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KAding
02-26-2008, 10:06 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7264903.stm

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."

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."
I thought this was interesting. Am I right to expect that on this forum such initiatives will generally not be met with approval? As an outsider I sometimes have the feeling that in Islam at it is currently practiced by some is excessively focused on rules (look at the 'alcohol in crisps' thread as an example) in such a way that it sometimes clouds the principles that underlie the religion.

So what do you think? A good initiative? Or a dangerous attempt by secular forces to undermine Islam?
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Trumble
02-27-2008, 09:14 AM
Very surprised none of the muslim members have responded to this yet.. I would have thought this would be a very hot topic! I'm very curious to see what you all think.
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Malaikah
02-27-2008, 09:46 AM
This sounds shifty.

Muslim scholars have been criticizing and scrutinising hadiths for thousands of years - this article makes it sound like it all hadith have been accepted by Muslims, as if we haven't already been grading hadith for about 1,400 years as authentic, good, weak or fabricated.

If you read between the lines and over look the claims of reformation, what they are doing seems okay... and past the exaggerated things like being able to justify female genital mutilation and honour killings, this had nothing to do with hadith and everything to do with peoples amazing ability to twist things until they suit their fancy...

So, it might be just that the author has sensationalised something innocent, or these guys really are trying to change the religion/doing something new (which, needless to say, is wrong).

I just hope the people working on this projects are actually scholars of hadith and know what they are doing.

But I got to say, this part doesn't sound too good:

Significantly, the "Ankara School" of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.
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Trumble
02-27-2008, 10:16 AM
Not necessarily... many and much of those "Western critical techniques and philosophy" originated in Islamic cultures anyway.
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Malaikah
02-27-2008, 10:18 AM
But what's wrong with the way the greatest Islamic scholars have been doing it for centuries?
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Keltoi
02-27-2008, 01:20 PM
It seems fitting this would come out of Turkey. I've always thought Islam was in dire need of reform. Not because what is contained within the Qu'ran is the problem, no more than the Protestant Reformation was about a problem in the Bible. It is simply a matter of perspective, priorities, and sort of a purification back to what should be important, which is faith in God. Of course no change in fundamental doctrine should be applied, but sometimes a religious institution can become so caught up in ritual and rules that worship of God almost becomes a secondary issue.
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------
02-27-2008, 01:37 PM
:salamext:

I've always thought Islam was in dire need of reform.
You thought wrong.
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Malaikah
02-27-2008, 01:47 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Of course no change in fundamental doctrine should be applied, but sometimes a religious institution can become so caught up in ritual and rules that worship of God almost becomes a secondary issue.
That would be a reform of the current Muslim condition, not Islam.

Anyway, there is plenty of focus on the faith side of things - just because we focus on the legalities and all that too, doesn't mean we are neglecting the faith/spiritual parts.
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Keltoi
02-27-2008, 01:56 PM
Originally Posted by Malaikah
That would be a reform of the current Muslim condition, not Islam.

Anyway, there is plenty of focus on the faith side of things - just because we focus on the legalities and all that too, doesn't mean we are neglecting the faith/spiritual parts.
That is what I meant by there not being a problem with the Qu'ran itself. No more than there was with the Bible during the Protestant Reformation. When I think of reforms I'm referring to more practical problems, in the case of Islam. I had a Muslim friend in college and he would talk about how impossible it sometimes was to follow all the legalities while living in the West. It made him feel as if he were a bad Muslim, because he couldn't take off work when it was religiously necessary(as an example.) Of course its different in a Muslim country where taking off work for religious obligations is expected and supported. That is just one of the issues I think should be addressed.
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Malaikah
02-27-2008, 02:02 PM
It's pretty likely that those issues have been addressed, but people just haven't gone out looking for them, or if they have, they haven't found them.
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Muezzin
02-27-2008, 02:42 PM
Erm... this process of sorting the authentic from the inauthentic hadiths has actually been going on since Islam's origin. The only thing that looks genuinely 'new' to me is the re-interptretation of certain authentic hadiths.

The stuff about excessive focus on rules is indeed a problem with much Islamic teaching. That's hardly due to the religion itself, which also emphasises, for lack of a better term, 'common sense'*. It is a teaching problem which needs to, and is, being addressed.

