In spite of the rational and critical character of Hadith studies at the beginning of its development and throughout the first centuries of its history, it later became a monopolized discipline akin to a dogmatic and unchangeable field as a result, by and large, of the efforts of Ahl al-Hadith and al-muhaddithûn.
However, discussions concerning many aspects of the Hadith as a result of some political, social and cultural developments throughout the 19th and 20th centuries proved that the consistency, effectiveness and comprehensiveness of these studies are subject to controversy, and therefore a project for a re-evaluation of the classical Hadith studies has become an increasingly pressing task for the contemporary Islamic scholars and intellectuals.
As an Islamic scholar and a member of Islamic Ummah, I have been studying such issues and problems with a view to creating an alternative Hadith methodology more effective and coherent than the classical or traditional approach(es) to the Hadith. Before presenting the preliminary results of our efforts of approximately two decades, it will be very useful to present some initial information about our historical, epistemological, and methodological approaches to Hadith studies of the past and the present.

Preliminary Remarks

One of the most enigmatic aspects of the “Classical Hadith Methodology” (henceforth CHM) is the absolute absence of any comprehensive studies about its history conducted by its adherents or opponents, thereby covering the classical period and putting the CHM in its proper place in the history of Islamic thought and comparing it with other trends in this field. The lack of such extensive and even comparative studies about the developments of the Hadith may lead to a perception of the history of Hadith reduced to a single perspective, ending up in a kind of monopoly in the course of time. The current situation of Islamic world is an excellent example of such a reduced and monopolized approach to methodological issues.
Contrary to the widespread popular narration about the history of the Hadith discipline, the CHM is not a unique and comprehensive one that includes all Islamic sects and movements or represents each mentality and approach that has existed throughout Islamic history. Let all Islamic sects and trends aside, CHM does not even represent the Sunnite tradition as a whole. It only represents the al-Shafi i- Ahl al-Hadith line of thinking. But as it is a well known fact that there is another tradition or perspective, called Ahl al-Ra’y, which is represented by some doctors of Islamic law in addition to some schools of thought such as al-Hanafiyya, al-Mu‘tazila, al-Zaydiyya as well as al-Malikiyya, al-Imamiyya and al-Mâturîdiyya when considered in their overall outlook.
The main difference between the Ahl al-Hadith and the Ahl al-Ra’y appears to be over the importance and role of reason in religion in general and in the field of Hadith studies in particular. In other words, Ahl al-Hadith are the followers of al-Shafi‘i who tried to minimize the authority of reason in religious matters, remaining content with literal meaning of the religious texts (i.e., the Qur’an and Sunna/Hadiths) contrary to the Ahl al-Ra’y who insist on the importance of reason and defend its authority beside religious texts with regard to such issues.
Contrary to the traditional account of the history of the Hadith discipline, hadith criticism does not start with the study of the chain of reporters (al-isnâd) and personality criticism (al-jarh wa al-ta‘dîl) but, as a matter of fact, starts with study of textual criticism. This is a historical fact which is indicated by the lack of “isnad” (chain of reporters) at the first century of Islam according to both Ahl al-Ra’y and Ahl al-Hadith accounts. As is accepted by the scholars of the past and the present day, the use of isnad in its primitive form does not go back beyond the seventies of the first century of Islam even in the light of the most optimistic efforts to start the existence of isnad at the very beginning of Islam. As to the regular and sophisticated use of isnad and systematic criticism of the reporters, it is a process that was initiated later in the 2nd and 3rd centuries of Islam.
The most powerful argument for the description of the popular and traditional approach to al-Sunna/al-Hadith as a product of the al-Shafii and Ahl al-Hadith perspective is that the authors of more than two hundred books on ‘Ulûm al-Hadith or Mustalah al-Hadith are either by Ahl-al-Hadith or by the followers of al-Shafi‘i with no exception. If there are any exceptions, the context of these works is the same without any substantial changes.
As to the common use of “Usûl al-Hadith” (Hadith Methodology), it is not traditional or classical as it is believed to be, but on the contrary, it is a thoroughly modern term. So one cannot think that we have a methodology in a real sense, under the name of Usûl al-Hadith, Ulûm al-Hadith or Mustalah al-Hadith. That is particularly due to the lack of independent sections in that literature devoted to epistemological issues as a result of the unwillingness of Ahl al-Hadith to participate in the epistemological discussions to which Ahl al-Ra’y paid such great importance that epistemological issues occupy more than a half of “al-Ahbâr” sections in some cases. In addition to epistemological paucity of ‘Ulûm (or Mustalah) al-Hadith literature, it is inflicted with another kind of weakness with regard to the “internal criticism or textual criticism.” This is a result of Ahl al-Hadith’s rejection of or resistance to the application of textual criticism, which is considered by them as the Ahl al-Ra’y’s favorite technique of hadith criticism employed in elimination of Hadith reports. So the absence of epistemology and textual criticism makes it very hard to describe classical ‘Ulûm (or Mustalah) al-Hadith as a “methodology” in the real and modern sense; rather, it is more appropriate to describe such literature as “mere knowledge (ulûm) about the techniques of reporting hadiths or terms (mustalah) concerning Hadith reports.”
On the other hand, Ahl al-Ra’y as a continuation of the companions and the successors having a critical mind such as ‘Umar, ‘A’isha, ‘Ali, Ibn Mas‘ûd and others, developed a more comprehensive, sophisticated and integrated method regarding authenticity of, understanding and commenting on the Sunna and the Hadith. However, this method was not put in the form of independent books just as Ahl al-Hadith did, but mainly as an integrated part under the heading of “al-Ahbâr” (Reports) of their methodological books “Usûl al-Fiqh” or in some cases, under the heading of “al-Mutawâtir” in their theological books “Usûl al-Dîn.”
All these considerations are not peculiar to Ahl al-Sunna only, but also true, to a certain extent, of the Shi‘ites (Imamiyya-Twelvers) due to the similarities between the two Islamic traditions.
By virtue of the rational character of Usûl al-Fiqh and Usûl al-Dîn in comparison with Ulûm al-Hadith or Mustalah al-Hadith, it is very interesting to see how the differences of theological and juridical Islamic schools vaporize when it comes to their approaches to “al-Ahbâr” in general. This very important phenomenon makes us very optimistic about re-building a comprehensive, integrated and inter-disciplinary “Alternative Hadith Methodology” suitable for all Islamic disciplines and common to all Islamic schools and trends equally.

