Islam has no Golden Rule?

A criticism of Islam that I tend to hear a lot from Non-Muslim is that Islam has no equivalent of the Golden Rule, which is so not true. The Prophet Muhammad May Allah bless him and give him peace said that “None of you will truly believe until he wishes for his brother that what he wants for himself.”

Imam Nawawi, one of the greatest scholars of Islam of the past says that the Prophet May Allah bless him and give him peace is referring to all of humanity. Therefore, we must want for our fellow human what we want for ourselves. And many Muslims have not reached this level of faith yet as we still pray for something bad to happen to our enemies, while our Prophet May Allah bless him and give him peace used to pray for his enemies and wish for the best for them.

islam golden rule

And here is the Christian Golden Rule.

christianity golden rule



  1. Faraz Haque Said:

    Imam Ibn Rajab al Hanbali (R), another great scholar said the same thing as Imam an-Nawawi (R) in commenting on this hadith. I remember Shaykh Hamza Yusuf saying this in one of his talks in London.

  2. salahudin Said:

    what… you made up the cartoon with the boy praying and so now it’s part of islam? lol. gimme a break.

    and in anycase… both christianity and islam (and any other religion which teaches this) are inherently teaching selfishness:

    you’re only doing unto others that which you want done unto you – that’s a selfish way of giving.

    the philosophy that teaches you to give without thinking or feeling about how it will benefit you or how you would like to be on the receiving end of some sort of benefit, is the highest ideal there is.

    no religion teaches that.

    THAT ideal is man made… which is superior in moral quality than anything religion can come up with.

  3. tradicionalista Said:

    Thanks for your comments.
    I didn’t make that up, it’s an authenticated saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him). That’s what makes it part of Islam.
    Actually religion does teach that.
    At least Islam does. You don’t treat people the way you do because you want good treatment, you do it because you want to follow God’s commandments. When all the companions of the Prophet May God bless him and give him peace, turned to him and waited for him to pray for the destruction of the tribe Daws, he put his hands up to the sky and made a good prayer for their guidance, and the companions were surprised. That’s what this saying of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) is about. It’s of higher faith to pray for those people that have wronged you like Habib Ali al Jifri said. The Prophet (peace be upon him) always treated nicely the people that verbally abused him.
    So, this principle does come from religion, actually.
    You might not have to have a religion to have it, and many people that have a religion don’t necessarily follow it but it still comes from religion.

  4. salahudin Said:

    “you do it because you want to follow God’s commandments.”

    that principle comes from religion.

    this one comes from Immanuel Kant:

    “you do the right thing because it is your innate moral duty”

    that is, not out of obedience to a god that bribes and threatens you – we aren’t animals that need such training… which is what islam, judaism and christianity wrongfully assert.

  5. tradicionalista Said:

    Islam also says that the fitra (basic nature of humans) inclines towards good. That the human being is innately good and being bad is a deviation.
    It doesn’t mean all human beings do good even though our fitra is good. so apparently some people DO need to be taught. Some humans are worse than animals in character. Animals are way more loyal for example. Sadly.
    Kant also said that it’s so wrong to lie that if your friend was a prisoner in a house and people came to get him you can’t lie to the people to save your friend, because that would be morally wrong.

  6. salahudin Said:

    “That the human being is innately good and being bad is a deviation.”

    islam does not say that at all… if it does then i’m sure you can prove it. show me evidence.

    and you’ll also have to overcome the entire theological basis of islam being revealed and being so authoritative of how you should live your lives… because if humans are innately good then they only need to follow their heart – there is no need for laws defining how to live your life from eating to dressing to what should be done with your body after death!

  7. sacrosanct Said:

    it’s a hadith, the fitra of the human being inclines towards good

    Islam does have a devil you know.

    If humans only needed to follow their heart, then there would be no crime. The human is tempted and strays to the bad because of the 1) devil and the 2) lower self. That’s why Islam is a way of life. And it’s not only authoritative in terms of dress etc… There’s also a whole science of spirituality that deals with the heart and how to purify it.
    Also in Islam eating, dress etc is mostly defined by urf or customs or tradition. But Islam provides guidelines to provide boundaries.

