Seminary Hosts Panel Discussion on Shari’ah and Halakhah

The seminary played host Tuesday night to presentations and a panel discussion on Sha'riah and Halakhah. The participants were Issam Michael Saliba, legal expert on Islamic law at the Law Library of Congress, and Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, Dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law. Umar Moghul, attorney, Hartford Seminary Trustee and Lecturer in Law at the University of Connecticut Law School was the moderator.

In his presentation, Mr. Saliba talked about the history of Islamic law and how it related to various forms of sovereignty throughout Muslim history. 

"The ruler is not only required to act justly himself, but is responsible for the unjust acts of his subordinates as well," he said. 

Rabbi Yaffe talked about history as it relates to Jewish law through the ages, particulary the idea among Jews that a government cannot dictate matters of the spirit.

"If a government infringes on religion, its legitimacy ends," he said.

Both speakers answered questions from the audience and talked about more contemporary concerns. Mr. Saliba called on Muslim scholars to address misinterpretations of Islam that some might use to justify violence.

"They are polluting the whole idea of what Islam is," he said.

Rabbi Yaffe addressed the difficulty of finding common ground for groups who are fervent in their faith and see their "truth with a capital T."




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