The Islamic Behavioral Approach
Islam calls for loyalty, kinship, tolerance, benevolence, and all that contributes to the achievement of a perfectly balanced society. Accordingly, Islam also calls for repentance and piety in order to establish a righteous society, for Allah said, “Indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.” [Taha: 82] He also said, “And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.” [An-Nur: 82] The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Allah, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch out His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west.”
Islam’s teachings are based on a lot of behavioral principles that contribute to the formation of upright individuals and harmonious societies. The Prophet, peace be upon him, preached moderation, since humans are the frail successor upon earth, as Allah said “when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.’” [Al-Baqarah: 30]
Likewise, Islam honors all human’s rights, and denounces racism, sin and aggression. Allah said, “And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what we have created, with [definite] preference.” [Isra: 70] He also said, “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and transgression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” [Al-Maeda: 2]
However, some people manifest a great deal of uncivilized behavior, although lots of Quranic verses call for cooperation, reflection, civilized behavior and rationalism, as Allah said, “Similar situations [as yours] have passed on before you, so proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied. This [Qur’an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious of Allah.” [Al-Imran: 137-138]
Moreover, all humans are driven by innate righteousness, as Allah said, “The nature of Allah, in which He hath created man. There is no altering (the laws of) Allah’s creation.” [Ar-Room: 30] Human beings’ instincts direct them to worship one God, as Allah said, “And (remember) when thy Lord brought forth from the loins of the Children of Adam their seed, and made them testify against themselves, (saying): ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yea, verily. We testify. (That was) lest ye should say at the Day of Resurrection, of this we were unaware.’” [Al-Araaf: 172]
Islam calls Muslims to establish a close interrelationship between this world and the hereafter, unlike communism and other current thoughts which only seek profit, exploit humans, endanger communities’ unity, and spread corruption. Allah the Almighty warned humans of submitting to their desires and whims, and said, “And if the Truth had followed their desires, verily the heavens and the earth and whosoever is therein would have been corrupted.” [Al-Mu’minun: 71]
Hence, Muslims must undertake efforts to maintain the unity of their societies, develop their communities, and face the challenges of cultural materialism.
Likewise, the Islamic behavioral approach calls for justice and tolerance, in order to achieve a civilization that reflects progress and promotes justice, to ensure the safety of the social structure, and to avoid corruption and aggression. Allah said, “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified.” [Al-Maeda: 33]
Islam approves of differences of opinion and renounces violence and extremism, which endanger the stability of all societies. There is a big difference between religious commitment and religious extremism. Allah said, “Say, ‘O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].’ [Al-Maeda: 64]
Thus, the Islamic approach goes hand in hand with the thought of religious intellectuals who simplify and clarify the principles and laws of Sharia. Islam has forbidden murder and the assault on any human being, regardless of his religion, as Allah said, “And [recall] when we took your covenant, [saying], ‘Do not shed each other’s blood or evict one another from your homes.’ Then you acknowledged [this] while you were witnessing.”[Al-Baqarah: 84] Islam also calls for peaceful coexistence, as Allah said, “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Al-Hujarat: 13]
Islam is the righteous behavioral approach for every human being. The term “human” is mentioned about sixty times in the Holy Quran. Allah said, “[Your Lord] Created man from a clot. Read. And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous. [It is He] who taught by the pen. He taught man that which he knew not.” [Al-Alaq: 2-4] He also said “We have certainly created man in the best of stature.” [At-Tin: 4]
Although Islam encourages humans to have insight and awareness, many Muslims have been affected by intellectual, cultural, economic and social influences. As a result, aggressive behavior has spread and crime rates have increased. Allah said, “Then, even after that, your hearts were hardened and became as rocks, or even harder than rocks. For indeed there are rocks from which rivers gush, and indeed there are rocks which split asunder so that water flows from them. And indeed there are rocks which fall down for the fear of Allah. Allah is not unaware of what ye do.” [Al-Baqarah: 74]
Muslims are encouraged to handle difference of opinion with rationality and tolerance, not of extremism and prejudice. Allah said, “So do not claim your selves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him.” [An-Najm: 32] Allah also placed emphasis on Muslims’ unity in order to ensure the stability of Muslim communities. Allah said, “He brought your hearts together and you became, by His Favor, brothers.” [Al-Imran: 102] He also said, “Indeed, the believers are brothers.” [Al-Hujarat: 10] Furthermore, Allah warned Muslims of the adverse impacts of division, saying, “Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects – you, [O Muhammad], are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do.” [Al-Anaam: 195]
In conclusion, Islamic countries should undertake efforts to reform and develop their communities and ensure the stability of their societies. On the other hand, the public should realize the dangers of fanaticism and extremism, and cooperate with government in order to achieve a peaceful and tolerant society. Allah said, “But those who hold fast to the Book and establish prayer – indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of the reformers.” [Al-Araaf: 107] He also said, “[And they are] those who, if we give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give alms and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.” [Al-Hajj: 41] Also, Muslims should revert to the Islamic values of justice, benevolence, tolerance and respect in order to protect the unity of their societies, and face the political, economic and social threats that tendentious enemies spread to alienate people from Islam.