Law And Morality: A Comparative Assessment By Abdul Haseeb Ansari


Generally speaking, morals are just and good acts or behaviors. Moral rules are social rules that subscribe just and good human relation and human behaviors, violation of which is considered as socially deviant behaviors and might be subjected to social sanction. Morality is a system of morals, like western morality and Islamic morality having different set of morals. Ethics is akin to morality that has limited application, like medical ethics and ethics to be followed by judges and lawyers. They may or may not be codified. For western secular thinkers, morality is purely the product of the society, which varies with the variation of time and space, and violation of which might be subjected to legal actions. Contrary to this, in islam, there are two sets of morals: morals that are based on divine wisdom, for example injunctions derived from Qur’an and Sunnah in the form of mandatory rules and recommendatory rules; and morals developed on the basic of human wisdom. The first category of morals are eternal, immutable and universal; whereas, the second set of morals  may change with the change of time and space, but for their validity they have to be in conformity with injections based on divine wisdom. The best example of this may be solemnization of marriage in islam. For a marriage of two Muslims, one male and the other one female, Ijab (offer) and Qubul (acceptance) are the essential requirements. However , in practice , these religions requirements are appended with certain customary rites, which  vary with the variation of time and space. Islamically , they not necessary , but the religion, has no objection to them so long do not violate Qur’an and Sunnah , the traditions of the prophet established on what he did , said or ordained to be done.

Law and morality are not separate from each other. Rather, they influence each other. Nevertheless the following questions are often asked: can morality control the law making process? Can law determine the space the scope of morality to be followed by the society? Are courts and parliaments guardians of morality? Can society reject any law if it considers it to be perpetuating immorality? These question have always agitated minds of jurists and religions experts.

At the outset, it will be better to discuss the relationship between law and morality. The questions posed above give rise to investigate into: morality as the basic of law; morality as the test of law; and morality as the end of law.  

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