The word "morality" comes from the Latin word moralitas meaning "manner, noble character and proper behavior". Morality generally refers to a code of conduct, that an individual, group or society hold as authoritative, in distinguishing right from wrong. Immorality is the active opposition to morality, while amorality is not admitting of moral distinctions or judgments; neither moral nor immoral or lacking moral sensibility; not caring about right and wrong.
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice, etc. Ethics in Islam or True Islamic code of ethics provides basic concepts which gives humanity a strong platform on which they can lay their lives according to the teaching of Noble Qur'an and Prophet's Sunnah.
Islam as a comprehensive way of life encompasses a complete moral system that is an important aspect of its world-view. We live in an age where good and evil are often looked at as relative concepts. Islam however, holds that moral positions are not relative and instead, defines a universal standard by which actions may be deemed moral or immoral.
A major goal of Islam is to provide mankind with a practical and realistic system of life based on good by which he can conduct his life. It calls upon mankind not only to practice virtue but to establish it and to eradicate all that is harmful. It seeks the supremacy of one's conscience in all matters, so that what is harmful cannot gain the upper hand in either an individual or a society. Those who respond to this call are known as Muslims, which literally means those who have submitted to God (Allah). The sole object of the resulting community of Muslims (Muslim Ummah) is the undertaking of an organized effort to establish what is good and to fight and eradicate what is evil and harmful.
Morality is one of the fundamental sources of a nation's strength, just as immorality is one of the main causes of a nation's decline. Hence, Morality is one of the cornerstones of Islam. Morality in Islam has established some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed in all circumstances. Islam's moral system is striking in that it not only defines morality, but also guides the human race in how to achieve it, at both an individual as well as a collective level. Thus, everything that leads to the welfare of the individual and the society is morally good in Islam, and whatever is harmful is morally bad.
Given its importance in a healthy society, Islam supports morality and matters that lead to it and stands in the way of corruption and matters that lead to it. The Islamic moral principles therefore, appeal naturally to the human intellect, while elevating the pursuit of morality to the level of worship. This is because Islam holds every action that is done with the goal of attaining of God's pleasure to be worship. The Guardian and Judge of all deeds is God Himself.
The concept of morality in Islam centers around certain basic beliefs and principles. Among these are the following: (1) God is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and Source of all goodness, truth and beauty. (2) Man is a responsible, dignified and honorable agent of his Creator. (3) God has put everything in the heavens and the earth in the service of mankind. (4) By His Mercy and Wisdom, God does not expect the impossible from man or hold him accountable for anything beyond his power. Nor does God forbid man to enjoy the good things of life. (5) Moderation, practicality and balance are the guarantees of high integrity and sound morality. (6) All things are permissible in principle except what is singled out as obligatory, which must be observed, and what is singled out as forbidden, which must be avoided. (7) Man's ultimate responsibility is to God and his highest goal is the pleasure of his Creator.
From an Islamic perspective, the purpose of human life is to worship God, by leading this worldly life in harmony with the Divine Will, and thereby achieve peace in this world, and everlasting success in the life of the hereafter. Muslims look to Noble Qur'an and the Traditions of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) as their moral guides. Muslims believe that true happiness occurs when you are God-conscious and submissive to God's will. Freedom is freedom from human desires and man-made ideals. Through prayer and fasting, self-discipline and self-control become a focus of many Muslims. This also is a foundation for human dignity.
Almighty Allah (SWT) sums up righteousness in verse 177 of Surat Al Baqarah as follows:
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts - these are they who are true (to themselves) and these are they who guard (against evil)." (Noble Qur'an, 2:177)
This verse teaches us that righteousness and piety is based before all else on a true and sincere faith. The key to virtue and good conduct is a strong relation with God, who sees all, at all times and everywhere. He knows the secrets of the hearts and the intentions behind all actions. Therefore, Islam enjoins moral behavior in all circumstances; God is aware of each one when no one else is. It may be possible to deceive the world, but it's not possible to deceive the Creator. The love and continuous awareness of God and the Day of Judgment enables man to be moral in conduct and sincere in intentions, with devotion and dedication:
"Indeed, the most honorable among you in the sight of God is the most pious." (Noble Qur'an, 49:13)
The guiding principle for the behavior of a Muslim is what Noble Qur'an refers to as virtuous deeds. This term covers all deeds, not just the outward acts of worship.
Some of the most primary character traits expected of a Muslim are piety, humility and a profound sense of accountability to God. A Muslim is expected to be humble before God and with other people. Islam also enjoins upon every Muslim to exercise control of their passions and desires. Gratitude in prosperity, patience in adversity, and the courage to uphold the truth, even when inconvenient to oneself, are just some of the qualities that every Muslim is encouraged to cultivate.
Islam warns against vanity and excessive attachment to the ephemeral pleasures of this world. While it is easy to allow the material world to fill our hearts, Islam calls upon human beings to keep God in their hearts and to use the material world in moderation and in accordance with God's guidance. The Glorious Qur'an says:
"The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, but only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart." (Noble Qur'an: 26:88-89)
Charity is one of the most commendable acts in Islam. In fact, Zakah, the annual charity that is obligatory on every Muslim who has accrued wealth above a certain level.
Morality in Islam addresses every aspect of a Muslim's life, starting with as simple as a smile that counts as charity all the way up to defending the oppressed, from simple greetings to international relations. It is universal in its scope and in its applicability.
Backbiting is a terrible vice in Noble Qur'an. Killing innocent is strictly prohibited in Noble Qur'an. Women are equal to men in humanity but they have different responsibilities.
A Muslim is expected to not only be virtuous, but to also enjoin virtue. He/She must not only refrain from evil and vice, but must also actively engage in asking people to eschew them. In other words, they must not only be morally healthy, but must also contribute to the moral health of society as a whole.
Some people who say they are acting in the name of religion may misunderstand their religion or practice it wrongly. For this reason, it is a mistake to form any idea of that religion from the activities of these people. The best way to understand Islam is through its authentic source.
The authentic source of Islam is Noble Qur'an and Prophet's Sunnah; and the model of morality in Noble Qur'an is completely different from the image of it formed in the minds of some westerners. Noble Qur'an is based on the concepts of morality, love, compassion, mercy, modesty, self-sacrifice, tolerance and peace and a Muslim who truly lives according to these moral precepts is highly refined, thoughtful, tolerant, trustworthy and accommodating. To those around him he gives love, respect, peace of mind and a sense of the joy of life.
All this shows that the moral teaching offered to humanity by Islam is one that will bring peace, prosperity, happiness and justice to the world. The barbarism that is happening in the world today under the name of "Islamic Terrorism" is completely removed from the moral teachings of Noble Qur'an; it is the work of ignorant, criminals who have nothing to do with religion.
On this Moral Stories website, we have listed a large collection of moral stories covering different aspects of Morality and Ethics in Islam or Islamic Morals and Practices. These moral stories cover the broad spectrum of a Muslim's personal moral conduct as well as their social responsibilities.