3 - Ethic in Islam:

Ethic in Islam refers to the religion including its provisions, instructions and etiquettes, as well as, it refers to the dealings with people.

The ethic in Islam refers to the religion as was reported by Ibn `Abbas (1) in the words of Allah (Glory be to Him) about the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) wherein Allah the Almighty said: “And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” (2) Ibn `Abbas said: “The great moral character” here refers to a great religion that is Islam. This is the opinion of Mujahid (3) and a group of Salaf (predecessors). (4)

In addition to that, the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I have been sent only for the purpose of perfecting good morals). (5) And he brought a complete Shari`ah and an upright religion.

There are many proofs that indicate that ethics in Islam are inclusive; some Hadith denotes that the field of application of ethics in Islam includes the relationship of a person with his Lord, his relationship with himself and his relationship with the creation, as the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Be truly shy from Allah.” Ibn Mas`ud said that (6) the Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Praise and thanks be to Allah, we are shy from Him.” whereupon he said: “it is not that I mean. Being truly shy from Allah means that you guard your head and what it contains (your thoughts, ideas, creed, religion…) and guard your stomach and what it contains (your source of livelihood should be lawful). Moreover, you should remember death and disintegration. He who seeks the Hereafter should abandon the adornments of this worldly life. Whoever does that is shy, i.e., truly shy from Allah.” (7)

These actions are related to the value of shyness that is shown by person to his Lord. Likewise, the value of honesty includes the honesty with Allah (Glory be to Him) as the Glorious Qur’an says: “Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah.” (8) And Allah (Glory be to Him) says: “And when the matter [of fighting] was determined, if they had been true to Allah, it would have been better for them.” (9)

Furthermore, there are some ethics that are related to the individual himself as Allah (Glory be to Him) says about the trust: “O you who have believed, do not betray Allah and the Messenger or betray your trusts while you know [the consequence.” (10) And He (Glory be to Him) says: “Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice.” (11) This ethic is related to the dealing of a person with people.

 The predecessor scholars understood the ethics in Islam with this comprehensiveness; as Al-Bayhaqi (12) said: “The meaning of good ethics includes: the inclination of a person’s heart to the easier and better acts, which may be related to Allah (Glory be to Him) or to the people. The good ethic related to Allah (Glory be to Him) means a person’s heart should be open for the orders of Allah and His prohibitions, he should be prepared to do what has been ordained by Allah with sincere mind and eagerness, he should be satisfied with it, not annoyed by it. However, ethics in dealing with people means to be lenient in demanding his rights from them, and he should fulfill properly his duties towards others.”(13)

Ibn Qudamah (14) said: “The ethic includes all qualities in the true believers.”(15)

Moreover, Ibn Al-Qayyim (16) said: “The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) has informed that righteousness is the good ethic.  Imam Muslim has recorded in his encyclopedia of Hadith namely Sahih on the authority of An-Nawas ibn Sam`an (17) (may Allah be pleased with him) that he asked the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) about the righteousness and sin, then he said: “Righteousness is the good ethic and sin is whatever annoys your heart and you hate to be known by the people. (18) In this Hadith, the sin has been regarded as an opposite of the righteousness and the Prophet of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) has declared that good ethic is the righteousness while the sin is everything that annoys your heart. (19) This indicates that the entire religion comes under the good ethic, which represents the pillars of faith and the teachings of Islam, which is why the sin has been regarded as the opposite of the good ethic.” (20)


(1) He is `Abdullah ibn `Abbas ibn `Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim, a cousin of the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him), who was called ‘the Sea’ for his vast knowledge. He died in At-Ta’if in the year 67 A.H. his birth was three years before the migration. See: Adh-Dhahabi, Siyar A`alam An-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 331, and Ibn Hajar, Taqrib At-Tahdhib, p. 309.

(2) Al-Qalam: 4.

