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Author Topic: Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts  (Read 1699 times)
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AbdulBasir
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« on: Feb 26, 2008 11:29 PM »


assalamu alaikum...sigh, turkey never ceases to disappoint me...ok we don't know what exactly they are going to come up with yet, but chances are it will be questionable at best...

if only we would see the light and realize the dynamism, breadth and flexibility of the sacred knowledge and come to a true understanding of 1400 years of scholarship, rather than resorting to rejectionist, short-sighted, self-loathing, hawaa-based methodology...

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Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts
By Robert Piggott
Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News 



Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad.

As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia.


 This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation. Not exactly the same, but... it's changing the theological foundations of [the] religion
Fadi Hakura,
Turkey expert, Chatham House 

But the Turkish state has come to see the Hadith as having an often negative influence on a society it is in a hurry to modernise, and believes it responsible for obscuring the original values of Islam.

It says that a significant number of the sayings were never uttered by Muhammad, and even some that were need now to be reinterpreted.

'Reformation'

Commentators say the very theology of Islam is being reinterpreted in order to effect a radical renewal of the religion.

Its supporters say the spirit of logic and reason inherent in Islam at its foundation 1,400 years ago are being rediscovered. Some believe it could represent the beginning of a reformation in the religion.


 Some messages ban women from travelling without their husband's permission... But this isn't a religious ban. It came about because it simply wasn't safe for a woman to travel alone
Prof Mehmet Gormez,
Hadith expert,
Department of Religious Affairs 

Turkish officials have been reticent about the revision of the Hadith until now, aware of the controversy it is likely to cause among traditionalist Muslims, but they have spoken to the BBC about the project, and their ambitious aims for it.

The forensic examination of the Hadiths has taken place in Ankara University's School of Theology.

An adviser to the project, Felix Koerner, says some of the sayings - also known individually as "hadiths" - can be shown to have been invented hundreds of years after the Prophet Muhammad died, to serve the purposes of contemporary society.

"Unfortunately you can even justify through alleged hadiths, the Muslim - or pseudo-Muslim - practice of female genital mutilation," he says.

"You can find messages which say 'that is what the Prophet ordered us to do'. But you can show historically how they came into being, as influences from other cultures, that were then projected onto Islamic tradition."

HAVE YOUR SAY Many Hadiths relate to life in the Middle East 1,400 years ago and are no longer relevant Brian, London

The argument is that Islamic tradition has been gradually hijacked by various - often conservative - cultures, seeking to use the religion for various forms of social control.

Leaders of the Hadith project say successive generations have embellished the text, attributing their political aims to the Prophet Muhammad himself.

Revolutionary

Turkey is intent on sweeping away that "cultural baggage" and returning to a form of Islam it claims accords with its original values and those of the Prophet.


But this is where the revolutionary nature of the work becomes apparent. Even some sayings accepted as being genuinely spoken by Muhammad have been altered and reinterpreted.

Prof Mehmet Gormez, a senior official in the Department of Religious Affairs and an expert on the Hadith, gives a telling example.

"There are some messages that ban women from travelling for three days or more without their husband's permission and they are genuine.

"But this isn't a religious ban. It came about because in the Prophet's time it simply wasn't safe for a woman to travel alone like that. But as time has passed, people have made permanent what was only supposed to be a temporary ban for safety reasons."

The project justifies such bold interference in the 1,400-year-old content of the Hadith by rigorous academic research.

Prof Gormez points out that in another speech, the Prophet said "he longed for the day when a woman might travel long distances alone".

So, he argues, it is clear what the Prophet's goal was.

Original spirit

Yet, until now, the ban has remained in the text, and helps to restrict the free movement of some Muslim women to this day.


 There's also violence against women within families, including sexual harassment... This does not exist in Islam... we have to explain that to them
Hulya Koc, a "vaize" 

As part of its aggressive programme of renewal, Turkey has given theological training to 450 women, and appointed them as senior imams called "vaizes".

They have been given the task of explaining the original spirit of Islam to remote communities in Turkey's vast interior.

One of the women, Hulya Koc, looked out over a sea of headscarves at a town meeting in central Turkey and told the women of the equality, justice and human rights guaranteed by an accurate interpretation of the Koran - one guided and confirmed by the revised Hadith.

She says that, at the moment, Islam is being widely used to justify the violent suppression of women.

"There are honour killings," she explains.

"We hear that some women are being killed when they marry the wrong person or run away with someone they love.

"There's also violence against women within families, including sexual harassment by uncles and others. This does not exist in Islam... we have to explain that to them."

'New Islam'

According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam - changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy.

He says that to achieve it, the state is fashioning a new Islam.

"This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation," he says.

