Andrew Rippin

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:


Reflection on the dogmatic underpinnings of Islam and the introduction of tools by which that reflection can take place are the key elements in what is called “theology” in the Muslim setting. Certain themes came to dominate the discussions: the nature of God and his relationship to the Qurʾan, the meaning of “faith” and of being a “Muslim,” free will and predestination, and the place of reason in relationship to revelation, especially as it relates to ethics. The connection of these discussions with Muslim developments in philosophy is certainly blurred, but theology can always be characterized by its attention to the twin scriptural sources of Islam, the Qurʾan and Hadith. While the extent to which those sources have actually driven the concerns of theology has been greatly contested among scholars (as compared to the concerns having emerged because of foreign or apologetic influences), the prominence of the scriptural texts within Muslim discussions themselves remains the dominating characteristic of the literature.

Article.  6595 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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