What is Ethics?
The literal meaning of “Ethics” is character and nature of the community, people or system. If we look into the technical meaning of “Ethics” then it means “Science of Morals” or if want to simplify it we can say that Ethics is a certain set of rules which are being provided by a society or a religion. But we have to talk about Islamic Ethics which we can describe as “Islamic Ethics is a set of rules which are guiding a Muslim so that he/she can live good and ideal life while being civilized.”
What is Morality?
Morality generally refers to a code of conduct, that an individual, group or society hold as authoritative, in distinguishing right from wrong. Islam as a complete way of life encompasses a complete moral system that is an important aspect of its world-view. We live in an era where good and evil are often looked at as related concepts. Islam, however, defines a universal standard by which actions may be suspect moral or immoral.
Ethics and Morality in Islam
As Islam is a complete code of life that describes each and everything we required to live an ideal life according to the teachings of Quran. Islam describes Moral Values and Ethics in a proper way because Muslims should live their life according to these values which are prescribed by Almighty Allah. As we know the existence of man is a creation of All-Wise and The Most Merciful Creator. After the creation of man, Almighty Allah gave him an authority to live his life according to his own choice whether its good or bad choice. Allah has given this freedom to the man because it is basically his test how he will live his life that is according to the way that Allah described or the other that is evil.
Islam has set some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be noticed and respected under all situations. To achieve these rights Islam provides not only legal safeguards but also a very effective moral system. So whatever point to the interest of the individual or the society is morally good in Islam and whatever is injurious is morally bad. In Quran Allah says: “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 freeing of captives; to be steadfast in prayers, and practice regular charity; to fulfill 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.” (Quran, 2:177)
From above verse, we can conclude that Almighty Allah has set some rules that we should follow to live a life according to the teachings of Almighty Allah.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the great example for all humankind if anyone wants to know about the Ethics and Morality of religion Islam. When Prophet (SAW) started preaching Islam He (SAW) was more focused on disciplining Muslims to have the best manners and personal characteristics. His personal life and behavior were reflective of his teachings, which were revealed to him by Allah Almighty. In the Noble Quran, Allah describes Prophet Muhammad (SAW) saying: “And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” (Quran, 68:4)
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the great model of setting high standards of Ethics and Morality. The Prophet (SAW) used to emphasize how important good manners are for Muslims. He (SAW) has said: “The best of you is the best among you in conduct” (Bukhari). So if someone wants to be the best he/she should have to make his conduct best.
From an Islamic perspective, the purpose of human life is to worship Almighty Allah, by leading this worldly life in consistency with the Divine Will, and thereby achieve peace in this world and success in the life of the hereafter that will not be going to an end forever. Muslims look to the Noble Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet (SAW) as their moral guides.
Unlike other systems, the ethical system in Islam derives from a divine source which is the revelation from Allah. Hence, this system cannot be changed or shaped to fit our desires. This system has not been changed for thousands of years, it cannot be changed today, and it will never change until the Day of Judgment. No one has the authority to change or alter this system, even if the whole world wants to do so. What was considered good morals in the past will remain as good morals throughout time. The system of ethics is not affected by cultural norms because Allah is the One who resolved what is acceptable and what is not for all mankind and for those who are living in this world.
Good Acts of Morality in Quran
In Holy Quran Almighty Allah has mentioned several acts of good morality that we all should follow in our lives, some of them are listed below:
- Worship only Almighty Allah
- Dealing with parents in the best manner
- Do not commit adultery
- Fulfill promises
- Taking care of orphans and the poor
- Being honest in all matters of life
- Treat all people in a fair manner
- Fear Allah and always speak truth
- Be kind and good towards relatives and neighbors
- Remain away from gambling and intoxicants
- Do not kill anyone unjustly
Almighty Allah with His great wisdom could have made such a system that teaches humans how to deal with every aspect of their lives. Almighty Allah made complete and integrated system.
If you want a successful and happy life, then simply apply Islam to it, and you will have wonderful results. On the basic moral characteristics, Islam builds a higher system of morality. Islam generates kindness, generosity, mercy, sympathy, peace, and truthfulness towards all creation in all situations. We have to implement these Moral values and Ethics in our life. May Allah give us the strength to live our lives according to the teachings of Almighty Allah!