By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

 

Islamic Values in Action

 

فَمَا أُوتِيتُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَمَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ {36} وَالَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ {37}وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَىٰ بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ {38}وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْبَغْيُ هُمْ يَنْتَصِرُونَ {39}وَجَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِثْلُهَا ۖ فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ {الشورى 36-40}

What you have been given is only the fleeting enjoyment of this world. Far better and more lasting is what Allah will give to those who believe and trust in their Lord; who shun great sins and gross indecencies; who forgive when they are angry; respond to their Lord; keep up the prayer; conduct their affairs by mutual consultation; give to others out of what We have provided for them; and defend themselves when they are oppressed. The harm can be requited by an equal harm, though anyone who forgives and puts things right will have his reward from Allah — He does not like those who do wrong. (Al-Shura 42:36-40)

Islam is the religion of faith, worship and values. Values are the ideals that we uphold and we must live by. As we pay attention to our beliefs and worship, we should also pay attention to our values. Knowing your values gives you clarity of thought and help you set your priorities. The values of Islam are the noblest moral principles for human development. The Prophet – peace be upon him – said,

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ مَكَارِمَ الْأَخْلَاقِ. (مسند البزار

8949 “I am sent only to fulfill the noblest characters.” (Musnad al-Bazzar, Hadith 8949)

He used to pray often:

عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، أَنَّهُ كَانَ إِذَا قَامَ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ، قَالَ:... وَاهْدِنِي لِأَحْسَنِ الْأَخْلَاقِ لَا يَهْدِي لِأَحْسَنِهَا إِلَّا أَنْتَ، وَاصْرِفْ عَنِّي سَيِّئَهَا لَا يَصْرِفُ عَنِّي سَيِّئَهَا إِلَّا أَنْتَ، لَبَّيْكَ وَسَعْدَيْكَ وَالْخَيْرُ كُلُّهُ فِي يَدَيْكَ، وَالشَّرُّ لَيْسَ إِلَيْكَ، أَنَا بِكَ وَإِلَيْكَ، تَبَارَكْتَ وَتَعَالَيْتَ، أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْكَ» (مسلم 1/534)

The Prophet –peace be upon him- used to say in his prayer: ‘… Guide me to the best of morals, no one can guide to the best except You. And remove me from the evil ways and no one can move me from them except You. I am here at Your service. All the good is in Your hands and the evil cannot be referred to you. I am by You and towards You. Blessed and exalted are You. I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You in repentance. (Muslim 1/534)

The mission of the Prophet was to teach, guide and be the role model for the best values in action. All prophets guided their people to the moral ways and all religions teach good values. However, the basic features of Islamic values can be summarized as:

  • Divine/Prophetic : The basic sources of the Islamic values are the Qur’an and Sunnah. We do learn and take good habits from the customs (urf) of other cultures as well; but everything has to be judged by the standards of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
  • Natural/Common Sense : Nothing in our values is artificial or contrary to basic human nature. Good things in Islam are all those things that are commonly recognized as good by human beings in general and bad things are those that are commonly recognized as bad by human beings in general.
  • Universal : Our values are not for a particular race, color or nationality. They are not for the benefit of one group only; they are for all people and for all times.
  • Comprehensive : Our values cover every aspect of life. They emphasize good individuals, good families, good societies, good business, good government, etc.
  • Positive : Islamic values are also healthy and wholesome. They uphold beauty, success, kindness and mercy. They abhor ugliness, uncleanliness, failure and harshness.
  • Practical : They are also practical, not high ideals that cannot be implemented. Islamic values are human and humane and they are given for human beings to make them grow and continue as good human beings.
  • Taqwa (Piety) Oriented : The whole objective of these values is to make individuals and societies God oriented, reflecting the divine color and divine beauty.

Islamic values are to develop every dimension of human life. They emphasize:

  • Spiritual Dimension : Every individual should have his/her direct relationship with Allah, through faith and devotion. Thus prayers, fasting, charity and Hajj are emphasized to enhance the spirituality of every person.
  • Intellectual Dimension : Learning, seeking knowledge and increasing knowledge are emphasized and encouraged.
  • Aesthetic Dimension : Islam is the religion of beauty, balance, moderation and equilibrium. Islamic values teach respect, dignity and honor in person and places.
  • Emotional Dimension : Love, friendship, family bonds, kindness and care are essential parts of Islamic values.
  • Material Dimension : Islamic values encourage business, trade, investment, invention, free enterprise and ownership. Islam came to remove poverty, deprivation and sadness from the individuals and their societies.
  • Personal Dimension : Islam recognizes the individuality of every person and wants every person to grow according to his/ her own talents and capabilities. Islamic values emphasize individual’s responsibility and sensibility towards others.
  • Social Dimension : Islamic values are not only for individuals; group interaction and community life are also given full consideration. Islam emphasizes that one should pay attention to one’s family, neighborhood, community, country and the globe.

All these dimensions are complementary to each other. They must be observed with great care so as to keep the balance between:

  • Din and Dunya – Religious matters and the Worldly matters
  • Naqal and ‘Aql – Revelation and Reason
  • Fard and Ummah – Individual and Community
  • Ummah and ‘Alam – Community and Society at large
  • Dunay and ‘Akhirah – This world and the Hereafter

Some main values of Islam that we should emphasize and put them into action are the following:

  • Truthfulness, sincerity, honesty and fulfillment of promises
  • Faithfulness and gratitude
  • Chastity and modesty, purity and cleanliness
  • Patience, steadfastness, courage and freedom.
  • Charity, mercy, kindness and friendliness,
  • Love and harmony between spouses, care of family members, honor of elders, kindness to children, good relations with neighbors
  • Peace, justice, forgiveness, humbleness

We should develop these values in a cohesive plan for our lives and live by them. This is the way of success in this world and salvation in the Hereafter. May Allah keep us on the right path. Ameen.

(Khutbah at ISOC – Rajab 11, 1433/ June 1, 2012)

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