The Moral and Ethical Role of Taqwa in the Personal, Social, Economic, and Political Spheres of Life in the 21st Century

The following article by Imad-ad-Dean AhmadThe Moral and Ethical Role of Taqwa in the Personal, Social, Economic, and Political Spheres of Life in the 21st Century” was first published in the Discussion and Debate section of the Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (JIMS), Vol 7 No 1 May 2022. “This article was published as [complete bibliographic citation as it appears in the Work]. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press.”


The Moral and Ethical Role of Taqwa

in the Personal, Social, Economic, and Political Spheres

of Life in the 21st Century


By: Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.


Abstract: This essay will examine the concept of taqwa as it is used in the Qur’an to illustrate how its application is fundamental in understanding its function in daily life decisions that may be applied in the 21st century. Although there are many translations for taqwa, I believe that the concept is best defined as God-consciousness. I provide daily-life examples to explore how the moral and ethical implications of this concept are relevant today in the four major spheres of life: personal, social, economic and political. The examples provided are based on experiences during my professional journey while serving either as an academic, chaplain, community leader or political activist. The analysis of of taqwa focuses on various Qur’anic verses that illustrate how to understand its application in the personal, social economic and political spheres of life. As I review each of these four spheres, I list verses in Qur’anic chapters that explain the impact that the concept of taqwa can have in daily life-decisions. The importance of maintaining awareness of God in all of these areas lies in the fact that God observes and holds everyone accountable for all of their actions and behaviors. God-consciousness allows us to subordinate our animal instincts to our rational faculty. It allows us to place the well-being of others on the same plane as our own. It saves us from being dazzled by wealth to the point that we forget that there are higher values to which wealth should serve as a means, but never replace it as an end. It is the only safeguard against the temptation to make gods of ourselves to impose our will on others. The challenge to religion in a secular era is to effectuate a link between belief and action. This article will begin by developing an understanding of the meaning of taqwa and then of its application to the four spheres of life in the 21st century: personal, social, economic, and political.


Key words: taqwa, God-consciousness, Qur’an, ethics


Introduction: The Meaning and Importance of Taqwa

The word taqwa occurs 17 times in the Qur’an, and its four co-derivatives appear more than 240 times.[1] Clearly the concept is important. For comparison, the word Islam only appears 8 times, while its 10 cognates (excluding the proper name “Sulayman”) only appear about 140 times. Since understanding the meaning of taqwa is essential, we can find guidance in defining it by looking at the manner in which various respected interpreters of the Qur’an have sought to translate the word into English.[2]


One expects the translation to vary depending upon the context. For example, Pickthall, the most literal interpreter, usually translates the term to mean guarding or restraining oneself from evil or as “duty” or “piety,” linking the term to one’s submission to God.[3] Yet, Arberry consistently translates the word as “godfearing” (with minor variations) associating the term with an emotion.[4] I think Arberry’s view is colored by a common use of the English expression seen in Jonathan Edward’s citation of Luke xii 4-5: “And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”[5] This usage obscures the distinction between taqwa and khawf (fear in general) in Qur’anic usage. Thus, the Qur’an uses the word khawf to refer to fear of Pharoah, but never uses taqwa in that context although there should be no lexical objection to doing so.[6] In Islamic theology, obedience to God may be motivated by fear of the hellfire, by the desire for paradise, or by love of God. Sufis point out that obedience to God out of fear of hellfire is the meanest of motives and while the love of God is the highest. Rabi`a al-Basri’s prayer-poem “O My Lord” is an excellent example: “O my Lord, if I worship you from fear of hell, burn me in hell. If I worship you from hope of Paradise, bar me from its gates. But if I worship you for yourself alone, grant me then the beauty of your Face.”[7]


