The Moral Aspect of Islam

Islam has perfected the morals and elevated them to a high standard. The Prophet ( s) said: “I have been raised to perfect and complete righ - teous character and morals.” (al-Haakim)
Islam encourages and commands with every good manner, and prohibits and warns against every evil and lewd manner. Allah says: (Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish.) [7:199]

The Prophet ( s) said: “Do you know who is bankrupt?” They (his compan - ions) said, “The bankrupt among us is he who has neither money nor wealth.” The Prophet ,said ( s) “The bankrupt in my nation is he who comes on the Day of Requital with the [reward of his] prayers, charity, fasting; he comes [with them] but [in his pre - vious life] he had cursed one person and falsely ac - cused another, killed one person and hit another. So this one is given from his reward, and that one as well. When the reward for his good deeds will have all been distributed before he repays his sins, their sins will be taken and thrown upon him, and he will be thrown into the Hellfire.” (Muslim)

The Religion of Islam defined the way a Muslim should relate to others and to his society. The Messenger of Allah ( s) said: “Avoid the prohibited and you will be the best worshipper, be pleased with the sustenance Allah has provided for you and you will be the richest of people, be good to your neighbor and you will be a true believer, love for others what you love for yourself and you will be a true Muslim, and do not laugh much, for indeed laughing much causes the heart to die.” (at-Tirmidh)
He ( s) also said: “A true Muslim is he whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hand, and a true muhaajir(1) is one who has left what Allah has forbidden.” (al-Bukhari)

Islam aims to form a well knit society in which the individuals show mutual love and mercy to one another; this is accomplished by the implementation of its commands and abandonment of its prohibitions. The following are things that Islam has prohibited:

  • Associating partners with Allah (Shirk) whether it be in regard to His Ruboobiyah, or in acts of worship. Allah ( s) says: (Verily! Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases sins other than that.) [4:116]
  • Sorcery. Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet ( s) as saying: “Stay far away from the destructive sins: associating partners with Allah (Shirk) and sorcery.” (al-Bukhari)
  • Oppression, transgression against others and squandering their rights. Allah ( y) says: (Say: “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are licentious sins whether committed openly or secretly, [all other] sins, unrighteous oppression…) [7:33]
  • Manslaughter, except if it is legislated in a castigatory punishment. Allah says: (And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him.) [4:93]
    This prohibition does not include those who kill or are killed in the process of defending their lives, wealth, or honor. The Prophet ( s) said: “Whoever is killed in defending his money, he is a martyr, and whoever is killed in defending his family, life, or Religion, he is a martyr.” (Abu Dawood)
  • Severing familial ties and relations. Allah ( y) says: (Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? * Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight…) [47:22-3]

    The Prophet ( s) said: “One who severs ties of kinship will not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)

    What is meant by severing ties of kinship is that one does not visit his relatives or is aloof of their needs; also that one acts arrogant towards them or does not help the weak and poor amongst them if he is rich. If one gives charity to a poor person who is not related to him, he would receive the reward for charity, but if he gives charity to a poor person who is related to him, he will receive the reward for joining ties of relation as well as that of charity. If a person was himself poor, he should maintain ties of kinship by greeting his relatives, inquiring about them, and being kind to them. The Prophet ( s) said: “Join and maintain ties of kinship, even if it be by greeting them.” (al-Bazzar)

  • Fornication and adultery, as well as all things which may lead to them. Allah y says: (And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a great and licentious sin, and an evil way.) [17:32]

    Allah clarifies the punishment of the fornicator in His Words: (The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.) [24:2]

    This is the punishment of a fornicator who was never married before. As for one who commits adultery, his punishment is that he should be stoned to death.

    This punishment was also prescribed in some of the previous religions. The Jews of Madinah (Medina) raised the case of a Jewess and a Jew who had committed fornication to the Messenger of Allah.

