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Some time ago I answered this Question (As an atheist, what awaits me after death?) based on my own knowledge! The questioner commented that I am very wrong and we do not need religion for morality as I had referred to that in my answer.
I was surprised since it was like one of my basic beliefs and very natural for me but then I understood I had no real proof for that (:P I have some but not so convincing). I need to add that I think this is a mistake that to accept we can have morality without a religion, then one can say why there are religions for then?? And then one can result there is no God!!

So I want you to give me these proofs from Muslims point of view, Thanks.

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I think this statement by nicholas ainsworth sums it up: "To disbelieve in God and to worship other things and violate your created purpose is the greatest moral wrong."

Note that the utmost purpose of religion is not just making a moral life on Earth possible (although that's a necessary entailment), but attaining spiritual perfection and bliss.

Plus without a higher transcendental basis, ethics per se are unable to produce the kind of emotional/spiritual conviction required for adherence in practice. History offers numerous examples of the religious saints who stayed committed to ethical standards against all odds such as persecutions while they did not have to. Examples Jesus, Muhammad, Hussein ibn Ali, and recently Imam Ayatollah Khomeini etc. The heroic acts of moral resistance and steadfastness that these saints demonstrated would have been impossible without an empowering spiritual inspiration.

  • This answer is actually something! But the question would be then from an atheist perspective : "They were crazy people, they ruined their lives for nothing there is no after life stories, what they did is not moral it's insanity". What would you say about such statement?! plz update your answer instead of comments – user4710 Apr 3 '14 at 13:37
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    If true moral conviction is insanity, then the very notion of morality would be absurd. Because personal cost is integral part of morality. But indeed, without some sort of compensation, morality seems suicidal and irrational. Therefore only spirituality can guarantee moral conviction because it rationalizes worldly self-sacrifice by spiritual compensation. If this answers your question, then I will consider integrating it into my answer. – infatuated Apr 3 '14 at 15:24
  • thanks for giving me the idea, please update your answer – user4710 Apr 15 '14 at 3:03
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God tells us in the Quran that he has created us to worship him.

See Quran 51:56

((I have not created the jinn and mankind except to worship me.))

And the Prophet sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam said: 'Do you know what the right of God is upon his servants (mankind)?'

'The right of God upon his servants is that they worship him and they don't worship anything else.'

This is the core of Islam and it is the religion of all of the Prophets and messengers.

So a person is not truly morally upright until they fulfill God's right upon them.

To disbelieve in God and to worship other things and violate your created purpose is the greatest moral wrong.

In addition, God says in the Quran that he has given us hearts that enable to live our lives properly. Having natural morals is a blessing from God which we should be thankful for by worshiping him.

See Quran 67:23

((He is the one who has created for you all hearing, sight, and hearts; only few of you are thankful.))

In addition, the Prophet sallAllah alaihi wa sallam said: 'I have only been sent to complete noble manners.'

He didn't say nobody had manners before he came.

But anyone who looks into the Quran and Sunnah will see that it is of a much higher moral caliber than what normal people adhere to.

In addition, a Prophet was sent to every nation of people telling them to worship God and do good actions and be morally upright.

See Quran 16:36

((We have sent to every nation a messenger telling them to worship God and to avoid the worship of all else.))

So take the UK for example where I am from. People for a long time read the Bible and took their moral fiber from it and brought their children up with those moral guidelines. So those atheists who think that they have their morals from no religion are in part very wrong because they were raised by generations of people who were conditioned by what they read in the Bible.

To put in simply, God's messengers left behind a moral legacy that was adhered to by many even if they didn't believe.

What you are beginning to see now is a breakdown of morals in society because people don't have a set of rules to say how you can and can't act.

Also, the one who truly fears God's punishment and hopes for his reward will always be more morally upright than someone who doesn't. As long as the God fearing person is acting according to revelation (as opposed to unjust man-made 'religious' rules).

