The 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 Qur'an in ayah 177 of Surah al-Baqarah: "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 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".
What a beautiful description of the righteous and God-conscious man in these ayahs. He should obey salutary regulations, but he should fix his gaze on the love of God and the love of his fellow-men. We have to focus on four important points: a) Our faith should be true and sincere. b) We must be prepared to show it in deeds of charity to our fellow-humans. 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 judgment provides the nucleus around which the whole moral conduct should revolve. Before laying down any moral injunctions Islam seeks to firmly implant in manís 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 Godís, thus, by setting Godís pleasure as the objective of manís 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 that impels 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.
Here we furnish some basic moral teachings of Islam for various aspects of a Muslimís life. They cover the broad spectrum of personal moral conduct of a Muslim as well as his social responsibilities. The important point is God-Consciousness or piety. The Quran mentions it as the highest quality of a Muslim. In ayah 13 of Surah Hujuraat, we read: "The most honorable among you in the sight of God is the one who is most God-conscious (or pious)."
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 holy Qur'an. We read in ayah 146 of Surah Aal-e Imran: "And God loves those who are firm and steadfast".
Also ayahs 133 and 134 of the same Surah, remind us"
"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".
Likewise, in Surah Luqman, ayahs 18 to 19, God has preserved us the advice of the Great Sage Luqman to his son: "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".
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 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. Respect and care for parents are very much stressed in the Islamic teaching and are a very important part of a Muslimís expression of faith. In ayahs 23 and 24 of Surah al-Isra', we read: "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".
In the same surah, ayah 26 reads: "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."
Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) is quoted as saying: "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 Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet 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 just 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.