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Ethics of Islam: Islamic Beliefs, Practices and Morals


Islamic Beliefs, Practices and Morals

The purpose of this online booklet is simply to acquaint the reader with the basic teachings of Islâm. It merely serves as an introduction to the basic beliefs, practices and morals in Islâm. This work is not intended to provide an in-depth analysis of Islâmic teachings and principles. It certainly does not cover every aspect of Islâm. It is hoped that this booklet will enable the seeker of truth, to understand the basic concepts of Islâm and motivate him to accept the only path to salvation "Al-Islâm".




The Holy Qur’ân States:

"We have not created heaven and earth and all that is between them without meaning and purpose. That is the opinion of those who deny the truth..."

Life has a sublime purpose, beyond the fulfillment of physical needs and material activity. Man has been endowed with intellect, together with the capacity to do good and bad, so as to prepare for life after death.

The Holy Qur’ân states: "(Blessed be) He who created death and life, so that He may test you, which of you is the best in deeds".

This temporary life, is but an abode of test, a test between honesty and deceit, kindness and oppression, passion and intellect. Man has to seek salvation through the guidance of the Lord. He has to combine faith with action and belief with practice.

Every person is born free from sin and with a natural inclination towards accepting the existence of a Supreme Being.

This natural inclination is sometimes swayed and perverted through the influence of one’s parents, society or peers.

The Almighty has not only charged man with responsibility, but has also provided him with direction, through the medium of Prophets and divine scriptures. Man has been endowed with intellect, so that he could search for the truth. He has to develop the strength and humility to accept it.




The word "Islâm" is derived from the Arabic word "Salâm" which means peace, purity and submission. When an individual submits to the law of the Almighty, he is called a Muslim, "One who has submitted." The name Islâm is distinctly different from the names of other religions. Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism are named after their founders. Islâm is not classified as "MUHAMMADANISM" because Muslims do not worship Muhammad, nor was Muhammad the founder of Islâm.

The originator of Islâm is no other than the Almighty Himself. All previous Prophets propagated submission to the Almighty, they were all Muslims.

The Holy Qur’ân states: "Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor Christian, in fact he was an upright Muslim." (One who has submitted to the law of the Almighty)
The Qur’ân further states regarding Prophet Nűh (A.S.): "I have been commanded to be from the Muslims."
Hence a Muslim is not only a believer in the prophethood of Muhammad exclusively, he also believes in the prophethood of Ibrahim (Abraham), Műsa (Moses), Isa (Jesus) and all the other Prophets. (May peace be upon all of them).
The previous Prophets were either sent to their families, communities or countries. Muhammad was sent as a universal Prophet.
Therefore Islâm is not the specific religion of the Arabs, Indians or Malays. It is the religion of mankind.






Indonesia 142  Million
Pakistan 104  Million
India 98  Million
Bangladesh 95  Million
Turkey 53  Million
Russia 51  Million
Egypt 44  Million
Nigeria 40  Million
China 26 Million



Arabs 165  Million
BengaliI 103  Million
Javanese 74  Million
Sudanese 26  Million
Malay 22  Million
Kurds 18  Million



Religion could refer to:
Millat: Prayer or a set of rituals confined to a particular time or place, but not related to the activities of daily life.
Deen: Divine law regulating every sphere of life, i.e. a complete way of life.

Islâm embodies every sphere of life. It does not draw a distinction between "spiritual" or "mundane" life. Every aspect of life, be it the mode of dress, diet, education, commerce or politics, all are governed by the Qur’ân. It has laid down cogent principles regarding worship, social conduct and mutual dealings.

The Holy Qur’ân states: "This day I have perfected my favour unto you and chosen Islâm as a way of life for you"

Islâm basically constitutes a dual obligation.

  • Duty towards the Almighty

  • Duty towards fellow man.

The Holy Qur’ân states: "Seeth thou one, who denies the Judgment (to come)? Then such is the one Who repulses the orphan, And encourages not The feeding of the indigent. So woe to the worshipppers, Who are neglectful of their Prayers, those who (want but) To be seen, But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs."

( i.e. duty unto man).