  • Thanks for your answer brother, but your answer is not convincing for an atheist IMO, I think you better try to improve it – user4710 Apr 1 '14 at 3:27
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    Yea, the Quran doesn't hold any weight outside of the islamic community. It's like having a Christian cite the bible to you. – user4751 Apr 1 '14 at 12:38
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    The questioner requested proofs from an Islamic point of view. – nicholas ainsworth Apr 3 '14 at 4:15
  • I think this sums it up: "To disbelieve in God and to worship other things and violate your created purpose is the greatest moral wrong." – infatuated Apr 3 '14 at 9:22
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Although I can't answer from an "Islamic point of view," I can answer from a reality point of view:

  1. It is mutually beneficial for us to condone immoral acts like murder, rape and stealing. When humans first coalesced into tribes, they were forced to be reliant on each other for their survival, and everyone has invested interest in the well-being of others, since it directly impacted their own well-being. Morality is like the ground rules required for out cooperation.
  2. Mutually disconnected societies world-wide all came to the same foundations of morality, despite having different languages, cultures, religions (if any) and location.(a simple google search will list you a plethora of examples).
  3. Moral principles predate religion. (A simple google search will list you a plethora of examples).
  4. Religious texts (i.e. past few thousand years) feature immoral acts VERY prevalently. Slave ownership, cruel/unusual punishment, repression of women, capital punishment for apostasy (still law in ~20 countries), and threat of eternal damnation in some sort of hell for thought crime, among other things.

N.B. Although our current moral principles condone slavery, discrimination, etc., they used to be productive for society. Although barbaric, we shed ourselves of these trends, and NOT because of religion. Slavery (for example) existed before, during and after the rise of modern (Abrahamic) religions. There seems to be a trend of increasing equality over the past few thousand years, with the abolishment of slavery, apartheid, segregation, and establishment women's rights, and now LGBT rights.

I don't understand why this question comes up so much, do you think no one would stumble upon the idea "Hey, perhaps we shouldn't murder, rape and pillage each other"

P.S. Although the title of this video is a bit sensational, Richard Dawkins does a great job explaining secular morality in only 2 minutes.

Edit: Furthermore, do you think that religion is all that keeps you moral? If there wasn't religion, would you be out murdering and raping and pillaging? I most certainly hope not. Atheists can me moral without the tease of heaven or threat of hell. Personally, I think it's a lot more fulfilling to think that we strive to be good, and not that we were built and threatened to be good.

  • I don't really get it, What would stop you from killing yourself when you are deeply disappointed? if you don't see any chance of punishment. hmm, or What would make someone to sacrifice for others when it is not "mutually beneficial" as you said? – user4710 Apr 1 '14 at 7:24
  • Atheists dont believe in any afterlife stories. People think we have nothing to live for, when in fact, we have EVERYTHING to live for. The punishment for suicide is death, the inability to spend time with loved ones, explore and learn about our world, or enjoy the wonder of existence. Could you please elaborate on your question about sacrifice? This isn't really an appropriate medium for this sort of long conversation, feel free to email me at alexandermomchilov@hotmail.com and tell me when youve done so – user4751 Apr 1 '14 at 11:47
  • you could join in the chatroom. we could have a discussion there.. – Hypothetical Ninja Apr 1 '14 at 12:59
  • Sure, im on mobile, can you make onr and post the link please? – user4751 Apr 1 '14 at 13:00
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    Religion doesn't really shape morals. It shapes cultures. For example, atheists who were born Muslims generally avoid pork. Islam has also had a very significant impact in banning or overtaxation of alcohol - something that non-Muslim countries have tried to do but failed. Muslims ended slavery earlier because one of the religious punishments was freeing a slave, whereas countries like USA had trouble. It's not always people trying to be good, but a positive culture. On the other hand, Muslim nations are a lot ruder than Western ones, because this wasn't forged into culture. – Muz Apr 3 '14 at 3:23
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Assalaamualaikum , since you need to know about morality without religion , I won’t be using any references in my answer but examples that can be observed in our daily life.

To begin with, there is no exact definition of morality, rather it is a person to person perspective . The society in which a person is brought up determines the thoughts he cultivates in his mind. Remember that a human's thinking is limited and they usually might not account for something to be immoral if it is out of their "morality dictionary".

For example, a person brought up in some country has a different state of mind as compared to a person from another country. For people there (who aren't aware of any religion) , touching or having physical relations with the opposite sex seems legit because their thought process revolves around the common notation "If he/she has no problems , then what is wrong??" . But if the same thing might come in the case of their sister/daughter (happens in India), they become very much possessive. They feel it’s wrong but for some1 else's daughter , there is no such feeling. Such double standards can be seen everywhere.

