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I am discovering Islam and reading the Quran. I am also looking through this website to add some perspectives. Something that I don't understand is why Islam mixes faith in God - let's say "personal" relationship between you and God - and moral values applied to behaviour among men and women.

I get giving rules to help people know right from wrong, but most people just follow rules without actually thinking about them, because that's just the way it should be. Not questioning rules is never a good thing.

These rules, especially the most restrictive ones, create frustration and hypocrisy among men and women. How can someone be considered to have good moral values if inside he or she is filled with envy, anger, or shame?

On the other hand, how can someone with strong moral and ethical values while living freely from those rules be considered a bad person? For me this second choice seems much healthier and faithful in regards to God's expectations than the first one.

So I am quite confused... If I am a good person and God knows it, why should I follow rules that will make me feel bad and ultimately become someone not worthy of God's expectations?

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    Quran itself is preaching Moral values. Sadly, the moral values of Quran can be found more on non-muslim people while most muslims focus on "rituals" and irrelevant details that have no measure compared to what is inside one's heart (which is what God is looking into in the first place)... +1 – user19208 Oct 6 '16 at 22:13
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The point is maybe simple if we don't follow the traffic regulation, the traffic would be a mess and in worst case more people would die ... so rules are always needed or necessary. I think this is logical and therefore you may find rules in each religion, mostly ethical rules. In many cases also the local customs play a role and are mixed with those rules.

Now you may find in the Quran itself rules even for dressing (see for example 24:31, 33:33 and 33:59) eating (see for example 2:187 and 5:3) and many dos- and do not (even if all this might not even reach 10% of the whole Quran). As a Muslim I (must) believe that those are God given rules or orders I should follow to live in a good relationship between me and my Creator.

Muslims beside this tried to follow the path of the Prophet Muhammad and the result was a waste collection of so called ahadith (hadiths). Some of the Muslims consider these hadith as God given (based on Quranic statements like this in (53:3-4):

Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. (3) It is not but a revelation revealed,

but hadith has mostly been collected much later than the Quran, who was scattered as a lot of parts or memorized by many memorizers. God or Allah himself promised to preserve Quran (15:9), but nobody can say the same about hadith, even if there are efforts to separate the wheat from the chaff. So hadith should always be well examined before accepting it, and this means in first place does a single hadith go ahead with the teachings of the Quran! The earlier generations of Muslims did so, they even never memorized a word or a new verse of the Quran until they understood it and applied it in their real life, and so did the next generations with hadith. But the problem with hadith is that with the time hadith fabrication became a big issue, as an orally transmitted word can to some extent be easily manipulated, and many scholars just collected hadith and compiled it in books or transmitted it without (or with only minor) further verification. That's why among sunni's there's a big dispute between the people of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and the people of hadith! For the hadith scholars it took about 3 centuries to start examining hadith again and Muslims do this to some extent and should do it all along.

So before applying a hadith one should use his mind and reflect and examine it. Often common sense is enough for that!

Some real life examples

  • In hadith we for example learn that it is strongly recommended to pray in congregation (namely so called fard prayers which are ordered prayers), In the Quran these recommendation doesn't exist, however Quran indicates some situations where this is done (for example in case of war or fear and the call for the Friday prayer come in my mind). Beside this hadith recommend to pray some prayers at home (namely so called nawafil, optinal prayers). Honestly in my experience I seldom find my freedom in a congregation prayer, while once I pray alone I get a deeper feeling of "Communicating with" or "remembering" my Creator.
  • There's a hadith statement saying which clearly goes ahead with your "feeling" or "understanding":

    The religion (of Islam) is easy, and whoever makes the religion a rigour, it will overpower him. (Link to a longer version of this hadith)

    I've experienced this in real life anybody who tries more and more to follow strictly some sunnan (plural of sunna or sunnah: the way Muhammad did something or what he ordered or recommended) comes to a point he might "technically" be a straight person, but his behavior and his interaction with people is far away from the teachings of Islam or Quran in first place (some of these people get schizophrenic).
    There's even a statement of the Prophet where some sahaba (his companions) ask him something like (I'm here posting the meaning I've concluded before posting a link to the hadith): "we feel next to God and as good people why we are beside you, but once we leave we are afraid of turning away from all of this" ... the Prophet answered appeasing "if you were like this all the time you would be like the Angels (Muslim believe they are infallible), but -as some people say- there's a time for Allah and a time for yourself". (Here's a version of the hadith)

