
“ So what makes the one who uses kalām a reprehensible innovator with the first group? They will say, “The answer is that their logical deduction is incorrect, while Al-Darimī and Ibn Taymiyyah had correct logical deductions.“
Firstly, no actual salafis says or reasons this. There is no “kalam of ibn taymiyyah and ad-darimi versus the kalam of Ash’aris”. If he made this up, it is a conjuring that came out of the ether with no actual basis in reality. If he argued this with a salafi who gave him this answer, then it was this particular salafi’s ignorance that is in question. There is no “correct kalam” and “incorrect kalam” in salafi theology. The salaf did not have one view of kalam “done right” and another view of kalam “done wrong” rather they viewed the entire paradigm of kalam itself as wrong. PERIOD.
So right off the bat, one can identify the gaping hole in the mistaken notion the shaykh begins his premise of his argument with as a faulty delusion of actual salafi theology. Im not sure if he views salafi theology is derived from salafi adherents, or from the views of the salaf, from which salafi theology is taken.
The rest of what he says is simply hot air derived from the faulty premises provided above. Not much is needed to retort back with considering it has no basis in reality to begin with.
“Alright, so define your unspecified criticisms of kalām, so that you define which parts of kalām are correct, and which are wrong. If you do that, as a result you will be a participant in kalām itself, unless you resort to saying that you are infallible in your logical deductions in justifying theology and apologetics!“
Reality confirms that you are incorrect in your views, and the scholars of kalām have already preceded you in the general parameters of what you have gotten right.“
Alright, so I’ll answer his question but because I was able to home in on his blunder, I wont be confining my answer to his faulty premise. Rather the answer lies in correcting his foundational flaw
The flaw was in conflating mantiq with kalam. The one who conflates one with the other is more in need of refinement than throwing jabs at groups for polemical purposes.
Im going to personally take an unorthodox way to decipher the divergence of the two since this has not been done before, from my recollection of those scholars who spoke on both mantiq and kalam. And it will be easy for the unaware to digest it in a reasonable fashion.
The difference between mantiq i.e. logic, and ilmul-kalam; that is theosophical dialectic, is that mantiq is the analytical deduction of everything that is empirical in nature and kalam is the practice of applying analytical deduction to the Divine that is beyond and transcends empirical review. Understand the gravity of this statement! I did not form this clause haphazardly. This was taking into account non muslim logic and its various sub schools and styles of logic, as well as accounting for Muslim based logic and their sub schools and their stretching logic on formal patterns of inference into further separate areas, those being epistemology and metaphysics i.e. aqa’id i.e. the Divine.
As one can see, kalam is a specific science dedicated to the use of analytical rationality in practice upon a Divine who is beyond the scope of empirical analyzation.
The purpose, as mutakalimun themselves would confirm, for kalam, is to make tanzih of al-Bar’i from inappropriate descriptions for Him and impossibilities for Him. As any normal thinking Muslim can witness here, the only one who has the right to make this tanzih is Allah Himself. There can be no tanzih beyond His Tanzih, and most certainly, there cannot be a Tanzih from what He applied for Himself. And this is precisely the domain of ilmul-kalam, is to make tanzih from what He Himself has qualified Himself with. What greater blasphemy is there than this blasphemy?