A Closer Examination of the Classical Hadith Methodology

Looking from the standpoint of current circumstances and in accordance with the latest researches and developments, anyone who has a deep insight into the nature of the CHM, i.e. Ulûm/Mustalah al-Hadith, and classical Hadith studies in general can reach certain common/general conclusions through making a comparison between different Islamic schools and sects.
First of all, it would not be an exaggeration to speak of a “monopoly” of the Ahl al-Hadith approach in the Sunnite world on literature, education and popular religious culture. It would not be a baseless assumption to claim that the situation is not different in non-Sunnite world regarding the current level of religious education and of intellectual contributions to contemporary discussions about the Sunna and Hadith.
Secondly –and parallel to this process of monopolization– the consolidation of the variety of technical terms which co-existed through the classical Islamic period amongst many different schools and sects caused a impoverishment and one-sidedness in this field and hence the inconclusive debates and unfruitful discussions in the past and present. Definitions of some main technical terms such as al-sunna, al-hadith, al-sahîh, al-adâla, etc. must be revised in a comparative approach without making distinction among the Islamic sects and schools.
Thirdly, the need for a source methodology appears to be very urgent concerning the serious problems of manuscripts and printed copies of Hadith literature: the absence of original copies of most of the classical hadith literature in addition to uncritical publication of existing secondary manuscripts to such a degree that some of the hadith literature are put out in poor conditions without any information given about the manuscript(s) of that edition. Even in the event that we possess original manuscript(s) of a book, such kind of problems must not be overlooked. For example, Ahmad Muhammad Shakir’s critical edition of the al-Risala of al-Shafii is one of the best examples of these kinds of problems. This is in spite of the fact that the original copy of al-Shafii’s student al-Rabî’ is extant and it has been transmitted generation by generation by way of the most eminent scholars/ulama of that time, not by ordinary transmitters. As to the problems in reading or vowelizing of the texts and the proper names of transmitters and scholars in the manuscripts, no one can claim that these problems have been completely solved despite the existence of vast literature in this genre. Of course, the classical ulama and al-muhaddithûn were aware of such problems in the past, but the main problem is the very absence of such a conscience or awareness about these problems, which confront us in contemporary studies or religious education systems in each Islamic country. At the level of literature, it is very difficult to find a contemporary book on Hadith Methodology (Usûl al-Hadith) which devotes a special section to dealing with above-mentioned problems.
Fourth, the one sided character of the CHM can be seen in its being content with the study of the chains of transmitters concentrating upon al-jarh wa al-ta‘dîl process. Even the most vehement defenders of the CHM are admit that their methodology is one-sided on the one hand and that Ahl al-Ra’y are the masters of textual criticism which represent the other side of the coin, one the other. In the face of a well-grounded and powerful argumentation concerning the absence or weakness of textual criticism in the classical hadith methodology, some conservative scholars or defenders of the CHM appeal to the claim that textual criticism of al-fuqahâ’ and isnad criticism of al-muhaddithûn complete each other , because Islamic disciplines as a whole cannot be separated from each other. But they forget or ignore that this way of arguing cannot help improve the importance of textual criticism in the CHM , because the issue at hand is the locus of textual criticism in the CHM , not in Islamic law in particular or in Islamic disciplines in general.
One of the problems which the CHM must confront is the matter of internal coherence or consistency. This is a matter of great importance equal to the importance of laying down sound rules. To make this point clearer, suffice it to mention some well-known examples from the CHM itself. As is known, the sectarian fanaticism was one of the reasons for hadith fabrication in the past. So it should not be a mistake to question the reliability of some reporters who are known for their fanaticism of their religious or political sects or tendencies with regard to the possibility of fabrication for supporting or legitimating their sectarian doctrines. So it is not a surprise to come across, through the rijal literature, many reporters are discredited or accused of being Shiite, Qadarite, Kharijite or Mutazilite for the above-mentioned possibility of fabrication. What is rather surprising is the Sunni claim that there are almost no “Sunnite” or “Ahl al-Sunna” groups among those sects or religious groups that have been accused of fabricating hadiths in order to legitimate their religious positions. However, it is evident that the amount of religious or political hadiths fabricated by Sunnite circles is not less than the amount fabricated by the others. In spite of this fact, one cannot find any reporter in the rijal literature, discredited or accused of being a Sunnite, as one can find very frequently such descriptions as “a malignant or wicked Shiite.”
