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The Hadith Project in Turkey

Reader comment on item: Is Turkey's Government Starting a Muslim Reformation?

Submitted by Ibrahim Abu Bakar (Malaysia), May 21, 2008 at 21:11

The Hadith Project in Turkey is an academic effort if someone sees it in that perspective. In Muslim history, the Prophetic traditions known as the Hadith or Sunnah of the Prophet have been the second source of Islam after the Koran. Muslim scholars known as Muslim traditionists or ahl al-hadith or al-muhaddithun have developed the rules and methods to distinquish between the false and true Hadith as well as the weak and the strong Hadith.

The rules and methods have been thought and written down by Muslim traditionists since Muslims themselves have been aware of the existence of the false and bogus Hadith in Muslim history since the early history of Muslim community as early as the reign of the four pious caliphs. Muslim traditionists have classified the false and bogus Hadith in the Hadith Mawdu' category and they also have classified the other categories of Hadith as the hasan (good), sahih (authentic), mutawatir (the Hadith reported by many reporters or narrators of Hadith) and ahad (the opposite of the mutawatir). As regard the categories of Hadith, there has been a disagreement among Muslim traditionists on certain numbers of Hadith.

The stated aims of the Hadith Project in Turkey are obvious. However, can this project come up with the new categories or classifications of Hadith other than those already established by the previous and earlier Muslim traditionists? If this project cannot come up with the new categories of Hadith, it either strengthens the existing categories of Hadith or disputes some of the Hadith classified in the existing categories of Hadith. For example, the Hadith demanding Muslims to stone to death a Muslim man and a woman who have committed the adultery is seen as contrary to the punishment for the adultery mentioned in the Koran.

The Koran punishes each of them with one hundred lashes or strokes only. According to the Koran, the punishment for the adulterer and adulteress is not the capital punishment but according to the Hadith, it is the capital punishment. The Hadith imposes the capital punishment for the adulterious man and woman has been accepted by the Muslim traditionists. They do not reject that Hadith on the ground that it contradicts the punishment imposed by the Koran. They have interpreted that that Hadith is to be imposed on the different adultery case, not mentioned in the Koran.

They categorize the adultery cases into two categories namely the virgin and non-virgin cases. The punishment for the virgin adultery case is punished by one hundred lashes as mentioned in the Koran while the punishment for the non-virgin adultery case is punished by stoning to death as mentioned in the Hadith. Can the Hadith Project in Turkey reject the interpretations of the earlier and previous Muslim traditionists on the applicability of the punishment for the adultery cases mentioned in the Hadith?

As regard the status and rights of Muslim women, many Hadith texts do not allow them to become the leaders of Muslim societies and the imams in the Muslim prayers, and to travel alone without their husbands or male relatives for example. Can the Hadith Project in Turkey reclassify such Hadith texts into the false or bogus or mawdu` category of Hadith? So far Muslim traditionists and Muslim modernists and reformists have classified those Hadiths into the mawdu` category of Hadith. The Muslim modernists and reformists understand the Hadith preventing a Muslim woman to travel alone is applicable only when the situation is not safe for a Muslim woman to travel alone. If it is safe for a Muslim woman to travel alone, it is not prohibited by that Hadith. As a Muslim student of Hadith, I am waiting to see the outcomes of the Hadith Project in Turkey.

Submitting....

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