Concepts of Moral Values in Islam
Religious thinking concentrated its search on certainty in life, and on the reasons on human existence, to know mysterious secret of life. Fedriek Tylor was one of the early scholars who cared for the idea of religion. He observed that relationship between social behavior and religion is an interrelation. When religion concentrate on moral values such as permitted and prohibited, on good and evil, on reward and punishment, then it enters the details of society life. While Emile Durkheim
, on the other side, admits that religion regulates beliefs and behaviors related to sacred things, and that they resemble unity of believers. Religion then has more than one job. From the individual side, it assists them to feel security, stability and safety, to determine their identity, and group belongingness and their acceptance to values and beliefs that religion regulates. From the side of society it helps in regulating emotions and their sustainability, and this is one of the pillars of community continuity and sustainability. Passing over all dealing of sociologists in the field of moral values, we observe that it remind us, in details or summary, moral values as they had been seen in the ancient Greek paganism, or in Judaism, or Christianity, then it turn abruptly to its shapes, and forms in modern Europe, ignoring discussing their views, shapes and forms in Islam. But some Europeans during the nineteenth century tried to extract moral values and principles from the Holy Quran, but such trials never reached the stage of shaping practical foundations, or to offer them in the shape of a complete constitution of moral vales, in addition to that they are built on incorrect translation for the Holy Quran meanings. There is another worst situation which is found among seculars, who study values in Islam then compare them tot the values of Arabian life before Islam, or to what had been stated in the Torah or the Bible, then they decide that if values are matching between Islam and what its precedents, then this is an indicator that Islam revealed them from previous religions, and if there is difference, then this is an indicator that values are not absolute but relative. The aim of this is to distort the shape of Islam, and to decide that it didn’t bring any thing new to human life. They didn’t know that matching could come from that Islam is the source of values as it is in the previous religions, because it came from Allah who sent all messengers and prophets, and they didn’t know also that stating that values are relative is mistaken, and that it is more accurate to say that some societies are limiting their potentials and capacity to reach to the absolute right. The need for studying values from an Islamic perspective could be felt if we came to know that doubts cast by some intellectuals that Muslims are to abandon their moral and spiritual values if they are to seek scientific and technological progress and to seek merge to western life, and that it is impossible for Muslims to build on values, because the absence of values is the source that brought industry and science and that values shall limit space for achieving civilization. This is not true, because some nations achieved civilizations while they protect their identity and values such the Japanese. There are Muslim scholars who adhere to their Islamic values, theology and behavior and they achieved vast progress in scientific and technological fields. The Holy Quran is a methodology of morals and virtue, that is stated the rules of morals, and drew the path of right behavior that achieves happy life to all society individuals. Allah states in the Holy Quran (Surely, this Qur'an guides to what is most right; and gives to the believers who do good deeds the glad tidings that they shall have a great reward) (Al-Isra: 09), and that (And if there comes to you guidance from ME, then whoso will follow MY guidance, will not go astray, nor will he come to grief;) (Taha: 123), and the Holy Quran is the constitution of morals in Islam. Such morals search for change through struggle and not on the concept of sociology, but on its Islamic concepts that aim to build on moral values not on physical benefits. It is change to the best in beliefs and in systems. It is changing polytheism to oneness, ignorance by knowledge, unemployment by work, poverty by richness, weakness by strength, and selfishness by solidarity, and vulgar by chastity, and all other values that Islam is calling for in the process of building human society. The criteria of progress and backwardness in Islam concept is unique. It is linking development to faith and guidance, and backwardness to infidelity and ashtray, even if they are linked to physical civilization and scientific benefits. Allah States (And if there comes to you guidance from ME, then whoso will follow MY guidance, will not go astray, nor will he come to grief (*) But whosoever will turn away from MY remembrance, his will be a straitened life) (Taha: 123-124), and the Holy Quran is very frank in keeping the ashtray on his agony, even if physical potentials are abundant, and this is the case of western life that are built solely on physical learning and experiment, and on old beliefs that are built on exchange in all its dealings. Allah States (Have they not traveled in the earth that they could see what was the end of those before them ? They were mightier than these in power and they left firmer marks in the earth. But ALLAH seized them for their sins, and they had no one to protect them from ALLAH (*) That was because their Messengers came to them with manifest Signs but they disbelieved; So ALLAH seized them. Surely, HE is Powerful, Severe in punishment) (Ghafir: 21-22), and He States (Have they not traveled in the earth so that they might see how evil was the end of those who were before them ? They were stronger than these in power, and they tilled the soil and populated it more and better than these have populated it. And their Messengers came to them with manifest Signs. And ALLAH would not wrong them, but they wronged their own souls.) (Al-Room: 09). Previous verses link the ideological factor to the change in society shape of life, even if physical potentials, strength and power are there. If we search in the formation of Muslim society, we shall see that it is built on a course that came from Lord of All Creations. This course is the base society is built on, and formed as it is ordered by Allah to his slaves, not on those sought by other people. In view of this Shariaa, Muslim community had been built, and work and production relations, and rules of life, individual and group moral bases, and principles of behavior, work laws, and all other society important aspects, that determine its path toward progress and development had been formed. This Islamic society is the society that enjoys its formation capacities that are distinguished from other human societies according to the following features:
First: that it is a Divine society that is built on Islamic ideology, and relation between its individuals is built on this ideology. It is clear the concentration of the Mohammedan Message on planting ideology of Islam in Muslims life for thirteen years, then He turned to orders and prohibitions that are met with full obey from all Islamic society individuals at that time. It is clear also the concentration of the Holy Quran on the meaning of ideology and faith in what had been Stated by Allah ( O ye who believe ! believe in ALLAH and HIS Messenger and in the Book which HE had revealed to HIS Messenger, and the Book which HE revealed before it. And whoso disbelieves in ALLAH and HIS angels, and HIS Books and HIS Messengers and the Last Day, has surely strayed far away.) (Al-Nisaa: 136).
