Islam has laid down 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 had. 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 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 give Zakah, to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.” (2:177)
We are given a beautiful description of the righteous and God-fearing 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:
- Our faith should be true and sincere;
- We must be prepared to show it in deeds of charity to our fellowmen.
- We must be good citizens, supporting social organizations.
- Our own individual soul must be firm and unshakable 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 judgment 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 impel man to obey the moral law even without any external pressure. Through belief in God and the Day of Judgment 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 relations. 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 Thai 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. The 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 honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteousness of you” (49:13)
Humility, modesty, control of passion and desires, truthfulness, integrity, patience, steadfastness, and fulfilling one’s promises are moral values which are emphasized again in the Quran. We read in the Quran: “And God loves those who are firm and steadfast” (3:146)
“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your lord and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous,- Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and par-don (all) men;- For Allah lover those who do good:”-(3:133-134)
“O my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong: and bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct) of affairs.” “And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men. Nor walk in insolence through the earth, Allah like not each arrogant boaster.” “And be moderate in the pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.” (31:17-19)
In a way which summarizes the moral behavior of a -Muslim, the prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “My Sustainer has given me nine commands: to remain conscious of God, weather 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 it 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 l should command what is right.”
Social Responsibilities: The teaching 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- parents; 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.
Parents: Respect and care for parents is very much stressed in the Islamic teaching and is a very important part of a Muslim’s expression of faith. “Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents, Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them but address then, in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: My Lord! Bestow on them Thy Mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood “(17:23-24)
Other Relatives: “And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: but squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift.” (17:26)
Neighbors: The Prophet Muhammed (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has said: “He is not a believer who eats his fill when his neighbor beside him is hungry; and: He does not believe whose neighbors are 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 useful 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, wanton-ness and indiscipline. It creates God-fearing 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 goodwill, scrupulous fairness and truthfulness towards all creation in all situations. It nourishes noble qualities from which only good may be expected.
Source : Ahmed Alfateh Islamic Center, Bahrain
Main Article : Islam in Concept
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