About Morality I’m talking

I’ve been thinking about morality a lot lately and I’m not sure if thinking is the correct word to use, I was hyper thinking about it and sometimes I would conclude that morality is selfishness or else wise why we have so much people in our lives who never heard about it and our adoption of it along side our values and idealization is just a selfish act that revolves around the satisfaction of our need of perfection or doing the right thing.

I don’t want to define morality, ethics, values, applied ethics, name it you can just google it and you’ll find a lot of definitions and interpretations that will make you even more confused than before!! A couple of months ago I watched the movie “We steal secrets: The story of Wikileaks” that talked about Julian Assange and Bradley Manning and if you watched closely the only question that would ring inside your head is If I was in that same situation would I turn Manning in for revealing very sensitive and highly classified information or should I reveal this to the public as they deserve to know the truth as the truth belongs to them not to those in Authority! Is this a moral act or just self values and idealization. For many the question is plain simple, do it for the people, the truth belongs to them and therefore you should not hesitate to do what is good to people or as Michael Sandel argues in his discussion in Justice Harvard series about consensus between the people and the government in any pluralistic society.

Let us here not forget the consequences of such an act where Manning in this case was detained and treated as a traitor. Some would argue that Morality should not be defined by the actions and its consequences or as in Utilitarianism based on the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong. The question is, if this is the right thing to do, why this feeling of guilt or why Assange deep down inside knew that by insisting to go with this till the end would hurt Manning! In all wars that was carried on in the name of liberation of the people or spreading the word of God it ended up with a huge number of civilian causalities that used to be called “collateral damage” and was justified by the Generals of war but still condemned by people or those fighting for human rights or humanitarians in general.

I do believe that Morals are an internal act as Ali Izzat Bigovic stated in his book “Islam between east and west” and I would disagree with John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism that argues that morality has two sources that are internal from what is called “conscious” or “super ego” or “Nafs ul Lawwaama” or from being raised in a high moral family and an external act that is enforced by law. Because enforcement is against freedom and freedom is an essential part of morality. Without freedom there is no moral act, it’s just a social code of conduct and traditions that been practiced over the years and formed our culture.

For those who would argue that also the external source of morality could be from God through religion, I would say this is true but what distinguish it from the rigid rules that are enforced by the law and which we tend to break because they are simply rules is the spiritual aspects that is inclined within these concepts. I mean think about it, if these moral acts are done because it is good to behave this way, it would make me look good in people eyes and it will satisfy my desires towards idealization and perfectionism then it is no longer a virtue that we should be judged based on, it’s just a good behavior, a social code of conduct or even call it civilized act or behavior and from a theological perspective it should not make any difference! The virtue itself has no meaning!! In some interpretations of the Hadith “I have been sent to perfect good character”, the meaning was yes there is good manners, moral actions and traditions but I came to perfect it by doing it for Allah, for the Absolute divinity and I’m more inclined toward this interpretation because morality is freedom and if you choose to do it for its abstract meaning then what is the virtue I’m trying to achieve, you will always find people who would argue moral relativism and that they are changeable based on the context which is the community where it is defined and practiced and I’m pretty sure that trying to have a unified set of moralities between nations and in this world is much more a mission impossible I mean as long as it is between us humans it will always be imperfect as finding a unanimous consensus for it is rather difficult because of its relativism in this domain and will always be more idealistic and hard to achieve as we humans are imperfect and it is hard to play perfect all the time. But on the other hand, if it is done for the sake of God its virtue is preserved and with its connection with the divinity will be perfect in this manner. I don’t neglect the importance of the outer source I mean I believe that humans consists of two aspects internal and external and the integration between them is our ultimate goal to find balance in our lives but without this internal acceptance or the will to choose whether to do it or not then don’t call it morality… its anything but that!

Damn, I really needed to write this down or my mind would blow up! I’m just trying to find a balance between what we are (humans) and the values and morals we are trying to achieve.


2 thoughts on “About Morality I’m talking

  1. Nice one Ishraq, you have some good arguments there.

    To be honest, at the end I got confused if you are with Mill’s Utilitarianism or not, specially that you finished with stating that you believe that there are internal and external sources that influence morality. In my opinion, I think that having religion as a frame of reference for the moral act still falls within Mill’s definition.

    However, I would argue that positioning religion as the sole reference for defining the moral act is not enough, and that it is necessary to incorporate culture, tradition and human values in building the moral conduct. They all are required for establishing a “more complete” moral conduct (since I don’t think we would ever reach to a complete conduct)

    Keep it up!

    • Thanks Rami for reading and commenting 🙂

      Yes, I’m still confused myself that’s why I wrote down everything!! my problem with Mill is only with the rigid understanding of morals I mean if this is true then why we still have different interpretations and definitions for the moral act and why it doesn’t have its power of obligations! or maybe it shouldn’t!!

      Yes religion should not be the only source for moral acts but I was myself thinking why when I do this for the good of others I still don’t feel that kind of rewarding you know!!

      Thanks again for your thoughts will share more when I have more solid ideas Insha’Allah 🙂

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