Posts Tagged ‘teachings of Islam’

Why morality? Three moral gradations of morality mentioned by Quran

March 8, 2014

Paarsurrey made comments on the following blog; the viewers could express their views freely.

“Fide Dubitandum”
“Amoral Morality?”
http://fidedubitandum.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/amoral-morality/

http://fidedubitandum.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/amoral-morality/#comment-3642

paarsurrey :March 8th, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Quran mentions three gradations of morality:

[16:91] Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He admonished you that you may take heed.

http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?ch=16&verse=90

Thus explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad- the Promised Messiah:

“This means that we are commanded to return good for good, and to exercise benevolence when it is called for, and to do good with natural eagerness as between kindred, when that should be appropriate.

God Almighty forbids transgression or that you should exercise benevolence out of place or should refrain from exercising it when it is called for; or that you should fall short of exercising graciousness as between kindred on its proper occasion, or should extend it beyond its appropriate limit. This verse sets forth three gradations of doing good.

The first is the doing of good in return for good.

This is the lowest gradation and even an average person can easily acquire this gradation that he should do good to those who do good to him.

The second gradation is a little more difficult than the first, and that is to take the initiative in doing good out of pure benevolence. This is the middle grade. Most people act benevolently towards the poor, but there is a hidden deficiency in benevolence, that the person exercising benevolence is conscious of it and desires gratitude or prayer in return for his benevolence. If on any occasion the other person should turn against him, he considers him ungrateful.
On occasion he reminds him of his benevolence or puts some heavy burden upon him. The benevolent ones have been admonished by God Almighty:

[2:265] O ye who believe! render not vain your alms by taunt and injury

http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/showChapter.php?submitCh=Read+from+verse%3A&ch=2&verse=265

That is, O those who do good to others–good that should be based on sincerity–do not render it vain by reminding them what favours you have done them or by inflicting injury on them. The Arabic word for alms (“Sadaqah”) is derived from a root (“sidq”) that means sincerity. If the heart is not inspired by sincerity in bestowing alms, the almsgiving ceases to be alms and becomes mere display. That is why those who exercise benevolence have been admonished by God Almighty not to render vain their benevolence by reproaches or injury.

The third grade of doing good is graciousness as between kindred. God Almighty directs that in this grade there should be no idea of benevolence or any desire for gratitude, but good should be done out of such eager sympathy as, for instance, a mother does good to her child. This is the highest grade of doing good which cannot be exceeded. But God Almighty has conditioned all these grades of doing good with their appropriate time and place.

The verse cited above clearly indicates that if these virtues are not exercised in their proper places they would become vices. For instance, if equity exceeds its limits it would take on an unwholesome aspect and would become indecent. In the same way, misuse of benevolence would take on a form which would be repelled by reason and conscience; and in the same way graciousness between kindred would become transgression.

The Arabic word for transgression is “baghi”, which connotes excessive rain which ruins crops. A deficiency in the discharge of an obligation or an excess in its discharge are both “baghi”. In short, whichever of these three qualities is exercised out of place becomes tainted. That is why they are all three qualities conditioned by the due observance of place and occasion.

It should be remembered that equity or benevolence or graciousness between kindred are not in themselves moral qualities. They are man’s natural conditions and faculties that are exhibited even by children before they develop their reason. Reason is a condition of the exercise of a moral quality and there is also a condition that every moral quality should be exercised in its proper place and on its proper occasion.”

Pages 64-67- “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam”

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf

In response to Challenge of Sam Harris : Reason, passions and Morality

February 8, 2014

In response to Challenge of Sam Harris, I have sent the following essay:

Reason, passions and Morality

The topic of morality has little relevance with science; hence this topic has never been discussed in any text book of science as to its claim or the reasons in this regards. The question relates to religion as its nature suggests.

The true relationship between the human morals viz-a-viz natural human instincts has been discussed and explained in the book “Philosophy of Teachings of Islam” by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) – the Promised Messiah. I will provide a summary of it below mostly in his words.