Second: it is an global community. It is a society that is not built on race, nationality, or ethnic. These are features that disappear when their sources are absent. It is a society that is open for all people from all races, languages or colors. Society that is built on the Orders of Allah (Say, `O mankind, truly I am a Messenger to you all from ALLAH) (Al-Aaraf: 158).
Third: it is cooperative society. One of the main and most important features of it is cooperation and solidarity, all its individuals are one unity, cooperatives, loving, and support each other on the hardships of life and crises. The Noble Prophet said that (Believer to believer are like one building, one ties the other).
Fourth: it is an advisory society. The main benefit of this is that every individual believes that he is support others seeking their benefits, and that Muslim is like a mirror for his brothers Muslim, and that one of the main duties of all Muslims is promotion of virtue and prevention of vice, as Allah States (And the believers, men and women, are friends of another. They enjoined good and forbid evil and observe Prayer and pay the Zakaat and obey ALLAH and HIS Messenger. It is these on whom ALLAH will have mercy. Surely, ALLAH is Mighty and Wise) (Al-Tawba: 71). Sure that all those who try to study Muslim social history shall find that moral values are a part of the religion principles, could not be split of it. They are constant origins that do not change on life and dci********. And that main principles of Islam urge all Muslims to stick to moral values, for this is the main pillar for Muslim nation victory, towards its development and sustainable human and materialistic civilization. If we look in moral value and supreme examples, we shall find that they collapsed before Muslims historical collapse, and we know that the Islamic religion call to adhere to moral values through stick of religious and moral values. Religion calls for control of human behavior and direct it toward correct behavior and morals follow this behavior, so, in most cases, we shall find religious controls mix with moral controls, on the contrary of non-Muslim societies, which follow its moral controls from society culture or from mind. Religion in the concept of Islam is the course which gives moral values their sacred and honest, which makes individual feels that he is a monitor on his own values and behavior, and that creates a self-deterrent. This is what called in Islam the “religious deterrent”. Islam determines moral values which society is to follow, and give it a clear stable reference of systems that all individuals are to follow, and it strictly applied a group of controls that find its strength and validity from religion controls, that in majority cases is left for human conscience and his fear to his Lord. So lying, envy, malice, slander, arrogance, scant, and all kinds of such behaviors are prohibited in Islam, and contradict to good moral values, so controls are applied to prevent individual from performing as such.
Study of Values by Muslim Scholars: Muslim scholars cared for moral values under different names such as (Faith Sections) and (Decencies) or (Virtues), (Morals) or (Great Sins). What could be termed negative values cold be found in Al-Qazwinin (Summary of Faith Sections), or in (Great Sins) for Imam Al-Thahabi, or what could be termed the Positive Values that could be found under the title (Decencies) for Ibn Al-Moataz, or in (Morals and Biographies) for Ibn Hazm, and we find that Al-Ghazali in his book (Restoring Religion Sciences) casts many positive values, and that much negative values could be found under the title (Syndromes). Ibn Al-Qayem also is concerned in his book (Passers Stairs) to the values of ideologies, while on the other hand Al-Nawawi in his book (Riyadh Al-Saleheen) is concerned more with moral values, and Al-Shatibi in his book (Aims in Shariaa) divides them to necessary, need and promotion. During the contemporary era, there is Lutfi Ahmad who divided values in Islam under ten titles : Slavery values, human admiration values, faith values, integration values, guidance values, repentance values, moderate values, calling and prayer values, comprehension values, and selection values, while Abdul Qadir Hashim Ramzi said that values in Islam could be divvied into materialistic, human, moral and spiritual.
Sources of moral values in Islam: the source of values in Islam differ as to source. If we mean Islamic values, then the source would be Holy Quran and Noble Prophetic Sunnah, and this means that values should be absolute and stable, and if we mean Muslims values in their societies then their sources would be numbers and could differ from one society to anther, but there could be some common points. Such sources of values in Muslims societies could be referred back to traditions and habits, resembling other nations, or intellectual and civilization citing, innovation in religion and other kinds of sources.
