26 November 2012

Ethics and Human Values in Islam the religion of Peace.

Ethics and Human Values in Islam the religion of Peace.

Ethics, which is a major branch of philosophy, encompasses right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong. A central aspect of ethics is "the good life", the life worth living or life that is simply satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than traditional moral conduct.

Human values are the need of hour in this world. Truth, Right conduct, love, peace, non-violence these are basics for a golden age of the planet earth. All religions come under this basic foundation.

What are Human values? Milton Rokeach in his book “The Nature of Human Values” defined Value is an enduring belief that a specific way of behaving or a specific life goal is personally or socially preferable to any other.

Values are universal. While definitions will differ, all people everywhere possess common values. The origin of human values can be traced to culture, society, its institutions and organizations and to individual personality and life experience. Values are a complex set of standards that guide or conduct our lives in a variety of ways.

Ethics and Human Values in Islam the religion of Peace.

There was a lot of misconceptions, and misunderstanding about Islam and Muslims in the minds of the people generally. This paper was written with a view to expel those doubts and misconceptions about Islam from the minds of people and giving them a real picture of Islam. In Arabic Islam means Peace, so it is a religion of Peace. 

Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers. The word Islam means 'submission to the will of God'. Islam  is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur'an, a text considered by its adherents to be the word of God (Arabic: الله‎ Allāh . An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.

Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose of existence is to love and serve God. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith. Islam is a perfect code of life. It touches every aspect of life.

Human Values in Islam
According to Islam the twenty recommended and praiseworthy qualities, which one must supplant within himself, are as follows:
1. Belief in the Oneness of Allah 2. Sincerity 3. Well wishing for all  4. Abstinence
5. Contentment  6. Firm committed Faith  7. Knowledge  8. Assigning oneself to Allah
9. To place all reliance and assurance to none but Allah
10. The intention of the ultimate goal i.e. The Straight Path to Allah, the Friend, The Protector, The Glorious  11. Patience  12. Remembrance of death  13. Generosity  14. Repentance
15. Humility  16. Fear  17. Hope in none but Allah 18. To endure hunger
19. Sound and pleasant thoughts relating to any occurring matter 20. The Remembrance and Love for Allah.
Ethics in Islam:
Islamic Ethics (أخلاق إسلامية), can be defined as "good Character”

Islamic ethics teaches regardless of their environment, humans are believed to have a moral responsibility to submit to God's will and to follow Islam (as demonstrated in the Qur'an and the Sunnah, or the sayings of Muhammad) [Quran 7:172)..The motive force in Islamic ethics is the notion that every human being is called to "command the good and forbid the evil" in all spheres of life.

Islamic ethics can be applied by important verses in the holy book (The Quran). The most fundamental characteristics of a Muslim are piety and humility. A Muslim must be humble with God and with other people:

“And turn not your face away from people (with pride), nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, God likes not each arrogant boaster. And be moderate (or show no insolence) in your walking, and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the voice (braying) of the ass.” (Quran 31:18-19)

 A Muslim should not be vain or attached to the ephemeral pleasures of this world.. Morality in Islam addresses every aspect of a Muslim’s life, from greetings to international relations. It is universal in its scope and in its applicability. Morality reigns in selfish desires, vanity and bad habits. Muslims must not only be virtuous, but they must also enjoin virtue. They must not only refrain from evil and vice, but they must also forbid them. In other words, they must not only be morally healthy, but they must also contribute to the moral health of society as a whole.

“You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in God; and if the followers of the Book had believed it would have been better for them; of them (some) are believers and most of them are transgressors.” (Quran: 3:110)

The Qur'an defines and sets the standards of social and moral values for Muslims.

·       In the 17th chapter, "Al-Israa" ("The Night Journey"), verses [Quran 17:22], the Qur'an provides a set of moral stipulations which are "among the (precepts of) wisdom, which thy Lord has revealed to thee" that can be reasonably categorized as ten in number.