(3) Mujahid ibn Jabr Abu-Al-Hajjaj Al-Makki, a freed slave of As-Sa’ib Al-Makhzumi, who met the companions of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him). Mujahid was an authority in the interpretation of the Glorious Qur’an and in other branches of science. He died in the year 101 A.H. or shortly after. See: Siyar A`alam An-Nubala’, vol. 4, p.449 and Taqrib At-Tahdhib, p. 520.

(4) Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Al-Qur’an Al-`Azeem, vol. 4, p.402.

(5) Reported by Ahmad, Al-Hakim and Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, and by Ahmad Al-Banna in Al-Fath Ar-Rabbani, vol. 9, p. 75. See: Al-Albani, Silsilat Al-Ahadith As-Sahihah, Al-Maktab Al-Islami, Damascus, second edition, 1399 A.H. vol.1, p.75.

(6) He is `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud ibn Ghafil ibn Habib Al-Hudhali Abu `Abdur- Rahman, he was amongst the predecessor Companions of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) and a senior knowledgeable personality of them. He had many merits; he died in 32 A.H. in Al-Madinah. See: Siyar An-Nubala’ vol. 1, p. 461 and Al-Isabah, vol. 2, p. 360.

(7) Reported by At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad and Al-Mubarakpuri in his book Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi a commentary on Jami`a At-Tirmidhi, vol. 7, p.154 and Al-Albani, Sahih Al-Jami`a As-Saghir Wa Ziyadtuh, vol. 1, p. 318.

(8) Al-Ahzab: 23.

(9) Muhammad: 21.

(10) Al-Anfal: 27.

(11) An-Nisa’: 58.

(12) Ahmad ibn Husayn ibn `Ali, Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi, the compiler of As-Sunan, and one of the experts of Hadith. He was born in 384 A.H. and died in 458 A.H. See:  Siyar A`alam An-Nubala’ vol. 18, p.163 and Shadharat Adh-Dhahab, vol. 3, p.403.

(13) Al-Qazwini,  Mukhtasar Shu`ab Al-Iman, edited by `Abdul-Qadir Al-Arna’out,  Dar Ibn Kathir, Damascus, second edition,1405, p. 116.

(14) `Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Qudamah Al-Jma`ili Al-Maqdisi, one of the greatest authority on Hanbali jurisprudence who died in 620 A.H. See: Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah, vol. 13, p.99 and Shadharat Adh-Dhahab, vol. 5, p. 88.

(15) Mukhtasar Minhaj Al-Qasidin, with commentary by Sho`yab and `Abdul- Qadir Al-Arna’out, Maktabah Dar Al-Bayan, Damascus, 1398 A.H. p.158.

(16) Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn Ayyub Az-Zura`I, a jurist, literary, fighter and reformer who died in 751 A.H.

(17) An-Nawas ibn Sam`an ibn Khalid Al-Kilabi Al-Ansari, a famous Companion of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) who resided in Syria. See: Ibn Al-Athir, Usdul-Ghabah Fi Ma`arifat As-Sahabah,  Dar Al-Fikr, p. 591 and Taqrib At-Tahdhib, p. 566.

(18) Sahih of Muslim with commentary of An-Nawawi, vol.5, p.419.

(19) Ibn Al-Athir says: “The Hadith of Ibn Mas`ud included the phrase “Al-Ithmu Hawazz Al-Qalb” (The sin is a worrying thing for heart) the word Hawazz in Arabic refers to things that influence the heart that doubts about those things whether they are sins or not,  as the heart is not sure about them. This word has been pronounced as Hawazz a plural form of Hazz, also the word has been pronounced as Hawwaz that denotes anything that dominates the heart and reigns over it. See: Ibn Al-Athir, An-Nihayah Fi Gharib Al-Hadith, edited by Tahir Az-Zawi and Mahmud At-Tanaji, Dar Al-Fikr 1399 A.H. vol. 1, p. 377.

(20) Madarij As-Salikin, Dar Al-Kitab Al-`Arabi, second edition, 1393 A.H. Beirut, vol. 2, p. 306.

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