The last three hundred years of Muslim history has witnessed the gap between law and ethics widen. Throughout various intervals in history, the discipline of law lost its connection with the ethical paradigm of Islam. The Islamic faith has been reduced to a legal barometer, a code of halaal and haraam. The microscopic lens of our legal tradition which dissects and deciphers to offer creative legal solutions is the pre-eminent and predominant framework through which we analyse and make sense of the world around us.

The halaal food market is reported to be worth billions of dollars worldwide. When discussing the adab of consumption, the Quran refers to the concepts of ‘halaal’ (permissible) and ‘tayyib’ (pure and good) – in other words, law and ethics (2:168). Both are to be taken into consideration. Muslims campaign to legalise the slaughtering of animals as prescribed by Islamic law but are not troubled by the undignified treatment and living conditions of animals. Surely, Islam is not just concerned with the consumption of food and meat only but the complete animal eco-system. There is an adab in dealing with animals and other creations of the Divine. The meat maybe halaal but can we confidently assert that our action – or lack thereof – towards animal cruelty is Islamic?

» Islam’s Ethical Proposition

The essence of Islam lies in its ethical proposition. Adab (ethics of thought and behavior), ihsan (spiritual excellence), and akhlaq (moral integrity) are three important terms which frequently appear across the Islamic scriptures. It is about the inner quality of an action and the state and manner of one’s behavior which matters more than its mere ritual manifestation.

The Quran states that righteousness is:

“…not whether you turn your faces to the East or the West but righteous is he who believes in God and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets; and gives of his wealth for the love (of God) to relatives, orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and those who ask and for (the liberation) of slaves; and establishes the ritual prayer and pays the zakat; and those who keep their pledges when they make them, and show patience in hardship and adversity, and in times of distress. Such are the truthful, and such are God-fearing.” (2:177)

Righteousness is thus a synthesis of belief, worship, ethics of engagement, social justice and displaying inner spiritual strength.

“I only was sent for the perfection of ethical standards,” said Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

His was an ethical mission: to make us better believers and better humans. The Prophet reminded us that when sacrificing, the blood and flesh of an animal does not reach God, only our sincere intentions. God-consciousness is not limited to the external piety evident to the onlooker but the spiritual condition of our hearts and ethical standards of our actions. However, we have lost this sense of adab and have adopted an unauthentic approach to law and ethics.

It is this ‘loss of adab’, which one of the modern world’s leading Muslim philosophers, Professor Sayyid Naquib al-Attas eloquently articulated in his many writings.

Adab in his parlance was defined in its all-embracing deeper meaning as “the recognition and acknowledgement of the reality that knowledge and being are ordered hierarchically according to their various grades and degrees of rank, and of one’s proper place in relation to that reality and as in one’s physical, intellectual and spiritual capacities and potentials.”

» What is “Islamic”?

So “what is Islamic” about any thought or action? Is it limited to scriptural legal validation or can it be determined by an ethical vision alignment? People generally fall into two camps – one which wants to Islamise everything and the other which harbours an inferiority complex in using the word ‘Islamic’ or sees a limited role for faith in the public space.

I would contend that the term ‘Islamic’ has both legal and ethical dimensions. If it is permissible in law, then it is ‘halaal’ or ‘mubah’ and if it is validated by the ethical standards of Islam, only then does it become ‘Islamic’. Legislation and ethics are two sides of the same coin and should depend on each other as an integrated whole. Traditionally, this distinction did not exist and thus the master jurist Imam Abu Hanifa defined fiqh itself as ‘knowledge of the responsibilities and liabilities of one’s self.’  This definition encompasses both the legal and ethical facets.

» about Halaal Zone

Halaal Zone provides procurement solutions to assist buyers to discover credible and empowered suppliers, with powerful and secure online quote management technology.

» vision

To be the premier online business marketplace for suppliers and buyers in the halaal market place, serving as an enabler to economic and business growth, where Halaal Zone is recognised as the trusted partner to deliver best of breed procurement solutions, unlocking efficiencies, savings and time.

» mission

To serve and support clients to achieve their vision of procurement excellence through the implementation of our state of the art online sourcing and vendor management technology. Supported by an innovative team with procurement process expertise, we ensure that organisations deliver on their procurement goals and initiatives. Through Halaal Zone’s effective technology and support team we deliver a marketplace where economic activity between trusted and validated business is stimulated.