Turkey's religious authority will tap the knowledge of scientists for a new "tafsir" or interpretation of the Muslim holy book Quran.
Professor Ali Erbaş, the head of the state-run Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) also known as Diyanet, said Monday that they "intend" for a new and complete tafsir with the aid of "experts in several fields." "For instance, we may have an astronomy expert work on interpreting verses related to astronomy," Erbaş said in a conference in Istanbul.
"In the Al-Muminun chapter, there are verses about an infant's development in the womb. We can have (a gynecologist) helping us," he added. Erbaş stated that a comprehensive knowledge of astronomy, for example, is needed for a better understanding of some verses and someone with "more knowledge" in the field would definitely understand the verses better.
Understandings of religion in the predominantly Muslim country has long been a thorny issue. Some call for solely adhering to Quran (and one or more of its different interpretations), dismissing sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) held sacred by majority of Muslims. Others urge adherence to both the Quran and the Prophet's sayings as well as an interpretation of the religion and related issues by respected scholars.