All of the motivations mentioned above may be considered a form of fear. The fear of hellfire is a fear of punishment. The desire for paradise is the fear of losing a reward. The love of God is a fear of displeasing God. The fear of displeasing the Beloved is better called taqwa than khawf (raw fear). Beyond the translations already mentioned, other translators surveyed use English terms including “righteousness,” “reverence,” and “godliness.” I believe that Muhammad Asad comes closest to capturing the meaning of taqwa with the English term “God-consciousness.”[8] He is able to use some variant of this term in every context in which the word appears. This is important because it demonstrates that he has found the English equivalent of the Arabic term. Further, the word bridges the divide between belief and action. That the textual and lexical usage supports this is evident from the fact that the word is translated as both “fearing” (an emotional reaction) and “protection” (a practical action) in the Vocabulary of the Holy Qur’an.[9] It reminds me of an old traffic safety PSA in which drivers were told to imagine that they saw a police car in the rear view mirror any time they were tempted to speed. Becoming conscious of law enforcement would deter one from breaking the law. In the same way, a constant state of God-consciousness facilitates our obedience to Divine Law. A constant state of consciousness could serve as a subconscious trigger emulating the “rear view mirror” model to help one keep track of ethical and moral behavior in daily life decisions.


Application of Taqwa in the Personal Life Sphere

More than at any other time in history, the 21st century is dominated by the notion that the private sphere of personal activities, those that do not adversely affect others, must be safe from the interference of others. The classical liberal notion[10]  that individual rights should be protected from state interference has now been expanded to demand that personal choices also be exempt from public disapproval or even from private judgment.[11] These points will not be argued in this essay, as they require another comparative study between Islamic law and Western law. However, Islamic law is even more explicit than Western law on the right of privacy. Consider Umar’s judgment [12] that a man who reported on his neighbor’s private consumption of wine was in the wrong for spying on his neighbor. (Compare this with the American Supreme Court having to infer a right to privacy as one of the “unenumerated” rights mentioned in the ninth amendment.)[13] The point I wish to address is that the mere fact that we do not punish, nor even wish to shame people who make evil or immoral choices regarding their own personal life does not mean that the choices themselves are no longer subject to a standard of good or bad.


Many imams preach about taqwa as piety and as fear of God, but do not clarify the connection between taqwa and conscience which is the focus of this paper. Conscience is the God-given faculty to distinguish right from wrong and God-consciousness is the method by which the conscience is purified and immunized from corruption. It is my hope that the scholars, whose job it is to interpret and articulate the principles of our faith, will not only critique and refine this connection, but pass it on to the imams whose role it is to inspire the believers, providing them with the intellectual ammunition they need to inspire their listeners to purify their consciences and make taqwa a practical tool for making their daily life choices. Taqwa, which makes every individual directly responsible to the Almighty, means that the individual himself has a duty to enforce God’s will upon himself.


The critics of religious personal moral codes presume that they are traditional man-made codes falsely attributed to a divinity (who may not even exist) and are at best outdated and at worst completely irrational. The source of the error here is the belief that personal moral codes prescribed by religion are arbitrary and not based on the reality of human nature.


My experiences serving as a chaplain for over ten years at a university, and fifteen years at a maximum-security mental hospital in the larger Washington, DC metropolitan area, afforded me the privilege to observe behavioral problems that young people in general have confronted in today’s modern world with all of its temptations. These include problems associated with dating, family life, cultural, behavioral, intoxicants (drug use and alcohol) and sexual issues. The problem of intoxicants should be a clear example. In 21st century America there is a trend against prohibitionism. There is good reason for this trend. State enforcement of prohibition transforms a personal problem into a criminal problem. But that does not mean that intoxicants are not a problem. Setting aside the social problem they cause, they contribute to the poor health and even death of those who consume them. Absent external constraints upon them, those addicted to intoxicants must turn to others similarly afflicted in self-help twelve step groups for social support. Those who have taqwa can obtain their support from God directly. “They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say, ‘In them is a great sin and some profit for men; but the sin is greater than the profit’” (Q 2: 219).


