There is no specific Arabic term for the Greek notion of 'Ethics'. Two Arabic words are usually used in relation to 'morality' or 'ethics' in the Islamic tradition: 'akhlaq' and 'adab'. Both are referring to principles, defining what is good and what is bad, as well as determining the objectives and goals of actions. They are also related to good behaviour, good manners and characters.
As such Islamic ethics is related to four different fields: law, philosophy, mysticism and sciences (human and experimental). Islamic ethics has become a critical field within contemporary Islamic studies as it is at the crossroads of all the internal debates between the Islamic trends (literalists, traditionalists, reformists, sufis, rationalists, etc.).
Islamic ethics is also an important discipline for Muslim scholars to show that they have the accurate theological and philosophical means to address contemporary scientific issues.
About the Author:
Tariq Ramadan is HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, University of Oxford, UK.