1 APPROPRIATE METHODOLOGY FOR THE STUDY OF ISLAMIC ETHICS by M. Kamal Hassan *Presented at the First Int. Conf. organised by CILE on ARTS AND POLITICS FROM AN ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE in Qatar on 8 th 10 th March 2013
2 1. Islamic ethics being synonymous with Islamic faith (iman) and Divine Way of Life (shari`ah), the quest for an appropriate methodology assumes Muslim scholars dissatisfaction with the way or ways Islamic ethics as an integrated system of comprehensive moral behavior has been studied or taught. Evidences of serious ethical crisis in contemporary Muslim societies and states are numerous and the chasms between the lofty moral ideals of Divine origin ( akhlaq rabbaniyyah) and Muslim immoral and unethical practices seem to be as wide as ever.
3 (2) relevancy to new and contemporary issues (3) interrelationships with other branches of religious and worldly sciences (1) effectiveness in the Ummah s moral education and cultural as well as societal reformation Questions have been raised on the issues of (4) engagement with or exposure to non- Muslim critique.
4 3. We take note of the variety of Muslim approaches in the exposition and study of Islamic ethics from the rich heritage of Islamic classical scholarship and tradition involving exegetical (tafsir), traditionist (hadith), jurisprudential (fiqh and usul alfiqh), theological (kalam), philosophical (falsafah), Sufi (tasawwuf), etiquette (adab), counsel for kings (nasihat al-muluk) literature.
5 4. In the 20 th century, the study of Islamic ethics as a comprehensive and independent discipline was raised to a new and innovative scholarship by the great initiative Dr. Abdullah Darraz with his ground-breaking Ph.D thesis at Sorbonne in 1947: later translated as Dustur al-akhlaq fi al-qur an. His classification of his study into :
6 CONT. a) Ethical theory based on the Quranic text with comparison to the western concepts. b) Practical ethics (al-akhlaq al-`amaliyyah) by analyzing the subject into : 1.Individual, 2.Family, 3.Social, 4.State 5.Religious ethics was a major achievement by an Azhari scholar who used his exposure to foreign languages and European philosophical thought to compare the virtues of Qur anic ethics with those of the western.
7 5. The comparative approach that he initiated is also adopted by Muslim scholars who focus on the study of philosophical ethics, such as : MUSLIM SCHOLARS Muhammad Yusuf Musa Tawfiq al-tawil Ma`bad Farghali Hamdi `Abd al-`al Muhammad Abd al-sattar Nasaar Abd Allah b. Muhammad al-amru STUDY OF Falsafat al-akhlaq fi al-islam wasilatuha bi al-falsafah al- Ighriqiyyah al-falsafah al-khuluqiyyah Fi al-akhlaq al-islamiyyahwa al- Insaniyyah al-akhlaqwami`yaruhabaina al- Wad`iyyahwa al-din Dirasat fi Falsafah al-akhlaqiyyah al-akhlaqbaina al-madrasatain al- Salafiyyahwa al-falsafiyyah
8 6. With the advent of the maqasid al-shari`ah approach championed by several prominent scholars in the Arab world, in the last few decades, preceded by the rationalistic systematization and identification of the the Khasa is al- Tasawwur al-islamiby Sayyid Qutb or the al-khasa is al- `Ammah li al-islam, Fi Fiqh al-awlawiyyat, and al-siyasah al- Shar`iyyah fi Daw Nusus al-shari`ah wa Maqasidiha by Yusuf al-qaradawi, as well as the recent works on the different types of ijtihad, the study of Islamic ethics has secured a solid and original basis for further development in order to cope with the changing times. The debates on what constitutes the new or subsidiary maqasid to the original five categories identified by al-ghazali, al-shatibi and others would continue to pose new intellectual challenges in addressing the new branches of Islamic ethics.
9 7. An excellent study in English by Majid Fakhry, Ethical Theories in Islam(1991) is a systematic intellectual analysis of the four major trends of Muslim ethical thought: 1. Scriptural Morality 2. Theological Ethics 3. Philosophical Ethics 4. Religious Ethics in which he compares the works of al-mawardi (Adab al- Dinwa al-dunya), IbnHazm (Kitab al-akhlaqwa al-siyar), al- Raghib al-isfahani (al-dhari`ahilamakarim al-shari`ah), al- Razi (Kitab al-al-nafswa al-ruh), and al-ghazali s synthesis of rationalist, scripturalist and spiritualist thoughts in his Ihya `Ulum al-din, Mizan al-`amal and Kimya al-sa`adah.