Second, lying doesn't seem wrong .A liar might not be considered immoral because some lies don't lead to a material loss directly. Without proper guidance, it will seem legit but in reality that brings up a question mark on the credibility of a person. You can see that in our society "Speak the Truth" has only become a concept in textbooks.

Third, Backbiting doesn’t look that bad. A person might not think that makes any difference because we can’t see any direct effect of loss. Again, its human perspective.

In our society, immorality has a very narrow definition. And it’s mainly based upon murder and robbery. When it comes to smaller things, its left off. The point is that a person may not fully develop a noble character without guidance due to limitations of us humans. We thinks its ok, we do it without thinking for the opposite person. Whenever you want to judge something you need a perfect reference.
Personally, before I knew about Islam, I also thought it was ok to touch or kiss.
To judge or understand anything, we need a universal frame of reference. We might be doing wrong but we think it’s right. This is what Islam does. It gives us the perfect frame of reference.

The answer to your question is - Yes , morality is possible without religion which depends upon the environment in which a person is raised but Religion(Islam) provides the perfect morality concept to which a person could refer and understand the feelings of others due to his action.

Morality without religion could give you a Pass grade but with a Universal Frame Of Reference (Islam) , that person can score a Distinction in Morality.

And Allah knows Best. Baarakallahu Feekum!!!

  • Look at point 4 of my answer and tell me how you can possibly get morality from religion – user4751 Apr 1 '14 at 11:50
  • Ok looks like i'll need to edit my answer to make it Islam instead of religion. We cant help it if books have been altered .. – Hypothetical Ninja Apr 1 '14 at 12:21
  • "We cant help it if books have been altered" Don't think your book is any different, here goes: Slave ownership (Q33:50), cruel/unusual punishment (hell, in general), repression of women (VERY common in the Quran Q2:228, Q4:11, for example.), capital punishment for apostasy (Q2:191 even includes genocide, yummy, Q8:12). My question holds. – user4751 Apr 1 '14 at 12:56
  • 1) Memory isn't infallible. Ever heard of broken telephone? 2) How can you prove it? 3) it's infested with countless contradictions that suggest erroneous copying/editing/printing has occurred. 4) Apologists try their best at explaining these errors or immoral excerpts by calling them metaphor or literary devices, using vague semantic arguments, etc. This view is ultimately inconsistent. Too bizarre or conflicting with my presuppositions? Figurative. Confirms my presuppositions? Literal. 5) I'm well aware of the apologetics, and they aren't at all convincing, & quite frankly,seem frantic to.. – user4751 Apr 1 '14 at 20:15
  • ...reconcile reality with indefensible ground. – user4751 Apr 1 '14 at 20:16
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Indeed seems very clear that a part of morals and ethics need no religion. It is very obvious that if no one lies everyone can live more comfortably, so even a poor guy who believes in no human-based or Heavenly religion if can ever think even slightly will suggest being honest, truthful, loyal, polite always smiling, trying self-control while being angry, helping each other and many others, all are helpful in a social life, even for family life. Even some Maktibs like Buddhist are thought to be based on such principles, simply be a good citizen. In India people go farther and even respect the animals, insects and animals, simply being a good entity in the universe, do not hurt the others. Wow, so what the religion is going to do then? The answer is still easy:

  1. All such morals limit the personal freedom in one or another way, that's exactly what any system of social rules is to do and a governor sits there in the corner to assure everything is going by that set of rules. Anyone who violates a rule is identified as oppressing another citizen and there would be fortunately considered some penalties for the oppressor that will teach him and the others they should stick to the rules. The point is that all the human based religions have their own set of rules, they are based on experiences collected during the decades, or centuries, or millenniums. Islam but claims to be the most correct of all, for it not being based on personal experiences, so the rules are claimed to be exactly the most optimized set of rules that if is applied, with its declared penalties for each rule violation, will yield into most fortunate and healthy society. I can discuss several issues here like Hidjab. In West there is an unwritten rule that every situation has its specific form of clothing, parties, more serious ceremonies, pools, class rooms and etc. The people who take part in those situations are important (if she knows a tutor will be there her clothing might differ) but as a correction factor, not very significant. However, in Islam they are people who are most effective in determining what to dress. If there are strangers of different gender the full cover (except for face and hands, if are not decorated) is required, but the form and color might change by the situation, in a serious place a darker clothing and in a ceremony and party or at parks and etc. also lighter colors and form, although preferred is to always use a serious clothing in front of a stranger of other gender. If the people are all Mahram then clothing is less strict and if they are couples there is no need for any covering. To me it is obvious how weak is the unwritten rules regarding the clothing in West, since once I saw people all nude in a pool in Europe and the day after all had cloths in front of each other! If the weather is not cold what would be the reason for them wearing a cloth at all when they have no secret to hide from the strangers? Simply for beauty of cloths and for that "everyone does so should I". Both reasons are extremely nonsense intellectually. Even a kid may be oppressed to be seen by the others naked, but they don't, they have forgotten their roots. Being dressless like animals is something we like to follow? Then they are developed countries or have human rights? Better not to have either. So you see how ethics and morals that come out of religion differs from one that comes out of the head of some think tanks?

