Abstracs/Abdor Rauf Afzali



Islamic theological questions and Ayatollah Ja'afar Subhani's answers

Rahim Latifi

Theology is the axis of other religious sciences. To precisely conceive of the essence of this science one must know its theme, problems, aims, approaches, history and development. The present article, in line with this understanding, poses some of these important questions exploring their answers in Ayatollah Subhani’s words. These questions are as follows:

  • What are the factors behind the development of Islamic theology?
  •  What is the role of the Imams (peace be upon them) in explicating Islamic theology?
  • Is there any book in the form of a dictionary or an encyclopedia written in the past, about Islamic theology?

Keywords: development of Islamic theology, dictionary, encyclopedia, Imams (peace be upon them)

The place and kinds of a rational method in theology

Rabbani Gulpayagani

The present writing tries to partly explain the use of a rational method in Islamic theology. Before applying a rational method in this field according to this paper, one must accept its presuppositions such as the acceptance of reason as an independent tool for acquiring knowledge and the recognition of its authority.

Introducing all the Shi’ite and Sunni sects – except for the people of tradition and the narrationists – as recognizing the rational method of thinking though with different points of views about the domain of reason, the paper shows the standards for extremism in the application of reason.

Utilizing the true sciences of the family of the prophet (peace be upon them) only Shi’ism, according to the article, from among the Islamic sects has used reason as an inner authority for expounding the basis of a reasonable life, theism and the difference between good and bad.

Based on the paper, the theologians who support the application of reason in theology are divided into two groups. Some advocate a philosophical rational method while others a non-philosophical rational method. Explaining his criterion of such divisions, the author further divides the philosophical rational method into general and particular.


rational method, philosophical method, rational thought, philosophical thought, rational philosophical thought, general philosophical thought, particular philosophical thought, Mu’tazilites, Ash’arites, Shi’ism, Imamism, people of tradition, school of the family of the prophet (peace be upon them), way of moderation.

Historical periods of Islamic theology

Rasul Razavi

Islamic theology is to explicate Islamic doctrines defending them against objections by the followers of other religions. Being among the first sciences appearing among Muslims, it began, with the endeavor of prominent Muslim scholars, to develop and nourish the learned circles of Islamic civilization. Though theological topics were posed with the advent of Islam, it was only after the demise of the prophet of Islam (peace of upon him) that theological sects and schools began to appear, each trying to compile something against others and for proving its own dogmas. The present article deals briefly with questions such as: When, where and how did they come into being? What were their goals and methodologies in theological issues? While answering these questions the paper will present a short account of theology at different historical periods.

Keywords: Shi’ism, Imamism, Mutazila, Asha’rites, people of tradition, theology, Safavids, Abbasids, Umayyads, Mongols, sect, Iran.

The relation between Islamic theology and Islamic philosophy

Abul Fazl Khurasani

Since considering the relation of sciences with each other is of importance from varied angles, the relation between Islamic theology and Islamic philosophy is of paramount significance.

After entering into the world of Islam, philosophy was faced with much opposition, to the extant that some denied Islamic philosophy reducing it to Islamic theology. Accepting the independence of both Islamic theology and Islamic philosophy along with their own distinctions, the paper deals with the problems common between Islamic theology and Islamic philosophy. Proving their unity and interdependence in some areas, it studies their interaction. The paper adds that such a thing dose not reduce Islamic philosophy to Islamic theology, rather it indicates that Islamic theology is evolving by using proofs; for in most controversies between Islamic theology and Islamic philosophy, it is Islamic theology that is attracted towards Islamic philosophy assuming a rational form, to the extant that some scholars believe that Islamic theology is melted into Islamic philosophy.


Islamic theology, Islamic philosophy, Islamic studies, wisdom, Muslim philosophers, Muslim theologians.

Theological methodology

Muhammad Hasan Alavi

Theological methodology is important, because it has been the divergence in methodology that has caused in the history, the creation of various and sometimes-diversionary dogmas.

