Date of Submission
Erdil, M. (2016). M. Fethullah Gülen’s understanding of Sunnah (Doctoral thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a9cc4b6b0bb9
The aim and objective of this study is to highlight the importance of and the status of hadith in Islam, as well as its relevance and reference to sunnah, the Prophetic tradition and all that this integral source of reference holds in Islam. Furthermore, hadith, in its nature, origin and historical development with its close relationship with the concept of memorisation and later recollection came about after the time of Prophet Muhammad. This study will thus explore the reasons behind the prohibition, in its initial stage, with the authorisation of recording the hadiths and its writing at another time. The private pages of hadith recordings kept by the companions will be sourced and explored as to how these pages served as prototypes for hadith compilations of later generations. The Qur’an and hadith, as they exist as integrals parts complementing each other, provides the impetus and emphasis of the interpretation of the Qur’an by hadith. In addition, this research will also identify the law-making characteristic of hadith after the Qur’an, and the implications and regulations the hadith project and provide in their role as the second primary source of Islam. The approach of Western scholars to the Qur’an and hadith will also be a focus, considering why their perceptions of hadith are quite different from those of Muslim scholars. Within this specific definition of hadith, its meaning according to Islamic terminology becomes synonymous with the word ‘sunnah’, also translated broadly as tradition, practice discourse, and prophetic observations and approvals. The critical approach to religion with the emergence of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe prompted Western scholars to formulate some overly critical views and perceptions of Christianity and Judaism. Later these scholars chose to subject Islam to the same process of criticism and investigation as their own respective religions. Significantly, Western scholars’ approaches differed fundamentally from the more traditionally accepted perceptions of hadith held by Muslims in this regard. To counter the discourse, the teachings and written works of Fethullah Gülen will be analysed and brought into the spectrum. Muslim scholars, by convention, bring evidence from the Qur’an, as well as the sunnah, to emphasise the importance of sunnah since the early period of Islam. In this regard the teaching of hadith by Islamic scholar and thinker Gülen will be utilised as a source and reference point. Unlike what has hitherto been prescribed in traditional madrasahs, Gülen’s perspectives and contributions to the discipline of hadith, and innovative new methods he introduced, would be another perspective of this study. As for methodology, the method of investigation will rely on a research technique ‘for the objective, systematic, and qualitative description of manifest content of communications’. Therefore, this research will employ content and discourse analysis which is a social science methodology that is based on an understanding of human communication, including writing and context.
School of Theology
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Faculty of Theology and Philosophy