10 8. The methodology of semantic analysis was introduced by Toshihiko Izutsu in his seminal work, Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur an(1966). He is probably among the first Orientalist in the 20 th century to work out Islamic ethical concepts, based on the semantic analysis of several moral values in the Qur an, within the framework of the Qur`anic Weltanschauung. The theory of meaning which he employed in his insightful analysis is based on the ethno linguistic studies of the German scholar Leo Weisgerber.
11 cont. Although this methodology tends to neglect the historical context of words and languages, Izutsu s command of classical Arabic poetry and his comprehensive understanding of the Qur an and early Islamic theology and later Sufi thought has enriched our understanding of the depth and web of meaning (semantic fields) of Qur anic terms such as Kufr, Shirk, Iman, Ma`ruf and Munkar, Khair and Sharr, Tayyib, Husn and Khabith, etc.
12 9. Another new and critical approach seems to be developed by Taha Abdurrahman who depends essentially on formal logic in approaching the subject, and this is naturally due to the fact that he is one of the prominent logicians in contemporary Arabic thought. (Samir Abuzaid, Accessed 7 March 2013)In his view the correct ethical theory should be based upon giving up the notion of subjugating nature in favor of the notion of obedience of the real master of nature (The Question of Ethics, P ( ibid.)
13 cont. On the issue of Global Ethics, he criticises the concession of the representatives of world religions to secularism, so much so that their own affiliation to religion is rendered irrelevant. In effect their effort to deflect possible accusations of subjectivism, absolutism, and irrationality the bugbears of secularism has led them into a byway of contradiction vis-avis their own profession of a theistic-basis for their project. Ultimately the authors of the project have gone on to neglect the very principles that underlie theistic insight, faith and praxis. Their desire to gain the approval of secular audiences by negotiating the three core premises of secularism privatization of religion, relativity of truth, and the hegemony of rationalism has led to an untrammeled accommodation. (Tabah Paper Series, Number 1, June 2008, Accessed 7 March 2013).
14 10.The approach adopted by Muhammad Fazlur-Rahman Ansari, as an upholder of dynamic orthodoxy in his two volume Ph.D thesis The Qu ranic Foundation and Structure of Muslim Society (1973) also proceeds from the framework of the spiritual worldview of the Qur an with rational sistematisation of the concept of unity and integration as the key concepts.
15 cont. His ethico-metaphysical foundations of Islam includes a critique of both the materialistic as well as the Christian ethics, and postulate fulfillment of khilafah and falah rather than salvation as the vision of ethical goal. The whole of his volume two is devoted to the exposition of the empire of duties instead of rights which the Qur anic moral code enjoins.
16 cont. Thus he describes and discusses : (1) Duties to Self as spiritual, physical, rational, aesthetical and moral being, (2) Duties to Other Individuals, (3) Duties Relating to the Societal Whole
17 We would recommend that the appropriate methodology would include the following: (a) To harmoniously integrate all the positive elements from the above approaches, (b) To balance the principle of rights with the principle of duties, (c) To incorporate new ethical issues and their theoretical and practical solutions, (d) To include contemporary case studies of ethical dilemmas or ethical solutions based on the application Islamic value system to real life situations, and (e) To make comparisons with non-muslim systems, theories and practices, while benefitting from their positive elements.
18 FINAL SUGGESTION Finally, we would suggest that the teaching of Islamic ethics should include the study of the phenomenon of corruption and abuse of power in Muslim countries. The study and findings of the Transparency International with its annual Corruption Perception Index would be most useful for Muslim leaders, elites, professionals, government employees, private sector workers, students and the general public. An appendix on the ranking of countries according to the perception of corruption is attached. Perhaps a bottoms-up approach to the study of Islamic ethics and their failures as well as the structural or systemic obstacles and hindrances could also be employed in addition to the top-down or theory-to-practice approach. Wallahu a`lam.
19 APPENDIX: TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2012 (SOURCE:
20 muslim Governments AND POLITICAL ELITES Must Prioritise The Fight Against Corruption From the CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2012, it's clear that corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts. The Index of 2012 shows that no country has a perfect score, two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem.
