Quran is a book which is symbolic and the revelation has been put into words of mytho-poetic language. Therefore each of its verse hints us towards the moral imperatives that God wishes from us. Therefore both divine moral imperatives and its application in human life can be sought out in Quran but for that we need to reach towards idea of rational ethics.
Morality can been defined as act which distinguishes right from wrong whereas ethics go one step further and sees what act is ‘at the best’ in a given situation. Former needs a mere blind conformity and later needs some reflective thinking to get a hold of its correct application. Thus Quranic revelation had laid ethical grounding where reason becomes your social conscience.
Quran tells us the basic ethical principles which promote justice; upon these legal and moral imperatives the whole study of Sharia was formed. It is important to consider the fact that the initial law created was through the rational discourse (ijma) though by taking inspiration from divine but suitable to their environments.1
Prophet Muhammad’s life has been said as a reflection of Quran. He throughout his life time practiced ethics like humility, patience, tolerance and compassion. Thus we can learn from examples of his life which didn’t possess rigid character but use of intellect to act in perfection with the flow of the time. This desire for connection with divine which is above ethics but also at the same deeply rooted in it which the followers of Tariqa and Ihsani tradition long for.
Even philosophers have established that ethics supported by intellect is what connects the revelation and practice. An example can be taken by works of Al-Farabi who in its Arabic Islamic version of Plato’s Republic named Virtuous City doesn’t start with the idea of state and man but the idea of man’s duty for God, universe and fellow men as according to him the political ideology is nothing more or less than what is suitable for the civic goodness. Being a philosopher, his reverence for reason is thus indispensible.2
I would like to sum up this response with an inspiration from one of the readings. One of God’s name is al-halim and it is through his teaching of hilm or patience in Quran3 is how the ethical paradigm creates congruence between the divine moral imperative and human life because he wants us to be patient while trying to create the justice on earth that he deserves. This calls for tolerant inferences from Quran and Sunnah instead of rigid imposition.
1- Sajoo, Amin B. Comfort for Reason in Islamic Ethics. (p. 3)
2- Ibid. p. 5
3- Ibid. p. 4