Channel: Jamal Badawi
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In the Name of God, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there was no God, but the one true God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is a servant, and messenger of God, I greet you, the viewers of Islam and focus program with the universal greetings of peace. The greetings that have been used by all the prophets from Prophet Abraham to Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you. I'm your host Ahmed Rashid. Today we continue with our fifth program in the series on moral teachings of Islam. In
today's program, our fifth program in this series, we'll be looking at the characteristics of the moral code of Islam. More specifically, we'll be looking at the goals of Islam.
The goals of Islamic moral code rather, how does that code relate to faith and worship, and how stable that code is, and the extent of its coverage? I have joining me on the program, as usual, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University brother Jamal Assalamualaikum.
I wonder if perhaps you could just take a few minutes at the beginning of today's program to go back to summarize the main points that we have discussed in this series on moral teachings of Islam to this to this point.
It has to fit back to the chart we use last time. And the last program in particular, we were discussing the relationship between the human and the universe, how does the human relate to the universe and sees it. And the first point made was that according to Islam, the whole universe is made subservient to mankind. In the Quran, Chapter 45, verse 13, what if mentions even that God made subservient you whatever is in heavens,
which even opened the door for space exploration without feeling infringement on the domain of God.
Secondly, that natures are the powers of nature is not regarded as an adversary, mankind as an enemy, but rather as a friend, things that God created in order to help the human fulfill his or her mission on Earth.
The third point, related to that was that the way Islam view worship is not just the acts of rituals, or rites, but rather the entire activity in that universe are using these powers that God created in nature, constitute for the Muslim an act of worship, even though it might not necessarily be a virtual ritual, it could be only part of it.
Related to that also is the attitude towards knowledge and learning. And he said, if the human is the trustee of God on earth, and if the universe is made subservient to him or her, it means then that the attitude towards knowledge must be positive that knowledge should be a blessing from God rather than the opposite of faith. But that's why we said that the first word revealed in the Quran was Accra, or recite, read.
And finally, we concluded, what you might call perhaps the first
four programs in that series, what makes the Islamic ethical system distinct, what are the main foundations of it, in other words, the conceptual part. And to summarize, we talked about the oneness of God, which provides an ultimate ideal for mankind to strive for in terms of the moral
ethics, morals and ethics, the discussion of the life hereafter, and its implication, in terms of human responsibility, the view of the human as a trustee of God on earth. And of course, the last one was the fact that the universe is subservient to mankind. So all of this really represents more or less the conceptual foundation of the moral code of Islam. Today, we can discuss it, as you mentioned earlier, the characteristics of that code and that could be a prelude to the discussion of the content, the actual don'ts and do's if you will, included in the market. Okay, let's get into that. For a moment. I'd like to ask you the first question
For today would be
your opinion of what the major objectives of the Islamic moral code, what the moral object what the major objectives of the Islamic moral code are. Right? Well,
to put it in a nutshell, if you would, it is basically to build or create an Islamic personality. What do we mean by Islamic personality, a person or a personality which lives by its deep faith in God, and what I call before loving, consent, conscious submission,
and committed commitment to God.
personality which is nourished by Divine Love, which motivates its actions, restrained from temptation, by the fear of God, fearing a sense of fear of the pleasures of God, a personality which understands and accepts its throne and its mission on Earth, as the trustee of God,
and its Throne of that dignified role that has been given to it by God.
This way, that personality would have a sense of responsibility, a sense of direction,
clarity, of vision,
and a feeling of meaningfulness of its existence on Earth. Now, if you have a number, a large number of those
person, persons, or people who meet those ideal criteria, or even get close to that, you don't have to be perfect, even those who get close to that ideal. The aggregate of those persons can constitute an Islamic community or a community of believers, which would be actively involved in ordaining and enforcing the good fighting and forbidding injustice and evil in society. In other words, it's not just
individual salvation or individual moral innovation, but also doing that on the collective level, within the community, within society, and even in the long range, to provide humanity that the human race as a whole participates in fulfilling this responsibility of being the first tee of God or representatives of God on earth, the highest of all other creatures that God has created. There is no wonder then that we find that the prophet of Islam the last prophet of Islam, to be accurate, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said in one famous saying, narrated and collection by medic, in an arborist to attend minimum Academy of law, I was sent only in order to perfect moral qualities to
bring perfection, completeness and comprehensiveness into the highest and most noble moral qualities that has been preached by all the profits before interest in summary,
measure Gods if you will, there are of course some sub goals that would go under that, but this in a way the
now how does the Islamic moral code relate to faith?
most people, or some people, I should say, sometimes tend to feel somehow that face and moral conduct
may not necessarily have a one to one type of relationship. Not so in Islam, indeed, from the aesthetic point of view. Any reform on the individual level or social level must start with more a transformation of the individual. This is really the the springboard, if you will, for any change.
