Islamic Ethics & Secular Professionalism

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Islamic Ethics & Secular Professionalism

Post  Admin on Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:49 pm

Islam encourages Muslims to participate in all permissible professions in all walks of life and to excel in everything they participate in. Islam is not only a religion of the mosque or home, but also a religion of the office pasar malam, and marketplace. Taqwā (God consciousness, piety) functions as a Central Uniting Process (CUP), aimed to unify one’s multiple actions and multifarious human nations (Qur’an, 49:13), in a relatively similar way that CPU (Central Processing Unit) functions in a computer. Taqwā is not simply a meditative state which confines one to the mosque or isolates one from the world, but is a provision for finding one's way through the world.

However, there are some professions that typically compromise Islamic values, for example, by telling lies in order to secure votes, twisting the truth in order to defend one’s client, exposing one’s 'awrah (parts of the body that should be covered) in order to look smart, professional… etc. These actions have become neutralized to some extent even though they are not in line with the Islamic values. Though not impossible, it is very difficult to obtain taqwa in such professions.

The dilemma now is that should we Muslims:
(1) shun these types of profession (and tolerate being branded as uncivilized nations);
(2)or accept these professional, conventional, un-Islamic values (and give in to the secularists’ demand);
(3) or set our ‘Islamic Standard’ for every profession, which is very difficult to do given the diverse orientations of Muslims today (moderate, secular, fundamental, etc)?

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Islamic Ethics & Secular Professionalism

Post  2050_ria on Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:57 am


As a mankind, particularly Muslims, we have been created by Allah SWT only for one purpose, i.e. ibadat (worship) to Allah SWT. That means, the purpose of our life is only to worship Allah SWT in every single of our life. This ultimate life purpose has substantial implications because every thing we do, it has to be in line with the rules of Allah (Shari'ah). This cannot be viewed as a burden, because if we do follow Allah SWT, we are not making HIM as "a greater God", but we are making ourselves as a better human being in front of Allah SWT or in another word, we become Taqwa. Further, as Muslims, we also believe in the life after the worldly life (al Akhirat) that we will be responsible and be asked for everything we do in this life, whether we are doing good things or bad things.

This has relation to the professional life of human being. Allah SWT has created us differently from animal, because Allah SWT gives us a mental ability to think ('aql). By utilizing the 'aql, a mankind can think, create, innovate, work with others, and do everything that animal and other creatures of Allah cannot do. Further more, as have been mentioned earlier that Islam is not a religion which is only applied in Masjid, but Islam is comprehensively governed every single aspect of human's life, including human's professional life. Islam encourages us to work and participate in all permissible profession. However, the problem nowadays is many professions available in the working place are somewhat contradict with Islam. As being mentioned, example, by telling lies in order to secure votes, twisting the truth in order to defend one’s client, exposing one’s 'awrah (parts of the body that should be covered) in order to look smart, professional… etc; these are totally not in line with the Shari'ah.

Dealing with this issue, we are facing the dilemma of whether we just accept and tolerate these "modernistic professional life style" or we still have to set our Islamic values in our professions that is obviously difficult to be implemented in today's life.

As we all know, in Islam there is clear about Hallal (permissible) and Haram (forbidden). Hallal is something good, permissible, virtue, and compliance with Shari'ah. If we do Hallal things, it means we do observing the obligations enjoined Allah SWT and those acts recommended by Him to be performed, and refraining from those acts and sayings that are prohibited by Him. Whereas Haram is something bad, unlawful, evil, and against the Shari'ah. "...He commands them what is good and forbids them what is evil; He allows them as lawful what is good and forbids them from what is bad; He releases from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them."(Qur'an, surah al-A'raf:157)

Regarding to this issue, obviously it is Haram to tell lies, because it means we are not trustworthy and amanah. As The Prophet (pbuh) said: "The person who does not keep trust has no iman (faith) and the person who does not respect his covenant (promise) has no religion."(al Hadith). If we compete in an election, we compete to win so that we need to secure votes. However, we should compete in the right way, i.e. just, transparent, and fair, not by telling lies to others. If we start to hold the amanah (power and authority) by dishonesty, we will not be trustworthy leader and might create chaos and disorder to the society. The Prohphet (pbuh) was asked: "How will the honesty be lost?", The Prophet (pbuh) said: "When the power or authority comes in the hands of unfit persons, then wait for the Hours (doomsday)." (Hadith).

