The historical relationship between the sacred law and classical theology (kalam) must be distinguished from the law's inherently religious nature, its immense body of positive law, and the various Sufi paths of spiritual illumination. Islamic theological speculation exercised only a limited impact on positive law, but its influence on Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh) was profound. The emergence of kalam and that of usual al-fiqh were roughly coeval. Both disciplines matured centuries after the schools of Islamic law had formulated their distinctive corpuses of positive law. None of the schools of law systematically reformulated its established body of substantive law on the basis of the dialectics of later legal theorists, despite the centrality of legal theory in their legal curricula. Few failed to note the symbiosis which existed between kalam and legal theory, but, from the beginning, many jurists questioned the validity of linking the two disciplines. Most of them ultimately welcomed legal theory and revered it for the monumental scholastic achievement that it was, but despite legal theory's indebtedness to kalaam, a significant number of other jurists regarded kalaam as irrelevant to the art of positive law. Still others regarded its influence as harmful.

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