    So he said to them: “Bring me two of the most knowledgeable of your men.” They came with two sons of a man from Syria, and he asked them: “What do you find regarding the matter of these two (fornicators) in the Torah?” They said, “We find in their regards that if four people bear witness that they saw his penis in her vagina like a kohl(1) applicator in its jar, they are to be stoned.” He ( d) asked, “Then what prevented you from stoning them?” They said, “Our authority has been relinquished and we have been forced to prescribe the sentence of death (without stoning).” The Messenger of Allah ( s) then called for the witnesses. They came with four people and they bore witness that they saw the man’s penis in her vagina like a kohl applicator in its jar, so the Messenger of Allah ( s) ordered them to be stoned. (Abu Dawood)

    In order for the verdict of stoning to be implemented, one of the following two conditions must be met.

    • If the male or female admit to the crime, he or she will be punished. Abu Hurairah said: “A man from the people came to the Messenger of Allah ( s) ,while he was in the mosque. He called him, “Messenger of Allah, I have committed adultery.” The Prophet ( s) turned away from him. The man came to the side to which the Prophet ( s) turned his face and said, “Messenger of Allah, I have committed adultery.” The Prophet ( s) turned away from him. The man came to the side to which the Prophet ( s) turned his face. When he had testified against himself four times, the Prophet ( s) called him and said, “Are you mad?” He said, “No, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Are you a married?” He answered. “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Take him and stone him.” (al-Bukhari)
    • Four equitable men bear witness that the accused man’s penis entered the woman’s vagina. This hardly has occurred, and would take effect if a man openly exhibits his crime. Throughout Islamic history this castigation has not been implemented except in a few instances; in these instances the castigation was implemented because of the confession of the fornicator. The punishment demonstrates the severity of the deed; the reason for its severity is that it would safeguard the Ummah (nation) from corruption and evil, and would safeguard the Ummah from breaking down… lineage would not be obscured, and problems related to inheritance and marriage would not occur. It would also safeguard the Ummah from diseases and epidemics. The Prophet ( s) said: “O migrants (from Makkah to Madinah) if you are afflicted with five things, and I seek refuge from Allah that you should see them, no licentious sin is committed openly in a society except that Allah causes diseases and plagues which never previously existed to spread amongst them...” (Ibn Maajah)

    The worst type of fornication is incest.

    Islam has also prohibited homosexuality. Allah says when mentioning the story of the People of Lot: (So when Our Commandment came, We turned (the towns of Sodom in Palestine) upside down, and rained on them stones of baked clay, piled up; * Marked from your Lord, and they are not ever far from the evil-doers.) [11:82-3]

    Lesbianism is also forbidden in Islam, and certain punishments have been set to eradicate this sinful act.

  • Islam has forbidden usurping the wealth of orphans and considers it as squandering the rights of the poor. Allah says: (Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!) [4:10]

    An exception is made from this stern admonition; the one who is poor and looks after the orphan is allowed to take an amount that suffices him from the wealth of the orphan under his supervision, this being in return for taking care of the child, feeding him, and giving him clothing. He may also try to increase the orphan’s wealth, by investing it. Allah says: (…and whoever amongst guardians is rich, he should take no wages, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his work).) [4:6]

  • False testimony and perjury are considered destructive sins. This is due to its detrimental results in society, since it would lead to squandering people’s rights and spreading of injustice. It causes harm to both the bearer of witness, as it helps him with his injustice, as well as the innocent victim by depriving him of his due right. The Prophet ( s) said: “Shall I not tell you the greatest of the grave sins?” They said. “Indeed O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Associating partners with Allah [Shirk] and ill-treatment of parents.” He was leaning (while he mentioned that), but then he sat up straight (as if he was alarmed) and said, “And bearing false witness.” (The narrator) said, “He continued to repeat this until we wished that he would stop...” (al-Bukhari)
  • Gambling for it wastes monetary as well as physical efforts and brings no benefit, neither for the individual or society. Allah says: (O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, al-ansaab, and al-azlaam [arrows for seeking luck or decision] are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination), in order that you may be successful.) [5:90]

    If a person wins while gambling, he has usurped other people’s wealth without right. The delight felt when winning may also cause him to further use deceptive measures to win again. If one loses, he would have squandered his money in something which brings no benefit. This loss may lead him to steal, if he has no money left, in order to continue playing, so that he would be able to win back his losses.

