Definition of ethics in Islamic perspectives
According to (Loeb 1971) the word “ethics” originates from the Greek word “ethos”, which means “character, spirit and attitude of a group of people or culture”. Based on the Oxford Dictionary, ethics can be defined as a system of moral principles (rule of conduct) by which human actions may be judged as good or bad. Ethics deals with those standards that prescribe what man out to do. It also addresses virtues, duties, and attitudes of the individual and the society. In addition, ethics is related to customs, traditions as well as beliefs and worldviews. According to Arabic term, akhlaq (singular, khuluq) is laterally translated into English as “ethics”. Khuluq comes in the Qur‟an, two times, (al-Shu‟ara: 137, and al-Qalam: 4). Though these two terms are in some cases used as interchangeable words in Arabic language, some scholars argue that there are some essential differences between “akhlaq” and “adab” in terms of application and source. This is because “akhlaq” (ethics) indicates the “moral philosophy”, while “adab” (morality) signifies the actual practices of moral philosophy. In this case, the former address the theoretical background of human conducts, while the later is more on the actions and manners. Definition of ethics in the Islamic perspective are ethical actions are those conducts which are characterized as good deeds. Good conducts are those conducts which are in line with the primordial human nature (fitrah). Islam holds the belief that human beings are born with good character (fitrah) that disdains from immorality and instils morality, thus good morals are equivalent to human nature. In Islam, the essential rule in business is honesty and fair dealing, and a businessman should, as a result, be a person of high ethical principles (Kaliffa 2003). The market should be free and not subject to manipulation and where individuals engaging in trade and commerce should act fairly (Lewis 2006). Dealing in stolen goods is forbidden (Al-Qaradawi 1994). Advertisement is not encouraged when the intention is to force up the price in times of scarcity and so profit at the expense of others (Lewis 2006). Because Islam has several characteristics (for instance, comprehensive, realistic, and balanced), ethics in Islam are naturally influenced by these characteristics. The next section will discuss the characteristics of Islam.
Overview of Islamic ethics.
First, Islamic ethics is transcendental, this is because the determination of what is ethical and what is not or what is proper and what is improper, all comes from Allah (s.w.t). In Islam, the source of morality transcends human desires and culture. It is a divine code which descended from the divine realms. Legislation of moral conducts or otherwise, depends on the divine scripture (wahyu) which transcends the limits (changes) of time and culture. This make Islamic ethics vary from conventional ethics in which ethical conducts are characterized as bad or good based on their utilitarian outcome. Second, in the Islamic ethical system, man’s nature is not evil nor graceless, but good (fitrah). Man is born with good natural disposition; evil traits are acquired and additional to the human nature. Upon birth, man is innocent and his nature is not ungracious which requires redemption or baptism to wash his original sin; every person begins his life ethically sane and sound, not weighed down by any original sin. In fact, at birth man is already above the zero point in that he has the revelation and his rational equipment ready for use, as well as a world all too ready to receive his ethical deed. In this understanding, man and the world are either positively good or neutral, but not evil. In due time, this good character might become obscured by envy, hate, ego, jealousy, utilitarian and prejudice. Third, as a universal code of conduct, Islamic moral standards teach universal justice and human equality....
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