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  • ʿIlm al-Kalām, often foreshortened to kalām, is the practice in Islamic philosophy of seeking theological principles through dialectic, debate and argument. A scholar of kalām is referred to as a mutakallim. There are many possible interpretations as to why this discipline was originally called "kalām"; one is that the widest controversy in this discipline has been about whether the Word of God, as revealed in the Qur'an, can be considered part of God's essence and therefore not created, or whether it was made into words in the normal sense of speech, and is therefore created. One of the earliest deviated systematic theological school to develop was Mu'tazila, in the mid 8th century. Mu'tazila emphasized reason and rational thought, positing that the injunctions of God are accessible to rational thought and inquiry. Mu'tazila also taught that the Qur'an, albeit the word of God, was created rather than uncreated, which would develop into one of the most contentious questions in Islamic theology. In the 10th century, the also deviated from the orthodox Islam Ash'ari school developed as a response to Mu'tazila, leading to the latter's decline. Ash'ari still taught the use of reason in understanding the Qur'an, but denied the possibility to deduce moral truths by reasoning. This was opposed by the school of Maturidi, which taught that certain moral truths may be found by the use of reason without the aid of revelation. Another point of contention was the relative position of iman vs. taqwa. Such schools of theology are summarized under Ilm al-Kalam, or "science of discourse", as opposed to mystical schools who deny that any theological truth may be discovered by means of discourse or reason. Wikipedia

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