This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Asharism and Salafism

Having attempted to make various important distinctions in the preceding paragraphs, we can discuss two ways of thinking about Islamic theology, one old and one relatively new: Asharism and Salafism.

In a way, these two “approaches” should not be placed side-by-side. Asharism is a school of Sunni kalam and has been around since the 10th century, and is essentially an approach to theology that permits of speculation and the use of reason while still showing due respect for the role of revelation. That is to say, it has a healthy respect for philosophical thought in general, and permits its flourishing.

Salafism, on the other hand, presents itself first and foremost as a reforming movement that came into being as a response to Western encroachment, going back roughly as far as the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt. Only in a secondary sense does Salafism address itself to kalam, and the attitude it adopts is rather a kind of anti-kalam, and so we place it in the same discussion as Asharism mostly because it presents itself as an alternative and an opposition to that school. The Salafi approach is the same as that which forbids the study of kalam in universities and insists on a literalistic interpretation of the Koran and an exclusivist interpretation of the Islamic faith in its relationships with the outside world.

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