Another example of how maintaining a constant state of God-conscious was so clear in an incident I observed when I served as chaplain at the maximum-security mental hospital. The conscious decision made pertaining to the application of taqwa was very evident in the following case: Two patients who were friends with each other were released from the hospital. One regularly attended the Friday jum`a prayers and his therapist informed me that he had internalized the teachings presented in the sermons. She did not know the term, but the internalization of which she spoke about describes taqwa. Upon release, he succeeded in starting a small business. The other person ignored his friend’s pleas to avoid alcohol, relapsed, and died within a year of his release.


The Qur’an makes clear that Allah has not created these rules to torment us, but rather, to guide us to what is best for our own selves as highlighted in the following verses:

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. God knows but you do not know” (Q 2:216).


“And if anyone is conscious of God, He will remove his ills from him and will enlarge his reward” (Q 65:5). [14]


It is important to mention that “misunderstanding” the meaning of some of the Qur’anic verses causes confusion. For example, numerous Qur’anic verses refer to the fact that everything in life is a trial, but some people may read such verses to mean that if they are meticulous in the observance of religious rituals, they will be spared the trials of life. They fail to realize that it is not the performance of the ritual per se, but their God-consciousness that protects them.[15] Then, when God tries them with some hardship, they may mistake the test for a punishment:


“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them so that God will indeed know those who are true” (Q 29:2-3).


“Or do ye think that you shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: ‘When (will come) the help of God?’ Ah! Verily, the help of God is (always) near!” (Q 2:224).


The point of these verses is that a person who takes a bad development in life as a punishment rather than as a trial is under the misconception that s/he will not be tested in this life, else s/he would see the trial for what it is. The fact that the messengers, whose sins were forgiven should still have faced reversals so severe that even their loyal followers thought God had forsaken them makes that precise point. God was not punishing the messengers and their followers, but rather testing them. When events in one’s daily life are understood simply as “punishments” or “rewards,” that undermines the concept of taqwa or God-consciousness and distorts the meaning of Qur’anic verses pertaining to trials. Similarly, when tests come in the form of blessings, they mistake the test for a reward.


“Now, as for man, when his Lord tries him, giving him honor and gifts, then says he, (puffed up), ‘My Lord has honored me’” (Q 89:15).


Taken together these verses demonstrate that although there are good and bad consequences to our choices, in this life both hardships and blessings are tests. Hardship is to be met with patience and blessings with gratitude. The ultimate rewards and punishments are in the hereafter.


“Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions” (Q 16:97).


Application of Taqwa in the Social Life Sphere

Beyond the sphere of personal actions that directly affect only the individual is the sphere of social action. Broadly speaking, everything beyond the personal is social, although personal actions can indirectly affect society. As a community leader (while serving both as an imam and president of community organizations), I was actively involved in a variety of social concerns, including issues of immigration, racism, changing demographics in neighborhoods, job security, and domestic violence. For the sake of this discussion, however, I shall focus on those actions which are neither commercial nor political and which affect society directly rather than indirectly. This is still a very broad field for it includes all family life, neighborhood life, voluntary social interactions from courting to parties to civil society, philanthropy, and charitable activity. It is an area in which ethics plays an obvious role. It is an area where questions of good and bad become questions of right and wrong because our actions affect others besides ourselves. It is another opportunity for demonstrating the relationship between God-consciousness and conscience. The concept of taqwa in the social sphere of life is strongly emphasized in the Qur’an: [16]


“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do” (Q 4:135).


Because the family is the basic building-block of society, we should start with the questions of relations within the family. The Qur’an recognizes the importance of the family, and accordingly, emphasizes the importance of strong relationships between parents and children, between husband and wife, among siblings, and among kinfolk in general.


