Following up our blogs on the Turkish project to revise the hadith, we have interviewed Professor Mehmet Gormez, vice-president of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, or Diyanet. We also have the transcript of the interview as follows, translated from Turkish:
Q. What is the aim of the project?
A. The religion of Islam is based on two main sources (the Koran and the hadith). As time passes people have difficulty understanding (their religion). This is true of all religions. As the Koran is a major source of knowledge, many commentaries have been written through history. The hadith are very dispersed but also a major source. Each hadith has a reason, each hadith has a relation with culture and geography. When this is lost, it becomes hard to understand what the Prophet meant by the words used. Therefore, many efforts have been made (to explain the meaning). But in the modern world, people misinterpret this knowledge. I liken this source of knowledge (the hadith) to a pharmacy. When a person gets sick, he goes to the pharmacy and thinks that every medicine can be used in the same way. But some pills can end up making you feel worse, not better … A person may not know what kind of chemicals a medicine contains but
happily takes it. At present, we have been using the hadith lacking methodology. And this brings many problems with it… By taking advantage of methods used in the modern world to understand religious texts, we aim to make (them) better understood, better practised and to purify them of mistakes.