21 Corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water. It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or healthcare. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds. Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making. They must prioritise better rules on lobbying and political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable. (SOURCE:
22 FULL TABLE & RANKING RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 Denmark 90 1 Finland 90 1 New Zealand 90 4 Sweden 88 5 Singapore 87 6 Switzerland 86 7 Australia 85 7 Norway 85 9 Canada 84 9 Netherlands Iceland Luxembourg Germany Hong Kong Barbados Belgium Japan United Kingdom United States Chile Uruguay Bahamas France Saint Lucia Austria Ireland Qatar 68
23 27 United Arab Emirates Cyprus Botswana Spain Estonia Bhutan Portugal Puerto Rico Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Slovenia Taiwan Cape Verde Israel Dominica Poland Malta Mauritius Korea (South) Brunei Hungary Costa Rica Lithuania Rwanda Georgia Seychelles Bahrain Czech Republic Latvia Malaysia Turkey Cuba Jordan 48
24 58 Namibia Oman Croatia Slovakia Ghana Lesotho Kuwait Romania Saudi Arabia Brazil FYR Macedonia South Africa Bosnia and Herzegovina Italy Sao Tome and Principe Bulgaria Liberia Montenegro Tunisia Sri Lanka China Serbia Trinidad and Tobago Burkina Faso El Salvador Jamaica Panama Peru Malawi Morocco Suriname Swaziland 37
25 88 Thailand Zambia Benin Colombia Djibouti Greece India Moldova Mongolia Senegal Argentina Gabon Tanzania Algeria Armenia Bolivia Gambia Kosovo Mali Mexico Philippines Albania Ethiopia Guatemala Niger Timor-Leste Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt Indonesia Madagascar Belarus 31
26 123 Mauritania Mozambique Sierra Leone Vietnam Lebanon Togo Côte d Ivoire Nicaragua Uganda Comoros Guyana Honduras Iran Kazakhstan Russia Azerbaijan Kenya Nepal Nigeria Pakistan Bangladesh Cameroon Central African Republic Congo Republic Syria Ukraine Eritrea Guinea-Bissau Papua New Guinea Paraguay Guinea Kyrgyzstan 24
27 156 Yemen Angola Cambodia Tajikistan Democratic Republic of the Congo Laos Myanmar Sudan Afghanistan Korea (North) Somalia Libya Equatorial Guinea Zimbabwe Burundi Chad Haiti Venezuela Iraq Turkmenistan Uzbekistan 17 (SOURCE:
28 RANKING for year 2012: MUSLIM COUNTRIES RANK COUNTRY SCORE 27 Qatar United Arab Emirates Mauritius Brunei Bahrain Malaysia Turkey Jordan Oman Kuwait Saudi Arabia Bosnia and Herzegovina Tunisia Morocco Djibouti Senegal Gabon Algeria Gambia Kosovo Mali Albania Niger Egypt Indonesia Mauritania Mozambique Sierra Leone Lebanon Iran Kazakhstan 28
29 139 Azerbaijan Nigeria Pakistan Bangladesh Cameroon Syria Guinea Kyrgyzstan Yemen Tajikistan Libya Chad Iraq Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Sudan Afghanistan Somalia 8 (SOURCE:
30 LEAST CORRUPT TOP 20 COUNTRIES YEAR 2000 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 Finland Denmark New Zealand 9.4 YEAR 2001 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 Finland Denmark New Zealand 9.4 Sweden Canada Iceland 9.1 Norway 9.1 Singapore Netherlands United Kingdom Luxembourg 8.6 Switzerland Australia USA Austria 7.7 Hong Kong Spain France Israel Japan Iceland 9.2 Singapore Sweden Canada Netherlands Luxembourg Norway Australia Switzerland United Kingdom Hong Kong Austria Israel 7.6 USA Chile 7.5 Ireland Germany 7.4