Oh well, Turkey. Thanks for lifting the headscarf ban, I guess.

*this does not mean taking a pick-and-choose attitude to Islam, because that obviously leads to people going off the rails. It simply means not acting like a hedonistic/intolerant/violent idiot and using Islam to justify it.
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Heera Singh
02-27-2008, 05:59 PM
I think this shows 'some' good initiatve; as long as they're not trying to change the beliefs to fit their own lifestyles kinda thing...

But, I think especially in the Middle East and also Asia, its more of a problem of those preaching/teaching the religion... I remember a few years ago when I was in College, there was Muslim guy in my World Issues Class... we watched a video on the situation in the Middle East and after he commented about it... He was a little upset at the situation and he was like, the problem is not the Faith (Islam) itself... its the people who are 'preaching/teaching' it... he's like, they get these radical Imams (i'm not sure if thats the correct term, please correct me if i'm wrong) from different places, and they send them to go and 'preach' Islam to the masses... the masses are mostly uneducated and illiterate, so they can't read the Qura'an... these "Imams" preach 'their' interpretation of the Faith, which are mostly radical and anti anything Muslim.. this is why you have kids who want to become suicide bombers and people showing so much hate to the outside world..

He was really passionate when he spoke, and he looked like he was really Hurt of what had become of Muslims and how his Faith was being preached/teached and also how it was being viewed as by the rest of the world...

I think he has a point..
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seeker_of_ilm
02-28-2008, 01:39 PM
:sl:

27 February 2008

Mehmet Gormez, a hadith scholar at Turkey's Department of Religious Affairs, is supervising a government-sponsored project to make a comprehensive review of the hadith literature. He is heading a team of 80 specialists in Islamic studies at Ankara University.

The project is being conducted by the team for three-years and is expected to be completed this year.

Professor Gormez said the hadith project now under way is the second to have been carried out by Turkey. The new republic's first parliament commissioned an earlier review of the hadith after the country was founded in 1923.

The international media is describing the project as one whose "aim is to edit out those hadiths that are used as justification, among other things, for the oppression of women in Sharia law."

Professor Gormez says the exercise is "purely academic", and he refutes the idea that the project has such a narrow or revisionist focus, saying: "Violence and women's rights, the two themes that excite western public opinion the most, are not what's driving this process."

Yet he acknowledged that showing the falsehood of some of the texts that "present women as inferior beings," is part of the work that is being carried out by 80 Islamic scholars, all of them Turks.

Some of the false statements being identified by the study are as follows:

"If a woman doesn't satisfy her husband's desires, she should choose herself a place in hell."

"If a husband's body is covered with pus and his wife licks it clean, she still wouldn't have paid her dues."

Though hadith scholars agree that these statements are falsely attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the international news media is representing the Turkish project as being "revolutionary" - and in doing so, the media gives the non-Muslim public the impression that Muslims around the world believe in and endorse those false teachings.

In other cases, the project is surveying, reviewing, and clarifying the legal interpretations of authentic hadith. For instance, Professor Mehmet Gormez said: "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."

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

This opinion is far from revolutionary to people familiar with Islamic Law. It reflects the view of many traditional scholars.

Sheikh Sami al-Majid, professor al-Imam Islamic University in Riyadh, explains in an article on the IslamToday website: "We can appreciate the reason for the prohibition. When we understand that the reason for this prohibition is the fear for her sanctity and honor and the fear that she might be taken advantage of or raped, then we know that the issue is one that needs to be weighed in light of the benefits and harm present in a given situation. Therefore, we have the opinion in Islamic Law that it is permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram when she is reasonably assured of her safety or when traveling poses no more danger for her than staying at home."

Unfortunately, most of the people who read the news are not familiar with Islamic teachings, and their preconceived notions about Islam are only enforced by the exaggerated claims the media is making about the Turkish hadith project.

The project is not endearing itself the interests of Turkey's nationalist right. For instance, one issue that that the project clearly supports is the need for Muslim women to cover their heads. However, this issue is a deeply divisive one in Turkey, and the nationalist elite, with its strict interpretation of secularism, is firmly opposed to Turkish women wearing the headscarf in schools and government offices.