The appeals could be made
to patriotism, some people make appeals to patriotism,
appeal to the power of the law, or fear of punishment by political authorities.
You can appeal to people in terms of kindness, the inherent kindness that God has put in the hearts of people.
This appears have their place in
encouraging people to practice or follow the moral code. However, it appears to me that if you really want to have any profound
moral elevation, if you want to have any form, which is not temporary, or follows the circumstances or purpose, basic benefits if you really want something that's lasting and profound, that progress and that civilization in order to be sustained must of necessity be concurrent with
moral code that is revealed by god it has to really go hand in hand with this.
For this reason, you find that the Quran has its unique way of interpreting history.
In one verse, God says in the law, Hannah yamaga, comin hotta euroma The unforeseen, that's in chapter 13, verse 11, which says basically, that God will not change the condition
of a sequel unless they first changed Exactly. And then they first change themselves. So you can talk about changing in society, building this institution removing that decision reforming that system. But that's also sufficient, because not until people change their own hearts, change their own commitment to God, that any of those reforms really can carry any hand some type of return. And this is not the only place by the way, in the Quran, where this is found. For example, in chapter eight, verse 53. It also says, In the translation of meaning, that is, God will never change the grace which he bestowed on people until they change what is in their souls. Showing again, an
interpretation of history, about the rise and fall of different civilizations in the past, that many times just like our prison civilization, God endow people with plenty of blessings, resources, richness, luxury that no nation on earth or name no previous generation has enjoyed. But all that could be destroyed easily. Because this blessing according to that verse can be changed if people change themselves and again, getting into the attitude of being
disgraceful and in gratitude. I'm grateful to God for those benefits. The just to get to specifically to the point because I think that's a very important issue. When you talk about
the relation between moral and faith.
We find that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in a couple of things, have really answered that in a very eloquent way. One time, he asked the people around him, he said, Do you know who among you is the most beloved by me? And who would be the closest to me and the Day of Judgment that's in paradise?
they asked him who would that be? He said, I said, I
said, the most moral in contact among you are the best of you in there on manners and morals that was narrated in
and another collection of Hadees by Arthur Bharani.
He put it even more briefly, but as effectively says acmella, Mina Eman and a son who
said, among the believers, those who are most perfect in belief, are the best in behavior. So here you have faith, you have behavior, going hand in hand, the Quran in several places in dozens of places. Whenever it talks about faith, it talks about good deeds. In the Latina Mr. Mohammed Salah had those who believe and did good deeds. Prophet Muhammad, again, in another saying he said that lesson a man with the money said faith is not something by way of wishful thinking or hopes for his hopes. But he says a man is really something which is entrenched into in the heart. And that's the important point is confirmed by this.
I'd like to go on and look at
another angle. And that is the relationship of the moral code to to worship, or acts of worship. Of course, when you deal with the
relation between the moral code and worship, without repeating much, I just like to make cross reference quickly to the point that you mentioned before in a previous program that
to the Muslim, the entire life, could be
continuous acts of worship, so long as it's done with good intention and within the boundaries that God has provided. But maybe I could give you a more concrete example since you want to get specific characteristics of the moral code of Islam.
In the previous series, that we have we had in this program, Pillars of Islam, we discussed in some details, the various pillars, prayer, fasting and so on. Let me relate that to the question of modern stick prayers.
Now, everybody knows that the Muslims are required to pray to have special prayers five times every day.
Now, if you try to relate that to morals, you will discover that what is really meant by those prayers is not the mere rituals, standing towards the Kaaba bowing or kneeling in devotion to God, it's not the movement itself. That's really count. But the whole act of prayers, actually is an act of more training.