31 YEAR 2002 RANK COUNTRY SCORE YEAR 2003 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 Finland Denmark 9.5 New Zealand Iceland Singapore 9.3 Sweden Canada 9.0 Luxembourg 9.0 Netherlands United Kingdom Australia Norway 8.5 Switzerland Hong Kong Austria USA Chile Germany 7.3 Israel Belgium Finland Iceland Denmark 9.5 New Zealand Singapore Sweden Netherlands Australia 8.8 Norway 8.8 Switzerland Canada 8.7 Luxembourg 8.7 United Kingdom Austria 8.0 Hong Kong Germany Belgium Ireland 7.5 USA Chile 7.4
32 YEAR 2004 RANK COUNTRY SCORE YEAR Finland 9,7 2 New Zealand 9,6 3 Denmark 9,5 Iceland 9,5 5 Singapore 9,3 6 Sweden 9,2 7 Switzerland 9,1 8 Norway 8,9 9 Australia 8,8 10 Netherlands 8,7 11 United Kingdom 8,6 12 Canada 8,5 13 Austria 8,4 Luxembourg 8,4 15 Germany 8,2 16 Hong Kong 8,0 17 Belgium 7,5 Ireland 7,5 USA 7,5 20 Chile 7,4 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 Iceland Finland 9.6 New Zealand Denmark Singapore Sweden Switzerland Norway Australia Austria Netherlands 8.6 United Kingdom Luxembourg Canada Hong Kong Germany USA France Belgium 7.4 Ireland 7.4
33 YEAR 2006 RANK COUNTRY SCORE YEAR Finland Iceland New Zealand Denmark Singapore Sweden Switzerland Norway Australia Netherlands Austria Luxembourg United Kingdom Canada Hong Kong Germany Japan France Ireland Belgium 7.3 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 Denmark Finland New Zealand Singapore Sweden Iceland Netherlands Switzerland Canada Norway Australia Luxembourg United Kingdom Hong Kong Austria Germany Ireland Japan France USA 7.2
34 YEAR 2008 RANK COUNTRY SCORE YEAR Denmark 9,3 1 New Zealand 9,3 1 Sweden 9,3 4 Singapore 9,2 5 Finland 9,0 5 Switzerland 9,0 7 Iceland 8,9 7 Netherlands 8,9 9 Australia 8,7 9 Canada 8,7 11 Luxembourg 8,3 12 Austria 8,1 12 Hong Kong 8,1 14 Germany 7,9 14 Norway 7,9 16 Ireland 7,7 16 United Kingdom 7,7 18 Belgium 7,3 18 Japan 7,3 18 USA 7,3 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 New Zealand Denmark Singapore Sweden Switzerland Finland Netherlands Australia Canada Iceland Norway Hong Kong Luxembourg Germany Ireland Austria Japan United Kingdom United States Barbados 7.4
35 YEAR 2010 RANK COUNTRY SCORE YEAR Singapore New Zealand Denmark Finland Sweden Canada Netherlands Australia Switzerland Norway Iceland Luxembourg Hong Kong Ireland Australia Germany Barbados Japan Qatar United Kingdom 7.6 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 NEW ZEALAND DENMARK FINLAND SWEDEN SINGAPORE NORWAY NETHERLANDS AUSTRALIA SWITZERLANDS AUSTRALIA LUXEMBOURG HONG KONG ICELAND GERMANY 8 14 JAPAN 8 16 AUSTRIA BARBADOS UNITED KINGDOM BELGIUM IRELAND 7.5
36 YEAR 2012 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 1 DENMARK 90 1 FINLAND 90 1 NEW ZEALAND 90 4 SWEDEN 88 5 SINGAPORE 87 6 SWITZERLAND 86 7 AUSTRALIA 85 7 NORWAY 85 9 CANADA 84 9 NETHERLANDS ICELAND LUXEMBOURG GERMANY HONG KONG BARBADOS BELGIUM JAPAN UNITED KIGDOM UNITED STATES CHILE 72 (SOURCE:
37 most CORRUPT TOP 20 COUNTRIES YEAR 2000 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 71 Bolivia 2.7 Côte-d'Ivoire 2.7 Venezuela Ecuador 2.6 Moldova Armenia 2.5 Tanzania 2.5 Vietnam Uzbekistan Uganda MOZAMBIQUE KENYA RUSSIA CAMEROON ANGOLA INDONESIA AZERBAIJAN UKRAINE YUGOSLAVIA NIGERIA 1.2 YEAR 2001 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 71 India 2.7 Kazakhstan 2.7 Uzbekistan Vietnam 2.6 Zambia Cote d Ivoire 2.4 Nicaragua Ecuador 2.3 Pakistan 2.3 Russia Tanzania Ukraine Azerbaijan Bolivia Cameroon Kenya Indonesia Uganda Nigeria Bangladesh 0.4