Sources:

Amberin Zaman, "Turkey in radical revision of Islamist texts" The Daily Telegraph February 27, 2008

"Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts" BBC News February 27, 2008

Vincent Boland, "Turkey's fresh look at Prophet nears end" Financial Times February 27, 2008

Joanna Sugden, "Q&A: Hadith" The Times UK February 27, 2008

Sami al-Majid "A Woman Traveling without a Chaperone" IslamToday

http://islamtoday.com/showmenews.cfm...ub_cat_id=1790
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Roasted Cashew
02-28-2008, 01:42 PM
I am backing Turkey on this one. Good job mates.
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aamirsaab
02-28-2008, 01:55 PM
:sl:
They have to be very careful in doing so. For instance, certain hadith (and Sunnah for that matter) relate to certain situations - to then nullify that hadith (by regarding it as not part of Islam) would be in direct conflict with Islam. Though, I do agree that not all of what is written about Islam in regards to the hadith is the actual message - so having these ones be globally eliminated from the Islamic theology would be a good idea.

As I said though, Turkey needs to be very careful in what they consider a radical hadith. Though to reiterrate what muezzin already said, this procedure of eliminating radical hadiths has occurred throughout the history of Islam (they are often deemed as week daleel or week hadith and so rejected since they are not the truth)
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Umar001
02-28-2008, 09:01 PM
Originally Posted by seeker_of_ilm
The international media is describing the project as one whose "aim is to edit out those hadiths that are used as justification, among other things, for the oppression of women in Sharia law."
This quote is exactly why I do not like the sounds of the project.

Wanna be a Muhaddith, fine by me!

Wanna follow the sunnah, fine by me!

Wanna be a Muslim femminist, fight for the rights of Muslim women, fine by me! Fight for my right too. :)

But, here it seems not a matter of finding the weak hadith from the strong/good! It's a matter of editing hadith, doesnt mention whether good or bad, the condition for which hadith it mentions, is "those hadiths that are used as justification, among other things, for the oppression of women in Sharia law." Now, I do not think any strong hadith are opressive, but then again their view of opression may differ, so this criterion they are using, 'opressive' is loose.

Why not just say, deleting the weak hadith.

This is what makes this fishy.

Next thing, let's delete the verses of the Qur'an which are 'opressive to....' under some justification of abrogation.

:muddlehea
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seeker_of_ilm
02-28-2008, 09:12 PM
Originally Posted by Al Habeshi
This quote is exactly why I do not like the sounds of the project.

Wanna be a Muhaddith, fine by me!

Wanna follow the sunnah, fine by me!

Wanna be a Muslim femminist, fight for the rights of Muslim women, fine by me! Fight for my right too. :)

But, here it seems not a matter of finding the weak hadith from the strong/good! It's a matter of editing hadith, doesnt mention whether good or bad, the condition for which hadith it mentions, is "those hadiths that are used as justification, among other things, for the oppression of women in Sharia law." Now, I do not think any strong hadith are opressive, but then again their view of opression may differ, so this criterion they are using, 'opressive' is loose.

Why not just say, deleting the weak hadith.

This is what makes this fishy.

Next thing, let's delete the verses of the Qur'an which are 'opressive to....' under some justification of abrogation.

:muddlehea
:sl:

Did you read the bit under that?

Professor Gormez says the exercise is "purely academic", and he refutes the idea that the project has such a narrow or revisionist focus, saying: "Violence and women's rights, the two themes that excite western public opinion the most, are not what's driving this process."

Yet he acknowledged that showing the falsehood of some of the texts that "present women as inferior beings," is part of the work that is being carried out by 80 Islamic scholars, all of them Turks.

Some of the false statements being identified by the study are as follows:

"If a woman doesn't satisfy her husband's desires, she should choose herself a place in hell."

"If a husband's body is covered with pus and his wife licks it clean, she still wouldn't have paid her dues."