  • There is no object of worship besides Allâh - the Almighty.
  • Existence of angels
  • Divine scripture
  • Prophethood
  • The Last Day
  • Destiny
  • Life After Death


Every family has a head, every school has a principal, every province has a premier, moreover we know that every product is the work of a certain producer. In the like manner there must be a Creator and Originator of life and the universe. There must be a Supreme Being who controls the movement of the sun and the moon, who causes life and death. Muslims believe that the Maker and Sustainer of the world is the Almighty, the Eternal and Compassionate.

Evidence of His existence as stated in the Holy Qur’ân:
  • "Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the day and night, there are indeed signs for men of intellect."
  • "Among His signs, is (that) He created you from dust and behold! You are men scattered (far and wide)."

The Qur’ân further states:
  • "Who is it that created the heavens and the earth, who sends rain down to you from the sky and with it He causes well planted orchards to grow - full of beauty and delight. It is not in your power to cause the growth of trees. (Can there be another ) deity besides Allâh?"



The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "Say He Allâh - the one and only. Allâh the eternal and absolute. He begetteth not, nor is He begotten. (ie. He was not born from anybody nor has He any children) And there is none like unto Him."


The Almighty is one, who has no partner nor son. He has no beginning nor end. He is beyond human comprehension. He is without needs and thus independent and He alone is the originator of the entire creation. Whatever He has commanded us to do, it is for our own benefit and good.

The Holy Qur’ân states:
  • "The originator of the heavens and earth:- How can He have a son, when He has no spouse? He created all things and He has knowledge of all things".
  • "That is Allâh - your Lord There is no diety but He The Creator of all things Therefore worship Him......"



The Almighty is beyond physical perception and beyond direct physical contact with man.

The Qur’ân states:

  • "(He is) nearer to man than his jugular vein"

Yet no physical contact is possible. Thus, the angels are celestial message bearers, who serve as intermediaries between the Almighty and His Prophets.

The Holy Qur’ân states:
  • "Praise be to Allâh - originator of the heavens and earth, who made the angels, messengers with pairs of two, three, or four wings."

Angels are created from light. They are purely spiritual beings, whose nature requires no food, drink nor sleep. They are neither male nor female, nor do they have physical desires of any kind. They have been allocated various duties and are constantly in the service of the Almighty. No one knows the exact number of angels, except the Almighty.

However, the four well-known angels are:
  • Jibra’îl - the angel of revelation
  • Mika’îl - the angel of revelation
  • Israfîl - the angel who will blow the trumpet on the day of Judgement.
  • Izra’îl - the angel of death

Every individual is attended by two angels who record his activities. They are known as Kirâman Katibîn, "the noble scribes".

The Holy Qur’ân states:
  • "Indeed over you are guardian (angels) "Noble Scribes". They know (all) that you do."



A Muslim believes in all the previous Divine scriptures.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • ".... (Muslims are those) who believe in revelation sent to thee and before thy time"

However most of these scriptures have been either lost, distorted or corrupted. A well known authority on the sources of the bible Dr. J. Patterson Smyth (BD, LLD) writes in his book 'How we got our Bible' :

"Now let us remember clearly that as we look into that old record chest of nearly 1 800 years ago, we have before us all the sources from which we get our bible. And remember further that these writings were of course manuscripts i.e. written by the hand, and that copies when needed, had each to be written out, letter by letter, at a great expense of time and trouble, and unfortunately, I must add, very often too at some expense of the original correctness. However careful the scribe might be, it was almost impossible in copying a long and difficult manuscript, to prevent the occurrence of errors. Sometimes he would mistake one letter for another, if having the manuscript read to him, he would confound two words of similar sounds - sometimes after w riting in the last word of a line, on looking up again his eye would catch the same word at the end of the next line, and he would go on from that, omitting the whole line between. Remarks and explanations written in the margin might sometimes get inserted in the text while transcribing. In these and various other ways errors might creep into the copy of his manuscript. These errors would be repeated by the man that afterward copied from this, who would also sometimes add other errors of his own so that it is evident as them." (pages 10 - 11).