More training on contentious loving submission to the will of God, humbleness before God, reminder for the individual to keep away from from even.
That's why for example, in the Quran in chapter 29, verse 45, it says, In the selected 10 hanifa shaman, look at truly prayers, keeps the person away from indecency and even things because the constant remembrance of God would help the person keep this live on
on the proper railing in another recollection of Hudis saying of the Prophet by opposite.
It is reported that God says that I accept prayers only from those who humble themselves.
Before my glory, did not oppress any of my creatures, those who did not spend the night insisting on something wrong, and immoral that they might have done. In other words, they defend those who remember me during the day, those who are kind and merciful to the destitute, and the wayfarers, and the widow, and those who are compassionate to those who are suffering or those who are injured. So this is the essence the the, the heart of what is meant by the prayer, take another pillar of Islam, the the care, or the payment of virtue affords you. Again, the intention is not some kind of attacks that you have to pay reluctantly, and grudgingly like you do to revenue Canada, for example. No,
that's not the case is a car in essence relates to morality, because it is a religious duty, not just something to be imposed by the state. It is something that represents an expression of the feeling of love, compassion, mutual concern towards people who are less fortunate in society, to document that from the Quran. For example, chapter nine, verse one, verse three, it says, hosemann, I'm wearing him sacaton Tata hiromasa, cambia, addressing the Prophet, take from their property, some charity,
why it says, to the hero, to cleanse them up, to purify them, to purify them, that's from the feeling of selfishness from lack of concern. For others. That's why again, the same term used for charity is used not only in terms of paying money to those who are needy, but as the prophet of Islam says, a good word, a decent word, it is also an act. ality take the fast thing as one pillar of Islam. Again, the idea behind it is not to
improperly restrain yourself from food and drink from dawn to sunset. That's not the idea behind it. Like the Prophet once said that some people fast and they The only thing that they benefit from their fasting is simply hunger and thirst. But really, the main moral lesson in fasting is the training for the person as to how he permanently restrain himself from from evil. That's why the answer is that fasting has been prescribed on you, as it was prescribed on people before you in order that you may practice piety or self restraint that appears in chapter two, verse 183, in the Quran, and finally, Hajj pilgrimage, it's not again traveling and wearing specific clothing like the
one we have shown in the previous programs and making certain rites. pilgrimage is full of lessons of moral behavior of patience, meeting of now, roughly 2 million people in the same place, difficulties and requirement to be patient. The Quran requires in pilgrimage chapter two, verse 197, that there should be no argument there should be no indecency. So that's again training. In other words, if you look at the entire
acts of worship, which are even so called pure acts of worship, devotional acts other than
the rest of the life of the individual, you find that the connection between worship and the moral code is so strong that they're just inseparable.
No, I'd like to get your opinion on another situation. Oftentimes, we encounter people who may be active in the acts of worship, but yet they're
criminal behavior does not seem to be consistent with their apparent devotion. What is the Islamic position or stand on this on this kind of outwardly piety and piety, but
when the Quran as indicated before, does not make that suppression of thought between belief and actions. Indeed, from an aesthetic point of view, the lack of practice of the moral code in one's life is an evidence of weak faith. This, regardless of what the person claims to be, he might claim say, I believe, I believe we can repeat that 1000 times. But the real evidence for faith is that the face should be translated into action into real concrete behavior on the part of vendors Of course not to expect that any person would be an engine or engine light but at least how far the person who is trying hard and sincerely to comply with the with the moral code.
But the answer more directly, perhaps can be found in some beautiful sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. I'll just give a few example of this in a collection by
some people ask the prophet and they said, such and such a woman, they would affect a specific woman, such and such woman
prays a lot. She pays lots of charity, she fasts, even beyond the minimum requirement testing Ramadan, option fasting, however, she
seems to have the habit of hurting her neighbors. With her lashing tank that's talking even to them. His answer was, she is in the hellfire. Imagine with all the prayers, the fasting, charity, she's in the fire, because of that lack of moral behavior. In other words, the display does not really show faith must be just formalism outwardly, exposition of piety.
Then they asked him, they say there is another woman who does not pray too much just pay the minimum and a little bit more.
She does not fast as much. And she's not really paying as much in charity, they actually said that all the charity that she can give is small pieces of cheese.