After making a brief mention of the background of the discussion, the paper talks about the dialectical method of early theology, its mode of use in theology and the proof-based Shi’ite theology. Similarly after talking about the origins of theological methods and the three theological approaches, namely religious approach, extra-religious approach and mixed approach, it examines critically the Mu’tazilite and Ash’arite schools of thought and elaborates on the particulars of Shi’ite theological school of thought. The paper winds up by mentioning the opinions of these schools of thought about the attributes of God under the headings like Mu’attila (Agnosticism) Mushbbiha (anthropomorphism).

Keywords: methodology, theology, people of tradition, Mu’tazilites, Ash’arites, Shi’ites, Mu’attila (Agnosticism), Mushbiha (anthropomorphism), rational theology, narrative theology.

Different names of theology

Husain Hujjatkhah

To know about the appellation of a science, its different terminologies, origins, etymology as well as its most famous appellation and the more suitable justification with which it is linked is among the basic studies for knowing a science. Following this approach, the paper first examines the various names of ideology; next it concentrates on its most popular name, namely Kalam (theology) discussing critically about its origins and the various reasons given to justify calling ideology as Kalam (theology); finally it poses the preferred point of view.


theology, ideology, ilahiyat, principles of religion, principles of beliefs.

An inquiry into the definitions of theology

Ahmed Haidarpour

Relating different definitions of theology on chronological basis, the paper underlines their points of strength and weakness. To show the development of theology and to reveal the extent of scholars’ success in giving a standard definition (which is to be both comprehensive and restrictive) of theology, that is to cover all its historical periods, the author gives much attention to Taftazani and Lahiji’s definition of theology, which divides theology into that of early and later theologians. Subsequently it deals with questions that are left unanswered by these definitions. The paper finally concludes while directing the readers to the theory that what is called as theology to day is constituted of many sciences.

Keywords: theology, theology of early theologians, theology of later theologians, theme of a science.

Limbo (Barzakh) in theology

Ali Shams

Limbo is a theological term that is used in a theological sense first by Qur’an and Islamic traditions. In theological content, it means an interval that is between death and Resurrection. Most scholar of Islamic sects view it as one of the basics of Islam and there is no serious repudiator denying this principle.

Based on Qur’anic and narrative findings, the world of limbo is a mysterious world beginning with death and continuing till the day of Resurrection. It is a world full of bounties for the believers and full of sufferings for the sinful infidels. It is a matter much controversy as to whether all or only the pure believers or pure infidels enter into limbo. Revival of dead in grave, grave questioning, grave punishment, grave reward and seeing the holy prophet (peace be upon him), the Imams (peace be upon them) and the angels are among the events that happen in the world of limbo. It is also a matter of controversy among theologians as to how life is in the world of limbo; is it through the physical or ideal body or some other way?

Keywords: limbo (Barzakh), world of ideas, life after death, grave world, grave questioning, grave chastisement, grave reward.

An Account of Encyclopedia of Islam and its translations

Rahim Latifi

Towards the end of 19nth century, Europeans published the summary of their more than two-century Islamic researches in a series of books called Encyclopedia of Islam. Being first of its kind the series on Islamic studies was published in live languages (English, German and French) worldwide and becoming very quickly the basis of research it was translated and sometimes criticized in several Islamic countries. The paper, thus, introduces first this work and its publishers and then its translations and the views expressed for and against it.

This work suffers from several shortcomings particularly in regard with the entrances about the Shi’ite world. It is hoped that Muslim researchers should more than ever before get to criticize and complete this work.

Keywords: encyclopedia, Islamic encyclopedia, Urdu encyclopedia, EI encyclopedia

Encyclopedia of Islamic theological terminologies: introduced and criticized

Muhammad Reza Imaminiya

Dr. Samih Daghim has written Encyclopedia of Islamic theological terminologies, a dictionary in Islamic theology. His aim is to present Islamic theology in the form of a dictionary based on references to the theological works of Ash’arite and Mutazilite sects. Though in esteemed author’s point of view the dictionary enjoys having certain qualities such as variety of sources, selection of basic themes with their regular definitions, it suffers from some shortcomings of which some are as follows: neglecting major sources of various religious sects, including not all Islamic theological terminologies, using non-terms instead of terms, having no cross-references in related terms, lacking logical order, repeating texts and treating irrelevant issues.

Keywords: Islamic theology, encyclopedia, dictionary, term, preferred term, synonym, more general, more peculiar, reference, comprehensiveness, equivocal.