  2. The morals that is based on human thinking is like borrowing bread to each other. I borrow you a bread, so you will borrow a bread to me if I needed. But now consider a sick man that has borrowed a bread when he needed no avoid to borrow a bread to the one who once had lent him. The one who is poor now see the system doesn't work! What will prevent him from doing a crime very stealthy that no one would understand? Obviously nothing, there in nothing inside those face to face relation, that's spiritless, they give because they will receive back, and if one doesn't there is no inside force that will prevent crime, unless fear of being punished by a court or losing his face and etc. But if one lend a bread for the sake of Allah with expecting nothing in return can you imagine what a Heaven would appear over the same Earth? There are cultures who tries similar actions but they have no root, they have threaten to behave such, one someone start to think and lit up a jam that why are we doing all these, we should identify a penalty if the one who lends now will not pay back and etc. the society follows but cruelly and cold.

Actually there is a simple rule among the Shia scholars (not sure if is originated in a Hadeeth or not, though almost sure it is) that a rule Allah has set forward in This Dunya is this "کما تدین تدان", how you behave you will be responded back, and this suggest also partially rewards and punishments in Dunya.

Also according to Quran, whoever does a good job (an act out of ethic) will be rewarded in the Hereafter only if that job was done for the sake of Allah, not for others to like him more, to respect him more, to account more on him and find a fame of any kind, to do intellectually because the good job is better to be done that the bad job (mainly rooted in family and society culture that has been grown in). All these good jobs of course will be rewarded back but only in Dunya until death:

وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَىٰ مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَّنثُورً‌ا

And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in this life), and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about. [Al-Furqan, 23]

And that Allah will reward back to non-believers in this Dunya is clear also from here:

هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ

Is there any Reward for Good - other than Good? [Ar-Rahman, 60]

And this would be against Him being Just to ignore all good deeds, even not being done for the sake of Allah, so the statement "کما تدین تدان, how you behave you will be responded back" and also you see those who do not believe in Allah but are good tempered and care for morals have a better Dunya Life. Only don't fall in the trick, they will have nothing left for them in the Hereafter, but anyway Allah is Kareem and a giver to anyone who wishes and we cannot a priori judge who believes and who doesn't.

Hope this would help and sorry for the length...

  • Tanx dear brother I'm Iranian too :), You imply that religion has better laws than our weak mind and this is correct, but one could say what if we stick to our scientific researches and slowly improve our moral values, Where in religions all the scholars say different things about laws?? and one is never sure what is the God's will!! – user4710 Apr 11 '14 at 15:28
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    @Bludream, those scholars in religion, say, in Shiite, never have totally contradicting ideas about an issue, the difference in ideas are usually minor, but in the example about Hijab above you can see how the laws of religion and the laws out of the mind of the scientists differ significantly. You can similarly discuss many rules of the religion and an unbiased person would easily accept how religion is superior to any other Maktab. Just count the rules of Islam for them to find a feeling about what you are talking about. Respecting the elders, helping the poors, being truthful, etc. – owari Apr 12 '14 at 20:06
  • will all be approved as good by the others, the only points that you may find that require some explanations are Hijab, Alcoholic drinks, freedom of speech, eating pork, relation with strangers of the opposite gender and some minor other things like these. These are where people are usually stopped and cannot bear with religion, so you can explain these and compare with the rules set forward by the scientists about it ..., not very difficult I guess. Godspeed. – owari Apr 12 '14 at 20:10

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