Perhaps the most contradictory side of the CHM can be seen in its rejection of transmitting the reports coming through Aimmat Ahl al-Bayt despite Ahl al-Hadith’s highly estimation of their piety and devotion.It is very interesting not to find in Sunnî circles any convincing and satisfactory explanation for this attitude beside the lack of any serious reputation to the Shiite accusation towards Ahl al-Hadith and al-Sunna on this point.
Another example of inconsistencies related to this matter is the biased applications of the criterion of major sins as a reason for rejecting the trustworthiness of reporters. One of the most obvious examples of this is the case of Abû Hanifa and his pupil Abû ‘Isma Nûh b. Abî Maryam. According to al-jarh wa al-ta’dîl literature, the former is accused of apostasy in addition to other accusations and the latter accused of fabricating hadiths to demonstrate the virtues or merits of each Qur’anic sûra. But the historical facts and recent studies proved the falsity of such accusations. Except for some of al-muhaddithûn who are incorrigible enemies of Abû Hanîfa or ignorant of his doctrine , no one has believed these groundless accusations up until now. As to the case of Abû ‘Isma, thus far, no one has been able to find out his fabrications in any of Islamic sources.
What can be the potential consequences of such baseless, wrongful or even prejudiced accusations that were directed towards such decent or innocent scholars according to the classical rules of personality criticism? Those groundless accusations put aside, it is obvious that those responsible for such biased personality criticisms also commit a sin by going against the strict prohibition of accusing innocent Muslims. In this case, it will be inevitable according to these rules, to blame any traditionalist/muhaddith who commits such a sin. But this is not the whole story! In fact the most important result is the final phase of this process: such a traditionalist’s loss of his reliability and trustworthiness due to committing such a serious sin. It should be difficult to appreciate the crucial consequences of such a reversed application of personality criticism. There is no doubt that this kind of (reversed) application of personality criticism, directed against the masters of it themselves in the classical period will cause many, changes in the history of classical Hadith studies, but especially in the field of personality criticism which appears to be in a need of a revision either in theory or in practice.
The same necessity definitely holds true of a revision in the ways of judging the memorizing capacity of the reporters in general. This is because of some inconsistencies between what is said of a reporter in rijâl literature and the quality and meticulousness of his reports themselves in the Hadith collections. The case of the famous Makkan traditionist Sufyân b. ‘Uyayna is a good example. Despite many statements praising his exceptional memorizing capacity in rijal works, a testimony by his disciple al-Humaydî in his al-Musnad points to the contrary. It is clear that –at least in this case– we need to review what is recorded about him in rijal literature. The same is true of many famous traditionists in varying degrees. So it would not be an exaggeration to speak of some discrepancies between rijal works and the Hadith collections regarding the relevant data about some reporters and traditionists.
The inconsistencies are not limited to the above-mentioned problems. It is inevitable here to mention also the inconsistencies relating to the definition of the sahih (sound) hadith. First of all, it is beyond one’s comprehension to witness a retrogression instead of progression in the field of definition of sound hadith in the course of time. In comparison with the very detailed and comprehensive definition of sound hadith developed by al-Shafi’î in his al-Risalah, the final configuration of this definition given by Ibn al-Salah more than four centuries after al-Shafi‘î could represents only a regression rather that a progression, as it is expected. For the final formulation of Ibn al-Salah, in fact, is no more than an abbreviation of the definition of al-Shafi‘î. In addition to this backslide, there are other inconsistencies in practice such as introducing certain rules that run contrary to the definition of sound hadith. The best example of this kind of attempts is the rule that says “the acceptance or application of any hadith by al-Umma or occurrence of any hadith in al-Bukhârî or Muslim makes it sound,” regardless of the weakness of its isnad(s). Another example is the breaking of the “sahih” into “sahih li-zatihi” (sound/authentic in itself) and “sahih li-ğayrihi” (sound/authentic due to something else). Another similar attempt shaking the authority of the isnad is the rule which says that “the weak hadith gets elevated to the rank of hasan (good/fair) if it comes from a multitude of sources.” It is obvious that such attempts are not but some deviations from the definition of al-Shafi’î, let alone the one-sided character of it, because of the disregard of text(ual criticism) which is a necessary component of any hadith.