Though hadith scholars agree that these statements are falsely attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the international news media is representing the Turkish project as being "revolutionary" - and in doing so, the media gives the non-Muslim public the impression that Muslims around the world believe in and endorse those false teachings.
:w:
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Umar001
02-28-2008, 09:19 PM
Wa Alaykum Salam Wa Rhametullah,

Yes I did akhi, I dont see how it changes the meaning of what I quoted?

Does it mean that only weak hadith will be taken out and the media is blowing this up?
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seeker_of_ilm
02-28-2008, 09:43 PM
Originally Posted by Al Habeshi
Wa Alaykum Salam Wa Rhametullah,

Yes I did akhi, I dont see how it changes the meaning of what I quoted?

Does it mean that only weak hadith will be taken out and the media is blowing this up?
:sl:

Yeah, that's what I understood from it. Allaahu A'lam cos the article title is "Turkish Hadith Review Project Distorted by Media"

:w:
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Omar_Mukhtar
02-29-2008, 02:00 AM
quote
:At first glance, Felix Koerner might appear to be an odd ambassador for Islam. Tall, blond, and German, Koerner is a Roman Catholic priest. But he also happens to be a leading authority on a burgeoning theological movement in the Turkish capital that aims to reconcile Islam with modernity.

"When Arabs ask, 'But can a Turk really be a good Muslim theologian, because he doesn't know Arabic?' Well, they all know Arabic very well," Koerner says. "But they shed another light on Islam -- by bringing in [reflections from] Western philosophy, sometimes Christian theology, even."

The result, according to Koerner and Turkish theologians and historians interviewed here, is not a distortion of Islam. Rather, it is a deeper view, based on a fuller appreciation of the religion's traditions and literature.

The 'Ankara School'

Koerner, who has lived here for several years, is a frequent guest of the Theological Faculty of Ankara University. Some of the theologians and historians there make up the so-called Ankara School, an informal group whose mission is to help forge a "modern Islam" that is also faithful Islamic tradition.

Felix Koerner (RFE/RL)At the heart of their work, which has the approval of Turkey's state religious authorities, is a rejection of the literalist reading of the Koran



Omar Mukhtar:I wonder if Mr Koerner is consulting the pope on his project? You never know the Pope might even start start reforiming Islam and interpreting in a new light! Any supporters for that!
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Malaikah
02-29-2008, 02:08 AM
May Allah make them fail if they are indeed changing His religion wrongfully!
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YusufNoor
02-29-2008, 04:30 AM
:sl:

in a related story:

it appears some sisters are beating them to the punch, erm or should i say going away with the punch:



US Muslim women seek active faith role
By Robert Pigott Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News


The Aktar daughters are following their mother into careers
See the Akhtar family at a weekend lunch, and the renewal of Islam in America seems inevitable and irresistible. Shahid and Mino Akhtar were born in Pakistan and, like their son and three daughters, they are devout Muslims who attend the mosque regularly. Meeting them at their house in a quiet tree-lined street in Emerson, New Jersey, it soon seems clear that they, and their progressive Islam, are as perfectly adapted to life in modern America as their Christian neighbours. Shahid is a hands-on dad. While his wife pursued a career as a lawyer he took charge of raising the children. His son Reza, a hospital doctor, is following his example by being the one who cooks dinner and does the dishes as his wife, Amna, also works. The Aktar daughters are pursuing careers as a lawyer, businesswoman and dentist. Their emancipation has not diluted their sense of being Muslim, but it has changed it. Sheema wears shorts to play soccer, but sees no conflict with the duty to behave modestly. They feel bound by the duty to pray, for example, but not at five set times each day. Mino Akhtar says connection with God is what counts. "In terms of the daily practices, when I travel on business I don't get to get to pray five times a day," she says. "It's my connection with the creator that's more important than how I do it." "Absolutely," says her daughter Sheema. "We're just adapting to the surroundings. As long as you have the basic principles, and you abide by them and remember Allah every day." Women 'reclaiming Islam' American Muslims' determination to grasp the basic principles of their religion - rather than the sometimes harsh rules contributed by other cultures during its long history - grew out of the wreckage of the World Trade Center towers. We've been working with a variety of organisations on really taking the teachings of Islam and delivering them without the baggage of tradition Lena Alhusseini Islam series: Radical revision


