Imaam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “My judgement regarding those people who engage in the futile discussions of Ilm-e-Kalaam is that they should be beaten with canes, laid upside down on camels, taken around the tribal neighbourhoods and announced: ‘This is the punishment for those who have left Kitaabullaah and Sunnah, and have squandered their time in the futile discussions of Ilm-e-Kalaam.”
Ilm-e-Kalaam is the branch of Islamic studies discussing rational proofs for the Aqeedah or Tenets of Faith of Muslims. For example, the intellectual proofs of Allah being one and single.
Such proofs are to be found in the Qur’aan-e-Kareem itself, and also in the Hadeeth of Nabi-e-Kareem (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam). This begs the question: Why did Imaam Shaafi’ condemn Ilm-e-Kalaam and those who occupy themselves with this Shar’i science?
The answer is that Imaam Shaafi’ condemned occupation in Ilm-e-Kalaam as people were giving preference to this subject over the primary sources of Islamic knowledge, that is the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
Furthermore, they were stretching their imaginations and conjuring nonsensical ‘proofs’ for the Aqeedah of Islam. Not everyone’s rational interpretation of Aqaaid is valid and tenable.
Also, to save the masses from becoming enmeshed in issues beyond their comprehension, Imaam Shaafi’ shut the door of Ilm-e-Kalaam. And in this approach is much wisdom for the safety of the Imaan of the masses. And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
Imaam Raazi (Rahmatullahi alaih) has discussed this issue at length in his Manaaqib Imaam Ash-Shaafi’.
When this was the attitude of Imaam Shaafi’ in regard to futile discussions in a valid subject, then one wonders what would the Great Imaam have said in regard to those who study the nonsensical and immoral subjects taught at secular institutions in our times and about those who misuse their precious time lapping up fake news and fake stories all the time.