What is Morality?


Source / Courtesy: Muslim Sunrise

By Lubna Roohi Malik

The Holy Qur’an lays out three basic states of man. These three states separate man from animals and spiritual men from moral men. These three states are: the natural state, the moral state, and the spiritual state. Man begins in the base, natural state, where he has the impulse to eat, drink, sleep, and perform various other natural functions. To move beyond this, man learns social culture and etiquette, which are a slightly refined natural state. To become moral, however, man needs to learn to control the natural qualities, urges, and impulses and exhibit them in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time. God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an in 68:5 that He has endowed all humans with the ability to achieve high moral excellences.

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  1. Zia H. Shah

    Foundation of our morality: Islamic and Judeo-Christian tradition
    If we examine our morality in its extreme situations we may realize that clearly there are religious implications and our morality came from God and perhaps cannot fully exist without God.

    Our morality is rooted in the prophets of God who revealed to us the absolute standards of our Creator against murder and incest for example.

    If we carefully examine the teachings of the Bible and the Holy Quran on the subject of murder and incest we will find Quranic tradition a more evolved and preserved text. The Holy Quran details the blood relationships that believers are forbade to marry. It says:

    “Forbidden to you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your fathers’ sisters, and your mothers’ sisters, and brother’s daughters, and sister’s daughters, and your foster-mothers that have given you suck, and your foster-sisters, and the mothers of your wives, and your stepdaughters, who are your wards by your wives unto whom you have gone in — but if you have not gone in unto them, there shall be no sin upon you — and the wives of your sons that are from your loins; and it is forbidden to you to have two sisters together in marriage, except what has already passed; surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al Quran 4:24)

    About murder the Quran links itself to the Jewish tradition and states:

    ” … On account of this, We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. And Our Messengers came to them with clear Signs, yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land.” (Al Quran 5:33)


  2. Rafiq A. Tschannen

    What is right and what is wrong? Yes, humans seems to know ‘to a large extent’ what is right or wrong even without adhering to a religion. A ‘non-religious’ person also knows that it is wrong to steal or kill another human being, for instance. However there are other aspects, equally important, where the understanding of right or wrong is ‘muddled’. For instance living on interest is considered right in the West and wrong among Muslims. Sex outside of marriage used to be considered wrong by everyone, but lately has become to be sort of ‘totally in order’ in the Western culture (or ‘non-culture’?).

    Just some thoughts…

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