  • Highway robbery, pillaging, murder, and frightening the innocent, for it spreads terror and fear in society and disrupts the peace and security. Allah says: (The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.) [5:33]
    The sentence is given in accordance to the type of crime. Ibn ‘Abbas said that highway robbers should be killed and crucified if they kill and pillage. If they kill without stealing, they should be killed. If they steal, but do not kill, their hands and feet are to be severed on opposite sides. If they cause fear to wayfarers but do not steal, they are to be banished from that locality. (al-Baihaqi)
  • Taking false oath (a ‘dipping’ oath) which is to intentionally take a false oath in order to usurp the right of another, thus ‘dipping’ him into the Hellfire. Allah says: (Verily, those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s Covenant and their oaths, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter (Paradise). Neither will Allah speak to them, nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful torment.) [3:77]

    The Prophet ( s) said: “Whoever usurps the right of a Muslim by swearing a false oath, Allah has obligated for him the Hellfire and prohibited for him Paradise.” They (his companions) said, “Even if it were something trivial O Messenger of Allah ( s) “? He replied, “Even if it were a twig of an Araak tree.”

  • Suicide. Allah says: (And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you. And whoever commits that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into the Fire, and that is easy for Allah.) [4:30]
    The Prophet ( s) said: “Whoever kills himself with something will be punished with that thing on the Day of Requital.” (Muslim)
  • Islam has enjoined concealing people’s faults and helping to relieve their distress and to ease their affairs. The Prophet ( s) said: “Whoever eases some distress of a Muslim in this world, Allah will ease some distress of his on the Day of Recompense. Whoever eases the burden of a loan (by repaying it, pardoning it, or extending the time period for payment) for one for whom it is hard to repay it, Allah will make things easy for him in this life as well as the next. Whoever covers the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover his faults in this life and the next. Allah continues to help his slave as long as he helps his brothers.” (Muslim)
  • Lying, treachery, deceit, and breaking promises. Allah says: (O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly those things entrusted to you (the duties which Allah has ordained for you).) [8:27]
    The Prophet ( s) said: “If four traits are found in a person, he is a pure hypocrite, and if he has one of these traits, he has a trait of hypocrisy until he leaves it: when he is entrusted, he proves treacherous; when he speaks, he lies; when he makes an oath, he betrays it; and when he argues, he is obscene.” (Muslim)
    In another narration reported in Muslim, the Prophet ( s) said: “…even if he prays, fasts, and thinks himself to be a Muslim.”
  • Islam has forbidden that Muslims boycott or harbor jealousy against one other. The Prophet ( s) said: “Do not hate each other, do not envy each other, and do not turn your backs upon each other; but rather be the slaves of Allah and be brothers. It is impermissible for a Muslim to abandon his brother for more than three days.” (Muslim)
  • Cursing and vulgarity. The Prophet ( s) said: “Indeed a believer does not curse or insult and he is not foul and obscene in speech.” (Ahmad & at-Timidhi)
    Even in regards to one’s enemies, Islam calls upon the Muslims to ask Allah to guide them…not invoke Allah against them. Abu Hurairah said that it was said to the Messenger of Allah ( s): “O Messenger of Allah ( s) ,supplicate against the pagans.” He replied, “I was not raised to curse, but rather (sent) as a mercy.”
  • Miserliness. Wealth belongs to Allah…He has entrusted it to humans, to spend on themselves and their dependants. They must also expend from it, to help needy brothers. The Messenger of Allah ( s) sought refuge with Allah from this evil trait.
    The Prophet ( s) explained what would result in a society due to miserliness: “Avoid cruelty and injustice for, on the Day of Requital, injustice will be a reason that one will be cast into several types of darkness. Guard yourselves against miserliness; for indeed it destroyed nations before you. It led them to bloodshed and to treat unlawful as lawful.” (Muslim)