The enforcement of some of these relationships is difficult. For example, the fact that children should respect their parents, does not seem to require a strong sense of taqwa on the part of children since small children, at least, are so much smaller and weaker than their parents and so totally dependent upon them, that the parents themselves are sufficient enforcers to command respect. But in the case of respecting the rights of children, consciousness of God is a necessity. The most obvious example of this in the Qur’an is the prohibition of infanticide. If pre-Islamic Arab culture was disrespectful of the rights of females, this was most extreme in the practice of burying baby girls alive, sometimes out of fear of poverty, but often simply out of “shame” of having fathered a girl.[17] While Muslim tradition may have exaggerated how widespread this pre-Islamic custom was,[18] without God-consciousness, parents who engaged in such a practice may have felt they would never be held to account for such an abomination committed against a victim not only too weak to resist but without even the voice to testify against them. The Qur’an, however, inculcates an awareness of God that will deter this practice with a terrifying prophecy of the Day of Judgment:


“When the female (infant) buried alive is questioned for what crime she was killed”

(Q 81:8-9).


Similarly, the principle of taqwa provides an antidote to all power imbalances not only between young and old but between men and women, among various tribes, ethnicities, and races, between rich and poor, or even between Muslims and people of other faiths. Examples of taqwa pertaining to power imbalances is further explained in the following verses:


“O you who believe stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts) lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do” (Q 4:135).


“Women shall have rights similar to men according to what is equitable and men have a degree over them (in inheritance)” (Q 2:228).


“God forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loves those who are just” (Q 60:8).


In one of my Friday Jum`a sermons as chaplain at the maximum-security mental hospital I focused on the meaning of the following passage and noted that it is a reference to our conscience:


“By the soul and the proportion and order given to it and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; truly he succeeds who purifies it and he fails who corrupts it” (Q 91:7-10).


After the sermon, a non-Muslim patient who sat in on the service told me that he had no conscience. When I asked him why he would say such a thing, he stated that it was because he felt no remorse for the things that he had done that caused him to be committed to this mental hospital. When I told him that I thought he did have a conscience, he asked me why I would make such a remark.  I told him that the fact he had chosen to share his lack of remorse with me, was proof that he does have a conscience and that his failure in life was due to its corruption, and success could come from its purification. Needless to say, the look on his face was priceless. He obtained a copy of the Qur’an and began to study it with great diligence and he became so familiar with its content that whenever I would start to answer some other patient’s inquiry “What does the Qur’an say about [a particular matter]” as soon as I began reading the Qur’anic passage as the response to the question asked, he would immediately open his copy to the passage I was reading, even though I did not specify the surah or verse numbers to the relevant passages. He has since been released. He recently called me for recommendations for a mosque which he could attend. His release testifies to the confidence of the state of Maryland that he is no longer “not responsible,” in other words that he does have a conscience. His request for a masjid testifies to his own realization, not only that he has a conscience, but of the need to purify it.


Application of Taqwa in the Economic Life Sphere

The importance of economic life is not always understood. As the CEO of a Schedule C Corporation, I observed how economic principles play out in the modern business world. Wealth is not simply based on having an abundance of material resources, but rather, it is dependent upon the use of these resources in ways that make them of value to members of the larger community. Many seem to think that in a free-market system taqwa is not needed to achieve this goal since each individual’s actions to increase his or her own wealth in the process, actually increases the wealth of the community as a whole. Examples of taqwa that highlight issues pertaining to wealth in the Economic Life Sphere are explored in the following verses: Q 3:130, Q 9:85, and Q 4:29.


An example that illustrates how the Qur’an encourages prosperity is best understood when reviewing that the Prophet (pbuh) and his wife Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) were both merchants.[19] In fact, the Qur’an, itself, encourages trade:


“O you who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity but let there be trade by mutual consent. …” (Q 4:29).


Any suboptimality in the subsequent distribution can be dealt with by charity and/or the political system. However, this idyllic picture overlooks a certain human weakness, to be dazzled by material wealth as indicated in the Qur’an:


“Nor let their wealth nor their children dazzle you: God’s plan is to punish them with these things in this world, and that their souls may perish in their (very) denial of God” (Q 9:85).


