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Ethics and morality are basic to Islam and to a Muslim nation

Published: 21/08/2011 02:16:00 PM GMT
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Islam is not external to everyday life, it is a fundamental surrender of one's existence. Ethics and morality are basic to Islam and to a Muslim nation or a Muslim individual. Muslims believe that the decline of a community lies in its immorality and lack of ethics.

Islam provides for its believers a system of ethics that is designed to defend the rights granted to each individual by the Qur'an. According to Islam, that which makes better the existence of an individual or a community without going against the rules and laws set by the Qur'an is ethically correct while that which harms an individual or the society in which he lives, is morally wrong.

Muslims believe in the importance of doing good deeds. Apart from the acts of prayer and the following of the five pillars of Islam, it is necessary for an individual to do good deeds. These deeds will be judged by God when the day of resurrection comes.

According to the Qur'an arrogance and pride are some of the most damning characteristics that a Muslim could have. Insolence and boasting are the complete opposite of what a Muslim should be. Islam emphasizes humility and piety over all things. This was an ethical safeguard to the preferred personal characteristic of Muhammad's time, manliness.

Another ethical precept for Muslims is self control. It is important for Muslims to learn to control the urges of their bodies and of their minds. Passion and desire have their place, but it is demanded from Muslims that they exercise discipline in controlling them. This is because a Muslim's focus should be on the afterlife, not in the material world. Material objects and knowledge are necessary, but should be used as tools and stepping stones on a road to enlightenment, on a road to becoming a better person through Islam. They should be used to come closer to God, not as an object in themselves. Muslims always strive to keep God in their heart above all other things.

The Surat Al Baqarah explains the concept of what is right in Islam. It says that mere prayer it not enough, that being righteous lies in believing in God and his divine message, on spending one's assets and wealth to help one's family and those people in society that are at a disadvantage and need it the most. To those that worship God according to the laws of the Qur'an and pay Zakat to the poor. Those who keep the promises that they make and remain patient and persevere through the hardships of life. This verse of Al Baqarah defines faith as the center for all Islamic ethics. By keeping the focus of one's life on God, Islamic ethics teaches that a Muslim should act correctly and morally in every moment of his life. That the intentions behind  actions and all of a person's secret thoughts are open to God and are subject to God's judgment. After talking about faith, the Surat goes on to mention all the deeds that each person can undertake to be righteous. In the end it counsels patience and perseverance; the Surat teaches that it is not enough to be faithful but that one must strive to keep one's faith constantly through life's trials.

There are three acts that, while supremely difficult, hold the key to Islamic morality and salvation. They exemplify the Muslim spirit of surrendering oneself and doing as much for others as possible. They also exemplify the Islamic conception of thought and intent as being on equal footing morally and ethically as actions. These actions are giving to charity even when one is in need for charity at that particular moment, controlling oneself in the midst of anger, and forgiving those that wrong you. These three actions are the standard that define what pleases God. It is not enough to engage in good deeds, but these must be at the highest standard of piety and humility.

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