Application of ethics in morals, manners and laws
Application of ethics in morals, manners and laws: By ABM. Mahbubul Islam & Md. Shahadat Hossain. Dhaka: Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Thought, 2014. Pp. 250, ISBN: 978-984-8471-16-6.
Reviewer: Begum Asma Siddiqua, Professor, Department of Law & Justice , Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The book Application of Ethics in Morals, Manners and Laws adds to the Education Series 03 of the Text Book Writing Project of the Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Thought (BIIT). This book is an attempt to introduce Islamic concepts in the educational system at the university level. The stated objective of the book is to infuse ethics and morals into the mind of the students of law and other disciplines. The book is written as a required text book for General Education courses, Legal Education courses at Bachelors and Masters levels and LLM programs of public and private universities in Bangladesh.
The book containing 12 chapters is divided into four parts. The first part contains four chapters. The first chapter lays down the conceptual issues, history, classification of ethics, morals, laws and their relationship. It argues that laws must be read and implemented in conformity with morals. The second chapter focuses on ethics and morals in five major religions namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. After a comparative analysis, the chapter has argued that Islam is the only revealed religion which can show the right path to reach the goal of creating a righteous person, a healthy society and a strong nation. Chapter three considers five different professions: Legal, Medical, Business, Engineering and Teaching. Ethics in these five professions is discussed with reference to cyber law, software engineering, information technology, advanced technology and Islam. It has explained the basics of professional ethics in dealing with clients, patients, consumers, students and all stakeholders. Chapter four focuses on the idea, concept, needs and scope of ethics in man-made ideologies such as secularism, nationalism, capitalism, socialism, positivism and humanism. This chapter has drawn attention to the fact that the aspects of ethics in manmade ideologies carry different meaning which appear contradictory to Islam.
The second part consists of six chapters. This part details the application, meaning, function, aspects and importance of ethics and morality in Islam in relation to nature, character, behaviour and attributes of human being and power of his soul. Chapter one details out the meaning and importance of character or akhlaq. Chapter two explains morality in terms of good character or Husn al Khuluq which is the key to success in the life in this world and in the hereafter. Chapter three unfolds the relations among human being, morality and soul. It argues that composition of the soul is made of desire, anger, animal instinct and divine entity qualified with rationality and reason which assists a person to become moderate and balanced. Chapter four discusses the necessity of practicing Islamic morals in the society. Chapter five highlights the fact that human soul is born clean and pure and continues to be so until affected by the worldly flaws. When rationality and reason in a human being monitors different aspects of a soul, good morals follow. Wisdom, courage, kindness and such qualities are embedded in the soul which reflect in the behaviour of a person. Chapter six recognises the realities of worldly affairs which make many good qualities to disappear. There is a probability of irregular immorality in a man turning into a regular pattern of behaviour giving rise to many vices in life. Only true knowledge of Islam can assist to sweep away bad morals and rectify the soul toward Islamic morals.
The third part of the book consists of only one chapter which discusses various aspects of practical manners. It presents the guidelines and standards for life style, cleanliness, dress code, food, manners of eating, drinking, sleeping, walking etc., from the perspective of Islam. Manners in Islam with regard to behavioral attributes are translated into rights of a Muslim against another human being whereas normal activities are considered as an obligation for a Muslim entrusted upon him. And finally, the last part of the book, again with only one chapter, reiterated the position that man is born pure; so a healthy and moral orientation can lead to the original position of the purity of soul.
The book is first of its kind in the curriculum of the education system of Bangladesh. It is an effort of reconstituting educational curriculum from the perspective of Islamic intellectual, cultural and civilisational dimensions. The book will have positive effects on the undergraduate and graduate students of different disciplines at different universities in Bangladesh and other countries. However there remain certain shortcomings. The authors could have arranged different parts of the book more systematically to keep smooth transition of the flow of ideas from one chapter to the other. There is huge and disturbing imbalance between different parts in terms of chapterisation. While the first two parts contain a large number of chapters, the last two parts contain one each. Besides, there is repetition of ideas and discussion which could have been avoided with more careful editing.