  • The Taurat, given to Műsa (AS) (Moses)
  • The Zabűr, given to Dawűd (AS) (David)
  • The Injeel, given to Îsa (AS) (Jesus)
  • The Qur’ân, given to Muhammad (SAW)



The Qur’ân is the speech of Allâh, revealed in its precise wording and meaning and protected by Allâh, Himself.


The Almighty states :

"We have sent down the Qur’ân and We will certainly preserve it. (from corruption)"

The Qur’ân is the last and final scripture of the Almighty, sent to man.



The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "It is He who has sent down to thee in truth, the book confirming what went before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Injeel before this, as a guide to mankind. And He (ultimately) sent the criterion (of Judgment between right and wrong)" i.e. Qur’ân.

Thus the Qur’ân is the standard or criterion by which all other books are judged. Aspects of the bible that conform to the Qur’ânic precepts we accept as Divine truth, while those that go against the criterion we regard as human interpolation.




Prophets are men of great piety chosen by the Almighty to deliver His message to mankind. They were sent at various times of history to various nations. They were all human beings, who were protected from sin and falling prey to their lust.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "We (Muslims) believe in the Almighty and the revelation given to us and to Ibrahim, Is'hâq, Yaqűb and the tribes .... we make no distinction between any of them".

Some of the prophets mentioned in the Qur’ân are: Adam, Nűh (Noah), Lűt (Lot), Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'îl (Ishmael), Dawűd (David), Műsa (Moses), Yunus (Jonah), Îsa (Jesus) (A.S.) and Muhammed (SAW). Muhammed (May peace be upon him) was the Last Prophet, who is regarded as the 'Seal of Prophethood'. The details of his life are carefully preserved in what is known as "Hadîth".

The Qur’ân states: "We did not send you, but as a mercy unto mankind."



Muslims do not believe that Îsa (AS) (Jesus) was the begotten son of the Almighty, nor that he died for the sins of mankind. In fact he is a chosen messenger of the Almighty and he was born miraculously. He was bestowed with super natural powers and was not crucified but physically lifted to the heavens. He will return to this world once again.

The Holy Qur’ân states:
  • Behold the angel said: "O, Maryam - Allâh gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, His name will be Masih - Îsa the son of Maryam, held in honour in this world and the hereafter ..... and Allâh will teach him the book of wisdom - the Taurat and the Injîl and appoint him messenger to the children of Israel. His message will be: "I have come to you with a sign from the Lord. In that I make for you - out of clay - as if it were the figure of a bird, I breath into it and it becomes a bird, by Allâh’s permission - and I heal those born blind and the lepers - and I bring the dead to life - by Allâh’s permission, and I will inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses - therein is a sign for you - if you believe."



This world will ultimately come to an end one day and the dead will rise to stand trial before the Almighty. This world is an abode of trial, some people are tested with wealth, whilst others are tested through poverty. Some have been given health whilst others have been subjected to sickness. Belief in the last day answers many complicated questions. There are people who commit sins and indulge in immoral activities, yet they seem to prosper, while the innocent and meek are sometimes exploited and oppressed.

The Holy Qur’ân states:
  • "Let not the arrogant strutting of the unbelievers through the land deceive you, it is but enjoyment for a little while. Their ultimate abode is hell- what an evil abode!"

All deeds of mankind are known to the Almighty and are recorded by His angels. Man will have to answer for his deeds, he will be held accountable and will either be rewarded or punished for his conduct and deeds. Justice and equality are the hallmarks of the hereafter.

The Holy Qur’ân states:
  • "When the great overwhelming (event) comes to pass, man shall remember (all) that he strove for and hell-fire shall be placed in full view, for him who sees - then for such as had transgressed all bounds and had preferred the life of this world, the abode will be the fire of hell and for such as had entertained the fear of standing before the Lord, and had restrained their souls from lower desires, their abode will be the Garden of Bliss."



The power of good and bad lies in the domain of Allâh. Man is exhorted to think, plan and make sound decisions. If after striving he does not succeed, he should not loose faith and become despondent, nor should he become arrogant and haughty if he succeeds and attribute success to his acumen and intelligence.

