Islam and moral conduct

Since the dawn of time, man has forged and tried to advance himself by all manners, be it through capital gains or through technology, to become more civilized.

Allah through time has sent many a person to help mankind become civilized and become more in harmony with his spiritual self. One such personage was our beloved Prophet Muhammad Allah's peace and blessings be upon him.

The Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him was sent to help mankind to tread upon the spiritual path, to teach and purify the inner qualities of the people reflected by their moral attitude. After being entrusted with the mission of calling the masses to bring faith upon Allah and to non-other than him, an additional task was given to the Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, this was moral conduct.

We have condensed Islam into just faith and worship, whereas in reality Islam is a complete way of life, and moral conduct is an integral part of being a Muslim.

All religions are undoubtedly based on good moral conduct. The teachings of all prophets and reformers have maintained, for example, that speaking the truth is good whereas lying is bad, that justice is right and oppression is wrong, that charity is virtue and theft is evil. As with other aspects of Islam, the teachings of the Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him in this regard are complete and comprehensive. The Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him himself said: ‘I have been sent to perfect virtues of courtesy and good behavior'. In another narration the Prophet's Allah's peace and blessings be upon him words are even clearer: ‘I have been sent only for the purpose to complete good behavior.'

The question is what is moral conduct?

Moral conduct relates to those mutual rights and obligations that fall upon human beings, the observance of which is not only proper but also essential.

When a person comes into this world, he forms a relationship, to a greater or lesser degree, with everything that is present here. He forms a relationship with family, friends, in fact with every person and everything connected to him in terms of, for example, gender, neighborhood, homeland, nationality etc. He even has a relationship with animals and the environment. As a result, certain obligations are incumbent upon him. It is the elegant and beautiful discharge of these that constitutes ‘moral conduct'. It is thus that when entrusted with this task, the Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him carried out this task. He was still in Makkah when the eminent Companion Abu Dhar May Allah be please with him sent his brother there to investigate the circumstances and teachings of this new Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him. After returning he told Abu Dhar :

“I saw him exhorting people to develop good manners.

When Abu Sufyan gave the description of the Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him in the court of the Roman Emperor, whilst still a non-Muslim, about the reformatory message of the Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, he said that in addition to preaching the Unity of Allah and his worship, he also taught people to be chaste, to speak the truth and to keep good relations with kith and kin.

The Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him has further said, “The believer whose faith is more perfect are those who have the best character”.

In another narration,”A person can attain through moral conduct the same status which is gained by fasting during the day and worshipping all through the night.” We can observe that from the above Ahadith, that achieving perfection of faith in Islam depends upon good conduct, for this is the fruit by which the tree of faith is identified. We can also see that moral conduct is that yardstick by which a person's status and honour can be measured. There are numerous Ahadith on this topic but from the few shown we can see the very high status that moral conduct holds in Islam. Also there are many verses in the Qur'aan attributing to moral conduct, one of these is following, “O ye who believe! Bow down, prostrate yourselves and do good that ye may prosper”.

This means that after faith in the mission entrusted to the Prophet Allah's peace and blessings be upon him by Allah, there are two essentials; one is worship, and the other good conduct. The former is the “Rights due to the creator”, and the other is the “Rights due to his creation”. The sum total of the two is Islam.

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