Andrew March

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:

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Broadly speaking, the concept of “ethics” refers to any normative evaluation of acts. While some make a conceptual distinction between “morality” and “ethics,” based on a distinction between obligations of the “right” owed to other persons and the pursuit of the “good,” this entry will subsume under the term “ethics” both theories of moral obligation (to others, to God) and theories of the good, of virtue, or of cultivation of the self. According to this general conceptual definition, ethics in the Islamic tradition have taken a number of forms. Of course, all genres of Islamic ethics will have some relationship to the Qurʾan; however, there is a genre of scholarship that attempts to apprehend the moral vision of the Qurʾan in its own right, which is where this bibliography begins. In the Islamic tradition, study of the Qurʾan quickly became accompanied by meta-ethical theological debates about the ontology and epistemology of moral values and obligation. These theological debates were in some ways concerned with the same questions as Islamic philosophy inspired by the appropriation of Greek texts. Practical or applied ethics, on the other hand, were largely a matter for Islamic positive law and jurisprudence. Rather different approaches to morality and the good life can be found in the theories and practice of Islamic mysticism as well as the semi-secular humanist and literary tradition of adab.

Article.  8174 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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