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Muslim Ethics Studies of Religion – Depth Study (Islam)

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1 Muslim Ethics Studies of Religion – Depth Study (Islam)

2 Ethical Dilemmas Should I donate a kidney so that another may live? Should I turn off life support for my brain-dead child? Should I mercifully end the suffering of my terminally ill, elderly mother? If I am pregnant with quintuplets, should I abort one or more so that the others have a better chance of surviving? If I face infertility, how far should I go in treatment so that I might have a child? As medical treatment continues to expand and advance, more ethical questions come up.

3 Four Sources for Islamic Ethics 1. The Qur’an 2. The sunna of the Prophet– details some of the concepts, laws & practical matters stated in the Qur’an. 3. Ijma (consenus of Muslim Scholars) 4. Legal precedents or Qiyas. The overriding concept of Muslim ethics is tawhid, the absolute oneness of God.

4 Diversity of Views Despite the promotion of unity of God and community (umma), a diversity of views exist. The reasons for this include:  Various schools of jurisprudence  Different sects within Islam  Differences in cultural backgrounds  Different levels of religious observance

5 Sunni vs Shi’i Jurisprudence Main difference starts in the sunna of the Prophet.  Sunni’s: believe everything narrated by the Prophet as long as transmittors are trustworthy. To develop Shari’a, ijma and qiyas are required – hence the four schools of jurisprudence.  Shi’ites: developed their own system. They believe that until Mahdi returns, the twelve Imams instructed believers to follow the instructions or judgements of the mujtahid.

6 Islam and Sexual Ethics Preconceived ideas:  Marriage & Sexuality  Homosexuality  Gender Issues

7 Marriage and Sexuality It is encouraged for Muslims to marry and not stay single. Follows the life of the Prophet. Purpose for marriage:  To restrain sexual passion.  The ordering of domestic life.  The care and responsibility towards children.  The expansion of the family. Islamic jurists have traditionally held that Muslim women may only enter into marriage with Muslim men. Polygamy is permitted under restricted conditions - up to 4 wives with first wife’s consent.

8 Marriage and Sexuality Contraception with the aim of having a permanently child-free marriage is not accepted. So sterilisation is wrong - partly because it prevents children permanently. Islam is strongly pro-family and regards children as a gift from God. Muslim sexual ethics forbid sex outside marriage – adultery is punishable (home detention, whipping, even death).

9 Qur’an And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect. Qur’an 30:21 Option = Marriage or abstain And let those who do not find the means to marry keep chaste until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace. (Qur’an 24:33) "O you young men! Whoever is able to marry should marry, for that will help him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty." (Al-Bukhari)

10 Choice Women can choose  “Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner.” (Qur’an 2: 232) However, Imam Malik, one of the four great Imams of the Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence, gives a slightly restrictive interpretation to this verse and makes the choice of partner by a Muslim girl subject to the over- ruling power or ijbar of her father or guardian in the interests of the girl herself. Marry a Muslim  Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe…” Qur’an 2:221

11 Divorce Divorce is taken to be a last resort in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad said: "Of all the things Allah has permitted, the one He most dislikes is divorce". Qur’an 2: If the estranged couple chooses separation they must go through with it equitably. There must be two equitable witnesses witness the divorce before GOD. Sunni Muslim law allows a man to say Talaaq three times (meaning I divorce you) and they are divorced. The Muslim dowry is a gift from the bridegroom to the bride and it becomes her exclusive property. (It remains her property even if she is later divorced.)

12 Homosexuality Consensus amongst scholars that we are naturally heterosexual. The Qur’an refers to Lot where Allah destroys those practising homosexual activity. Hadiths – state homosexuality as a grave sin. Equivalent to adultery and deserving of the same punishment.

13 Gender Issues In Islam, relations between the sexes are governed by the principle of complementarity rather than the principle of equality. In many Islamic societies, there is a division of roles creating a woman’s space in the private sphere of the home and a man’s in the public sphere.

14 Gender Issues Dress Code  Women – Hijab, Burkas.  Men – cover navel to knee Worship  Women separate to men Roles  Men work - finances  Women – Household & Family =Z2Oi3reniwA

15 Question Explain how the sexual ethics of Muslims express Islamic beliefs? 2007 HSC Essay Question 4 — Islam (20 marks)  Discuss Islamic ethical teachings in ONE area. Choose from: bioethics; environmental ethics; sexual ethics.


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