Did Muhammad teach or preach love why

Al-Fajr - The Dawn

It is a great honor for me to be able to speak to you here today, although I am not wearing a turban, although I am not an imam, an ayatollah, a sheikh, a mufti or a Muslim - unless I am in that Meaning, as our national poet Goethe wrote in the "West-Eastern Divan": "If Islam means devoted to God / In Islam we all live and die." In this extended, in this existential or metaphorical sense, I am also a Muslim or, as the Qur'an says, a hanif, a sincere seeker of God - and as such I speak to you.

The concept of the congress makes it clear that the Islamic Center has a broad horizon, encompassing various Islamic schools of law that are represented here today, as well as believers outside of “Islam” in the narrower sense of the religion founded by Muhammad. My talk has three parts: 1. Jesus and Muhammad as brothers 2. What can imams learn from Muhammad? 3. One comment on the integration debate

1. Jesus and Muhammad as brothers

I am sure that you are all excellent experts on the life of Muhammad. I don't want to bore you with my modest knowledge from the Sira of the venerable prophet. However, I would like to point out three points that are particularly important to me. First, I do not belong to the group of scholars who claim that Muhammad never existed. They know that there are currently several people in Germany - there are also university professors among them - who propose these or similar theses. May I reassure you that there are also voices of this kind with regard to Isa ibn Maryam. Again and again it was claimed that it never existed. He was a fiction of the early Christian community, just as it is now said that Muhammad was a fiction of the Ummah.

I assure you that such outstanding personalities as Jesus and Muhammad cannot be invented by humans. Because mere human fictions hardly have an effect lasting millennia of such sustainability as 2000 years of Christianity and 1400 years of Islam show. These effects must have had lasting causes - the concrete life of Jesus, the concrete life of Muhammad. Of course, not everything has been handed down to us, much remains finally hidden in the dark of history. But the essential key data in the life of Jesus and in the life of Muhammad, as they are worked out by a serious science, are certainly credible.

So, as a religious scholar and theologian, I firmly believe that Muhammad is not a fiction. He existed! This is my first point. But much more important than the question of the actual existence of the Prophet is another question, and this is my second point: When does God's message that Muhammad was revealed comes to life? It does not come to life by us proving Muhammad's existence beyond any doubt. It does not come to life when Muslims recite or preach the Quran. No, God's message comes to life when Muslims practice the Quran.

Islam enjoys as much prestige in the world as the people who profess Islam do what they hear and preach as God's word. And vice versa: Islam experiences as much contempt in the world as people who profess Islam, do not do it or do the opposite of what they hear as God's word and proclaim to other people as "Islam". This statement includes self-criticism. Because you can apply these words to Christianity too. Christianity, too, does not stand and fall with our proving the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Rather, Christianity enjoys as much prestige in the world as the churches that appeal to Christ do what they hear and preach in India. And vice versa: Christianity experiences as much contempt in the world as people who profess Christ, do not do it or do the opposite of what they hear in the Bible and proclaim to other people as the "Good News".

That brings me to the third point in my first part. I am convinced: God loves diversity, not simplicity. I believe that there are many ways, many sharia, to God. In my eyes, Jesus and Muhammad are like brothers. [1] The prophet himself once said in a hadith that all prophets are like brothers to one another - they have the same father, but different mothers! And elsewhere he said that none of these prophetic brothers was closer to him than Jesus. These statements should actually establish an eternal friendship between Christians and Muslims - a friendship on an equal footing. Unfortunately, this has often not been the case in history. I am one of those Christian theologians who demand theological recognition of Muhammad as God's prophet.

God not only loves diversity, but also complementarity. The Torah, the Gospel and the Quran are the three testaments or testimonies of the One Word of God, which the Quran, as you know, calls Umm-ul-Kitab. They complement each other. I also understand the work of Jesus and Muhammad as complementary - just as in physics light is both a wave and a particle. Jesus and Muhammad are not doubles, but they are brothers with similarities and differences. Jesus' short, three-year activity is complemented by the long, 22-year activity of Muhammad. The traveling preacher and miracle healer from Nazareth is complemented by the mediator, politician and general from Mecca. Jesus, the suffering, murdered righteous man, is complemented by Muhammad, the persecuted and ultimately victorious righteous man. In human perception, God sometimes appears powerless, as shown by the cross of Golgotha. Sometimes He shows himself to be powerful, as shown by the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem by Jesus and the cleansing of the Kaaba from all idols by Muhammad.

