Sunday, March 02, 2008

Turkey's attempt to revise the Hadith

A BBC news report on 26/2/2008 on radio and on-line reported that the Department of Religious Affairs at Ankara University Turkey was preparing to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, citing that it would be “a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The directorate's deputy director says that the BBC report misportrayed their work, speaking with Zaman on Wednesday, Dr. Mehmet Görmez, the directorate's deputy director, said: "Our project is not aimed at effecting a radical renewal of the religion, as is claimed by the BBC. Our objective is to help our citizens attain a better understanding of the hadith. Though I underlined several times during our interview with a BBC reporter that our project cannot be considered a reformation of Islam, he distorted the facts, saying Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam -- and a controversial and radical modernization of the religion."

On Thursday the Directorate of Religious Affairs issued a press release that expressed frustration with the coverage of the project by the BBC and other Western and domestic media outlets, rejecting the descriptions of "reform," "revision" and "revolution." "We believe that this academic and scientific hadith project, being conducted independent of domestic and foreign politics, will be an important step taken to convey the universal message of the Prophet Mohammed to the 21st century," the statement read. Also on Thursday directorate head Ali Bardakoğlu spoke to the press at İstanbul Atatürk Airport while on his way to Saudi Arabia and commented that some foreign press organs had covered the project without doing sufficient research to back their claims.

Regardless of the accuracy of the report, the highlighting of the issue in the Western media has raised issues that Orientalists have long espoused in their attempt to misrepresent Islam. An adviser to the project, Felix Koerner, says some of "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."

They ignore the fact that the Muslim scholars of hadith were meticulous in classifying the narrations by scrutinising the Isnad (chains) and vehemently combated fabrications. The following is an excellent article that elaborates this issue in detail:

The Role of Isnad in the Preservation of the Islamic Civilisation

The following exposes the oft-repeated lie of female genital mutilation being sanctioned by Islam:

Q&A: Female circumcision?


Anonymous said...


Please can you update the links as they still point to the old site.

JazakAllahu khairan



Islamic Revival said...


We are in process of updating all the links on the site, this will take a few days.