I know of no better way to elaborate on and clarify this point than to quote the observation of Muhammad Asad (born Leopold Weiss) and his wife of the “well-dressed, well-fed people” around them in a Berlin subway who “all looked as though they were suffering the torments of Hell … without any goal beyond raising their own ‘standard of living,’ without any hopes other than having more material amenities, more gadgets, and perhaps more power. …”[20] It was about them he realized that the Qur’an speaks:


“You are obsessed by greed for more and more until you go down to your graves. Nay, but you will come to know! Nay, but you will come to know! Nay but if you knew it with the knowledge of certainty, You would indeed see the hell you are in. In time indeed you shall see it with the eye of certainty: And on that Day you will be asked what you have done with the boon of life”[21] (Q 102:1-8).


Within the framework of taqwa, material wealth is a morally neutral commodity.[22] What counts is not how much we have, but how we acquired what we have accumulated and what we shall do with it now that we have it. Unethically acquired wealth (whether by fraud, force, or by unfair exploitation of an imbalance of power) is a moral evil, as is wasting wealth or using it to evil ends. While one can ask the state to enforce laws aimed at stopping or ameliorating such evil, society only succeeds where most people generally enforce such standards upon themselves. Furthermore, the giving of charity is most effective when done voluntarily by civil society. Yet, the “dazzling” effect of wealth on the human psyche will tempt givers to be lax unless counteracted by the knowledge that God sees what we do. This cannot be sidestepped by charging the state with the task of redistribution of wealth since those charged with redistribution are just as susceptible to the dazzling effect of wealth and, armed with the coercive power of the state, even more likely to yield to corruption.


I must add that as necessary as God-consciousness is for an ethical economy, it is not sufficient in the absence of an understanding of what it is that God commands. I know of a Muslim woman who needed money to pay a loan that if not paid within a few days would incur a late fee of 100%. In her eagerness to avoid bank loans as rib? (usually “usuary,” literally “excess” and thus any excessive charge, not limited to interest),[23] she had borrowed money from a loan shark who professed to charge no interest, only a 100% late fee if she was a single day late. While the subject of interest has become highly controversial,[24] most Islamic economists consider any interest at all to be rib?,[25] there is absolutely no disagreement that a late fee that doubles the debt, a common pre-Islamic practice specifically alluded to in the Qur’an, is definitely rib?:[26]


“Only one species of riba, however, can really be deemed to be the subject of a primary (daruri) prohibition, and that is riba al-jahiliyya. The riba of the pre-Islamic days consisted of compounding the debt of insolvent debtors, and that is the kind of riba to which the threat of war from God and His messenger is directed.”[27]


“O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied; but fear Allah; that ye may (really) prosper” (Q 3:130).


Her taqwa had driven her from an arguably prohibitive (har?m) modern banking market interest loan to a clearly har?m jahil?yah era style loan. Further, contrary to common belief, the notion of rib? applies not only to fixed rates of return, but to any form of overcharging as demonstrated by the Prophet (pbuh) warning Bilal that a spot barter exchange of one kind of dates for another is a form rib? unless the exchange is conducted at the market price of the two commodities[28]


Application of Taqwa in the Political Life Sphere

Having held political party office and participated in and managed political action campaigns and ran as a nominee twice for the U.S. Senate, I have witnessed and experienced first-hand challenges of political action and the struggle to attain political power and maintain it. Although I wonder whether taqwa can help politicians understand the concept of “integrity” in the political sphere? I am still convinced that the application of taqwa is fundamental to maintaining ethical and moral behavior in political life.[29] Even more dazzling than greed in distracting us from God-consciousness is power. The greedy merchants of Mecca come in for their share of criticism,[30] but it is Pharoah who goes beyond the sin of self-worship to the crime of demanding that others also worship him as a god: “Pharaoh said: ‘O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself …’” (Q 28:38).