Both Jesus and Muhammad are models of belief in God to this day. In this sense they are imams of humanity. [2] However, they were not only recipients of the word of God, not only mediators of the message of the Eternal to us temporal beings, but they both also did what they preached to men. In that sense, they are both pre-eminent imams of humanity. What can we learn from them? That brings me to my second part. The subtitle of the congress is: "The Responsibility of the Scholars". In the following I am not talking about humanity in general, not even about Muslims, but specifically about the imams, namely the imams here in Germany.

2. What can imams learn from Muhammad?

One could also ask the question more provocatively: What is a good imam? When I have just said that the Gospel and the Qur'an complement each other, I find this confirmed above all in the common ethical fundamental convictions. Jesus and Muhammad did not preach completely different values ​​and norms, but in principle ancient standards of action, without which neither Christians and Muslims can live with one another, nor Christians and Muslims with one another. One such common value is solidarity with the weak. You all know the famous parable of Jesus of the good Samaritan. The intention of this parable can be summed up in a single sentence: “There is no greater love for one's neighbor than offering a helping hand to the weak.” This saying comes from Musa al-Kadhim, the 7th Imam of the Shia Twelve. There are no better imams than those who show solidarity with the weak! There are no better imams than those who are instruments of mercy.

Christians and Muslims have even more values ​​in common. We find it in the so-called "Ten Commandments" of God to the prophet Musa. This includes, for example, the ban on killing. It can also be found in the Qur'an, e.g. in Sura al-Maida (5:32): "If someone kills someone (...), it is as if he had killed everyone. And if someone keeps him alive, it is as if he had kept all people alive. ”Life has a high priority in the Quran. Respect for all life is therefore deeply rooted in Islamic ethics. Good imams should therefore be the mouthpieces of life, they should be tools of life and put a stop to wherever they encounter death - death in the form of hatred, fanaticism, violence and war.

Likewise, Christians and Muslims share a common prohibition against stealing or cheating. In the Qur'an, this prohibition is justified with the value of justice. Thus it says in Sura al-Qasas (28: 5): “Bear witness of righteousness. And hatred of certain people should not lead you to not be righteous. Be righteous, that corresponds more to the fear of God. ”In the Sahifa, the so-called parish constitution of Medina, justice is the most frequently mentioned moral value. Good imams should therefore be mouthpieces of justice, they should be instruments of solidarity and stop wherever they encounter injustice - injustice in the form of greed, covetousness, lies and deceit.

"Woe to those who shorten the measure, who, if they allow themselves to be measured by people, demand full measure, but if they measure or weigh them, give them less." This is what it says at the beginning of Sura al-Mutaffifīn (83: 1-3). Imam Ghazali - I mean the Persian Abu-Hamid ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali, the well-known theologian, philosopher and mystic of the Middle Ages - says Kimya-i Sa'adat ("The chemistry - or: The elixir - of happiness" ): "Anyone who asks for more than he gives himself is hit by this (Qur'an) verse." [4] The beginning of Surat al-Mutaffifin is not only an example of fairness, but also at the same time for the so-called golden rule, which exists in all religions and cultures worldwide. In German we have the saying: “What you don't want to be done to you, don't do it to anyone else!” The Golden Rule is our moral world cultural heritage - the minimum of how we as people should behave in a global village.

