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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is it Radical? Is it Revisionism? Or is it Scholarship?

As a student of this language and as a minor poet I would have avoided the use of the word "radical" in the BBC headline for the news report emanating from Turkey. But then what do I know?

To me it is pursuit of knowledge. A lot of dust had gathered down the centuries. And we do not debate with the same scholarship, zest and knowledge as earlier Muslims used to. Efforts like this should be taken up seriously all over the Muslim world. After all, do we not subscribe to the Book that intones time and again to 'read, understand and follow?'

By Robert Piggott
Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News

A Lebanese man reads the Koran
The scholars say they are returning to the original values of Islam

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.


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