In a TV interview, Shiite Lebanese author Raouf Kobeissi said that "the notions of a religious state and of a caliphate do not exist in the Quran." Calling for the establishment of a secular state, he asked: "When, in the history of Islam, was any religious state successful?" Kobeissi was speaking on the Lebanese Future TV channel on August 3.
Following are excerpts
Raouf Kobeissi I wrote an article, in which I said that the Quran does not contain anything about a caliphate or a religious state. I based this on the religion as an act of faith and on the Quran. The notions of a religious state and of a caliphate do not exist in the Quran. On the contrary, some Quran verses that focus on interpersonal relations call for a secular state. (The Quran says): "Wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah."
Interviewer: What about the shari'a?
Raouf Kobeissi In the Quran and in Islam, there are matters pertaining to daily practices and matters pertaining to worship. The latter are sacred, but the former are (man-made) laws, some of which may be abandoned, because they were suited for another age. Take, for example, chopping off the hand of a thief. Is this conceivable today? Take, for example, the notion that somebody who kills a Muslim unjustly can pay a ransom to his family, or the marriage of under-age girls.
There are many examples of secular states in Europe and the world. If I dream of my country becoming like any progressive country in the West - how is that to come about? When, in the history of Islam, was any religious state successful?