By Sarmad Naveed, who is a Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who graduated from the Ahmadiyya Institute for Languages and Theology in Canada.
The concept of morality is perhaps one of the most polarizing subjects in the world. The vast dichotomies of theories, philosophies, and understandings often confound one who attempts to grasp the reality of this concept. For centuries, theologians, philosophers, and scholars of all spheres have tried their hand at providing a comprehensive structure to understand morality, yet often times they merely add to the conglomerate of sub-theories within morality.
While it is almost universally accepted that one ought to be a moral person, the question remains, how to be moral? In modern times, the answer has been left to the individual. Thus, people may establish their morality based on religious teachings, any given philosophy which resonates with them, societal norms, or whatever they feel to be right.
When defining morality, many often resort to saying that it is simply the doing of good. But what is good? Many events in our history such as wars, genocides and even the Holocaust took place because certain individuals thought that what they were doing was the correct course of action, either for themselves or what they believed to be for that of society at large. If morality is simply doing the ‘right thing,’ then is the discerning of that based on the action itself or the result that it bears? When left to individual understanding, a single explanation can lead to a thousand more questions.
% who say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral:
🇸🇪Sweden 9%https://t.co/mygyD4R3YF pic.twitter.com/4PHJf77d7w
— Pew Research Religion (@PewReligion) September 15, 2020
It is strange that despite being considered such a universally necessary concept, one is hard-pressed to find a substantial and comprehensive understanding of what morality is. When the discerning of a concept such as morality is left to any given individual understanding, then who’s to say what is truly moral and what is not?
Thus, in order to understand morality, there must be parameters whereby a standard level of morality can be established.
Islam presents the most comprehensive understanding of morality, from its origins to its practical application. The Islamic understanding not only conforms with achieving a higher spiritual standard, but it also conforms with reason and logic.
The Islamic understanding of morality can be likened to the building of a house. First the foundation must be laid, without which the structure cannot be built. Then, the appropriate tools and materials must be gathered, and finally, each tool must be used at the appropriate time and the materials put in their appropriate places. There must also be a builder to facilitate all of this. Only then can the house be built.
Thus, God established a structure of morality.