  • Unfortunate as already quoted in the other answer people in the last years, decades maybe centuries became more and more superficially religious, that means a beard (for a man) or a scarf (for women) is more important than what is in the heart, praying (in the mosque) more important than just being a good person (even if Allah says "Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do." (29:45)), listening to some dramatic or mournful recitation of Quran is more important than reading it (yourself) and trying to understanding and applying it in real-life (even if Allah asks them: "Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an?" in 4:82 and 47:24). ...
    However Quran teaches us in many verses that those people who believe and do good and righteous deeds are promised a reward from Allah.

What makes a good Muslim?

In my opinion this is clearly explained in the Quran. A longer explanation can be found in surat al-Furqan (25:63-77) which is one of my guidelines in life an other longer version can be found in surat al-Mu'minun (23:1-11). For further explanations of the first "guideline" I invite you to read the special part of my answer of this Question: I want to ask God for forgiveness for an abortion

  • Thank you for your answer. Indeed, that are the discrepancies between Quran and Hadith that were puzzling me. I thought (maybe quite naively) that following the 5 pillars (which is already a commitment) was enough. Probably there's as many way to be a Muslim as there is Muslim. Some may need a lot of rules and some less. – Claire Oct 7 '16 at 7:50
  • This have highlighted the "dress code" as an example without pondering on the verses. [Quran 7:26] "O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of God's signs, that they may take heed." Another aspect of the Godly Islam and what muslims might consider as the right dress code. – user19208 Oct 7 '16 at 10:44
  • @DeleteMe33 first I've just posted uncomented links. Beside this surat al-'Araf is Mekki while the others are Madani, so they include -one could say strict or more technical- rulings (orders) instead of a general and soft invitation to more moral and to get close to God and leave any wrong deity. If you see a need to point at this I wonder why you always criticse my posts for being too long and full of non-sense. I could quote many more verses but I think I just want to make my point clear. – Medi1Saif Oct 7 '16 at 11:55
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    I don't know why you are taking the defense here, I just highlighted a point you missed to @Claire, not you, as a follow up to my contribution. – user19208 Oct 7 '16 at 11:57
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The following is from a Quranist perspective, i.e those who follow Quran only as a Last testament (while believing in both Old testament and the Bible)

Note that most of the issues you highlighted are related to sects in Islam that preach to wear this/don't eat this/pray like this/don't do this/do this/etc.

While Quran is a Godly message, it describes a believers's path to rise beyond this wordly matters. Prayer for example, is only intended to "remember God" i.e in one's consciousness which would ultimately lead, day by day, to a constant reminding of one-self of the existence of God (because saying "God exist" isn't the same as actually being conscious of God, which is sadly absent in many)

20:14-15 "I am GOD; there is no other god beside Me. You shall worship Me alone, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) to remember Me.The Hour (end of the world) is surely coming; I will keep it almost hidden, for each soul must be paid for its works.

The righteous/pious, a high level that a believer may or may not reach, and what is to be righteous by God Himself ?

2:177 Piety is not to turn your faces towards the east and the west, but pious is one who believes in God and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Book, and the prophets, and who gives money out of love to the relatives, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and those who ask, and to free the slaves; and who upholds the contact prayer, and who contributes towards purification; and those who keep their pledges when they make a pledge, and those who are patient in the face of adversity and hardship and when in despair. These are the ones who have been truthful, and these are the righteous.

The whole worshipping/serving God's purpose has no point but to Remember God in order to become Righteous.

2:21 O people, serve your Lord who has created you and those before you that you may be righteous.

13:28 They are the ones whose hearts rejoice in remembering GOD. Absolutely, by remembering GOD, the hearts rejoice.,

13:29 Those who believe and lead a righteous life have deserved happiness and a joyous destiny

People are now arguing about very small matters, sometimes, arguing about such matters' absence in Quran itself -expecting God to tell them every aspect of life- ignoring the whole purpose of the so called "religion".

I hope my answer give you a little insight of the contrast between the Godly Islam "Submission to God" and what's out there. I also think reading Islam SE questions/asnwer may not reflect the "Godly Islam" as much as it reflect what's out there...Good luck!

  • Thank you for your answer. I understand better the sect aspect in Islam. – Claire Oct 7 '16 at 7:44

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