38 YEAR 2002 YEAR 2003 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 81 Nicaragua 2.5 Venezuela Georgia 2.4 Ukraine 2.4 Vietnam Kazakhstan Bolivia 2.2 Cameroon 2.2 Ecuador 2.2 Haiti Albania MOLDOVA UGANDA AZERBAIJAN INDONESIA KENYA ANGOLA MADAGASCAR PARAGUAY NIGERIA BANGLADESH 1.2 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 13 Congo, Democratic Republic 2.2 Ecuador 2.2 Iraq 2.2 Sierra Leone 2.2 Uganda Cote d'ivoire 2.1 Kyrgyzstan 2.1 Libya 2.1 Papua New Guinea Indonesia 1.9 Kenya Angola 1.8 Azerbaijan 1.8 Cameroon 1.8 Georgia 1.8 Tajikistan Myanmar 1.6 Paraguay Haiti Nigeria Bangladesh 1.3
39 YEAR 2004 RANK COUNTRY SCORE YEAR Ukraine 2,2 129 Cameroon 2,1 Iraq 2,1 Kenya 2,1 Pakistan 2,1 133 Angola 2,0 Congo, Democratic 2,0 Republic Cote d Ivoire 2,0 Georgia 2,0 133 Indonesia 2,0 133 Tajikistan 2,0 133 Turkmenistan 2,0 140 Azerbaijan 1,9 140 Paraguay 1,9 142 Chad 1,7 142 Myanmar 1,7 144 Nigeria 1,6 145 Bangladesh 1,5 145 Haiti 1,5 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 137 Indonesia 2.2 Iraq 2.2 Liberia 2.2 Uzbekistan Congo, Democratic 2.1 Republic Kenya 2.1 Pakistan 2.1 Paraguay 2.1 Somalia 2.1 Sudan TAJIKISTAN ANGOLA COTED IVOIRE EQUATORIAL GUINEA NIGERIA HAITI MYANMAR TURKNENISTAN BANGLADESH CHAD 1.7
40 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 142 Kenya Kyrgyzstan Nigeria Pakistan Sierra Leone Tajikistan Turkmenistan Belarus Cambodia Côte d Ivoire Equatorial Guinea Uzbekistan Bangladesh Chad Congo, Democratic 2.0 Republic 156 Sudan Guinea Iraq Myanmar Haiti 1.8 YEAR 2006 YEAR 2007 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 150 Zimbabwe Bangladesh Cambodia Central African Republic Papua New Guinea Turkmenistan Venezuela Congo, Democratic 1.9 Republic 168 Equatorial Guinea Guinea Laos Afghanistan Chad Sudan Tonga Uzbekistan Haiti Iraq Myanmar 1.4
41 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 166 Kyrgyzstan 1,8 166 Turkmenistan 1,8 166 Uzbekistan 1,8 166 Zimbabwe 1,8 171 Congo, Democratic 1,7 Republic 171 Equatorial Guinea 1,7 173 Chad 1,6 173 Guinea 1,6 173 Sudan 1,6 176 Afghanistan 1,5 177 Haiti 1,4 178 Iraq 1,3 178 Myanmar 1,3 180 Somalia 1,0 158 Congo, Republic 1,9 158 Gambia 1,9 158 Guinea-Bissau 1,9 158 Sierra Leone 1,9 158 Venezuela 1,9 166 Cambodia 1,8 YEAR 2008 YEAR 2009 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 158 Tajikistan Angola Congo Brazzaville Democratic Republic of 1.9 Congo 162 Guinea-Bissau Kyrgyzstan Venezuela Burundi Equatorial Guinea Guinea Haiti Iran Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Chad Iraq Sudan Myanmar Afghanistan Somalia 1.1
42 YEAR 2010 YEAR 2011 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 127 Nicaragua Syria Timo-Laste Uganda Azerbaijan Bangladesh Honduras Nigeria Philippines Sierra Leone TOGO UKRAINE ZIMBABWE MALDVES MAURITANIA PAKISTAN CAMEROON COTED IVOIRE HAITI IRAN 2.2 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 164 Cambodia Guinea Kyrgyzstan Yemen Angola Chad Democratic republic of the 2 Congo 168 Libya Burundi Equatorial guinea VENEZUELA HAITI IRAQ SUDAN TURKEMISTAN UZBEKISTAN AFGHANISTAN MYANMAR KOREA (NORTH) SOMALIA 1
43 YEAR 2012 RANK COUNTRY SCORE 157 Angola Cambodia Tajikistan Democratic Republic Of The Congo Laos Libya Equatorial Guinea Zimbabwe Burundi Chad HAITI VENEZUELA IRAQ TURKMENISTAN UZBEKISTAN MYANMAR SUDAN AFGHANISTAN KOREA (NORTH) SOMALIA 8 (SOURCE:
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