Turkish theologians are updating the ahadith and their commentaries

Updated. See below.

Robert Pigott writes in BBC News about the Turkish project to update the Ahadith (the collected and, to some degree or other, vetted deeds and words of Mohammed as distinct from the words of 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.

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. […]

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.

Whether it works out this time or not, it is a necessary piece of progress. Some day it will work out. Say a little prayer for the reformers’ success.

Update: As John C. K. Daly writes for the Jamestown Report, the relationship between Turkey and the US has become dreadfully bad since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The cause appears not to be the overthrow of Saddam, but the continuous refrain from Americans that Turkey’s moderate Islamism was a model for the rest of the Muslim world. However, Turks don’t see it that way. Ataturk forced Islam out of public life in Turkey to the point where he banned the burkah and headscarves and fitted his soldiers with billed caps that prevented them from bowing to Mecca while in uniform. And the Islamists in government certainly don’t see themselves as Moderate. This American refrain is such a gross misunderstanding of the Turkish way that it serves as an equal opportunity mortal insult to both secular and Islamist Turks. And so America has reaped what it sowed, with vile movies like Valley of the Wolves, the refusal to allow American passage through Turkey to northern Iraq, and a Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan in search of PKK terrorists.

However distasteful the result, it is probably good that Turkey not be seen as too friendly with the US while it undertakes the heroic task of updating the ahadith and commentaries.

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