The truth of Lord Acton’s famous dictum that “All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”[31] lies in the fact that once in power the maintaining of power becomes the supreme concern of the ruler. When Mansoor Farhang fled for his life from Iran, he appeared on what was then the “McNeil-Lehrer Report.” He was shown an interview from a year earlier which praised Khomeini for placing “equal emphasis on the significance of freedom and the importance and necessity of socio-economic justice” and was asked what he would say now. His response was that “an 80-year-old man who had defended freedom and justice for 15 years in exile, was transformed, due to corruption of power and his dogmatic position on various issues, into a criminally insane person.”[32]


On his inauguration as commander of the faithful, Abu Bakr recognized this problem, saying,


“Now it is beyond doubt that I have been elected your Amir, although I am not better than you. Help me, if I am right; set me right if I am in the wrong; truth is a trust; falsehood a treason. … Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Prophet; when I disobey Allah and His Prophet, then obey me not.”[33]


When a man boldly warned Abu Bakr’s successor to “Be God conscious!” Umar’s reply was “There is no good in you if you do not explain the fault you see, and there is no good in us if we do not listen to it.”[34] The importance of public oversight is underscored by the Qur’an’s warning of the special need for taqwa in secret counsel:


“O you who believe! When you hold secret counsel, do it not for iniquity and hostility, and disobedience to the Prophet; but do it for righteousness and God-consciousness; and fear God, to Whom ye shall be brought back” (Q 58: 9).


Democratic societies attempt to allow popular oversight of the ruler through elections, but as preferable as this is over violent overthrow of the ruler, it is no guarantee of God consciousness of the rulers since the electorate themselves may be motivated by ungodly interests. They often see being a “strong man” as a short-cut to even their legitimate objectives, as Kais Said’s recent power-grab in Tunisia demonstrates.[35] Said was elected president because of “popular dissatisfaction” over the lack of economic reform. He used the “dissatisfaction” as an excuse to replace the constitution, which was painstakingly assembled by Parliament and approved by a vote of 200 – 12 with 4 abstentions in 2014, with a new constitution issued by presidential decree (May 2022). He called for a referendum (July 2022) to ratify the move, and 90% of those voting approved it. Taqwa is especially difficult in the political sphere since the politician who manages to maintain it may find himself removed whether by election or coup. Although Taqwa cannot be delegated to the ruler, it is the responsibility of every citizen.



In the Qur’an, the Creator has provided moral and ethical guidance for how to successfully live on the spaceship “earth.” Implementing this guidance is challenging in the face of animal passions, social pressures, material greed, and the corrupting effects of political power. God-consciousness is a tool for maintaining focus on that which is good and right in the presence of such distractions. It is most effective when it becomes so habitual that it governs our subconsciousness as well as our conscious thought.


“O you Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of God-consciousness – that is the best. Such are among the Signs of God, that they may receive admonition” (Q 7:26).


“Which then is best? he that lays his foundation on consciousness of God and His good pleasure? or he that lays his foundation on an undermined sand-cliff ready to crumble to pieces? and it crumbles to pieces with him, into the fire of Hell. And God guides not people that do wrong” (Q 9:109).



[1] Except for the particles, Arabic words are generally derived from past third person masculine singular verb roots of three or four letters. Thus, the feminine noun taqwâ is derived from the root waqâ, meaning “he protected.” Other nouns derived from the same root include taqîy (God-conscious, used five times in the Qur’an), tuqât (fear). And the verb ittaqâ (to be God conscious, used over 200 times in varying tenses and voices).

[2] For this discussion I have considered translations of AbdullahYusuf Ali, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, M. H. Shakir, Muhammad Sarwar, Muhsin Khan, Arthur John Arberry, S.H. Nasr et al, Muhammad Asad and Sahih International. Except for Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Qur’an: Text Translation and Commentary (Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc. 2002), Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Caner K. Dagli, Maria Massi Dakake, Jospeh E. R. Lumbard, and Mohammed Rustam, The Study Quran: A New Translation and commentary (New York: Harper Collins, 2015) and  Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an (Bristol: The Book Foundation, 2003) all sources are as quoted online at Corpus Qur’an (2017),

[3] Marmaduke Pickthall, quoted online at Corpus Qur’an (2017),

[4] Arthur John Arberry, quoted online at Corpus Qur’an (2017),

[5] Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” p. 7.

