At the International Sahih al-Bukhari Symposium, Islamic Scholars Gathered from Around the World


In order to verify the attribution of hadith, one of the basic sources of Islam, to the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), Sahih al-Bukhari, which is the most respected of many hadith sources, was brought to the agenda again with a symposium organized by Ibn Haldun University (IHU). The International Sahih al-Bukhari Symposium, organized by the School of Islamic Studies, was held on November 1-3, 2019 at the Başakşehir Campus of Ibn Haldun University. The symposium witnessed an intense audience and presentation of important papers by prominent scholars in hadith science from Turkey and abroad.

On Friday, November 1, the opening program started with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Hafiz Mustafa Altın, afterward each of the faculty member of the School of Islamic Studies Prof. Serdar Demirel, Dean of the School of Islamic Studies Prof. Bilal Aybakan, IHU President Prof. Recep Şentürk and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees Prof. İrfan Gündüz made speeches.

“Following the Announcement of the Symposium, 800 Paper Abstracts Submitted”

Professor Serdar Demirel stated that they organized the symposium to bring together experts from all over the world to reconsider Sahih al-Bukhari, one of the most important works of the hadith literature. He said that from the very beginning of its announcement, the symposium witnessed considerable attention since more than 800 paper abstracts reached their hands. He added that the Symposium Organizing Committee elected 80 of them and sent them to meticulous arbitration approach carried out by the referees. He underlined that they invited only the authors of the papers accepted by the academic committee to the symposium and the accepted abstracts will be published in digital form to the benefit of the Ummah and the public after being approved by the academic committee. Demirel ended his speech by thanking the organizers of the symposium.

“We have created the infrastructure for raising qualified, highly self-confident students”

“We have gathered here to reconsider Sahih al-Bukhari, the embodiment of a lifetime dedicated to the life of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S.A.W) in the light of traditional and contemporary approaches,” starting his speech by these words, Prof. Bilal Aybakan presented brief information about the undergraduate, master’s and doctorate levels of the School of Islamic Studies of Ibn Haldun University. “The School of Islamic Studies, which currently has a total of 204 students, tries to provide qualified education to selected students,” said Aybakan.

“Hadith is the memory of the Muslim society; without it a thought cannot be developed!”

At the opening of the symposium, Prof. Recep Şentürk reminded that this is the second symposium organized by the School of Islamic Studies in marking a narrator’s works. He added that the papers presented at the first symposium, the International Muhammad Mustafa al-Azami, the papers presented at al-Azami’s symposium were published by Ibn Haldun University’s Publications, in addition, Tafsir of Molla Gürani was published by the publications in the past months. “Our publishing house will publish these precious works of the Ottoman and Scholars of the Islamic geography in a manner worthy of their glory.”

“From a sociological perspective, the hadith is the memory of Islamic society. Without it a thought cannot be developed,” said Prof. Şentürk. He added, “Our society suffers from social amnesia through systematically implemented policies in the last centuries and that the deficiencies in the production of original science and philosophy in our country stems from this social amnesia.” In this context, Şentürk emphasized the importance of the symposium which addresses the founder of Islamic civilization, the Hadith and Sunnah, and affirms the prominence of hadiths and authentic hadith sources in our lives. “As Ibn Haldun University, we welcomed important scientists and scholars from Turkey and the world to different symposiums. We will continue to welcome them in the Professor Fuat Sezgin symposium to be held in December, 2019, on the History of Civilization Sciences in Islam. Şentürk ended his words with the hope that the International Sahîh-i Bukhârî Symposium will be a symposium where discussions and benefit will be at the highest level.

“The value given to Imam al-Bukhari and Sahih al-Bukhari, is the value given to our prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and his Sunnah”

Professor Irfan Gunduz, in his speech, reminded that in our culture books such as Mesnevi and Ihya can only be taught by means of ‘license’ and the same for Sahih al-Bukhari. “This, in other words, the reading of books with license, is an indicator of the value given to them. The value given to Imam Bukhari and Sahih al-Bukhari, is the value given to the Prophet (S.A.W) and his Sunnah,” concluded Prof. Gündüz. He stressed out that without Sunnah and Hadith, Muslims cannot neither pray nor pay zaka and added, “Orientalists want to leave us baseless, without authentic sources and misguided; we have to be careful.”