What but she does not hurt her neighbors. He said she is in paradise.
So even with less acts of worship, still there is a clear evidence of faith, as reflected. Of course, it doesn't say that this one is substitute of others. Far from that, of course, the minimum manifestation of faith is to follow the minimum religious requirements. But again, the in terms of relative comparison, you have to combine both of them in generation by Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said to his companions, they were sitting with him.
Do you know who truly is a bankrupt?
The answer, of course, like anybody have asked with answer is Oh, yeah, the bankrupt is somebody who doesn't have any money doesn't have any property. He says no, he says the one who's really bankrupt is the one who come in the Day of Judgment, with impressive things in his record, prayers, fasting, charity, and all that. But he comes and he had already cursed or swore at such and such person
where he made false accusation against such and such person when he usurped unjustly the property or belongings of such and such person who come while he has killed x person, while he has had beaten such and such person, and said, what you know what happened to that person. He said that all that credit that he's accumulated, in terms of acts of charity or worship, will be taken from and given by way of retribution to those whom he wronged until all that credit of good deeds that supposedly should help him to get into paradise is exhausted. And when there are still people who have been wronged by Him, who did not take the rights, then God will take from their evil deeds and add them
to his his own until he is thrown into the fire. In the third example, in another collection of Hadith by Al by Haki.
Prophet Mohammed said that good characters good moral conduct melts
since and mistake, as the waters melt ice.
In other words, we all know that we are sinners, but that's the way to remove sin. That's the way to reconcile yourself to get by good deeds, you can really remove the effect of that, actually, he was echoing a verse in the Quran, which says in and has an anti use hipness, say that his good deeds, wipe away the
The negative effects of the of the bad deeds. And then he continues. He says the bad character, bad behaviors, spoils good deeds, just like vinegar spoils honey.
So the, like I said earlier, we're not really saying here that moral characters and good behavior is a substitute for faith. In fact, one could act very kindly and very nicely, but because of rejection of God, and rejection of faith, he still could be really in real trouble. So neither one is really a replacement or the other, but both of them really should go synchronized, hand at hand.
In remote, many moments of today's program, I'd like to move on and look at this question of stability. Sometimes people will make the point that various Memorial codes should be updated to take into consideration new circumstances or contemporary thinking and so on. Is this an acceptable approach from a Muslim viewpoint? What if you mean by updating? Or if the court the those who inquire mean by that updating the fundamental principles? Or foundations of the moral code? Then the answer definitely is no. If what is meant by that? Is the extension of application of the moral code adapting the application not the principle to the circumstances of the food, then the answer is yes.
But let me clarify again, the dividing line.
When we talk about the fundamentals, or fundamental injunctions,
as explained in the book of God, the Quran, and the sayings and deeds of Muhammad peace be upon him, the source of this information is revelation, which means it's coming from God. So for any human being or group of human beings to say, that means dating, right, we're more up to date than God means really, that they're claiming what kind the claiming knowledge that exceeds the knowledge of God. Exactly. Exactly. If it applies, in fact that they have more wise than God that God perhaps wasn't up to date when he said that this is a positive. And when he says, For example, this act is immortal period. It's it's final, it's not relative, we can go around that.
Now, the the clear point then to be made is that the basic principles that come from Revelation is not time bound, they are not time bound, they have really to be applicable at all times, in all places. No human being no institution, religious or otherwise, no group of scholars can meet in a convention, for example, and decided to do this or that. Indeed, if we open the door for this relativism in the moral principles, then what happens that if people's biases and deviations is going down in this way, then we are bringing the moral standards down to people's biases. And then we have nothing really firm to stand on. What Islam proposes is that leave those principles up,
leave them lofty, because that's for the Muslim with no apology. That's the definition of God, ultimate of wisdom, the ultimate of what is good for humanity. And instead of lowering those morals, let's get exact, let's elevate people, let's help the individuals and groups improve as much as they could in the mode of behavior so that they come close to this standard. And so this is the way that one can perhaps relate this issue. It doesn't mean that Islam is against dynamic change in society Apart from that, but it means that you start tampering with principles. You've got no structure, and no foundation system.
But we have to stop at this point for today's program. We'd like to invite you back next week and we'll continue our series on the moral teachings of Islam. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you