MORAL SYSTEM OF ISLAM
Islam has laid down some universal fundamental rights for humanity
as a whole, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances.
To achieve these rights Islam provides not only legal safeguards
but also a very effective moral system. Thus whatever leads to the
welfare of the individual or the society is morally good in Islam
and whatever is injurious is morally bad. Islam attaches so much
importance to the love of God and love of man that it warns against
too much of formalism, We read in the Quran:
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards
East or west; but it is righteousness to believe in God and the
Day Of Judgement 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 freeing of captives; to be steadfast in prayers, and practice
regular poor due; to fulfil the contracts which you 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 God-conscious".
We are given a beautiful description of the righteous and God-conscious
man in these verses. He should obey salutary regulations, but he
should fix his gaze on the love of God and the love of his fellow-men.
We are given four heads:
a) Our faith should be true and sincere.
b) We must be prepared to show it in deeds of charity to our Fellow-men.
c) We must be good citizens, supporting social organizations.
d) Our own individual soul must be firm and unshaken in all Circumstances.
This is the standard by which a particular mode of conduct is
judged and classified as good or bad. This standard of judgement
provides the nucleus around which the whole moral conduct should
revolve. Before laying down any moral injunctions Islam seeks to
firmly implant in man’s heart the conviction that his dealings
are with God who sees him at all times and in all places; that he
may hide himself from the whole world but not from Him; that he
may deceive everyone but cannot deceive God; that he can flee from
the clutches of anyone else but not from God’s, thus, by setting
God’s pleasure as the objective of man’s life, Islam
has furnished the highest possible standard of morality. This is
bound to provide limitless avenues for the moral evolution of humanity.
By making divine revelations as the primary source of knowledge
it give permanence and stability to the moral standards which afford
reasonable scope for genuine adjustments, adaptations and innovations
though not for perversions, wild variation, atomistic relativism
or moral fluidity .It provides a sanction to morality in the love
and fear of God. Which will impell man to obey the moral law even
without any external pressure. Through belief in God and the Day
of Resurrection it furnishes a force which enables a person to adopt
the moral conduct with earnestness and sincerity, with all the devotion
of heart and soul.
It does not, through a false sense of originality and innovation,
provide any novel moral virtues nor does it seek to minimize the
importance of the well – known moral norms, nor does it give
exaggerated importance to some and neglect others without cause.
It takes up all the commonly known moral virtues and with a sense
of balance and proportion it assigns a suitable place and function
to each one of them in the total scheme of life. It widens the scope
of man’s individual and collective life – his domestic
associations, his civic conduct, and his activities in the political,
economic, legal, educational, and social realms. It covers his life
from home to society, from the dining – table to the battle
– field and peace conferences literally from the cradle to
the grave. In short, no sphere of life is exempt from the universal
and comprehensive application of the moral principles of Islam.
It makes morality reign supreme and ensures that the affairs of
life, instead of dominated by selfish desires and petty interests,
should be regulated by norms of morality.
It stipulates for man a system of life which is based on all good
and is free from all evil it invokes the people, not only to practice
virtue, but also to establish virtue and eradicate vice, to bid
good and to forbid wrong. It wants that the verdict of conscience
should prevail and virtue must not be subdued to play second fiddle
to evil. Those who respond to this call are gathered together into
a community and given the name Muslim. And the singular object underlying
the formation of this community (Ummah) is that it should make an
organized effort to establish and enforce goodness and suppress
and eradicate evil.
Here we furnish some basic moral teachings of Islam for various
aspects of a Muslim’s life. They cover the broad spectrum
of personal moral conduct of a Muslim as well as his social responsibilities.
The Quran mentions it as the highest quality of a Muslim:
"The most honorable among you in the sight of God is the one
who is most God-conscious." (49:13)
Humility, modesty, control of passions and desires, truthfulness,
integrity, patience, stead- fastness, and fulfilling one's promises
are moral values which are emphasized again and again in the Quran.
We read in the Quran: "And God loves those who are
firm and steadfast". (3:146)
"And vie with one another to attain to your Sustainer's
forgiveness and to a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth,
which awaits the God- conscious, who spend for poor-due in time
of plenty and in time of hardship, and restrain their anger, and
pardon their fellow men, for God loves those who do good".
"Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and
forbid what is wrong; and bear patiently whatever may befall you;
for this is true constancy. And do not swell your cheek (with pride)
at men, nor walk in insolence on the earth, for God does not love
any man proud and boastful. And be moderate in your pace and lower
your voice; for the harshest of sounds, indeed is the braying of
the ass". (31:18-19)
In a way which summarizes the moral behavior of a Muslim, the
Prophet (PBUH) 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.
The teachings of Islam concerning social responsibilities are
based on kindness and consideration of others. Since a broad injunction
to be kind is likely to be ignored in specific situations, Islam
lays emphasis on specific acts of kindness and defines the responsibilities
and rights of various relationships. In a widening circle of relationship,
then, our first obligation is to our immediate -family parent,s
husband or wife and children, then to other relatives! Neighbors,
friends and acquaintances, orphans and widows, the needy of the
community, our fellow Muslims, all our fellow human beings and animals.
Respect and care for parents are very much stressed in the Islamic
teaching and are a very important part of a Muslim’s expression
"Your Sustainer has decreed that you worship none but Him,
and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain
old age in your lifetime, do not say to them a word of contempt
nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And, out of
kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: my Sustainer!
Bestow' on them Your mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood".
And render to the relatives their due rights, as (also)
to those in need, and to the traveller; and do not squander your
wealth in the manner of a spendthrift. (17:26)
The Prophet (PBUH) has said:
He is not a believer who eats his fill when his neighbor beside
him is hungry; and: He does not believe whose neighborsare not safe
from his injurious conduct.
Actually, according to the Quran and Sunnah a Muslim has to discharge
his moral responsibility not only to his parents, relatives and
neighbors but to the entire mankind animals and trees and plants.
For example, hunting of birds and animals for the sake of game is
not permitted .Similarly cutting trees and plants which yield fruit
is forbidden unless there is a very pressing need for it.
Thus, on the basic moral characteristics, Islam builds a higher
system of morality by virtue of which mankind can realize its greatest
potential. Islam purifies the soul from self- seeking egotism, tyranny,
wantonness and indiscipline .It creates God-conscious men, devoted
to their ideals possessed of piety, abstinence and discipline and
uncompromising with falsehood. It induces feelings of moral responsibility
and fosters the capacity for self-control. Islam generates kindness,
generosity, mercy, sympathy, peace, disinterested good will, scrupulous
fairness and truthfulness towards all creation in all situations.
It nourishes noble qualities from which only good may be expected.