Turkish Scholars Aim to Modernize Islam's Hadith

March 11, 2008

Author: Yigal Schleifer

Source: The Christian Science Monitor


For centuries, the Hadith – a collection of the words and deeds of the prophet Muhammad – has guided Muslims in their daily lives and served as a basis for Islamic jurisprudence, offering direction on everything from hygiene to war.

The Hadith deals with events that took place some 1,400 years ago, but an ambitious Turkish project is aiming to reinterpret them to create a collection addressing modern-day concerns and stripping out elements that many theologians say contradict the Koran and Muhammad's teachings.

Observers here say the project is part of a continuing effort by a growing segment of Turkish society to reconcile faith and modernity – a struggle being played out among Muslims worldwide, from African immigrants in Paris to young Arabs in Saudi Arabia.