Is Turkey Reshaping Muslim World?

The Turkish Daily News highlighted recent efforts on the part of Muslim scholars in its nation to rethink the nature of the Koran as it pertains to issues of violence. Important Muslim thinkers are rejecting Osama bin Laden’s vision of jihad which has convinced many people in the Muslim world that the Koran grants its followers license to kill innocent people– and themselves. Momemtum is building within the Muslim world to r-examine what seemed an immutable tenet of faith, challenge what had been taken as literal truth and open wide the door of what actually constitutes being engaged in a jihad. It cited a recent Newsweek article about a group of Ankara-based scholars who are expected to publish a new edition of the Hadith before the end of the year as the most ambitious work in this area.

The scholars are collecting all 170,000 known narratons of the Prophet’s sayings in order to make certain readers know the origin of the comments and who said them and why Mhmet Gormez, a theology professor at Ankara University, who is working on the project, notes, “every Hadth narration has a context. we want to give every narration a home again.” He cites an example of a Hadith which forbids women from travbeling alone. In Saudi Arabia this is interpreted to mean women can not travel alone. But, Gormez points out, “this is clearly not a r eligious injunction but related to security at a specific time and place.” In fact, he notes the Prophet bemoans the old days when women could travel alone from Yemen to Mecca.

Step one obviously is gathering the data and making clear the meaning of what has been studied. Step two is finding a way to disseminate the information in t