Some Proposals

The need to develope a more sophisticated and profound hadith methodology proves to be very urgent not only due to some internal problems of CHM as a discipline, but also to the necessity to make efforts with a view to finding the best solutions for social, economic and political problems of the Islamic world. For it is very difficult to find any social, economic or political problem irrelevant to above-mentioned methodological problems. Such an attempt will certainly cause some paradigmal changes in the mentality of contemporary Muslims as well. Carrying out this task with success without changing mentality behind the CHM is hardly possible. So this attempt may give rise to a more comprehensive, more critical, and less dogmatic ways of thinking in a more pluralistic and equalitarian atmosphere.
To achieve such a goal(s), it is necessary to take certain steps such as follows:

1. To write down a comprehensive history of methodological developments in the fields of narrative disciplines such as al-Hadith, al-Maghazî, al-Sirah, al-Shamâ’il and al-Tarîh.
2. To compile a comparative hadith methodology by taking into consideration every contribution in Islamic history without discriminating against any sects, schools or trends.
3. As an initial step, it will be very useful to publish an anthology of select texts from/belonging to each Islamic sect, school or trend in the classical period together with the translations thereof into other (Islamic) languages, if necessary.
4. To encourage comparative and inter-sectarian hadith studies in academic institutions.
5. To emphasize the importance of contributions of Usûl al-Fiqh and Usûl al-Dîn in the field of hadith methodology.
6. To encourage the launching of a new discipline or branch in Islamic studies, “Occidentalism,” to find out the potential Western contributions in the area of Islamic studies.
7. To prepare a text-book for institutions of higher Islamic education under the supervision of a board of scholars from different Islamic countries and trends, accentuating the common points and informing about the differences. Such a project will reveal the possibility of an inter-sectarian, even supra-sectarian hadith methodology, applicable to every sect, school or doctrine.
8. To take one step further, it is necessary to also emphasize the significance and advantage of inter-disciplinary approach to make use of the findings of such relevant disciplines as history in general, archaeology, geography, geology, astronomy, medicine, anthropology, sociology, and logic, especially in the application of textual criticism.

