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Moral System of Islam

Publishing Date : 10 April, 2018

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM



The Qur’an mentions and classifies God consciousness as the highest quality of a Believer: “The most honourable among you in the sight of God is the one who is most God-conscious.” (Qur’an 49: 13)


However before we can follow the moral injunctions Islam strives to firmly implant in man’s heart the belief that all his dealings are observed by Allah Almighty, who sees him at all times and in all places; we may hide ourselves from the whole world but not from Him (The Supreme Creator of the entire universe); we may deceive everyone around us but we cannot deceive Allah; we can flee from the clutches of anyone else but not from our Creator. ’ Does he not know that Allah sees all that he does?’ (Quran 96: 14).


The key to virtue and good conduct is a strong relationship with the Almighty, who sees and knows all our doings at all times. The Almighty knows the secrets of our hearts and the intentions behind all our actions. Therefore, a Believer must be moral in all circumstances; we should drive in this message that we can deceive everyone, we cannot deceive Him.  We can flee from anyone, but not from Him. The continuous awareness of Allah and the Day of Judgement enables man to be moral in conduct and sincere in intentions.


Islam and indeed almost every other faith have laid down some basic universal moral standards for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances. Thus whatever leads to the welfare of the individual or the society is morally good in Islam and whatever is injurious is morally bad.  In other words the rights of society take precedence over the rights of an individual.


Islam has laid down those fundamental moral standards that are universal via the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (Pbuh) and all the other Prophets sent to humanity over time. These are to be observed, followed and respected at all times and under all circumstances. Islam stresses and attaches great importance to the love of God and following His commands this is the highest quality of a Believer: God-consciousness. The Quran tells us: “Indeed, the most honourable among you in the sight of God Almighty, is the one who is most God-conscious.”  (Quran 49: 13)


An integral part of morality is the control of our vices, passions and desires. There is a noticeable decline in the standard moral behaviour and conduct the world over. As a barometer read any newspaper of the daily on goings on in our society; frighteningly the increase in the number of murders, rape and other crimes related to sexual offences, spouse abuse, family and domestic


violence. What has happened to our moral fibre, are we no longer God-fearing? “Evil and good are not equal, even though the abundance of evil may be pleasing to you. Have fear of Allah, you who are endowed with understanding, so that you may triumph”. (Quran 5: 100).


However, these moral standards by themselves are not sufficient without being accompanied by among other things, by the following: Our faith should be true and sincere; but in addition we should inculcate the other important moral characteristics of humility, modesty, control of our thoughts, passions and desires, truthfulness, integrity, honesty, patience, steadfastness, and fulfilling one’s promises, are all moral values which are emphasised over and over again in the Quran also include our social responsibilities, respect, care and love for our fellow human beings.


‘It is not righteousness that you turn your faces (in prayer) to the East or the West, but righteous is the one who believes in God and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets; and gives his wealth for love of Him(God)  to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set free those in bondage; and observes proper worship (daily prayer)and pays the charity due.  And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress; such are those who are sincere. Such are the God fearing.” (Qur’an 2: 177)


Another aspect of our social responsibility is to live a life that is free from haughtiness, arrogance, boastfulness and other vile characteristics that some of us tend to display or ‘show off’. “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.” (Qur’an 31: 18-19)


We should accept that morality addresses every aspect of life, from greetings to our social obligations and relations and it is broad based in application in our daily lives.  Morality helps us to control our selfish desires, vanity, bad habits and vices.  Believers must not only be virtuous, but they must also enjoin virtue.  We must not only refrain from evil and vice, but we must also forbid them.  In other words, we must not only be morally healthy, but we must also contribute to the moral health of society as a whole.
‘If anyone does a righteous deed, it is to the benefit of his own soul; if he does evil, it works against his own soul. In the end you will all be brought back to your Lord’ (Quran 45: 15)


Sometimes our love for the ‘temporary’ material pleasures of this world makes us forget our morality as we become attached to worldly gains instead of our yearn for a better world in the Hereafter. Instead of being attached to the car, the job, the diploma and the bank account, all these things should become tools to make us better people. The Holy Qur’an reminds us that: “The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, but only he (will prosper) that brings to God a sound heart (firm in faith).” (Quran 26: 88-89)


The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) summarized the moral behaviour of a Believer,  when he said: “My Sustainer (God Almighty) 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 kinship 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 I should command what is right.”


From this we can see that Islam has a much wider scope for our moral obligations in our daily routines. Therefore a true Believer has to discharge his moral responsibility not only to his parents, relatives and neighbours but to the entire mankind, animals and even to nature itself.


Islam takes up all the commonly known moral virtues and with a sense of balance and proportion in all aspect of our lives. It has a wide scope for our individual and collective life – our domestic associations, our civic conduct, and our activities in the political, economic, legal, educational, and social realms.  It covers his life from home to society, from the dining table to the work place, 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. 

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