Natural conditions are not something distinct from moral conditions. When they are regulated and are used on their proper occasions, under the direction of reason, they acquire a moral character. Before they are controlled by reason and understanding they have not the character of moral qualities, but are natural impulses, however much they might resemble moral qualities.

For instance, if a dog or lamb displays affection or docility towards its master it would not be described as moral or good-mannered. In the same way a wolf or a tiger would not be described as ill-mannered on account of its wildness.

A moral state emerges after reflection and regard for time and occasion come into play. A person who does not exercise reason and deliberation is like a child whose mind and intellect are not yet governed by reason, or is like a madman who has lost his reason and good sense. A child or a mad man sometimes behaves in a manner that has the appearance of moral action, but no sensible person calls such conduct moral, as such conduct does not proceed from good sense and appropriateness, but is a natural reaction to the circumstances.

A human infant, as soon as it is born, seeks its mother’s breasts, and a chicken, as soon as it is hatched begins to pick up corn. In the same way the spawn of a leech behave like a leech, a baby serpent behaves like a serpent and a tiger cub behaves like a tiger. A human infant begins to exhibit human reactions as soon as it is born and those reactions become more and more remarkable as it begins to grow up. For instance, its weeping becomes louder, and its smiles become laughter, and its gaze becomes more concentrated.

At the age of a year or eighteen months it develops another natural trait: it begins to display its pleasure and displeasure through its movements and tries to strike someone or to give something to someone. All these motions are natural impulses. Similarly a barbarian who possesses little human sense is like such an infant and displays natural impulses in his words, actions and movements and is governed by his natural emotions.

Nothing proceeds from him in consequence of the exercise of his inner faculties. Whatever surges up from his inside under the operation of a natural impulse and as a reaction to external stimuli, becomes manifest. It is possible that his natural impulses that are exhibited as a reaction to an external stimulus may not all be vicious, and some might resemble good morals, but they are normally not the consequences of reasonable reflection and consideration, and even if they are to some degree so motivated they cannot be relied upon on account of the domination of natural impulses.
In short we cannot attribute true morals to a person who is subject to natural impulses like animals or infants or the insane, and who lives more or less like animals. The time of true morals, whether good or bad, begins when a person’s reason becomes mature and he is able to distinguish between good and bad and the degree of evil and goodness, and begins to feel sorry when he misses an opportunity of doing good and is remorseful when he has done some wrong. This is the second stage of his life which is designated by the Holy Quran the self that reproves.

True Courage: Of the natural conditions of man is that which resembles courage, as an infant sometimes seeks to thrust his hand into the fire on account of its natural condition of fearlessness. In that condition a person fearlessly confronts tigers and other wild beasts and issues forth alone to fight a large number of people. Such a one is considered very brave. But this is only a natural condition that is found even in savage animals and in dogs.

To be steadfast against every personal passion or against any calamity that attacks like an enemy and not to run away out of cowardice is true courage. Thus, there is a great difference between human courage and the courage of a wild beast. A wild animal is moved only in one direction when it is roused, but a man who possesses true courage chooses confrontation or non-resistance whichever might be appropriate to the occasion.
I give below a passage from the book:

“It is characteristic of the human self that it incites man to evil and is opposed to his attainment of perfection and to his moral state, and urges him towards undesirable and evil ways. Thus the propensity towards evil and intemperance is a human state which predominates over the mind of a person before he enters upon the moral state. This is man’s natural state, so long as he is not guided by reason and understanding but follows his natural bent in eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, anger and provocation, like the animals. When a person is guided by reason and understanding and brings his natural state under control and regulates it in a proper manner, then these three states, as described, cease to remain the categories as natural states, but are called moral states.” Unquote

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf

One may like to read answer to the “FIRST QUESTION- The Physical, Moral and Spiritual States of Man” from the above book to understand the topic of morality fully.