Features of moral values in view of Islam
features of such values could be summarized as follows:
a. They are logic: that they conform with the nature of good human thinking. No one among philosophers tried to turn down one of these values cast in the Holy Quran. Allah said his Holy Book (And truly, it is a mighty Book, (*)
Falsehood cannot approach it either from before it nor from behind it. It is a revelation from the Wise, the Praiseworthy.) (Fussilat: 41-42).
b. They are realistic: that they match real life and human nature and conform with change in all situations and during all eras. They are not absolute ideals or impossible imaginations, or strange from human nature.
c. They are useful: that they are useful for both human and society in this life, and could lead to more benefits in the other life.
d. They are balanced: that they are not for individuals or to society separately. Instead they are medium built on balance and consistency, between individual and society benefits.
e. They are the foundation of society: that they conform between physical and materialistic needs, between soul and body, between rights and duties, under the supervision of fair authority of the Holy Quran.
f. They are eternal: they are cited from the Sacred Shariaa of the Holy Quran and from the religion of Islam which Allah accepted as the sole religion for all humans.
g. They are internally consistent: the source of values in Islam is the Holy Book and Sunnah, from this point it shall not be thought that there could be any kind of dispute or conformance, as Allah Says (Will they not, then, meditate upon the Qur'an ? Had it been from anyone other than ALLAH, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.) (Al-Nisaa: 82). The most important thing here is that sources of values in Islam should be thought of as coming from one unit.
From this point values in Islam could not be the thing that is pleasant for one person during any time alone. In this case Islam called them desires that all Muslims are to confront and limit. And that they could not be extracted from the human experience or from the social activity. They are divine not left for the society, or to its activities or experiments. Values in Islam are good meaning without any kind of guidance such as love, it is for known types, and such as conviction which should not turn to dullness or inactivity. Values in Islam are the courses that determine positive and negative attitudes, and not left for motivations only, they are moved by faith sometimes. Values in Islam are not as communist term their values. Work is one of the values of Islam, and not all values of Islam is what is thought of as to conform with mid, for mind in Islam is a means for understanding decided values.
Aims of Moral Values in Islam
Moral values in Islam aim to determine human activity in a Muslim society, and to promote and control their behavior to the benefit of the whole society and its individuals, and to bring for all individuals a good conclusion in the other life. It aims to integration human attributes, behavior, activity that aims to prepare followers of the Lord, whom Islam described them and clarified the path of goodness for them (It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in ALLAH and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and spends his money out of love for HIM, on the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask for charity and for ransoming the captives; and observes prayer and pays the Zakat; and those who fulfill their promise when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and afflictions and the steadfast in the time of war; it is these who have proved truthful and it is these who are truly God-Fearing.) (Al-Baqara: 177), and formed their medium passage in dealing in their lives (And seek, in that which ALLAH has given thee, the Home of the Hereafter; and neglect not thy lot in this world; and do good to others as ALLAH has done good to thee; And seek not to create mischief in the land. Verily, ALLAH loves not those who create mischief) (Al-Qasas: 77). Moral values in Islam then, whether they are individual such as sincerity, patience, charity love, soul combating, or common such as self feeling, obligation, and call for Islam, are meant to bring individual and society benefit, and protect human benefit. From this point we determine the main foundations of the value theory in Islam as to the following objectives:
a. First Objective: Oneness and worshipping: (most common foundations of Muslim life is that human should seek to achieve the Oneness of the Lord, which is a strict respond to all what humans are thinking about the continent, life, and living, life before and after him, and that is what all humans should use to seek true worshipping to the Lord. This is the system revealed from the Holy Book and Prophetic Sunnah.
b. Second Objective: to prepare the faithful individual( for system of value in Islam seek to prepare the individual with a strong building, who seek to achieve the Say of Allah, Praise the Lord, (Say, `My Prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds) (Al-Anaam: 162). This is a portray that differs from the portray of good citizen in other contemporary systems. The good person in human systems could kill, be unfair, and could seek to built his self society on the account on other societies, but the good human in Islam is like Abu Bakr and Omer, May Allah be in Consent with them, who urge to avoid torture, burning or killing children, and to avoid killing trees or demolition of churches.
c. Third Objective: is Balancing as Islamic value system is built on balance as the principle of everything. Allah Says (and HE has created everything, and has determined its proper measure. ) (Al-Forqan: 2), and Allah Says (And there is not a thing but are limitless treasures thereof with US and WE sent it not down except in a known measure) (Al-Hijr: 21). For all this Islam seeks to integrate all life aspects materialistic or spiritual, and seek to build individual objective along with the society aims and call for all to integrate words with deeds, and to balance between human needs in this life and his wishes in the other life.
d. Correct Morals: Islam makes the moral side a measure for good deeds, and the main side in values is the main objectives for the message of Islam. The Noble Prophet came to complete good morals, and Islam cares for development of moral feeling in human nature, and makes correctness the guide of human behavior both publicly and privately, as Islam assures the moral side in all worships.