Part 5: Guiding Values that Govern the Muslim’s Behaviour

_Guiding Values that Govern the Muslim’s Behaviour

Within the framework provided by the pillars, both the individual and community matters of Muslims must be conducted according to the following six governing values:

Verily, Allaah commands ‘Adl[1], Ihsaan[2] and giving to those close to you, while He forbids Fahshaa[3], Munkar[4], and Baghy[5]. He admonishes you so that you heed the advice.

If we look reflectively on the commands Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta `aala has given throughout the Qur-aan for individual or collective matters of Muslims, they all can be categorized under one of these six categories. Proper understanding of these values can easily guide a Muslim in any matter of life on what should be practised and what should be avoided. Because of the tremendous profundity of this verse, ‘Umar Faarooq – who was known for suggestions that were corroborated by revelation – recommended that this verse should be reminded to Muslims in every Khutbah.

‘Adl and Ihsaan has now been done, the remaining four values are the following:

Giving to Close Relatives

This is an extension of Ihsaan from social dealing to finances. To create the kind of loving and caring society Islam wants Muslims to have, it requires the better off relative to share their wealth with their close relatives. If all Muslims practice this command, most of the people in society will be able to benefit from the resources Allaah has created, instead of being neglected or deprived. Regardless of how nice people are to each other in their dealings, if there are significant disparities in the standards of living of people who are in contact with each other, Shaytaan will have an opportunity to create ill-feelings among them. This creates good feelings and healthy relationships in the society while those sharing their wealth also experience tranquility and inner peace from the pleasure they earn from Allaah. 

Soorah Banee Israaeel, which explains these values in more detail, includes the poor of the society (and the others who may be in temporary need of financial help because of their circumstances, such as travellers) in this Ihsaan (generosity) of giving. However, giving to close relatives is not conditional upon their poverty. A believer with more resources or better standard of living is commanded to share with close relatives even if they are not poor but have comparatively lower standard of living. 

Some people confuse this giving with the payment of Zakaah. This sharing of wealth is above and beyond Zakaah, which is to be paid to the treasury (Baytul-maal) of the Islamic government. This giving is an individual effort to share directly with one’s close relatives and others in need, while Zakaah is collected centrally and distributed or spent on projects by the community leadership. That is why it is mentioned as a separate category in the Qur-aan, sometimes in the same verse.

If Muslims live by these three values and conduct all their affairs in their light, you can imagine the kind of beautiful, peaceful and loving society that will result. The next three items are the kind of behaviour that must be avoided. These values of avoidance take care of negative things that can give rise to problems in the society or disturb its peace.


Fahshaa includes any interaction of sexual nature between non-spouses, anything sexually explicit, anything that publicly arouses lusts, indecency, exposure of a portion of body that should be covered, etc. The corruption and problems these things can spread in society is self-evident. In other verses of the Qur-aan, Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has commanded that a believer must avoid all Fawaahish (indecencies of sexual nature) whether open or hidden.

Zinaa (fornication) is the worst of the Fahshaa, but even dirty talk and language angers Allaah SWT:

The Messenger of Allaah, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “The heaviest (the most rewarding) quality that will be put in the balance of a believer on the Day of Judgment will be excellence in social interactions, while indecent, dirty talk makes Allaah angry.”

In that matter, the person who utters such words as well as the person who reports or spreads those words are equal in sin, as reported by ‘Ali ibn Abee Taalib. 


Munkar is any behaviour that is unacceptable. It includes the whole spectrum of unacceptable behaviour ranging from the vices that Islam prohibits to any behaviour that people in general disapprove or hold unacceptable universally. These are things that are disliked generally by all human societies such as disobeying Allaah, breaking laws, disregarding rules, bad manners, jealousy, arrogance, etc.


This applies to all kind of transgressions: exceeding limits, violating other’s rights, exploitation, rebellion against legitimate authority, abusing power and authority, etc. Violating anyone’s possessions, honour, body or rights all are acts of Baghy. It includes crimes such as cheating, stealing, killing, abuse, etc. Regardless of the sincerity of repentance, Allaah SWT does not forgive these crimes unless the victim forgives or is compensated.

There have been warnings and punishments mentioned about these kind of behaviours both in the Qur-aan and Hadeeth. None of this behaviour can co-exist with true faith: 

The Messenger of Allaah, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “A fornicator cannot be a believer while he fornicates, a thief cannot be a believer while he steals, and a drinker cannot be a believer while he drinks alcohol.”

To be successful, Muslims must avoid any activity that falls into any of these three categories.

Just imagine the peace, tranquility and beauty of a society where people avoid these three things and practice ‘Adl, Ihsaan and sharing one’s possessions and resources.


[1] Fairness, justice, balance, equity 
[2] Excellence in servitude to Allaah, benevolence towards people, graciousness in dealings
[3] Lewdness, indecency, licentiousness, immorality
[4] Bad actions, undesirable activities, unacceptable behaviour
[5] Rebellion, transgressing limits, exploiting or violating others’ rights, abuse of authority or freedom.


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