Islam and Ethics

Islamand Ethics

Ethicsis the motivation to choose between the right or wrong according tothe beliefs of a particular group. In Islam, ethics are mostlyderived from the teachings of either the Qur’an or the Hadith.Qur’an mainly deals with the commandment of Mohammad while theHadith portrays him as an example that every Muslim should behavelike (Smith 62). Western ethics are derived from the Bible. In theWest, ethics are based on the teachings of the Bible and inparticular the lessons from the Ten Commandments. Confucianism isassociated with the great philosopher called Confucius (Kongfuzi) andemphasizes on social reforms. In comparison, ethics in the Western,Islam, and Confucianism insist on being honest with other people,being mindful of the needy people in the society where an individualis living, taking care of the older individuals in the community andbeing respectful to them. For example, in the western ethics, thereis a commandment that urges people to love their neighbors as theylove themselves (Smith 68). This is a commandment that encouragespeople to share what they have with those who are needy. In Islam,there is a percentage of what every Muslim has saved in the bank thatis supposed to go to the poor at the end of the year. Also, inConfucianism, the supreme principle of their ethics is doing toothers what one would like to be done unto him/her. This principletries to encourage sharing among the Chinese.

Anothersimilarity among the Western, Islam, and Confucian ethics is thattheir ethics encourage people to uphold righteousness. In theConfucian ethics, Confucius taught that a superior man should chooserighteousness instead of things that are unrighteous merely forpersonal gain. Also, there is a similarity in the concepts ofmorality in the Western and Islamic ethics in terms of certainfundamental values and doctrines (Smith 84). For example, in both,there is a belief that God is the creator, the only basis of truth,and everything is allowed in the principles of morality apart fromthe things that are considered to be compulsory and outlawed.Alternatively, both the Islam and Confucianism insists on treatingparents with a lot of dignity when they are alive, and when they die,they should be buried with respect too.

However,there are some beliefs and practices that are emphasized in the Islambut are parallel in the West and Confucianism. For example, among theWesterners, sex issues such as pre-marital sex is allowed, inparticular with the consent of parents and homosexual acts have beenallowed as a way of trying to safeguard the rights of the gays andlesbians. In Islam, such actions are not permissible and can attracta capital punishment such as being stoned to death. Muslim women anddaughters have always had the rights to inherit anything from theirfamilies while in many Western cultures, girls and women are notentitled to inherit anything from their families, especially in thepresence of sons. While Islam focuses mainly on molding Muslims intopeople who are honest, willing to share out what they possess withthe needy in the society, Confucianism advocates mostly for socialachievement and individual contentment (Smith 116). Regardingeducation, it is esoteric in a Confucian system while in Islam,education is for any Muslim, whether rich or poor.


Smith,Huston. TheWorld`s Religions, Revised and Updated.New York: HarperCollins, 2009. Print.