Some recent developments related to the issue at hand:

As I said before, the main impulse that forced me to engage in such methodological problems was the ineffective and unfruitful discussions about two very important topics of Islamic thought: al-Sunna and al-Hadith , in the past and present. That is why the contemporary discussions about the Sunna and Hadith, in fact, were not only a repetition of the past discussions on a large scale without any serious progress except some insubstantial contributions. To see that, it suffices to make a comparison between the Ta’wîlu Muhtalif al-Hadith of Ibn Qutayba (d.276/ 889) and Adwâ’ alâ al-Sunna al-Muhammadiyya of Abû Rayya (d.1970) or al-Adwâ’ al-Qur’âniyya fi İktisâh al-Ahâdith al-Isrâ’iliyya wa Tathîr al-Bukhâri minhâ of al-Sayyid Sâlih Abû Bakr in addition to many other contemporary polemical works such as the works of Ismail Haqqî İzmirlî, Muhammad al-Ghazzâlî, Yusuf al-Qar(a)dâvî and others. This outcome is not surprising due to the absence of a methodological background common to the two mainstream of Islamic thought, Ahl al-Hadith and Ahl al-Ra’y of the past; and also the Traditionalists/Conservatives and the Renewalists /Reformists /Modernists of the present. The dominant polemical character of the past and present works is another reason for this deadlock.
Despite these negative and discouraging developments, there are some hopeful albeit weak developments in different parts of the Islamic world. Such kind of developments in the Shite-Imamite world reached the climax owing to the efforts of Ahmad al-Kâtib and to some degree to the efforts of some Imamite intellectuals of new generation such as Haidar Hubbullah from Lebanon living in Iran and Zakî al-Mîlâd from Saudi Arabia. As to the Zaydiyya of Yemen, they declare that they are open to critical and supra-sectarian approaches to this issue. Unfortunately, I do not have enough information about the case of the Ibâdiyya in Oman and North Africa in this respect.
As for the Sunnite world, there are similar developments, although they are not widely known and prevalent as can be readily expected. Moreover, these developments are a result of neither a comprehensive project nor a team work. There are no official or civil institutions that support these kinds of studies, and so they are only individual efforts made by few scholars with a critical mind.
Abu’l-A‘lâ al-Mawdûdî of Pakistan is a good example of very important yet unsystematic contemporary contributions to the issue of criticism of the CHM found in many of his books.
Fazlurrahman is another Pakistani scholar from USA as a continuation of al-Mawdudî’s critical line. He too has a great deal of valuable contributions to this issue especially in his book “The Islamic Methodology in History” in addition to many other books and articles related to this matter.
Hasan Hanafi of Egypt, a scholar having views akin to the same line of thinking and a prolific author who -to my knowledge- is writing nowadays about the reconstruction of the CHM as a part of his comprehensive project declared in his fundamental book al-Turath wa al-Tajdid (Tradition and Renewal).
In Jordan, Hamza b. Abdullah al-Mâlîbârî published a book under the title of al-Asâla wa al-Tajdid fî Dirâsat Ulûm al-Hadith. However, the title of the book may be misleading because there is hardly any noteworthy attempt in the name of tajdid (renewal) in hadith sciences. This is not surprising due to the author’s very limited understanding of tajdid, because the concept of renewal in his mind is limited to the existing differences between the opinions of the classical ‘ulama. So one must not expect him to go beyond giving preference to some opinions against others without trespassing the boundaries.
From the Turkish speaking world we must mention here Musa Jarullah Bigiyev, Zakir Qadirî Ugan, Ismail Haqqi of Izmir, Ahmed Hamdi of Akseki, Muhammad Tayyib Okic, Fuad Sezgin, and finally Mehmed Saîd Hatiboğlu, emeritus professor of Hadith department at Ankara University, may be considered as the pioneers of critical approach to the CHM in Turkey. Nevertheless, their works are directed to promote such an approach only in general, neither discussing the methodological issues directly nor aiming the reconstruction of the CHM within the framework of a project.
At this point, it has become an unavoidable task to mention -even if unwillingly- my project in this respect. When I published my book “The Sunna in Islamic Thought – A Critical Approach” sixteen years ago, it was planned as the first volume of a series of a comprehensive project. This project declared and explained in the introduction of this first volume and its eight step as follows;

1) The Sunna as a concept and definition (Mafhûm al-Sunna),
2) The place and importance of the Sunna in Islam (Makânat al-Sunna),
3) Nature or structure of the Sunna (Mâhiyyat al-Sunna),
4) Source materials of the Sunna (Masâdir al-Sunna),
5-6) Understanding and interpretation of the Sunna (Fiqh al-Sunna wa Sharhuhu),
7) Systematization of the Sunna as a worldview (Sıyâghat al-Sunna ka-Ru’ya ‘âlamiyya),
8) How to teach the Sunna? (Ta‘lîm al-Sunna).

