Islam is a complete way of life that provides a belief structure, and a moral system that guides individuals and society. Morality is a set of values regarding someone’s behavior and lifestyle choices. A code of conduct that a society uses to determine right from wrong. Islamic decency and justice is for Muslims and Non-Muslims. Islamic Morality guides us in everything from how to treat our parents and neighbors to not stealing the last pint of ice cream from your Mother. The Islamic moral system is derived from a divine source, therefore it does not change with the times and it cannot be molded to fit our personal desires.
Prophet Muhammad’s Morality ﷺ
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) set a high standard of Islamic morals. He ﷺ would purposefully encourage good morals and ethics with those around him. He said:
“Indeed among the believers with the most complete faith is the one who is the best in conduct, and the most kind to his family” [Sahih Tirmidhi]
Islam explains the importance of applying the Sunnah; which means to model your own behaviors and moral choices off the examples shown from Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. His actions were in accordance with the Quran, the word of God. His ﷺ personal life is a reflection of his understanding and relationship with the Quran. The Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ character is even mentioned directly in the Quran.
“And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” [Noble Quran 68:4]
Individual And Societal Morality
Islam teaches the importance of displaying traits like honesty, humbleness and God-consciousness. It is not only in the presence of others you are supposed to demonstrate good character, but when you are alone and feel no one is watching. This is where integrity comes into play and you must remember you are never truly alone; God is always watching and aware, even in the smallest deeds. Think about when it is 2 in the morning and no one is driving, yet the light is red. You should stay at that light.
Everyday you are faced with choices of right and wrong.What you decide impacts yourself as an individual and society around you. Set the best example of contributing towards a healthy society.
Islam advocates social responsibility centered on mercy and kindness, beginning at home with your family. A high level of respect, dutifulness and kindness towards parents, spouses and children is expected. God emphasizes the importance of good treatment towards parents when He said:
“And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small” [Noble Quran 17:24]
Likewise, this responsibility also extends to your neighbors, regardless of their religion, wealth, social status, etc.. Muslims must look after their neighbors and their well being. Can you remember a time when you needed help? What if your neighbor had come over and assisted you? Imagine how the world might be different if everyone ensured their neighbor was safe and taken care of.
“A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbor is hungry.’ [Sahih Al-Albani]
Moral Guidance in the Quran
The Quran mentions many levels of morality. Good character is not just encouraged; it is a part of faith. The Quran guides you to the best of morals, even when visiting someone’s home you have to behave respectfully and demonstrate good character.
“O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded” [Noble Quran 24:27]
God wants you to walk with humbleness not pride and when attacked verbally, respond in a calm manner. This is not only a high level of morality; it demonstrates the need for self-control which is important in Islam. When you exercise self-control you are more likely to avoid anger, greed and other dangerous traits which are against Islamic character.
“And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace” [Noble Quran 25:63]
Honesty and accountability are also important parts of any moral code. God encourages you in the Quran to be honest and accountable for your actions. You must speak the truth and hold your loved ones to that same moral code. If you fail to speak up for truth and justice, you fall into immorality.
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” [Noble Quran 4:135]
Islam Is a Pillar For Morality
Islamic character encompasses every part of your life, from your home and neighbors to your choices at work and treatment of the homeless. It provides a guide to uplift your own morality while also positively impacting the morals of others. Muslims are expected to engage in righteousness as much as they are able, but they are also expected to encourage this same positive behavior in others by contributing to their society and anyone they interact with, whether they are Muslim or not.
Good moral character is the cornerstone of Islam as evidenced in the mandatory actions knowns as the five pillars of faith; prayer, charity, testimony of faith, pilgrimage and fasting. Prayer is about worship and God-consciousness. Charity is about helping others. The statement of belief in One God and Muhammad as the final messenger, better known as the testimony of faith, is also about God-consciousness and truthfulness. The pilgrimage shows devotion to something greater than yourself. Fasting is an act of worship that requires self-control. All together this shows that Islam puts focus on maintaining mindfulness of God while doing good for others and exercising self-restraint.
Islam promotes this moral code of conduct that protects mankind from selfish behaviors, laziness, lack of self-control and hurtful actions that damage not only ourselves, but can hurt those around us. These morals in Islam encourage us to be more God-conscious and make every action an act of worship. This promotes feelings of moral responsibility, mercy, generosity and honesty no matter what the situation is.
Through Islam and morals our society can be harmonious and secure. Following a God-conscious code of conduct brings you closer to God, lightens your heart and benefits the society around you. Research more about Islam to choose principals you feel would benefit yourself and the people around you. Perform those ethics and see how your life improves.