"Not exactly the same, but if you think, it's changing the theological foundations of [the] religion. "

Fadi Hakura believes that until now secularist Turkey has been intent on creating a new politics for Islam.

Now, he says, "they are trying to fashion a new Islam."

Significantly, the "Ankara School" of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.

They have also taken an even bolder step - rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.

"You have to see them as a whole," says Fadi Hakura.

"You can't say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.

"I cannot impress enough how fundamental [this change] is."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7264903.stm

Published: 2008/02/26 14:43:58 GMT

© BBC MMVIII
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 27, 2008 06:35 AM »

...AB's commentary...

agreed.


Quote
--------------------------------
Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

This is an interesting statement. Can you reinterpret and radically modernize a religion and still call it that religion?

Quote
This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation. Not exactly the same, but... it's changing the theological foundations of [the] religion
Fadi Hakura,
Turkey expert, Chatham House 

Well I'm going to agree that he's a turkey expert... ok ok.. jokes aside. Uhhh christian reformation??!


Quote
But the Turkish state has come
to see the Hadith as having an often negative influence on a society it is in a hurry to modernise, and believes it responsible for obscuring the original values of Islam.

Now we come to the heart of it. They don't want a little thing like religion to get in the way of their schemes to "modernize" their country eh.


Quote
It says that a significant number of the sayings were never uttered by Muhammad, and even some that were need now to be reinterpreted.

Where do they get this stuff?? What are hadiths then if not said, done, approved of by the prophet?

Quote
Commentators say the very theology of Islam is being reinterpreted in order to effect a radical renewal of the religion.

This sounds so New York Timesy...maybe they went to the same journalism school.

Quote
Some messages ban women from travelling without their husband's permission... But this isn't a religious ban. It came about because it simply wasn't safe for a woman to travel alone
Prof Mehmet Gormez,
Hadith expert,
Department of Religious Affairs

These are things already discussed by scholars. Let's hope prof mehmet is a scholar.

Quote

The forensic examination of the Hadiths has taken place in Ankara University's School of Theology.

You know, I don't have any problem with anyone "re-looking" at the Hadith and interpreting and commenting on it for the present day.

Quote
An adviser to the project, Felix Koerner, says some of the sayings - also known individually as "hadiths" - can be shown to have been invented hundreds of years after the Prophet Muhammad died, to serve the purposes of contemporary society.

Felix Koerner is a Jesuit priest. Interesting how he's now a supposed expert on hadith and how he claims hadith have been made up "hundreds of years after the prophet saw died" AND he's the ADVISER TO THE PROJECT OF REFORMING ISLAM.


puke  Ok I'm done. 
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 28, 2008 09:47 AM »

Nothing about Turkey surprises me anymore.

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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Ya Muqallib Al-Quloob thabbit quloobana ala deenik


« Reply #3 on: Mar 02, 2008 04:35 PM »

As-salaamu alaykum,
Just two points:

1) I'd love to see some new and improved ijtehaad based on authentic sources of Islam. Not a letter or vowel has changed in the Qur'an (and imagine where we'd be if it had -- our prayers would be out of the window or changed into some strange stretched-out-on-the-floor-type thing), alhamdulillah. And although I've studied al-Bukhaari/Al-Muslim (and I'm no scholar), I always wonder how much is still untampered. Of course, those ahadith that are not contradictory to the Qur'an are pretty easy to accept. But I always wonder about those 1-2 hadiths that just come out of no where...Allahu A'lim, I'm all for scholarly study of Islam.

HOWEVER -- We all know these aren't authentic (at best, or not sincere, at worst) scholars. So scratch that until we get some real Muslim scholars to revive the true teachings of Islam THAT ARE ALREADY in front of us (ahem, the Qur'an and authentically authenticated sunnah). So for someone to actually delve into that level of "science of hadith"-ology, I'd say, grrrreat. But I haven't seen that yet in my lifetime. Allahu A'lim.

2) I have a hard time understanding the assumption made by others that Islam is in need of a Reformation. Actually, Islam WAS the mother of all Reformations. It's us, humans, that need a reformation. We lack the critical thinking and analytical skills to come to sound conclusions about who we are, what we're supposes to be doing in this life (how to treat others and ourselves), and what's coming next. We have been dumbed down by our surroundings, by shaytaanic whispers that we are self-sufficient and can live without God. How intellectually low have we gotten? I mean that as a human race, not on an individual basis.

-Ok, gotta go, hope that wasn't too offensive. By the way, some of the best examples of Muslims that I've met over the years have been Turkish. Who left their country. I'm sure many more great examples remain.

"My Lord! Increase me in knowledge." (Qur'aan 20.114)
"Our Lord! We believe, so forgive us, and have mercy on us, for You are the Best of all who show mercy!" (23:109)
"And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves..."(3:10)
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