Historically, Muslims derive their Islamic ethics from the Qur’an and the Hadith. The Qur’an contains several commands Muhammad’s followers must obey. The Hadith presents Muhammad as the exemplary human whom Muslims must imitate in all respects. “Muhammad was only a mortal being commissioned by God to teach the word of God and lead an exemplary life,” writes HammudaAbdalati. “He stands in history as the best model for man in piety and perfection. He is a living proof of what man can be and of what he can accomplish in the realm of excellence and virtue.
The Prophet is caught as it were in the ordinary acts of his life—sleeping, eating, mating, praying, hating, and dispensing justice, planning expeditions and revenge against his enemies. The picture that emerges is hardly flattering, and one is left wondering why in the first instance it was reported at all and whether it was done by admirers or enemies. One is also left to wonder how the believers, generation after generation, could have found this story so inspiring.
The answer is that the [Muslim] believers are conditioned to look at the whole thing through the eyes of faith. An infidel in his fundamental misguidance may find the Prophet rather sensual and cruel—and certainly many of the things he did do not conform to ordinary ideas of morality—but the believers look at the whole thing differently. To them morality derives from the Prophet’s actions; the moral is whatever he did. Morality does not determine the Prophet’s actions, but his actions determine and define morality.
It was in this way and by this logic that Muhammad’s opinions became the dogmas of Islam and his personal habits and idiosyncrasies became moral imperatives: Allah’s commands for all
Believes in all ages and climes to follow
The concept of morality in Islam centers around certain basic beliefs and principles. Among these are the following: (1) God is the Creator and Source of all goodness, truth, and beauty....