The President of our Global Ethic Foundation, Professor Hans Küng, said: “There is a common ethos for all people, regardless of which culture or religion they belong to - a global ethic! It is the moral foundation of humanity. ”In 1993, a“ Declaration toward a Global Ethic ”was passed by the World Parliament of Religions, which confirms this. This was also confirmed by the then Iranian President Sayyid Muhammad Khatami during his visit to the Goethe city of Weimar in 2000. I quote from his speech: “In a world without borders, people and peoples cannot live with completely different moral values. We have to come to a series of norms within which all people live with understanding for one another and in community. ”In the same vein, Sheikh Ahmad Hassoun says that there are many cultures, but only one civilization! It is based on morality and reason. The cornerstone of this one civilization, but the essence of this global ethos, is the Golden Rule. It is our moral world cultural heritage, which I just described in a book. [5]

Many recognized collections of hadiths confirm that Muhammad also loved this rule. The Syrian scholar Yahya al-Nawawi listed this rule as the thirteenth hadith in his Kitab al-Arbain (“Book of forty hadiths”, 1270): “None of you is a believer,” says the Prophet, “as long as he is not for his brother wishes what he wishes for himself. ”[6] The Golden Rule, which is also used by al-Bukhari and Muslim, is also known in the Shia. For example in the so-called "method of eloquence" (Arabic Nahdsch-ul-Balagha). This is a collection from around the year 1000 with sermons, letters and sayings from Imam Ali.

In Ali's 31st letter, addressed to one of his two sons Hassan and Hussein, it says: “My dear son, when it comes to your behavior towards other people, let your 'self' be the yardstick for determining whether it is good or bad evaluate. Treat others the way you want them to treat you. Whatever you wish for yourself, wish for others, and whatever you do not want it to happen to you, spare others from such happenings. Do not oppress or tyrannize anyone, because you certainly do not want to be oppressed and tyrannized either. Be kind and compassionate to others, just as you are sure to long for others to be kind and compassionate to you. If you observe obnoxious and abhorrent habits in others, be careful not to develop these traits in yourself. "[7]

Good imams should therefore be tools of the Golden Rule. They should work for mutual consideration, tolerance and compassion - both between the various Muslim schools and traditions and in the relationship between the mosque community and the church community in the neighborhood. A good imam does not tolerate violence against other people - regardless of whether they are Muslim or not - because the imam himself does not want to be beaten or tortured. A good imam does not tolerate other people being cheated or stolen from, because the imam himself doesn't want to be cheated or stolen from.

Following the example of the merciful God, an imam is a merciful person who does not close his heart to the concerns and needs of people. Because the imam doesn't want other people to be merciless towards himself. A good imam is above all a tool of reconciliation. He practices forgiveness - because he hopes that God will forgive him too. So it says in the Surat an-Nur (Surat 24,22): “They (sc. The people) should forgive and (sc. The other guilt) relieve. Don't you yourself love that God forgives you? God is forgiving and merciful. "

What do I want to say about universal values ​​with these examples? I have already formulated it above and I want to repeat it here again and refer to the “responsibility of the scholars”: Islam enjoys as much respect in the world as the imams do what they hear as God's message. Good imams not only preach moral values ​​to their communities, they also practice these values ​​themselves. Good imams lead their communities by example. Muhammad is the example of all imams in this, that he not only heard and received the Quran, but that he also practiced it. The imams should be a mirror of Muhammad. Can the prophet recognize himself and the message of the Quran when he sees what the imams are doing? I come to my third and final point:

3. One comment on the integration debate

Apart from these moral values, what imams can learn from Muhammad is actually a matter of course: Good imams speak to their fellow human beings in such a way that they can understand them. In the Sura Yusuf it says right at the beginning (Sura 12.2; cf. also 41.3; 42.7; 43.3): “We have sent down the book as an Arabic Qur'an so that you may understand. “Muhammad spoke to the people of his time in their own language so that they could understand him. For all imams who are active in Germany today and who follow Muhammad as a role model, this means: These imams must learn German and preach in German, just as Muhammad preached to the Arabs in Arabic.

I would like to emphasize that this is not simply a demand of the so-called “German non-Muslim majority society”, but that more and more imams in Germany have recently been making this demand themselves. So it is a demand that is not only made to the Muslims from outside, but is now coming from the heart of the Muslim community. It cannot and must no longer be that imams from Turkey in particular - and that is the large majority in this country - with very poor knowledge of German have been working here in Germany for years. This has catastrophic consequences, as Rauf Ceylan has shown in his current book "The Preachers of Islam".