The first three steps were the subject of the first volume. The fourth step required two volumes; the first one (The Hadith Methodology in Islamic Thought) about criticism of the CHM, and the second one (An Alternative Hadith Methodology) introduces a contemporary alternative methodology. These three volumes have been printed many times. In the years to come, I will concentrate upon the issue of understanding and interpretation of the Sunna for the fourth volume inshaallah. As to the fifth step of the project, a collective team work may be required in order to compile a comprehensive voluminous work with an extensive introduction about the theoretical issues with a view to meeting the actual needs that have arisen with contemporary conditions. And the last volume will be a pedagogical one, that is, to discuss the issues about the teaching of the Sunna (self-education, institutional, official and non-official) in accordance with the results of the previous steps of the project.
Even if the requirements of these eight steps are fulfilled sufficiently, they will only offer the main lines of the contemporary problems of the Sunna. Knowing that this outline requires to be detailed and delineated in a serious of studies and researches,so many MA and PhD theses are orientated to related topics in order to provide profoundness for those works of eight steps and to check the initial findings of them. By now, more then twenty MA and also more than twenty PhD thesis have been completed under our supervision, many of which have been published. The titles of these theses are as follows:

The Concept of “al-Sahih” according to Ibn Taymiyya
Hadith Methodology in the Shafi’ite Jurisprudence
Hadith Methodology in the Hanbalite Jurisprudence
Hadith Methodology according to al-Mu’tazila
Hadith Methodology according to al-Zaydiyya
Ibn Qutayba’s Hadith Methodology in his book Ta’wîl Muhtalif al-Hadith
Al-Jassas’s Hadith Methodology in his book al-Fusûl fi al-Usûl (in progress)
Al-Tabarî’s Hadith Methodology in his book Tahzîbu’l-Âsâr (in progress)
‘Isâ b. Abân’s Hadith Methodology (in progress)
The Scientific Facts as Criteria for Textual Criticism
Methodological Problems in Understanding and Interpreting the Sunna
The Bases of Main Doctrines of Mysticism in Hadith Reports
Humaneness of the Prophet
Traces of Patriarchal Tradition/Mentality in Hadith Reports
Literalism of al-Shafi’î in His Book al-Umm
Ibn Hajar’s Responses to the Criticisms against al-Sahih of al-Bukhârî
Local and Universal Dimensions of the Sunna
The Sunna according to the Successors of the Prophet (al-Tâbi‘ûn)
The Problem of Transforming the Mawqûf and Maqtû‘ Hadiths into the Marfû‘ Hadith
The Structure of the Mentality of the Ahl al-Hadith
The Issue of the Divine/Sacred Hadith (incomplete)
Sectarian Fanaticism in the Process of al-Jarh wa al-Ta‘dîl
Investigation of the Hadith Reports about Preordainment/Fatalism (al-Qadar)
Investigation of the Hadith Reports about the Intercession of the Prophet (al-Shafâ‘a)
Investigation of the Hadith Reports about al-Mahdî
Investigation of the Hadith Reports about the Prophet’s Ascent to Heavens (al-Mi‘râj)
The Question of Abrogation of the Qur’an by the Sunna
The Beginning and Creation of the Universe and Humankind in Hadith Reports
The Acts of the Prophet Peculiar to Him
The Reason, Analogy, and Personal Opinion according to the Ahl al-Hadith
Investigation of the Hadith Report Saying “No Bequeath to Heirs”
The Question of Woman Obeying to Man in Hadith Reports
The Limits of Obeying the Rulers according to Hadith Reports

It is not difficult to see that there is a genuine need for revision of the CHM and the reconstruction thereof. Nor is it hard to discern the indicators of this exigency both in theory and practice. For this reason, a vast literature on the question of methodology came into being since 19th century. But despite all this justification, it seems that there is a little probability for accomplishment of such a reconstruction in the foreseeable future due to the hegemony of the conservative tendencies in Islamic societies on both official and civil level. However, we must not forget that any systematic and sophisticated attempt to reconstruct the CHM will certainly be fruitful in the long run. For it is almost impossible to stop or suppress any process of discussion after enunciating the real problems to the community. Perhaps you/one can delay the discussions but cannot stop people from discussing them. Therefore, there is a reason to be hopeful for the distant future, though not for the near future.