“If the matter is to critique, this must be at the level of the sensitivity, depth and the intense effort exerted in the creation of the criticized works”

The opening session of the International Sahih al-Bukhari Symposium was chaired by Professor Recep Şentürk with the participation of our lecturer Muhaddis Muhammed Avvame and the former President of the Presidency of Religious Affairs Professor Mehmet Görmez.

Muhammad Avvame, in his paper titled “Reflections Regarding Hidden Critiques in Ṣahih al-Bukhari,” stated that first of all, scholars should have sufficient morality and ethics. He added that the Hadith authority of that time, al-Daraqutni, assured the importance and the value of al-Bukhari’s work. “If the matter is to critique, this must be at the level of the sensitivity, depth and the intense effort exerted in the creation of the criticized works,” said Avvame.

“There is an Ummah Behind these Works, we are adjudicating the Ummah”

Professor Mehmet Görmez presented a paper entitled, “The Complementary Relationship Between the Chapter Headings and the Narrations in Sahih al-Bukhari,” and said, “Today, Hadith and Sunnah are the subject of discussion in a critical manner far from decency. There are debates embedded in under- or overvaluation. This image does not suit us, nor our past. It is said that you idolize Bukhari, and Abu Hanifa. However, we emphasize the importance of what they do, not the individuals, the great works they give, we look at the meticulousness of their work. There is an Ummah behind these works, we are adjudicating the ummah. Sunnah, literally, is a matter of existence; the existence of the ummah, the civilization.”

Sahih Bukhari is a great example of inclusiveness in four respects, Professor Görmez said that these are: (1) inclusiveness at the point of unifying the Quran and Sunnah, (2) Inclusion at the point of unifying the biography of prophet Muhammad and Sunnah, (3) Inclusion in the content and finally, (4) inclusion in the narratives, in this sense Sahih al-Bukhari can be considered as an exegesis book for the Holy Qur’an, he said. Professor Görmez, who touched on the importance of these four points in terms of placing Bukhari in the rightful place and especially on it, concluded his speech by saying that today we have to complete this beautiful portrait and take advantage of it in creating our viewpoints.

“Sahih al-Bukhari, in its indications and explanations, is a special book covering all Islamic sciences with its composition, therefore the examination and review of the work requires the same sensitivity and expertise”

The International Sahih al-Bukhari Symposium ended with the closing session where each of Professor Serdar Demirel, Alimhan Yusufov, Director of the Institute of Imam Bukhari Hadith and Sciences, Assist. Prof. Hamzeh Al-Bakri shared, in general, their thoughts about the symposium.

In his speech, Alimhan Yusufov invited the participants to visit the lands where Imam al-Bukhari was born. Professor Demirel said that Islamic scholars do not neglect criticism and criticism is an indispensable part of our science tradition. However, while criticizing the moral aspects need to be considered. Professor Serdar Demirel reminded that Ibn Haldun University has started 4-year project titled “Tirmizi”. The project, according to Demirel, consists of a team of 6 people working under the supervision of Muhaddith Muhammed Avvame, within the scope of the project, authenticated works of Al-Termethy will be published.

In his speech at the closing session, Assist. Prof. Hamzeh Al-Bakri, stated that the organizing committee of the symposium had achieved the objectives of the symposium. He added that emotional approaches has been observed in advocators and deniers of Hadith, and continued, “We are here in order to raise to the public an in-depth scientific program and to encourage the scientific researches. I think we have achieved our outcomes in terms of listening to various perspectives and opening up new horizons.” Al-Bakri concluded his speech by stressing out that Sahih al-Bukhari, with its gestures, explanations and order of its chapters, is a special book covering all Islamic sciences, and criticism of the work requires the same sensitivity and expertise, the modernist evaluations made from the simple and surface perspective of modernity do not have any validity in this sense, according to Al-Bakri.

All papers presented at the International Sahih al-Bukhari Symposium are planned to be published soon.

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