Why we need revelation to be ethical
A common sentiment held by many is that humans can be good without religion. While our fitrah, our innate human nature, is inclined towards good, it does not necessarily mean that it knows and follows the most ethical stance. Who defines what is ethical, anyway? In this unit, students will explore why humans are in need of ethical guidance by analyzing the limitations of the fitrah. Students will recognize that even though we all have the capacity to be good, we need revelation to center our understanding of ethics. By the end of this unit, students will appreciate the transformative power of revelation and learn to apply moral excellence in their own lives through the example of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
How to use Yaqeen Curriculum
Unit overview and learning objectives
Unit at a glance
Can we be "good" without revelation?
In Lesson 1 students explore the concept of fitrah, the inherent human drive to do and be good. While recognizing the importance of fitrah, students will critically examine its limitations in being a comprehensive guide to what is ethical. The three major limitations highlighted in this lesson are the fitrah’s susceptibility to personal biases, emotions, and social upbringing, its ambiguity in the application of competing virtues, and its inability to define virtues and their boundaries.
The ethical need for revelation
Lesson 2 begins with a review of the fitrah and its ethical limitations. While acknowledging the fitrah‘s importance, Lesson 2 emphasizes the fitrah’s incompleteness and the necessity of revelation to supplement and provide a comprehensive ethical framework on an individual and societal level. This lesson highlights the transformative power of revelation by using Umar ibn al-Khattab (rA) as an example of an individual who redirects pre-Islamic traits towards ethical behavior. In this lesson, students are encouraged to reflect on their own traits and behaviors and consider how revelation can guide them ethically.
Ethical excellence in action
In Lesson 3, students explore the phenomenon of “following” others, examining influencers in areas such as sports, fitness, beauty, and wellness. Recognizing the need for an ethical “influencer,” students delve into the idea of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as an ethical exemplar who is the most worthy of following. Students will ponder Qur’anic verses and hadith narrations highlighting his role as an excellent role model with the best character. By sketching an “account” of the Prophet ﷺ and the areas of life where he positively influences, students deepen their appreciation of the ethical guidance he provides.
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