New Look at Islamic Texts

Turkey’s highest Islamic authority, the Diyanet, recently decided to prepare a new collection of hadiths without sexist statements such as “the best of women are those who are like sheep.” Hadiths, which are comprised of sayings and practices of the prophet Muhammad, are second only to the Quran as sources for Islamic law. The decision is noteworthy in light of Turkey’s campaign to join the European Union.

The clerics’ move signals an eagerness to re-examine religious texts. While Muslim feminists have examined the Quran and hadiths, the clerics’ decision is unprecedented. “It is very important that misogynist hadiths or sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad be questioned and that people understand that many hadiths in common circulation are questionable or downright specious,” Margot Badran, a scholar who has published extensively on Islam and feminism, told Sojourners. “The Diyanet’s project to look into this matter and take action is a good sign. [Hopefully] this will have the desired impact among the woman and man on the street.”

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Sojourners Magazine December 2006
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