By Asad Hussain
August 7, 2018
Islam is an integral form of life, and morality is one of the cornerstones of Islam. Morality is one of the fundamental sources of the strength of a nation, just as immorality is one of the main causes of a nation’s decline.
Islam has established some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which must be observed in all circumstances. To defend these rights, Islam has provided not only legal safeguards, but also a very effective moral system. Therefore, what leads to the welfare of the individual or of society and does not oppose any of the maxims of religion is morally good in Islam, and whatever is harmful is morally bad.
Given its importance in a healthy society, Islam supports morality and the issues that lead to it and stands in the way of corruption and the issues that lead to it. The guiding principle for the behaviour of a Muslim is “virtuous deeds”. This term encompasses all works, not just acts of worship. The Guardian and Judge of all works is God himself.
The most fundamental characteristics of a Muslim are piety and humility. A Muslim must be humble with God and with other people:
“And turn not your face away from people (with pride), nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, God likes not each arrogant boaster. And be moderate (or show no insolence) in your walking and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the voice (braying) of the ass.” (Quran 31:18-19)
World history has never seen a period in which a sense of morality prevailed. Only Islamic history projects a period of around 13 years where the Holy Prophet (SAW) established a society in Madina that can be described as immaculate: free of evil and exploitation.
One of the main objectives of Islam is to extirpate all the social ills of society. To achieve this, Islam instilled a high level of morality among its early followers. The Prophet was a living model among them.
At the national level, many public organisations have not complied with moral standards. At the international level, we face a daunting situation as many NGOs place us on the lowest rung. Some have labelled us as corrupt or not reliable
There is not a single moment of the day when an individual is not involved in doing or thinking something. It is an endless process that continues throughout life. The question arises when one faces the veracity of the activity: right or wrong. This is related to morality and Muslims have been asked to seek guidance to determine the veracity of their conduct.
His final success is based on the solidity of his social behaviour with other beings.
After the Qur’an, the life of the Prophet is the best source of guidance. While elaborating eternal truths, he simultaneously exemplified through his scrupulous behaviour. His life is full of such incidents, where he projects an appropriate sense of morality.
Even his bitter enemies confessed that his ethics were great. His thought for human benefit, his works of kindness, his words of love, his effort for peaceful coexistence and his prayers for human salvation are brilliant examples for all to emulate.
At the national level, many public organizations have not complied with moral standards. At the international level, we face a daunting situation as many NGOs place us on the lowest rung. Some have labelled us as corrupt or not reliable.
Pakistanis who visit abroad are not respectful when they meet foreigners. Although the current scenario seems bleak, one should not feel disappointed. The Qur’an says that:
Allah does not change the condition of a nation unless it changes itself (13:11)
In some government offices, it was reported that a circular was issued ordering all employees to be ethical in their relationships. A person cannot become ethical only with the publication of a circular; it is the mentality, acquired over time through attitudinal education, training and environment that enables you to be ethical in your business.
A Muslim who loves his neighbour feels pain when he sees decomposition everywhere. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important thing is to move away from the ethical objectives established by Allah. We have gone far from the ethical teachings of Islam. The success lies only in adhering to these teachings in letter and spirit.
People interact mainly through word of mouth. The words represent our internal attitudes; they can create friendship and animosity between people. It is in the record that words have been the cause of many disputes and wars and also a good cause of peace and friendship in many areas of the world throughout history. Therefore, the Quran emphasizes that, believers’ utter words that are better and prudent.
Since the creation of Pakistan, we have been teaching our students the subject of Islamiat in schools and universities. The ministry and the education departments have attached a long list of objectives to teach Islamiat in their curricular documents. However, we see moral decadence, therefore, we have to rethink the content of the Islamiat textbooks and evaluate them in relation to our objectives.
We cannot change society and deep-seated social attitudes overnight, but we must anticipate and plan our future society at this time and ask ourselves what our society will be in the year 2036, for example, in 25 years when a new generation has grown. To create a moral society, a new look at the whole issue of Islamiat and its pedagogy is the need of the hour.
It can be an uphill task, but it must be carried out, with teachers engaged in the teaching of Islamiat aware that their task is ordered as guides. They should be inculcated with a missionary spirit to build the character of their students to shape a future society that is free of exploitation, corruption and chicanery.
Asad Hussain is a Quetta based columnist and an Independent researcher.