Constructing the Second/Eighth Century Hadith Circles

Topgül M. E. (Executive), Karagözoğlu M. M., Atçıl A., Yılmaz H.

TUBITAK Project, 2021 - 2024

  • Project Type: TUBITAK Project
  • Begin Date: October 2021
  • End Date: October 2024

Project Abstract

This project titled “Constructing the Second/Eighth Century Hadith Circles” sets out with a proposition of studying the classical Islamic sources in the context of digital humanities for the first time in Turkey and aims to track the scholarly mobility and construct the ḥadīth circles in the centers of knowledge of the second/eighth century with a new method. This project, boundaries of which are clearly set in terms of time, place, and schools of knowledge, will advance in a three-stage process, each stage supporting or revising the others. In order to lay the foundation for developing a comprehensive narrative about the history of ḥadīth, the scattered information in the classical sources will be compiled and classified, then rendered into data, and finally be subjected to an extensive analysis not only in the specific context of each city but also in the interregional context. The aforementioned new method has been applied to a specific city and a time period, and yielded convincing results. Applying this method to every center of knowledge in the second/eight century, when the Islamic sciences began to form, will render it possible for researchers to see the changes in the attitudes and tendencies of Ahl al-Ḥadīth in different time periods, as well as to put the said group through classification. Besides these two outputs, the issues that were subjects of heated scholarly debates in different cities will be detected and the rise and fall of these cities in terms of centrality will be analyzed; consequently paving the way for an inclusive account of the second/eighth century, which is an era handled vaguely and superficially in the works concerning the history of ḥadīth.

This project necessitates many shareholders’ working simultaneously. Hence, so as to provide synchronization, weekly meetings will be held and the participant researchers will attend these meetings in person if they are in Istanbul, via online platforms if they are not. These meetings are not only going to ensure the sharing of information about different cities between the researchers, but also teach them how to work cooperatively; thus, strengthening the collaborative culture of academia. The phenomenon of travel (al-riḥla) in the early Islamic scholarly community makes it difficult to relate a scholar to only one city; so, gathering data about different cities and discussing these data together will reveal the connections between them.

The project’s main output, an edited book comprising of seven chapters and a detailed introduction, will not only make a great contribution to the academic ḥadīth studies conducted in the field of theology, but also fill in a significant gap current in the mass-education curriculum. Furthermore, researchers from ranging areas of humanities and social sciences are going to be able to apply the method used in this project to their own research. Also, as a second output of this project a website, which will contain network diagrams, isnād trees, maps, 3D architectural visualisations, timelines about the cities and important ḥadīth scholars, travel routes, is going to be created, providing the transmission of results to the wider scholarly community and opening new doors for asking questions to the data which are not possible to ask to its written form.