    The Religion of Islam regards the rich person who sees his needy brothers seeking his help but does not help them to be far removed from true faith. The Prophet ( s) said: “The most evil of diseases is miserliness.” (Ahmad)

  • Extravagance and squandering money unrightfully. Allah says: (And give to the kindred his due and to the poor and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of aspendthrift. * Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of devils, and Satan (the devil) is ever ungrateful to his Lord.) [17:26-7]
    The Prophet ( s) said: “Indeed Allah had forbidden for you disobedience or unkindness to mothers, refusing people charity and asking for it, burying your daughters alive, and he has disliked for you spreading tales, persistent questioning, and squandering money.” (al-Bukhari)
  • Fanaticism and extremism in matters of Religion. Allah says: (Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.) [2:185]
    The Prophet ( s) said: “Indeed the Religion is one of ease. None shall make the Religion strict except that it will overcome him. So be upright and moderate, do those things which are easy, and give glad tidings of the reward from Allah. Seek help (by performing righteous deeds) in the morning, afternoon, and in a part of the night [your periods of motivation].” (al-Bukhari)
  • Self-conceit, pride and vanity. Allah says: (‘And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah 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.’) [31:18-19]

    About pride, the Prophet ( s) said: “A person who has a mustard seed’s worth of pride in his heart will not enter Paradise.” A man said, “O Messenger of Allah ( s) what if a person likes to wear nice clothing and shoes?” He replied, “Indeed Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride is that you reject the truth and look down upon others.” (Muslim)

    About vanity, the Prophet ( s) said: “Whoever drags his clothing (on the ground) out of vanity, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Requital.” (al-Bukhari)

  • Spying on people, searching for their faults, thinking ill of them, and backbiting them. Allah says: (O you who believe! Avoid many suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.) [49:12]
    The Prophet ( s) said: “Do you know what backbiting is?” They (his companions) said, “Allah and His Messenger know best!” He said, “Mentioning about your brother something which he does not like.” They said, “What if this [trait] which I spoke of was actually present in my brother?” He said, “If he had [the trait] you spoke of, you have backbitten him, and if not, you have slandered him.” (Muslim)
  • Eavesdropping. The Prophet ( s) said: “Whoever listens to other’s conversation while they do not like him to or while they evade him, (molten) lead will be poured into his ears on the Day of Requital.” (al-Bukhari)
  • Gloating over other’s misfortunes. The Prophet ( s) said: “Do not show joy for your brother’s misfortune, so that Allah will have mercy upon him and save you in a trial.” (at-Tirmidi)
  • Interfering into affairs which do not concern them. The Prophet ( s) said: “From the things which indicate the completeness of a person’s Islam is that he does not indulge in affairs which do not concern him.” (at-Tirmidhi)
  • Scoffing at others, whether by giving them nicknames or employing other types of speech, actions and signs. It forbids that one belittle or ridicule others. Allah says: (O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames.) [49:11]
  • It is forbidden for a judge to be unjust in his rulings, for in Islam, a judge is regarded as one who implements the law of Allah. He holds an executive role… not one of legislation. If he is unjust, he betrays the trust which was given to him. Allah says: (And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers.) [5:44]
    The Prophet ( s) said: “Judges are of three types; two of whom are in the Fire, and one who is in Paradise. A man, who ruled unjustly while he knows, is in the Fire. A judge who rules while he is ignorant and wrongs people is in the Fire. And a judge who ruled with the truth is in Paradise.” (Abu Dawood & at-Tirmidhi)
  • Cuckoldry, i.e. the person is not protective of his relatives and turns a blind eye to their promiscuity. The Prophet ( s) said: “Allah will not look at three types of people on the Day of Requital: one who is disobedient to his parents, a woman who resembles men, and a cuckold.” (Nasaa`i)
  • Resembling the opposite sex. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The Messenger of Allah ( s) cursed men who make themselves resemble women, and women who make themselves resemble men.” (al-Bukhari)
  • Reminding others of favors you have done for them or goodness you may have shown them. Allah’s says: (O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury.)” [2:264]
  • Taking back a gift. The Prophet ( s) said: “A person who takes back a gift he gave is like a dog who vomits and then takes back his vomit.” (al-Bukhari & Muslim)
  • Tale-carrying; which is to inform someone about what others have said about him in order to spoil the relations or for other evil intentions. Allah says: (And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless, A slanderer, going about carrying tales.) [68:10-11]
    The Prophet ( s) said: “One who carries tales will not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)
    The evil consequences which result in tale-carrying are well known. It stirs enmity and hatred amongst people and causes them to abandon one another, and this is something which the Messenger of Allah ( s) forbade. He said: “It is not permissible for a person to abandon his brother for more than three nights: they meet, each one turning away from the other. The best of the two is the first of them to greet the other (with Salaam).” (al-Bukhari)
    Tale-carrying may result in ill-thinking and spying on others in order to reach the truth about what was said. Also, various sins might be committed which Allah prohibited in His Words: (…indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not…) [49:12]
  • Being arrogant towards the weak, whether that weakness be physical, such as the ill, disabled, or elderly; or financial, such as the poor, needy, or those over whom he has authority. Society should be built upon mercy, love, and fraternity. Allah says: (Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.) [4:36]
  • Intending harm to the heirs by bequeathing, such as falsely claiming that he has a loan. Allah says: (…after payment of legacies he (or she) may have bequeathed or debts, so that no loss is caused (to anyone).) [4:11]

