No religion can claim to be perfect unless it contains full teachings concerning human morals, for, although morals are not part of spirituality, yet they constitute the first step towards it, and without perfect morals man cannot attain to perfect spiritual development.
A study of those principles startles one into the admission that the world was merely groping in the dark in the search for moral principles. As it is not possible to attempt a detailed exposition of the whole question, but through the grace of Allah I shall give a brief reference to some matters of principle.
The Natural Condition of the Humans
The first matter relates to the definition of morals. The nature of moral qualities has been misconceived and has led mankind into serious error and is responsible for long but futile discourses in religious books. People fail to realise that there is an intermediate stage between animalism and morals. Animalism signifies that condition of man in which, owing to defective training, disease, habit, ignorance or ill-will, he acts out of purely selfish motives for purely selfish ends, and has neither regard nor consideration for the feelings of others. But this is not the natural condition of man, for man has been invested with many natural feelings which prompt him to do good to others and which people mistake for good morals.
For instance, a man has been created social and these feelings are the necessary equipment of a member of society. Even a child who is brought up in strict seclusion and is deprived of every kind of instruction is bound to exhibit these feelings in his conduct, which shows that these feelings are distinct from morals and are merely natural instincts. For instance, affection and aversion are both equally natural feelings, and neither of them can, therefore, be described as good or bad; for if one of them is good and the other bad, we would have to confess that God had made evil inherent in our nature, which would amount to blasphemy. Beside, this doctrine is refuted by our experience, for a feeling of aversion towards certain things, for instance, towards oppression or evil doing, is highly creditable. But if every feeling of aversion were to be regarded as evil the repugnance towards evil-doing itself would be a sin, which is absurd.
Religion stands for Moral Perfection
A religion which merely exhorts its followers to be kind, or forgiving, or affectionate, or beneficent, or not to be extravagant, is merely enumerating our natural feelings and this does not amount to moral instruction of any kind. Only that religion can claim to have given moral instruction which lays down rules calculated to control the exercise of natural feelings and gives directions for their proper exercise. In other words, the exercise of some natural feelings and the suppression of others do not amount to morals; it is the conscious and intentional exercise of all natural feelings on their proper occasions and a restriction of such feelings on every undesirable occasion which is moral.