In Islam, knowledge is divided into two main branches scientific knowledge known as wisdom “Hikmat” and religious knowledge. The religious knowledge is further subdivided into twenty sub-branches, eight of which containing teachings of a higher level while the remaining twelve are subsidiary in nature. Ethics is one of the higher level teachings. It needs deep understanding and is one of the most challenging disciplines with in Islam. Its roots originate from the divine revelation of the Almighty Creator to his beloved Prophet.
Therefore, a Muslim individual who has very strong moral values and advanced in the scientific knowledge (Hikmat) of his time is called a progressive or civil Muslim. Alternately, an individual that has advanced in the Hikmat (Scientific wisdom), established the basic fundamentals that showcase clear scientific advancement, and yet has poor ethics is called a tyrant, a regressive person, a bandit or a dictator. Those who are lacking both ethics and wisdom are called vulgar people or savages. Muslims who had merged their scientific knowledge with the beautiful moral values of Islamic ethics actually led to the great Muslim civilization.
However, Muslim ethics deals with curing unacceptable poor morals rejected by its basic teachings, the Quran and the Sunnah. According to the Islamic teachings, poor moral values lead to the blackening of the heart and the literal death (misery and evilness) of the spirit. So, the only way to an absolute salvation is the purification of the heart by following religiously approved moral values and strengthening of the spirit through good deeds. Preaching of ethical values by a Muslim leads to the essence of his/her spiritual loss. On the contrary, avoiding vices is called “Taqwa” or piety and it is the most precious of all worships.
Furthermore, for a Muslim to implement good moral ethics, he/she should follow the path of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions. Fornication, eating pork, killing of an innocent person, drinking alcohol, racism and many other vices mentioned in the Qur’an and the prophet’s narrations are strictly forbidden. A Muslim who is not observing these divine commandments is violating the religious law. Many Ulama and Sheikhs wrote books about Muslim ethics (Akhlaq Al-Islam) but the most prominent of all is Ihya Ulum Al- Din (Revival of Religious Sciences) written by Imam Muhammad bin Muhammad Al-Ghazali from the city of Qum. He was a distinguished and highly respected figure, intellectual, Sheikh, Sufi master and a devout Muslim. His Nizamia Madrasah locates in Baghdad.
None the less, good ethical actions are called virtues in Islam and the individual or the society that is practicing it, will get the reward of God in the day of Judgement. Implementing Islamic ethics first starts from the individual, then the family and at last to the society. This means, when building a house, it is started from the ground each stone or substance in the house represents the individual, extended families are like cement holding the pieces together and the complete house is a symbol standing for the whole society. On the other way round, Muslim ethics cannot be applied to non-Muslims because Muslims are only following the religious moral values for the sake of God in exchange of getting his blessings in this world and his eternal paradise in the hereafter; otherwise, they would have come up with their own human invented ethics like the other societies.
In conclusion, the very challenge exist in the interpretation and understanding of the Holy Scriptures, the Qur’an and the hadith. There are many different Islamic schools of thought so it is always a nerve wrecking issue to maintain uniformity among the whole Muslim society. So, inorder to avoid conflict between the Muslims and save the Muslim blood and dignity, freedom of religious understanding should be respected; as long as the Islamic scholar (Mujtahid Mudlaq) has his strong logical reasons based on his conception of the Islamic religious knowledge.