THE ROUTE OF ETHICS DETERMINES THE ROUTE OF LIFE
“…Allah does not change a people´s lot unless they change what is in their hearts…” (ar-Ra'd: 13/11)
The relationship between ethics and life is pointed out in the verse above.
It is possible to deal with the lesson given by the verse in two aspects:
Firstly: Examining the relationship between the maintenance of high ethics in the communities with the maintenance of the boons granted to communities:
For instance, it is possible to understand the following from the verse: "Unless a community changes its high ethics and virtues, and plunges in sins, Allah will not change the boons it has."
On the other hand, if a community perverts, commits evils, plunges in bad and evil things and disobeys Allah, Allah will remove the boons and things He has granted them and destroys them.
Secondly: Examining the parallelism between the time period of the immorality in the community and the time period of the troubled state:
We can understand the meaning of the verse in this aspect as follows: "Unless a community gets rid of the immorality it has, it is not possible for that community to get rid of material and spiritual troubles."
It means high ethics is a means of a nice life and low ethics is a means of a bad life. This is one of the social laws of Allah called sunnatullah.
Definition of Ethics: According to Imam Ghazali, "Ethics is all of the deeds and attitudes that settle in human soul and a faculty that appears easily thanks to them without any mental force and without thinking.”
The definition of ethics by Abdullah b. Mubarak is as follows: “High ethics is having a smiling face, being generous in charitable deeds and not harming anyone.”
Hasan Basri describes it as follows: “High ethics means to da favors a lot, to keep away from bad deeds and to have a smiling face.” The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith: “Having a smiling face is sadaqah.” In Arabic literature, a smile/smiling face is described as “a universal language that does not need translation”.
According to ethicists, man is a being that has changeable and unchangeable aspects.
The encouragement by divine books, philosophers and pedagogues about high ethics is related to the changeable aspect of man. It is possible to understand from the hadith “I have been sent to complete high ethics” the importance of ethics as well as the changeability of it. Man is held responsible since he has a free will and he can prefer the good to the bad or vice versa. Man’s responsibility is confined to the deeds that he can prefer. He is not held responsible for the things that he cannot prefer and decide. The purpose of the education and training of man is to change his state, to proceed from bad to good, to improve by learning and to become an honorable member of the family of humanity. The actual source of universal Islamic ethics is the Quran and the Sunnah, which forms in the light of the Quran. Therefore, it will be useful to quote some verses that teach high ethics:
"Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good." (Aal-i Imran 3/134)
"Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah." (al-Ahzab 33/21)
"It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee: so pass over (Their faults), and ask for (Allah´s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast Taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)." (Aal-i Imran 3/159)
"And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins,- and who can forgive sins except Allah?- and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done." (Aal-i Imran 3/135)
"Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!" (Fussilat 41/34)
"Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant." (al-A'raf 7/199)