Shahnaz Taplin Chinoy stands on Brooklyn Heights and surveys the southern tip of Manhattan. She recalls the events of 11 September 2001, and the moment she made it her mission to reclaim the Islam of her childhood. "I was bombarded by questions from friends," she says. "They kept saying, 'why does Islam suppress women? Why does Islam condone violence?' I was flabbergasted at the Islam of the hijackers which was so disconnected with the Islam of my youth - which was not extremist at all." 'Baggage of tradition' Lena Alhusseini, whose origin is Palestinian, runs a family support centre for Arab-Americans in Brooklyn. She says women are leading the renewal of Islam because they have the most to gain. "Oftentimes we get women who are illiterate. They come from tribal societies and in their understanding of Islam it's okay to be beaten by a man. Their role is to be subservient and that's the mark of a good Muslim woman - which is very different from what Islam teaches. "So we've been working with a variety of organisations on really taking the teachings of Islam and delivering them without the baggage of tradition. And telling them this is what Islam is all about - Islam gives you rights, Islam doesn't allow you to be treated this way." Laleh Bakhtiar is a Muslim scholar who has translated the Koran, making controversial changes in standard translations which she says more accurately reflect the original spirit of the religion. Laleh Bakhtiar's translation of the Koran may upset traditionalists

Dr Bhaktiar's English text has removed derogatory references to Christians and Jews. It changes many of the most important words, even substituting the word "God" for "Allah", which she says is more inclusive. Most controversially, her Koran rejects the idea, in Chapter Four, verse 34, that men may beat their wives. "The word for "beat" has 25 meanings", she says. "We need to look therefore at what Muhammad did. He didn't beat but walked away. So why are we saying 'beat' when we can say 'go away' - which is what he did." Modern mosques Muslim women have also been demanding changes in the way mosques are run. Daisy Khan was among the designers contributing to the plans for Long Island Mosque in Westbury, a suburb of wide roads, trees and clap-boarded houses. She quickly discovered that the draft design confined women to a basement. "Women were out of sight... the design was done in such a way that women were supposed to be downstairs with no access to the main prayer space," she says. You're talking about a country [the US] which is based on the principles of freedom and democracy, equality, justice - all these are Islamic Imam Shamsi Ali

Now women worship in the prayer hall behind the men, a step that seems radically modern to some new immigrants. "There's no provision in Islam which says women can't pray in the same space," insists Ms Khan. "These are just traditions we've adopted over the years because of the practice in certain countries." Among the Sufi Muslims of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi order at their meeting in Yonkers, men and women mix freely. The spiritual director is a woman. Shaykha Fariha occasionally leads both men and women in prayers, an act which has scandalised traditionalists but which she says is appropriate in America. "In the West I'm more free about leading prayers" she says. "I think the tendency against it is mainly a cultural one." At the New York Islamic Cultural Centre, a group of high-spirited girls is studying alongside boys on a Saturday morning. The mosque's imam, Muhammad Shamsi Ali, says educating girls is vital to developing Islam in the West, and is true to Islam's original purpose. Girls at New York's Islamic Cultural Center are given opportunities to study

"Prophet Mohammed stated clearly that women must learn - they must be equal to the male intellectually, they have to improve themselves intellectually," he says. Imam Shamsi Ali says he sees no incompatibility between the US and Islam. "You're talking about a country which is based on the principles of freedom and democracy, equality, justice - and all these are Islamic." Shaykha Fariha says that apart from these shared principles, Islam has what the founder of her order described as the ability to behave like water - taking on the shape of the vessel into which it is poured. She says Muslims in many parts of the world are shedding the cultural restrictions inherited from male-dominated and conservative societies. "Islam is undergoing a huge reformation and self questioning, and certainly 9/11 has [led to] people looking at their religion and asking what has led to this," she says. "So I think what we're seeing today within the Islamic tradition is comparable to the Christian reformation in the sense of the dimension of its impact on the religion, its impact on individuals and its impact on the world as a whole." Traditionalist critics say those who seek revolutionary change in Islam are diluting its teaching. They say that adapting the religion to contemporary mores progressively undermines its ability to give moral guidance to society. But the Akhtar family insist that their modern lifestyle in secular America does not stop them practising what they call "the beautiful values of Islam". Mona Akhtar, a lawyer, bubbles rose-flavoured smoke through an after-lunch shisha, and contemplates her emancipated sisters. "We're living examples of the importance of women taking a more active role in Islam," she says. "We're following the spirit of the Koran." :muddlehea
source:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7265021.stm