The imams “imported” to Germany from abroad have, as Ceylan says, “considerable communication problems” with the Muslim children and adolescents who were born and raised here. [8] These imams cannot make themselves understood. And for their part, they do not understand the Muslim children and young people who were born and socialized here. But that is exactly what is required of good imams! All imams who - whether as Sunnis or as followers of the Shia - follow the example of Muhammad should also speak in clear, understandable language. You have to be able to communicate. You must have a good command of German or learn it immediately after your arrival in Germany. We should urgently come to the point that e.g.The Khutba is held in German as widely as possible in Germany. Imam Idriz from the Penzberg Mosque in Bavaria, who recently published a book with the title: "Grüß Gott, Herr Imam!" [9], rightly demands this.

Again and again I hear from concerned fathers that their sons, who were born and raised in Germany, are leaving the mosques because they do not understand the Friday sermons in Turkish or Arabic, or only inadequately. If the Friday sermon in Germany is given in German, Muslims are not only doing the majority society a favor in the sense of more transparency with regard to what is being preached, but Muslims are doing themselves and their communities a favor by improving youth work and preventing that the young people lose touch with their religious roots.

The integration of Muslims in Germany stands and falls with the integration of imams in Germany. This is made clear by the many interviews with imams that Rauf Ceylan presents in his book. Imams are either key figures and role models for integration - or they are role models for the isolation and “ghettoization” of Muslims. If the imam is not learning German, how can he be a role model for young people? We have to educate and train imams in Germany. Imam training has recently started in large German cities (e.g. in Frankfurt / M). The Abrahamic Forum, which I co-founded ten years ago (2001), has been offering joint training courses for imams, pastors and rabbis for a long time. But it is even more important that the first universities are now starting to develop their own Islamic-theological courses, so that we have the beginning of an Islamic imam training on German soil.

We not only need imams from abroad who speak German well, but more and more imams born and trained in Germany! The course is currently being set for this. Prophet Muhammad would be happy about it. God sent him to preach his message to the Arabs in Arabic. I agree with Ceylan's and Idriz’s demand: Good imams who see themselves as imitators of Muhammad and who live permanently here in Germany must proclaim God's message to the young people in German. This is the only way to really get Islam in Germany. This is the only way to avoid a contradiction between a Muslim and a German identity.

Dr. Martin Bauschke

[1] Muslims believe that God became Word in the form of the Qur'an (incarnation), just as Christians believe that God became man in the form of Jesus (incarnation). The Quran has the same status that Jesus has in Christianity in Islam. As a Christian tries to live with Christ, or in his “following”, so the Muslim tries to live in and with the Quran. The recitation of the Quran in ritual prayer has the same function as the celebration of the Eucharist or Lord's Supper in Christian worship: to unite as a person with God or His Word. (Editor's note: It should be mentioned that, according to the Islamic experts, the Qur'an only conveys the word of God. The explanation / analogy of the meaning of the Qur'an for Muslims mentioned in the footnote using the example of Christianity, is the author's view and is not confirmed by the Islamic experts.) [2] Whether Jesus and Muhammad were perfect models, whether they were even sinless (Arabic cisma), as traditional Christian and Muslim theologians unanimously claim I leave it open here. It is enough for me to point out that they were reliable role models from whom we humans can learn at any time. [3] The Elixir of Bliss, Kreuzlingen / Munich 2008, p. 113. [4] Seyed Muhammad Khatami: Religiosität und Modernität, Heidelberg 2001, p. 49f. [5] M. Bauschke, The Golden Rule: Amazement - Understanding - Acting, Berlin 2010. [6] Quoted from: Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawī, The Book of Forty Hadiths Kitāb al-Arbacīn with the commentary by Ibn Daqıq al -cid. Translated from the Arabic and ed. by M. Schöller, Frankfurt / Leipzig 2007, p. 108. [7] Quoted in own translation from: http://www.nahjul-balagha.org/LetterDetail.php?Letter=31 (autumn 2009). [8] Rauf Ceylan, The Preachers of Islam. Imams - who they are and what they want, Freiburg 2010, p. 176. [9] Benjamin Idriz, Grüß Gott, Herr Imam! A religion has arrived here, Munich 2010, p. 35.