    Prohibitions Regarding Food, Drink, and Clothing:

    • Islam forbids wine and all types of addictive drugs, whether they are ingested, inhaled or injected. Allah says: (O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, stone altars on which the polytheists slaughtered to their idols, arrows for seeking luck or decision are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork; so avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. * Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks, etc.) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Prayer. So, will you not then abstain?) [5:90-1]

      In order to prevent those who seek to profit through its sale or aid in its spread, the Prophet ( s) said: “Allah has cursed wine, the one who pours it, the one who drinks it, the one who squeezes it, the one who it was squeezed for, the one who carries it, the one it is carried to, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, and the one who profits from it.” (Abu Dawod)

      With this, Islam preserves the mind and other senses from anything which would harm or damage them. It also seeks to safeguard mankind from falling to the level of creation which has no awareness. As is well-known, those who drink alcohol or take drugs would become addicted to them. Therefore, he would try to appease this urge by acquiring money by any means; even if it means stealing and killing. One must keep in mind, the atrocious crimes people commit against other’s honor and chastity on account of these substances. For this reason, Islam refers to it being the ‘mother’ of all great sins.

    • Islam has forbidden the consumption of carrion, pigs, and all other things mentioned in Allah’s ( y) Words: (Forbidden to you (for food) are: al-maytah (dead animals - cattle-beast not slaughtered) blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering [the meat of which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, etc.], and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns - and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal - unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on stone altars. (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision, (all) that is disobedience of Allah and sin.) [5:3]

      It is not lawful to eat things which were slaughtered, and over which the Name of Allah was not mentioned, or intentionally left aside. Allah says: (Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal), for sure it is a sin and disobedience of Allah.) [6:121]

      It has forbidden the meat of animals which have canine teeth; such as lions, leopards, wolves and the like. It has also forbidden birds that have talons such as eagles, falcons, hawks and other birds of prey. It has forbidden all types of food or drink which are harmful to one’s body, such as cigarettes and similar things. Allah ( y) says: (And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you.) [4:29]

    • It has forbidden men from wearing silk, gold, and silver, but has deemed them permissible for women. The Prophet ( s) said: “Indeed Allah made the wearing of silk and gold permissible for the women of my Ummah, but forbidden for its men.” (Nasaa`i)

      It is not allowed for both males and females, though, to eat or drink from utensils made from either gold or silver, for the Prophet ( s) said: “Do not drink from gold or silver utensils and do not eat from its plate for indeed it is for them (the disbelievers) in this life and for us in the next.” (al-Bukhari)