:w:
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snakelegs
02-29-2008, 05:01 AM
In other cases, the project is surveying, reviewing, and clarifying the legal interpretations of authentic hadith
just wondering, do most islamic scholars consider it taboo to review or question the hadiths that have been classified as sahih?
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Malaikah
02-29-2008, 05:58 AM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
just wondering, do most islamic scholars consider it taboo to review or question the hadiths that have been classified as sahih?
Nope. The problem here is the way they make it sound like even if a hadith is authentic they wil reject it because it doesn't suit their desires.
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sevgi
02-29-2008, 06:35 AM
salams...

i havent even bothered reading the first few posts in this thread...i know what its full of...

ok ppl...lets get ur brains working eh?

the turkish govt and the islamic principality of turkey have joined and thought..hey...i think its time for a clean up...we are upto rims with what culture is saying and what stupid scholars are saying and what bad interpretations are resulting in...we need to live islam...not a mixture of bull crap...

turkey does this all the time...i dno why it has hit the public scene this time..i couldnt find not one turkish artivle to match this news,...clarly the bbc thought they could talk top this 'expert on turkey from london' and make some good ratings...wat an idiot...'recreating islam'...

its what all islamic countries shud be doing...how much culture has mixed into our religion...its almost unlivable...espcially if u are a woman...at leats turkey is trying to do something about it...

keep in mind my dearest frends that they are merely creating a document...that doesnt mean anything...some ppl around here need to learn how to read...

they will be revising the hadith to ake sure turkish ppl have access to the truth and the best...

i cant tell u how many religious turks feel the need to tie a peice of cloth to a tree and then make a prayer coz they feel that is what is meant to be...

the article is actually very clear...just try and ignore that loser from london who is an 'expert on turkey'(seriously...someone give this guy a real job)...all the rest is beautiful...

they arent changing islam...they are making it understandable and livable...the way it was in our prophets time...

noone lives islam anymore...we think we are...bt we are not...

and btw..that depends on whether or nt they choose to utilise this document...

plz ppl...read...iqrah...
Reply

snakelegs
02-29-2008, 08:27 AM
Originally Posted by Malaikah
Nope. The problem here is the way they make it sound like even if a hadith is authentic they wil reject it because it doesn't suit their desires.
ok - but it's not taboo per se - it is possible that an "authentic" hadith could be challenged or discarded?
unfortunately, in today's climate any such undertaking is regarded with great suspicion.
i found this particularly interesting:

In other cases, the project is surveying, reviewing, and clarifying the legal interpretations of authentic hadith. For instance, Professor Mehmet Gormez said: "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."

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

This opinion is far from revolutionary to people familiar with Islamic Law. It reflects the view of many traditional scholars.

Sheikh Sami al-Majid, professor al-Imam Islamic University in Riyadh, explains in an article on the IslamToday website: "We can appreciate the reason for the prohibition. When we understand that the reason for this prohibition is the fear for her sanctity and honor and the fear that she might be taken advantage of or raped, then we know that the issue is one that needs to be weighed in light of the benefits and harm present in a given situation. Therefore, we have the opinion in Islamic Law that it is permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram when she is reasonably assured of her safety or when traveling poses no more danger for her than staying at home."
this had come up on the forum before (and i found it interesting at the time - although the thread given on this post disappeared when the islam section was re-organized, there is apparently, at least in relation to some things - a concept of considering time in rulings.

http://www.islamicboard.com/fiqh/419...tml#post729504
Reply

Malaikah
02-29-2008, 11:38 AM
ok - but it's not taboo per se - it is possible that an "authentic" hadith could be challenged or discarded?
Well, actually, it depends on which scholar is classifying it. Some scholars might see it as authentic while other, for example, might see it only as acceptable.

