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date: 25 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Qur’anic ethics stands at the centre of Muslim exegesis of the Qur’an both in the past and the present. The belief exists that the Qur’an recommends crucial teachings for the good life that, in turn, serve as means of salvation in the afterlife. Dīn, one of the key ideas used in the revelation vouchsafed to the Prophet Muḥammad, carries with it the resonance of righteousness. Although the word dīn is translated as ‘religion’ in modern times, to the first listeners of the revelation it had a normative resonance related to human conduct. An overlapping semiotic framework provides for a nuanced and at times detailed ethical outline of practices in the Qur’an. Some attempts were made in the past to flesh out a Qur’an-based ethics, but it did not reach fruition. All Muslim ethicists would, of course, insist that the Qur’an forms the basis of their ethical deliberations. What some mean by a Qur’anic ethics is the centrality of Qur’anic teachings to the study of ethics while all other considerations ought to be deemed secondary. This is not how ethics unfolded in Islam historically speaking, for often Greek and mystical traditions of the ethical overlapped with those teachings derived from the Qur’an. In modern times this effort to find an exclusively Qur’an-based ethics was again attempted with mixed success or perhaps should be viewed as a work-in-progress.

Keywords: ethics, akhlāq, fiqh, good, values, excellence, virtue.

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