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
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West; but
it is righteousness to believe in God 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 prayers, and
practice regular charily, to fulfill the contracts which you made, and to be
firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and through out all
periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing." (Qur'an,
2: 177 ) .
We are given a beautiful description of the righteous and God-fearing man in
this verse. 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 and charities.
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 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 gives 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 noval 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, 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 Noble Qur'an mentions it as the highest quality of a Muslim:
"The most honourable among you in the sight of God is the one who is most
God-conscious." (Qur'an, 49: 13 ) .
Humility, modesty, control of passions and desires, truthfulness, integrity,
patience, steadfastness, and fulfilling one's promises are moral values
which are emphasized again and again in the Qur'an. We read in the Noble
"And God loves those who are firm and steadfast."
(Qur'an, 3: 146 ) .
"And vie with one another to attain your Sustainer's forgiveness and to a
Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, which prepared for the
God-conscious, who spend for charity 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." (Qur'an, 3: 133- 134 ) .
"Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong:
and bear patiently whatever may befall you, 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 ) .
In a way which summarizes the moral behaviour of a Muslim, the Prophet
Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) 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 it off with me: to give to him who deprived 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 relationships, then, our first
obligation is to our immediate family - parents, husband or wife and
children, then to other relatives, neighbours, 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 is very much stressed in the Islamic teachings
and is a very important part of a Muslim's expression of faith.
"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
life-time, do not say to them a word of contempt nor repel them, but address
them in terms of honour. 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." (Qur'an, 17: 23-24 ) .
"And render to the relatives their due rights, as (also) to those in need,
and to the traveller. Do not squander your wealth in the manner of a
spendthrift." (Qur'an, 17: 26 ) .
The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) has said:
"He is not a believer who eats his fill when his neighbour beside him is
hungry, and he does not believe whose neighbours are not safe from his
Actually, according to the Qur'an and Sunnah a Muslim has to discharge his
moral responsibility not only to his parents, relatives and neighbours, but
to the whole 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 that 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-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.