The problem is when a person knows the hadith is authentic but rejects it anyway with out valid reason.
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IbnAbdulHakim
02-29-2008, 12:12 PM
the past scholars were masters of interpretation closest to the times of the prophet sallallahi alaihi wasallaam with the deepest knowledge.

These scholars are adapting to the callers of the west.

We muslims are moderate, we take islaam for what it is and reject whats not from it, these scholars are trying to take whats apparent and re-interpret it into ways it wasnt meant for.

how can this be right?!
Reply

abdil han
02-29-2008, 08:20 PM
assalamu aleykum bros n sisters,,
i m a turk n live in istanbul,it seems that there is a big misunderstanding,
we are nt trying to make a ''reform '' or ''radical changes'',,no one can dare to do this,
islam is perfect n it doesnt need to be changed..

the thng that BBC declared it like this,actually its just an academic work,nothng more...

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.

The directorate's Görmez said the project is a scientific one aimed at better understanding the content of the hadith. "It would neither be scientific nor correct to expurgate certain hadith. Sometimes insufficient information could be used to reach to precise information. Thus, we will not expunge certain hadith; we will make a new compilation of the hadith and re-interpret them if necessary," he noted.

The directorate vehemently denies that it is attempting to create a new form of Islam for secular Turkey or for political motives, as the BBC report suggests. Instead, it contends that it is taking a long-overdue look at the classical sources of Islam, contextually re-evaluating them for the 21st century to ensure that the texts can continue to be a guiding, relevant spiritual source for Turkey's millions of Muslims. In essence, a return to an original form of Islam that has been diluted over the centuries by various developments.

this statements clarify this issue i guess...

wassalamu aleykum...
Reply

Uthman
03-02-2008, 12:09 PM
Turkey “not reforming Islam, but itself” with hadith review

February 29th, 2008, filed by Tom Heneghan

Ali Bardakoglu, Turkey’s top religious official, says his country’s effort to purge the hadith of sexism and superstition is not an attempt to reform Islam but to change the Turkish way of practising it. This reform project hit the headlines this week when the BBC ran a story on what it called “a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion“. It said the revision of the hadith, the collection of the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad that are second only to the Koran as an authority for Muslims, was something akin to a Protestant Reformation in Islam.

Reacting to those reports, Bardakoglu, who is chairman of the Department of Religious Affairs, told the daily Sabah: “A team of 80 are scanning all existent hadith. For example, words humiliating women are attributed to the prophets. We are combing through such interpretations. We will publish six volumes. However, what we are doing is not reform on Islam… we are not reforming Islam; we are reforming ourselves, our own way of religiosity.” ‘

His deputy Mehmet Görmez told another daily, Zaman, that the BBC’s interpretation of the reform as a “radical modernisation” was wrong, saying: “We are going to take the appropriate legal measures for redress.”

What’s up? Are we talking about a revolution in Islam here? Well, not quite.

The aim is to publish a revised collection of hadith to be used in Turkey as a reference work for fatwas and other work of religious interpretation. The scholars are using modern methods of interpretation of the hadith to assess their validity, an approach that conservative scholars reject. But this is not a reinterpretation of the Koran, the absolute centre of authority. Islamic exegesis gets revolutionary when it is turned towards deconstructing the Koran, which Muslims believe is the literal word of Allah.

This project is not going there. It follows in a tradition of assessing and classifying hadith that dates back to the early days of the faith. So Bardakoglu and Görmez had no problem saying the project was not reforming Islam. The rejected hadith will not disappear; they’ll still be on the books in many other Muslim countries. But Turkey’s state-approved religious establishment won’t use them.

This is an updating of some aspects of Islam, though, and Bardakoglu and Görmez probably played that down so they don’t ruffle too many conservative feathers. The project is weeding out some hadith that Turkish Islam scholars say were written down long after the Prophet’s death and are little more than handed-down hearsay. These doubtful passages often contradict other sayings of Mohammad or express views that don’t jibe with his. The goal is “to convey the universal message of the Prophet Mohammed to the 21st century“, the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) said in a statement on Thursday.

