RELIGIOUS OFFICIALS IN THE DILEMMA OF MODERNIZATION AND SUNNAH: THE EXAMPLE OF DO?UBAYAZIT

Abstract

Author(s): Mustafa SAFA*

Throughout the history of humanity, religion has maintained its vitality as the most foundational established institution in
societies. Especially the prophets, who were the first establishers of the Abrahamic religions, preached the message they brought to the
society they were sent to, orally and practically. The prophets who changed and transformed the societies they were sent to, established
the divine message they brought into their societies with their words and practices. These practices and habits formed by the prophets
in society have been passed down from generation to generation as sunnah. As the living dimension of religion, sunnah has become an
object that has ceased to be a subject, failing to adapt to changes from time to time in the face of major changes in societies. Despite
being one of the two main sources of religion, sunnah seems to have lost its functionality with the objectification of religions, especially
in the public sphere, during the modernization process that has been taking place in all societies in the world for about three centuries.
The nature of sunnah, which is the second of the two main sources of the religion of Islam, and its applicability in social life are
discussed as a subject of research in various disciplines in today's modern Muslim societies. It is known that religious officials, who
undertake the task of explaining the religion of Islam to the society and transferring it to social life, make efforts to explain and convey
the sunnah to the society. While there is no problem in explaining sunnah as discourse to the society, it is known that religious officials
face the active resistance of modernization in the transfer of sunnah as the practice of revelation, to social life. Therefore, it can be stated
that religious officials are caught in a dilemma of the perception of sunnah and modernity. This study was carried out by applying direct observation method questionnaire technique to religious officials working in the district center of Do?ubayaz?t district mufti of
A?r? and in the villages of Do?ubayaz?t. In our study, firstly, the perceptions regarding modernization and sunnah of religious officials
were examined with the questionnaire application. After determining the perceptions of modernization and sunnah, their methods of
conveying sunnah to society was studied by the answers they gave to closed-ended questions. In addition, with open-ended questions,
the relations of religious officials with sunnah, and their opinions and suggestions about sunnah were examined. This study, conducted
with Do?ubayaz?t religious officials, is expected to shed light on the situation of other religious officials in similar situations.

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