It is also not permissible for a lawyer to twist the truth in order to defend our client, because it means that he does not secure justice toward people, i.e. engaging ourselves in tactics that defeat the fair administration of justice, hiding the truth, and fabricating evidence. As a lawyer, we should defend our client to the best of our abilities with honesty and sincerity, fulfill the contract and promises, and disclose confidential communications.

Further more, Islam encourages people to dress properly. That means, we have to cover our 'awrah properly, that is not expose the 'awrah to others. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "A man should not look at the 'awrah of another man, nor a woman of a woman, nor should a man go under one cloth with another man, nor a woman with another woman," (Hadith, Muslim). Our dress must not be transparent as well (revealing what is underneath), and it must be loose and not tight-fitting so as to define the parts of our body. I believe, in order to look smart and professional, we do not need to expose our 'awrah to others. Because being professional is measured by our knowledge, skills, and abilities; not judging by our physical appearance. We still can look smart and professional by dressing and covering 'awrah properly along with showing our professionalism.

Finally, following what Allah has asked and avoiding what Allah has forbade will bring benefits to us in this worldly life and Hereafter as well. As Muslims, it is our role and obligation to be moral and ethical person in our society by setting up our Islamic values in our selves as well as in our professional working life. Because good moral character is the spirit of Islam and the validation of our Iman. Further more, it is also our obligation to enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil (al-amru bil al-ma'ruf wa al-nahyu 'an al-munkar). As mentioned in the Qur'an, "The believers, men and women, are protectors one of another; they enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil; they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah our His mercy; for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise." (at-Taubah: 71). Therefore, whatever we do, wherever and whenever we are, we should be good Muslims by practicing Islam in our selves, setting up Islamic values in our family, working life, and society, and preaching (da'wah) Islam to others. "By (the Token of) Time; Verily, Man is in loss; Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy." (Qur'an, surah al-Asr: 1-3)


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Post  2050_uswatun on Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:11 pm

when we are facing such this dilemma,we've to come back to the purpose of our existence which is to worship to Allah. it means whatever we do in this world should be because of Allah. furthermore, Islam is a perfect way of is not only for Muslim indeed,for all human being. therefore,whenever we are looking for a profession or job, it should be fit with Islamic standard. in a line that, we are as Muslims will be no have any problem with unethical issues..wassalam.


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Re: Islamic Ethics & Secular Professionalism

Post  UNGS2050_Mahia on Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:33 am

This reminds me of the question about the handshake, only it is on a much larger scale and far more serious. To shun the profession is ridiculous, a Muslim has as much a right and capability to be a lawyer as a non-Muslim and to do a good if not better job. Plus lawyers are necessary for us to defend ourselves legally. To shun the profession would make us dependent on non-Muslim lawyers. To accept would be much like letting a weed continue to flourish in a garden of flowers, in other words the wrongness would spread till it destroys society. To set a standard too is difficult since all people cannot be molded to a standard. Can we continue in said professions without compromising our values? If anyone remembers the class discussion on whether a lawyer should take a case from a client who has committed murder and will pay a lot of money to get off, you know how very difficult that it is. Even if we wish to compromise, do we know what that compromise is? And the extent? What concessions do we make, and where do we remain firm? scratch This is quite a dilemma that we're facing. I guess that we can only do the best we can by educating ourselves in Islam and at the very least be responsible in our personal actions. We'll have to smart enough and moral enough to face the challenges that come and find the solution to fit the problem. Temperance is much easier in theory than in practice but then life isn't easy. Not being alone is a big help. Forums such as these where we might discuss problems and hopefully find a solution being an example.
Personally, I cannot condone telling lies to secure votes. Its a twofold sin in telling a lie and making a promise you never mean to keep. Twisting the truth to defend one's client cannot be right. As for exposing ones awrah, one can look professional and still cover one's awrah. I think preserving one's modesty in itself is highly professional as the workplace is not a social place for distractions.


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Re: Islamic Ethics & Secular Professionalism

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