Justice and Equity
The most important ethical teaching in Islam is justice, which is defined as giving each person or group of people their due rights.
"Be just: that is nearer to piety" (Q 5:8)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught that“an hour of justice is better than seventy years of worship”.
He also promoted equity among people, saying: “People are as equal as the teeth of a comb". He taught that the value of a person is in their virtuousness, not their race, gender or social status.
The Value of Life
One of the major Islamic ethical principles is the right to life. The Holy Qur’an clearly expresses the value of saving a life in the following statement:
“…and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind…” (Q 5:32)
The value of human life can also be understood from a number of other contexts within the Qur’an, including the strong condemnation of taking a life without justification, the preference of peace and peace-making over conflict and war and the description of faith as ‘life’.
Goodness to People
Islam teaches that we should do and say good to people in all situations.
"...speak (and do) good to people” (Q 2:83)
While many moral systems teach that we should 'do unto others as we would like done unto us', Islam goes one step further in teaching us that even when we are faced with an evil deed, we should respond with a good deed.
"The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better" (Q 41:34)
The Importance of Family
Islam gives great value to the family unit and sees it as the basic building block for a healthy society. Goodness to family members, in all its forms, is a commandment in the Holy Qur'an. This includes any action which strengthens family bonds and keeps families together. Islam teaches that within the family, goodness to parents always takes precedence and is one of the most important social obligations.
"(and we took a covenant that you should be) good to your parents, and your near of kin..." (Q 2:83)
Truthfulness in speech and action is a foundational part of the ethical teachings of Islam.
"O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful" (Q 9:119)
The enjoinment of truthfulness also includes honouring trusts and keeping promises.
"(the believers are)...those who honour their trusts and promises." (Q 23:8)
Protecting the Environment
Islam teaches that Earth was designed with great precision to create the perfect environment for human habitation. At the same time, the Earth is a trust given to humans, who are God's vicegerents, to protect and develop.
The Holy Qur'an teaches protection of the environment by commanding us to:
- avoid waste in all situations
-practice moderation and avoid extravagance
-avoid harming or corrupting the environment