The Islamic wars, fought by Muhammad, were not fought to spread the faith but only to protect the lives of the persecuted and innocent Muslims

May 11, 2009

~ War was always thrust upon Muslims of Muhammad’s time and they never fought with the intention of spreading the faith
~ The blame lies wholly with the ignorant Maulawis who do not value human life, and are so thirsty for blood that they eagerly await a Mahdi who, they believe, will come to cause bloodshed

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad 1835-1908, the Promised Messiah, the Second Coming says:

Those who are acquainted with the early history of Islam
are no doubt aware of the cruelty and barbarity that was
perpetrated by the opponents in Mecca, and the number of
innocent people who were killed as a result. But this did
not deter people from embracing Islam. Even those of
limited intelligence could see that its teachings were far
more rational and convincing than those of the idol-worshippers.
When the opponents saw the futility of their
efforts, they decided that the only solution was to assassinate
the Holy Prophet (sa),but God rescued him from their
hands and led him to Medina in safety.

The Meccans,
however, persisted in their evil designs, and continued
their efforts to kill him even in Medina. Under these circumstances,
the Muslims had to defend themselves and to
avenge those who attacked them unjustly. The Islamic
wars were not fought to spread the faith but only to protect
the lives of the Muslims. Can any reasonable person
believe that Islam was unable to prove the Oneness of
God before the idolaters—who worshipped stone idols
and other inanimate objects, and were engrossed in all
kinds of vice—and had to resort to the sword for this reason?
God forbid! These allegations are groundless and
those who make them, do a grave injustice to Islam by
concealing the truth.

The Maulawis have played their part in perpetrating this
injustice, but the Christian clerics are no less guilty, for
they too have impressed these thoughts in the minds of the
Muslims by highlighting the edicts of foolish Maulawis.
When Muslims hear their own Maulawis issuing edicts in
favour of Jihad, and hear the Christian clerics—who are
also eminent scholars—raising the same objection against
Islam, they fall prey to the concept that Islam encourages
this kind of Jihad. Both these positions have given rise to
these unfounded objections against Islam.

Had the Christian clergy not adopted this course, and had
they honestly and truthfully admitted that the edicts of the
Maulawis are based on sheer ignorance, and that the circumstances
which had necessitated the Jihad during the
early days of Islam are not present in this age, the very
notion of this kind of Jihad would have disappeared from
the world. But they failed to understand this, being guided
more by their passions than their reason.

God only permitted the Muslims to fight when He saw
that the disbelievers had become deserving of death due to
their atrocities. But He also made the provision that anyone
who accepted Islam would be spared. It is this which
has, perhaps, caused the critics to draw erroneous conclusions.
They do not seem to understand that the injunction
was concerned not with coercion but with offering clemency
to those who deserved to die. Calling this teaching
coercive is the height of absurdity.

They merited their
punishment, not because they were non-Muslims, but because
they were killers. And since God was aware that
they had perfectly understood the truth of Islam, therefore,
out of His grace, He granted them an opportunity to
atone for their sins. This is further evidence that Islam did
not teach coercion, rather it provided respite to those who
should have been killed for their bloodshed.
Muslims suffered many hardships, and the degree of
prejudice that existed against them was such that if any
member of a tribe entered Islam he would at once be executed
or would live in constant fear of his life.

Muslims
had to fight to win peace. But even under these difficult
circumstances, they never drew the sword unless the two
conditions of war were met. War was always thrust upon
them and they never fought with the intention of spreading
the faith. They only fought for the sake of security and
self-defence, but ignorant Maulawis later gave it a different
complexion and began to take pride in something
quite barbaric and shameful.

But it would be wrong to lay
the blame on the teachings of Islam. The blame lies
wholly with those who do not value human life, and are
so thirsty for blood that they eagerly await a Mahdi who,
they believe, will come to cause bloodshed. They wish to
convince people that Islam has always depended upon
force and coercion for its propagation and that it does not
possess an iota of truth.

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/How-to-be-Free-from-Sin-20080806MN.pdf