1.     Worship only God:. (Quran 17:22)

2.     Be kind, honorable and humble to one's parents: (Quran 17:23 (Quran 17:24)

3.     Be neither miserly nor wasteful in one's expenditure: (Quran 17:26. (Quran 17:27. (Quran 17:28). (Quran 17:29)

4.     Do not kill your children for fear of want. (Quran 17:31)

5.     Do not commit adultery :). (Quran 17:32)

6.     Do not kill unjustly (Quran 17:33)

7.     Care for orphaned children...(Quran 17:34)

8.     Keep one's promises: ...fulfill). (Quran 17:34)

9.     Be honest and fair in one's interactions:. (Quran 17:35)

10.  Do not be arrogant in one's claims or beliefs :). (Quran 17:36) (Quran 17:37)

According to S. A. Nigosian, Professor of religious studies at the University of Toronto, these resemble the Ten Commandments in the Bible and "represents the fullest statement of the code of behavior every Muslim must follow".

·       Protection of Environment: Islam gave much importance to the protection of Environment.

·       'Consultation of the People' :Islam believes in the Majlis ash-Shura  loosely translated as 'consultation of the people'. The importance of this is premised by the following verses of the Qur'an:“...those who answer the call of their Lord and establish the prayer, and who conduct their affairs by Shura are loved by God”[42:38]“...consult them (the people) in their affairs. Then when you have taken a decision (from them), put your trust in Allah”[3:159]

·       Islam accepts Religious pluralism: Religious minorities were also free to do whatever they wished in their own homes provided they did not publicly engage in illicit sexual activity in ways that could threaten public morals.

·       Islam granted Freedom of expression to all.

·       Islam has given men and women equal rights in every aspect of life.

·       In Islam it is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded. Women's honor and chastity are to be respected under all circumstances.

·       The hungry person must be fed, the naked clothed and the wounded or diseased treated medically irrespective of whether they belong to the Islamic community or are from among its enemies.

·       Human rights or fundamental rights in Islam had been granted by God. They apply to humanity as a whole. They are a part and parcel of the Islamic Faith

·       Security of Life and Property: The first and foremost basic right is the right to life.

·       Equality of mankind
·       Right to Acquire Knowledge
·       Right to Basic Necessities of Life
·       Freedom to all religions
·       Sanctity and Security of Privacy
·       The Individual’s Right to Freedom
·       Freedom of Conscience: Let there be no compulsion in religion.
·       Rule of Law or Equality before Law: Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law
·       The Right to Justice: This is a very important and valuable right which Islam has given to Muslims.
·       No Liability for Actions of Others: There is no liability for actions of others and Islam also recognizes the right of the individual not to be arrested or imprisoned for the offenses of other
·       The Right to Protest against Tyranny: Among the rights that Islam has conferred on human beings is the right to protest against government’s tyranny
·       Rulers Not Above the Law: . Al-Asqalani used two ayahs from the Qur'an to justify this “...And they (the sinners on qiyama) will say, 'Our Lord! We obeyed our leaders and our chiefs, and they misled us from the right path. Our Lord! Give them (the leaders) double the punishment you give us and curse them with a very great curse'...”[33:67–68]

·       The Protection of Honor

·       Free Trade

·       Freedom of Expression: Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all

·       Right to develop one’s Aesthetic Qualities and Enjoy the Bounties of God

·       Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment

·       The Right to Participate In the Affairs of State

·       Sanctity and Security of Private Life

·       Freedom of Association:

·       Protection of Religious Sentiments

·       "The rights to know

·       To choose belief and behavior,

·       To read and write,

·       The right to power and even the right to choose government.

Women’s Rights in Islam

Islam is a perfect code of life. Islam has given men and women equal rights in every aspect of life. The rights of Muslim women were given to us by Allah (SWT), who is All-Compassionate, All-Merciful, All-Just, All-Unbiased, All-Knowing and the Most Wise. Islam considers a woman to be equal to a man as a human being and as his partner in this life.

