Ethics must not be separated from law, Qur`an scholars conclude.
By Aslam Abdullah
Jamia Masjid–One of Las Vegasâ€™ mosques.
Las Vegas–October 11–Several prominent Muslim scholars deliberated on the theme of Qur`an: Law and Ethics during the recently concluded sixth annual Qur`an conference in Las Vegas. The conference on October 10 and 11 drew a big local audience that listened closely to the Qur`an scholars, who included Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Dr. Maher Hathout, Dr. Mustapha Kuku, Dr. Abdullah Idris Ali, Dr. Muneer Fareed, Abul Haytam, Hisham Mehmod, and Mahan Mirza.
The scholars presented their work on various topics such as Ethics for common people, Permanent ethical values of the Qur`an, the Qur`an, a divine source of ethical guidance, and ethical values for personal growth.
One speaker talked about similarities between the founding principles of America and the permanent Qur`anic values of justice, equality, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The Qur`an conference was first organized by the Islamic Society of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 2003 and the main objective was to provide a forum to Qur`an scholars in America to address some of the most pressing issues the community and the country faces.
The consensus among scholars during the sixth conference was that without ethics, law is merely an instrument of enforcing an order. With ethics on itsside, law becomes a balancing act in society enabling people to regulate their life voluntarily without any fear.
Dr. Abdullah Idris talked about the importance of connecting with the Qur`an to enhance our understanding of our world.
Dr. Munir Fareed talked about the practice of people of other religions of either vilifying or deifying religious leaders. He urged Muslims to avoid the trap as in understanding the Qur`an is all about Allah and His majesty and guidance on earth.
Dr. Mustapha Kuku talked about the ethics of dealing with non-Muslims. He said that the founding principle of the Qur`an is the dignity of human beings and the ethics of the Qur`an promotes that in all aspects of life. Mahan Mirza focused on drawing parallel between the constitutional guarantees on personal liberty and the Qur`an concept of freedom. He suggested that the term such as Islam vs the West must be avoided as Islam is an integral part of the global village.
Dr. Maher Hathout deliberated on ethics for common people suggesting that the most essential guidance of the Qur`an can be understood by people if they connect with the Qur`an.
He urged Muslims to read to learn and not to learn to read. Hisham Mehmoud talked about interpreting the divine ethics within the contextual framementioned in the Qur`an. He said a careful contextual understanding of the Qur`an will enable us to overcome some of the misconceptions that Muslims have developed toward the Qur`anic terms. Abul Haytham talked about using the Qur`an ethics for personal growth. He said that in addition to reading the Qur`an, people must reflect on its message and try to apply it in their personal life in order to gain a momentum intheir personal life.
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi said that ethics bring the faith our of ritualistic mode. He said acts of worship such as prayer, fasting and hajj teach people to apply principles of discipline, control and universal love in their every day life.
The presence of a large ISNA contingent in the conference was a welcome sign. ISNA is likely to become cosponsors of the conference. Next yearâ€™s conference will also become ISNAâ€™s regional conference in the WestZone.
The conference organizers had also organized famous recitors of the Qur`an from different parts of the country. From Dallah came Hafiz Abdul Qadir; from New York, Hassan Saleh, from New Jersey, Fouad elKassas and from Thailand, Hafiz Mansour. The four reciters rendered thepowerful recitation of the Qur`an on both days of the conference.
Dr. Bahir Chowdhry and Khalid Khan, two main organizers of the conference pledged to continue with the Qur`an conference in the future.