The project was well described two years ago in this Washington Post articleMustafa Akyol, who gave a few examples of passages due to be cut: by
  • “Women are imperfect in intellect and religion.”
  • “The best of women are those who are like sheep.”
  • “If a woman doesn’t satisfy her husband’s desires, she should choose herself a place in hell.”
  • “If a husband’s body is covered with pus and his wife licks it clean, she still wouldn’t have paid her dues.”
  • “Your prayer will be invalid if a donkey, black dog or a woman passes in front of you.”
Felix Körner, a German Jesuit priest at Ankara University, is quoted in many of the reports. He has been studying the “Ankara School” of modern Islamic theology for several years and published a book about it in 2005 called Revisionist Koran Hermeneutics in Contemporary Turkish University Theology. Note the adjective “revisionist” — not revolutionary or radical.

Ali Eteraz, who has written a lot on reform in Islam, has trashed this effortfool’s gold” because he sees it mostly as the state meddling in religious affairs: “In my mind, this initiative has more to do with Turkey’s AKP party trying to get into the European Union. “Look, we threw out all the bad hadith,” it seems to be saying. “Now let us in!Ultimately, this entire hadith affair represents an attempt on the part of Turkey to “nationalise” its Islam. Nothing more.”
Politics plays a part (Diyanet is a government body, after all) but this is not primarily a ploy to fool Brussels. Ali’s right that the Turkish state is meddling in Islam and that the idea of invalidating some hadith is nothing new. His opposition to having a state lead the reform effort is understandable. And yes, some coverage of the reform got pretty excited. Still, this reform reflects a broader trend of reinterpreting texts in Islam and the wider effect of it being endorsed by the religious authorities shouldn’t be underestimated.

Many Muslim thinkers want a more modern interpretation of Islam — a lot of them are here in France — but this is regularly blocked by conservative religious establishments. Change on this front will only come step by step, and even a state authority like Diyanet can make some of it happen.

Source
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Uthman
03-02-2008, 12:15 PM
Listening to Turks explain Turkey’s Islamic reform plan

March 1st, 2008, filed by Tom Heneghan

Still confused about Turkey’s plan to review the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad and reclassify the sexist and superstitious ones as unauthentic?

Unsure whether this is a revolution, a reform or a revision of Islam? I gave my take on it here yesterday, but I’ve since found two explanations that shed a lot more light on what’s going on. The better of the two is a column in today’s Turkish Daily News by Mustafa Akyol, a young Istanbul journalist with a knack for explaining Turkish Islam clearly. I won’t summarise it — just go read it, it’s not long.

IslamOnline did a good job on this, too, in an interview that gave Mehmet Görmez, deputy head of Diyanet (the government’s religious affairs department shown in the logo above) more space than he got in other reports to explain what’s being done.

Akyol and Görmez both make an important point. Many Western journalists approach Islam from a starting point vaguely based on Christianity (hence the misguided quest for an “Islamic Reformation”). They don’t have to be Christians or believers or even know much about Christianity to do this; it’s as much a part of our cultural baggage as our native languages. Conversely, Muslims approach Christianity from a square one closely linked to Islam, their primary religious reference. Nobody starts out tabula rasa in this exercise.

The gap can be bridged, but to do this we have to report what is actually happening, rather than just what we think is going on. Listening to these two Turks is a good place to start.

Akyol says of the Koran: “Westerners who haven’t read this book generally assume that it must be something like the New Testament – i.e., a book which reports the life and works of the religion’s founder. Yet that is not the case at all. The Koran actually hardly speaks about Prophet Mohammed. It rather speaks to him.”

Görmez says: “The Western media have read what we are doing from a Christian perspective and understood it in line with their Christian and Western cultures.”

Diyanet made the same point in more official jargon in a communique it put out on Friday.

The headscarf issue and this hadith story have put a spotlight on Turkey and that’s a good thing, even if there are misunderstandings. Islam has many faces — just look at these recent Reuters stories and blog posts from Malaysia, Lebanon, India, United States and France — and the Saudi version is not the only one around. Turkey is at the cutting edge of some important trends in contemporary Islam. Bookmarking Akyol’s blog The White Path is a good way to keep up with what’s happening there.

Source
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