[6] See, e.g., Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi, “The Status Of Piety, Asceticism and Self-discipline,”

[7] Rabi`a, “O My Lord,” translated by Jane Hirshfield, Poetry Foundation,

[8] Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an.

[9] Abdullah Abbas Nadwi, Vocabulary of the Holy Qur’an (Chicago: Iqra International Educational Foundation), p. 738.

[10] John C. Goodman, “What Is Classical Liberalism?” Last accessed 8/28/22.

[11] Witness the current controversy over transgender people in which the classical liberal view that such people should be safe from physical assault is now expanded to say they should be guaranteed the use of their preferred gender in public and accusing J.K. Rowling for suggesting the  word “woman” be reserved for “those who menstruate” of being guilty of some form of aggression and morally equating those who think it is unfair for trans-women to compete against cis-women in athletics with those who would prohibit black people from competing against whites.

[12] Al-Mu??aq? al-Hind?, kanz al-?umm?l. (, Accessed August 11, 2022, 465.

[13] Adam Lamparello, “Fundamental Unenumerated Rights Under the Ninth Amendment and the Privileges or Immunities Clause,” Akron Law Review 49. No. 1 (2015), p. 178,

[14] See also Qur’anic verses Q 2:224 and 228; Q 29: 2-3 16: 97; and Q 89:15.

[15] “… Whoever holds in honor the symbols of Allah, (in the sacrifice of animals), such (honor) should come truly from God-consciousness” (Q 22:32).

[16] See also Qur’anic verses Q 2: 228; Q 60:8; Q 81:8-9; and Q 91:7-10.

[17] W. Robertson Smith, Kinship & Marriage in Early Arabia (London, Adam and Charles Black, 1903) p. 293.

[18] Omar Abdallah Ahmad Shehadeh and Reem Farhan Odeh Maaita, “Infanticide in pre Islam Era: Phenomenon Investigation,” (Zarqa: The Hashemite University)

[19] See any decent biography of the Prophet, e.g., Karen Armstrong, A Biography of the Prophet (London: Phoenix Press, 1991), p. 79.

[20] Muhammad Asad, The Road to Mecca (Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus, 1980), p. 309.

[21] Road to Mecca, p. 309-10.

[22] Imad A. Ahmad, “Islam and Markets,” Religion and Liberty 6:3.

[23] See Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, “Riba and Interest: Definitions and Implications,” (delivered at 22nd Conference of American Muslim Social Scientists: Oct. 15-17, 1993, Herndon, VA) Minaret of Freedom Preprint Series 96-5 (1996),

[24] Jibrail Bin Yusuf Hassan, Shakeel Shah, Mohammad Ayaz, and Jabal Muhammad Buaben, “Interest free Banking and Finance in Brunei, Darussalam: Present Realities and Future Prospects,” Journal of Islamic Thought and Civilization 8:2 (Fall 2018), pp. 35-62.

[25] Timur Kuran, “The Economic System in Contemporary Islamic Thought: Interpretation and Assessment,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 18 (1986), p. 149.

[26] “Economic System in Contemporary Islamic Thought,” p. 149.

[27] Mohamed Fadel, “Re: Glorifying our past,” IEF-Review Listserv (Jan 6, 2011 6:55 a.m.).

[28] Sahih Bukhari, 3:506,

[29] Qur’anic Verses that encourage ethical guidance include Q 7:26 and Q 9:109.

[30] See Q 9:34.

[31] Ben Morrell, “Power Corrupts,” Acton Institute.

[32] “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report; A Personal View from Inside the Chaos of the Iranian Revolution by Mansour Farhang,” American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

[33] Amir Hasan Siddiqi, Islamic State: A Historical Survey (Karachi: Jamiyatul Falah, 1970).

[34] Ali Muhammad al-Sallabi, Sirat Umar bin al-Khattab, (Beirut: Dar-ul-Ma‘rifah, 2004), p. 107.

[35] Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, “Tunisia’s Democracy Under Threat,” Minaret of Freedom Weblog. (Oct. 27, 2021).






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