Universal Ethics and Islam


Salman Ahmed Shaikh

It is often asked that the ethical side of Islam that Muslims explain is also present in other religions and doctrines. Then, what is so special in quoting universal ethics in defense of Islam’s uniqueness?

One must understand that belief in Islam does not imply that no other doctrine can have any single good thing. In other writings, we have tried to analyze the arguments of Atheism and tried to show that it is based on very unreasonable biases. In this article, we briefly try to present Islamic viewpoint on major Abrahamic religions and explain the points of differences. Islam has a clear worldview based on Tawheed (Oneness of Allah) and Akhirat (Afterlife accountability). Other major religions either have explicit ‘polytheism’ and/or wrong perspective about afterlife accountability.

Jews used to say that the hell-fire will not touch them. Holy Quran asks them why not they demand death so that they get paradise automatically if they think that hell-fire will not touch them (Al-Baqarah: verse 94). It is a historical fact that they killed the Prophets (pbuh) of Allah (Al-Baqarah: verse 61). They adulterated their scriptures and when Prophet Muhamad (pbuh) came with the message of Allah, they did not accept it not because of any confusion since arrival of Muhammad (pbuh) was foretold in their religious scriptures, but because they believed that they were a superior nation than Bani-Ismail. However, Islam does not endorse superiority of any nation over another.

If Jews have the truth and if they are Allah’s chosen people, why not they proselytize and try to save other humans from darkness. But, they do not proselytize. Hence, according to them, Allah has favored one nation, will give them paradise and save them from hell-fire no matter what sins they do and others (non-Jews) cannot get salvage no matter what. A major portion of Quran is a historic reflection of this disobedience done time and again.

Christianity equates a Prophet as Allah or son of Allah. As per Islamic faith, Jesus (pbuh) was a prophet of Allah. He was neither Allah nor a son of Allah. He was sent as a messenger of Allah to remind people of their duty to follow the guidance of Allah and was not sent to take up sins of others and sacrifice His life for Adam’s (pbuh) sin. Adam (pbuh) was forgiven upon repentance by Allah as told by Quran and as believed by Muslims (Al-Araf: verse 23).

Therefore, these conceptions about Tawheed and afterlife accountability result in vague ethical responsibility and inconsistent commitment to justice. Message of Islam invites people of all faiths, race, color, region and gender towards its message of peace, excellence of character and living in harmony with nature and environment. It also constantly reminds Muslims of their duty to uphold its message and follow it and do not commit injustice even with enemies (A-Maida: verse 8).

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About Salman Ahmed Shaikh

PhD Economics, National University of Malaysia. Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance. Author, Researcher, Teacher and Consultant. He can be contacted at: salman@siswa.ukm.edu.my
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2 Responses to Universal Ethics and Islam

  1. zeerakzubdah says:

    Good read. But how does your article argues for the title?

    Like

    • Zeerak, in simple words, ethics is to be reflected comprehensively in behavior, actions, attitude and relations in individual and collective spheres of life. Secondly, important thing in ethics discourse is that what is the motivation behind an ethical action. If that motivation is weak, founded on weak basis, then it will reflect inconsistently in actions. Getting away from an ethical responsibility through codified laws is clever or is it unethical? Take another example. Raymond Davis killed civilians in Pakistan, but was set free in Pakistan, but then arrested over a minor traffic violation in US. In studying any religion or comprehensive doctrine, it is important that there are necessary incentives and provision of deterministic justice for ethical and unethical behavior.

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