The Holy Qur’ân states:
  • "No misfortune happens on earth or in your souls, but is recorded in a book (long) before We bring it into existence. That is truly easy for Allâh. In order that you may not despair over matters that miss you, nor become arrogant over favours bestowed upon you. For Allâh loveth not the vain-glorious."

The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: "Know that, that which afflicted you was never meant to miss you and that which missed you was never meant for you." Belief in destiny, implies that whatever happens (be it good or bad) takes place with the command, will and wisdom of the Almighty.



Death is merely a doorway to a perpetual life. After the last day, wherein the existence and system of the universe will be brought to an end, the earth, moon, stars etc., will be crushed and reduced to atoms. Mankind will be resurrected and will be asked to give an account of their deeds. Those who believed and did righteous deeds would be blessed with a perpetual life (i.e. paradise), whilst those who rejected the truth and lived wicked lives will be cast into the fire of hell, therein they shall dwell perpetually.

The Qur’ân states:

"Those who reject the truth among the people of the Book and among the polytheist will be in the fire of hell to dwell therein forever. They are the worst of creatures. Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures - their reward is with Allâh - gardens of eternity beneath which rivers flow. They will dwell therein forever."



  • The structure of Islâmic devotional practices rests upon the five pillars, namely :

  • Declaration of faith.

  • Prayer.

  • Compulsory charity.

  • Fasting.

  • Pilgrimage.


Declaration of faith: There is no object worthy of worship besides Allâh and Muhammad is the messenger of Allâh.




By declaring the oneness of Allâh and the prophethood of His apostle Muhammad (SAW), we willingly recognise the sovereignity of Allâh and humbly submit and surrender to His law and directives as shown to us by His final prophet Muhammad (SAW). It further implies that the only Law Maker, Sovereign and absolute object of worship is Allâh and we obey the Prophet (SAW) with unquestioned obedience. His example and teachings are to be followed unconditionally. We offer absolute loyalty and allegiance to him. He is the model of perfection and only in following him could we obtain divine pleasure.



The Prophet (SAW) did not only transmit the word of Allâh, but also gave the exposition of its meaning, i.e. the Prophet (SAW) was not given the freedom of explaining the word of Allâh based on his own understanding. The intent and interpretation of the Qur’ân was also from Him (Allâh). If the Prophet (SAW) was not authorised to determine its meaning and significance on his own accord, it would be preposterous to suggest that any person could arrogate to himself the right to interpret the Qur’ân according to his own thought and opinion.


The Holy Prophet (SAW) stated: "The Israelites were divided into 72 groups and my followers will be split into 73 groups. All of them shall be in the fire of hell except one. The companions asked, "Which one will be saved?". He replied: "Those who are on my path and the path of my companions." The above prophecy has undoubtedly been fulfilled. Many splinter groups purporting to be Muslims have sprung up, however the majority of the Muslims subscribe to the ‘Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’at’, the people of the path of the Prophet and his companions.



The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "Surely I am Allâh, there is no object of worship but I, serve Me and establish prayer for My remembrance."

The primary object of prayer is the remembrance of Allâh. Prayer is prescribed 5 times daily, wherein a Muslim acknowledges the Greatness of Allâh, seeks His forgiveness and guidance.

Prayer destroys evil tendencies and bad habits.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "Verily prayer wards off indecencies and lewdness."

Prayer purifies the heart and develops the mind.

It consists of three elements:

  • Humility of heart.

  • Recognition of the Majesty of the Almighty.

  • Physical demonstration or reverence.



Fasting literally means abstention from food, drink and sexual relations from the break of dawn till sunset, during the month of Ramadhân - the ninth month of the Islâmic calendar.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was for those before you, so that you may learn self - restraint."

The primary objective of fasting is to subjugate the beastly tendencies/inclinations in man. The dictates of lust and passion are greatly subdued. It generates a spirit of sympathy and generosity for the poor and destitute. It is a prescription for self-control and will-power. It contributes to the preservation of health. A physician once said: "Take away food from a sick man’s stomach and you begin to starve not the sick man, but the disease."