·       Women have the following rights in Islam:

1.     The right and duty to obtain education.

2.     The right to have their own independent property.

3.     The right to work to earn money if they need it or want it.

4.     Equality of reward for equal deeds.

5.     The right to express their opinion and be heard.

6.     The right to provisions from the husband for all her needs and more.

7.     The right to negotiate marriage terms of her choice.

8.     The right to obtain divorce from her husband, even on the grounds that she simply can't stand him. (pls. note that God deeply frowns upon divorce as a solution unless there is hardly any other alternative but it does not mean that men have more right to divorce their wives than women do.)

9.     The right to keep all her own money (she is not responsible to maintain any relations).

10.  The right to get sexual satisfaction from her husband.

11.  Custody of their children after divorce.

12.  To refuse any marriage that does not please them

·       Right of revolution: There are several points regarding the right of revolution in Islam: Two dicta attributed to the Prophet and universally accepted as authentic are indicative. One says, "There is no obedience in sin. The other pronouncement, "do not obey a creature against his creator,"

·       Medical Ethics: Islamic medical ethics view the patient as a whole. Classical texts speak more about "health", than "illness", showing an emphasis on prevention rather than cure.

·       Use of Drugs: Drugs and Alcoholic use were prohibited in Islam.

·       Neurotics” : Islamic neurotics and neurotheology hold a sympathetic attitude towards the mentally ill, as exemplified in Sura 4:5 of the Qur'an:[63]"Do not give your property which God assigned you to manage to the insane: but feed and clothe the insane with this property and tell splendid words to him."

·       Military Ethics: A number of military ethics were fallowed in isalm regarding law of treaties; the treatment of diplomats, hostages, refugees and prisoners of war; the right of asylum; conduct on the battlefield; protection of women, children and non-combatant civilians; contracts across the lines of battle; the use of poisonous weapons; and devastation of enemy territory. The most important of these were summarized by Muhammad's successor and close companion, Abu Bakr, in the form of ten rules for the Muslim army:
Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kills a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.

·       Prisoners of war were fairly treated in Islam by providing free food and were showered with kindness. They were offered to be  released if they agreed to impart education to the Muslims.

·       Peace and justice: peace is a basic concept of Islam. The Arabic term "Islam" itself (إسلام) is usually translated as "submission"; submission of desires to the will of God.. The greeting "Salaam alaykum", favoured by Muslims, has the literal meaning "Peace be with you".


·       Welfare: The concepts of welfare and pension were introduced in Islam in the form of Zakat (charity), one of the Islam. The taxes (including Zakat and Jizya) collected in the treasury of an Islamic government was used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled.

·       Animal welfare: Concern for the treatment of animals can be found in the Qur'an and in the teachings of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Qur'anic verse: "all the creatures that crawl on the earth and those that fly with their wings are communities like yourselves" quran 6:38, Muslims must be in controls of their passions and desires.

·       Islamic teachings on abortion: Muslims regard abortion as wrong and haram (forbidden),
·       Islam and capital punishment: Islam on the whole accepts capital punishment  But even though the death penalty is allowed, forgiveness is preferable. Forgiveness, together with peace, is a predominant Qur’an theme.
·       Euthanasia and suicide in Islam: Muslims are against euthanasia. Suicide and euthanasia are explicitly forbidden .They believe that all human life is sacred because it is given by Allah, and that Allah chooses how long each person will live. Human beings should not interfere in this. Do not take life, which Allah made sacred, other than in the course of justice. Qur'an 17:33.And no person can ever die except by Allah's leave and at an appointed term. Qur'an 3:145 .Destroy not yourselves. Surely Allah is ever merciful to you. Qur'an 4:29
The Prophet may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, summarized the conduct of a Muslim when he 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 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.”
·       Ethics in Religion
·       Islamic Ethics, Encyclopedia of Ethics
·       Human Rights in Islam
·       The meaning of Quran by Mohammad Picktall
·       Hadith
·        Encyclopedia of Islam Online, Akhlaq
·       Islam By S. A. Nigosian, , Indiana University Press
·       Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (2004)
·       Sahih Bukhari,
·       Maududi, Abul Ala (1971), The Meaning of the Qur'anLahore: Islamic Publications, OCLC 7849929