Gerd Steiner, 11 April 2007

on "We Should Take the Path of Religious Enlightenment", Interview with Hachem Saleh

I read your interview with Hachem Saleh with much interest and pleasure.

In a sense, Islam already has the seeds for its further development, namely the Sunna as well as Sharia, which would allow it to go beyond the Koran. Jurists have the foundations in disciplines such as theology that would enable them to interpret the Koran in light of contemporary situations.

Therefore I would like to expand the approach mentioned in the article for Sunna and for legal life (Sharia). Perhaps the possibility exists for the development of a new legal school with a religious enlightenment and reformation.

I experience Sharia more as the moral obligation of a believer, whereby – if necessary – God alone "punishes" (in the sense that behavior according to his will is good for the soul and behavior against is not). For example, I understand fire as the experience of the fervor of desire and man's hot-tempered nature. I am partly fascinated with the detailedness and precision of Sharia, passages of which I have read in the "Handbuch Islam" (Handbook of Islam, Spohr Verlag).

I have my problems with the claim that understands Sharia as a "secular law" in the conventional sense, since for me this would be equivalent to a self-administered justice of man over man, in which man places himself at the disposal of the one and only …. If I understand Sharia to be solely religious in the sense of "religio" – the relationship to God – and where "penalties" are reserved for God alone with his wonderful 99 names, it can be a treasure for developing moral sensitivity (in conduct and in relation to others).

Yours sincerely,
Gerd Steiner