The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "And establish Salât, and pay the Zakât (compulsory charity) and offer to Allâh a beautiful gift."

Zakât (compulsory charity) is a charity enjoined by Allâh upon all those who can afford it. It purifies the wealth of the owner and cleanses him of greed and selfishness. It promotes the spirit of social responsibility on the part of the donor and a feeling of security and belonging on the part of the recipient.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "Extract from their wealth charity, it would cleanse them and purify them...."

The Holy Prophet (SAW) has stated: "The hand that gives is better than the hand that receives."



The performance of pilgrimage is obligatory upon a Muslim at least once in a life time, if he is financially capable and physically fit. Pilgrimage is a journey undertaken to Makkah in the month of Zul-Hijja, the 12th month of the Islâmic calendar. It is a commemoration of the great sacrifice of Ibrahim (AS) and his triumph over infidelity. It is the largest annual convention of faith. It is the demonstration of the universality of Islâm. It is to confirm the commitment of the Muslim to Allâh. It is a reminder of the great assembly of the Day of Judgment.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

"Haj (ought to be performed) in the months well known. If any one undertakes to fulfill the obligation therein, let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Haj..."



Islâm is not confined to devotional and legal matters, but embraces morals, values and a code of conduct. Some of the Islâmic ethics are mentioned hereunder:



Islâm lays great emphasis on physical cleanliness.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "Allâh loves those who purify themselves."

The Holy Prophet (SAW) stated:

"Ten characteristics stem from the (very) nature of man:

  • To clip the moustache.

  • To lengthen the beard.

  • To brush the teeth.

  • To cleanse the nose.

  • To cut the nails.

  • To wash the finger joints (in-between the fingers)

  • To remove hair from the armpits.

  • To shave hair from the pubic region

  • To use water after the call of nature.

  • To cleanse and gargle the mouth."



Islâmic conduct covers almost every aspect of personal and social behaviour.

The Holy Prophet (SAW) has stated:

  • "If you guarantee me six things from your side, I will in return guarantee you Paradise.

  • Speak the truth whenever you talk.

  • Fulfill your promise when you make a pledge.

  • Discharge your trust when you are entrusted.

  • Protect your private parts (from abuse).

  • Lower your gazes from lustful glances.

  • Restrain your hands (from acting unjustly).

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much as possible ... and spy not on each other. Nor speak ill of each other ..."



The general principle with regard to food is as follows: All foods that are pure and good for man is lawful, whilst those that are impure and harmful are unlawful.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "He has forbidden dead meat (carrion), blood, the flesh of swine, animals on which any other name has been invoked, other than the name of Allâh."

Regarding drinks which are considered harmful and destructive the Qur’ân states:

  • "Intoxicants and gambling, sacrificing to the stones (idols) and (divination by) arrows (superstition), are an abomination of Shaitâns handiwork. Shun such (abomination) so that you may prosper."

The above verse prohibits not only intoxicants but all forms of superstition and gambling.



Islâm advocates decency, modesty and chastity in dressing. Clothing which display arrogance and vanity are strictly prohibited.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "O children of Adam! Let not Shaitân (Satan) seduce you, as he seduced your parents out of the garden, stripping them of their garments, in order to expose their shameful (parts) ......."



The moral value system of Islâm is based on the absolute equality of man, irrespective of race, wealth or lineage. The only distinction in Islâm is based on piety.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

"O mankind! We have created you from a single (pair) of a male and female and we have made you into nations and tribes, so that you may recognise each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allâh is the most righteous."

The Holy Prophet has stated: "You are in no way better than (a person with a) red or black complexion unless you surpass him with piety."



A Muslim is enjoined to be self supporting and not to be a liability to society. Honesty in trade is not only a duty but a great virtue.

The Holy Qur’ân states:

  • "Cursed be those who deal in fraud, those who demand in full measure when they receive, but when they have to give by measure or weight, they give less than what is due. Do they not think that they will be called to account on a mighty day ..."

The Prophet (sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam) has stated: "There is no earning better than that which is earned by one’s own hands and the lawful wealth that one spends on oneself, his family, his children and employees is ( also regarded as) charity."


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