Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Islam and Ethics

Ethics generally refers to a code of conduct, that an individual, group or society hold as definitive, in differentiating right from wrong. Islam as a comprehensive way of life encompasses a complete Ethical system that is an important aspect of its world-view. We live in an age where good and evil are often looked at as relative concepts. Islam however, holds that Ethical positions are not relative, and instead, defines a universal standard by which actions may be deemed Ethical or unethical.

Islam’s Ethical system is striking in that it not only defines Ethics, but also guides the human race in how to achieve it, at both an individual as well as a collective level.

According to the Islamic School of thought Ethical system stems from its primary creed of belief in One God as the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Islam considers the human race to be a part of God’s creation, and as His subjects.

From an Islamic perspective, the purpose of human life is to worship God, by leading this worldly life in harmony with the Divine Will, and thereby achieve peace in this world, and everlasting success in the life of the hereafter. Muslims look to the Glorious Qur’an and the Traditions of the Prophet as their Ethical guides.

The Glorious Qur’an says:

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.” [Al-Qur’an 2:177]

The love and continuous awareness of God and the Day of Judgment enables man to be Ethical in conduct and sincere in intentions, with devotion and dedication.

The guiding principle for the behavior of a Muslim is what the Qur’an refers to as Al `Amal Assalih or virtuous deeds. This term covers all deeds, not just the outward acts of worship.

By Reading Islamic literature and through Quran Recitation we come to know that some of the most primary character traits expected of a Muslim are piety, humility and a profound sense of accountability to God. A Muslim is expected to be humble before God and with other people. Islam also enjoins upon every Muslim to exercise control of their passions and desires.

Charity is one of the most commendable acts in Islam. In fact, Zakah, the annual charity that is obligatory on every Muslim who has accrued wealth above a certain level, is one of the pillars of Islam.

Gratitude in prosperity, patience in adversity, and the courage to uphold the truth, even when inconvenient to one, are just some of the qualities that every Muslim is encouraged to cultivate.

For an individual as well as a society, Ethics is one of the fundamental sources of strength, just as immorality is one of the main causes of decline. While respecting the rights of the individual within a broad Islamic framework, Islam is also concerned with the Ethical health of the society.

The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) summarized the conduct of a Muslim when he said: “My Sustainer has given me nine commands: to remain conscious of God, whether in private or in public; to speak justly, whether angry or pleased; to show moderation both when poor and when rich, to reunite friendship with those who have broken off with me; to give to him who refuses me; that my silence should be occupied with thought; that my looking should be an admonition; and that I should command what is right.”

1 comments:

karim said...

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Thanks,
Karim - Creating Power