Where Does Morality Come From?

Where Does Morality Come From?

Haya Muhammad Eid

Article translated to : العربية
Where Does Morality Come From?

• The entire concept of morality stems from the Islamic belief that humans are significant, that their behavior and actions will count and that the pattern of this entire universe is purposeful and balanced. Humankind is not a ship without a compass in the midst of a great storm, but is secured with a set of unchangeable norms for all possible moral situations.

• According to Islam, morality originates from God; God created humans with an innate moral sense, which, when left uncorrupted by bad influences, deepens and thrives further through His revelations. Thus, knowledge of right and wrong is not based only on inborn senses or experience, but also on absolute moral standards laid down by God.

• The moral system in Islam derives from God, therefore, it cannot be changed, amended, or manipulated to fit human desires. It will continue to apply and be binding upon all humans alike, regardless of time, place, or circumstances, until the Day of Judgement. What was declared morally good or bad in the past will remain so forever throughout time, even if a society ceases to treat what is good as good and what is bad as bad. Therefore, it is always a sin to lie, to steal, to commit adultery, or to be unkind to one’s parents.

• In Islam, morality and belief are inseparable. Without genuine morality, worship becomes a formality, an empty ritual, as clearly stated in the Qur’an:

“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west (in prayer) … but rather to give of one’s substance, however cherished, to kinsfolk, orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, those who ask (for help), and for freeing slaves …” 

(Qur’an 2:177)

• Every aspect of Islam is ethical at its base. The teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stress that belief must manifest itself into manners and actions, positively impacting on the life of the individual and society. Such as his saying,

“None of you believes until he wishes for his fellow human what he wishes for himself.”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), good manners are the unmistakable sign of perfect faith:

“The believers most perfect in faith are those best in character.”


Good manners are also one of the heaviest deeds in the Divine scale:

“Nothing is placed on the scale (of a believer) that is heavier than good manners.” 


And good manners are the greatest cause that will lead people into Paradise: “Demonstrating piety and good manners is the deed that will cause people to enter Paradise the most.” (Al-Baihaqi)

“God enjoins justice, doing good, giving to kith and kin, and forbids immorality, evil, and oppression; He admonishes you, that you may take heed.”

[Qur’an 16:90]

Atheistic View

• Morality is the product of evolution and human experience. It evolved only because it provided survival and reproductive benefits.

• Do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, and other moral standards developed as an adaption to life in order for humans to survive and flourish as a species. They are merely a contract between humans as a group, agreeing that no one should do harm to another so they can live in peace. Their goal is to maximize benefit and happiness while minimizing harm and misery.

• Morality has no eternal, absolute, or objective basis. It is completely a matter of opinion, preferences, and interests, with no foundations other than this, and is relative to a given culture or environment.

• Judgments of right and wrong are determined by society as a whole, particularly by those who control society. Since opinions differ from time to time and from place to place, the standards of right and wrong vary widely.

• Morality, therefore, is not fixed; rather, it is conventional and arbitrary. When the collective taste of a group changes, its moral standards also change. The homosexual issue is a clear case in point. What was considered morally wrong by most of society has at present become legal, applauded, and celebrated by some groups. In this instance, homosexual behavior went from being morally reprehensible to being morally acceptable.

• Because life, according to atheism, is essentially meaningless, morality, similar to everything else, has no intrinsic worth or merit; the point of morality is just being moral. There is nothing more to it.

“Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear – and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.” – William Provine.

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