  8. thinkomatic Said:

    Dear Sacrosanct,
    Allah entirely left the Golden Rule out of his most important message to humanity, therefore the Golden Rule is of not binding on Muslims. What other conclusion can one reach? Your belief in the opinion of Imam al-Nawawi, no matter how sincere, does not make this a fact of Islam. It is one man’s opinion and that of an accomplished Sufi. Sufism attempted to find a universal mysticism but it widely held to be a heretical sect that does not represent orthodox Islam. The correct interpretation of “brother” in Islam is not hard to find, for it is contained in the Koran and Hadiths. A Muslim may not even call an infidel “brother”, nor be his friend. This entirely negates the universal Golden Rule for the Muslim. To befriend a kafir is to disobey the Koran.

    The Hadith in question says, “None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.”

    This brotherhood does not extend to everyone. Quran (9:23) states that the believers should not take for friends and protectors (awlia) their fathers and brothers if they love Infidelity above Islam. In fact there are many verses that tell the Muslims to kill the unbelievers and be harsh with them. A clear example that Islam is not based on the Golden Rule is the verse (48:29) It says: “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other.”

    This is the perfect definition of fascism. There are many other verses that show the brotherhood in Islam is not universal. The rest of mankind have no rights and should not be treated in the same way that Muslims are to be treated. The entire Quran is the breach of the Golden Rule. Quran tells Muslims to slay the unbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), do not befriend them (3:28), fight them and show them harshness (9:123), and smite their heads (47:4).

    According to Muslims it is not the Golden Rule that defines the good and bad but it is Muhammad who does it. They believe what is good for Islam is the highest virtue and what is bad for Islam is the ultimate sin. This is the ethos of all cults.

    The Golden Rule may be promoted in Sufism, but it entirely rejected by orthodox Islam.

  9. sacrosanct Said:


    You say the golden rule is not binding on Muslims. Not true, if a hadith has mutawatir status, it’s actualy at the same level as the Quran.
    Next, you say Imam Nawawi is a Sufi. Well guess what…so are so many of the GREATEST islamic scholars. Actually I’ll link to another post of mine that explains that what you call Sufism is integral to “orthodox” Islam. True, the modern Wahhabi & Salafi movements of today disregard Sufism as “liberal” Islam but actually all of the early great Scholars were Sufi. So one thing you have to get out of your head is that Sufism is not orthodox Islam or that its more liberal because real Sufis are actually the strictest. If you say Sufism is mysticism, it means you have a very superficial understanding of what it actually is, which is fine, because most people don’t know much about it.
    Back to Imam Nawawi. This is one of the greatest scholars of Islam. Most of which like I mentioned before, were Sufi. He wrote like volumes a day and that wasn’t enough for him. He didn’t get married because he dedicated his life to the study of Islam. He wrote so many volumes of Islamic books. Even if he was the only scholar that had this opinion, he is a scholar and a half. He was obsessed with knowledge. BUT he is NOT the only scholar with this opinion. If you want names, I will look it up and give you names. He’s probably just the most famous scholar with this opinion.
    And here’s the translation you gave.

    The Hadith in question says, “None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.”

    The problem with your translation is that it’s translated by a Muslim who wants to push his interpretation of the hadith. (Muslim) is NOT in the original arabic text. When you read these things in Arabic there are NO parantheses anywhere. It gives you SUCH a different perspective. So what you posted is an interpretation not a translation.

    “According to Muslims it is not the Golden Rule that defines the good and bad but it is Muhammad who does it. They believe what is good for Islam is the highest virtue and what is bad for Islam is the ultimate sin.”
    I was follonwing the rest of your argument but this makes no sense to me. Give me an example of what you mean by this and we’ll go from there.

    “A Muslim may not even call an infidel “brother”, nor be his friend. ”

    Funny, Muhammad was close to his uncle Abu Talib who never ended up converting to Islam. This is not even true.

    To befriend a kafir is to disobey the Koran. This isn’t true either.

    And finally Sufism is far from a heretical sect. AND it’s not considered a sect at all. Sunnism and Shism are sects. Sufism is NOT a sect. It’s a Sunni thing mostly, but it’s NOT a sect.

    Please read this post about Sufism:

  10. thinkomatic Said:

    Thank you for an interesting post. You are quite right that Sufism is more of “devotional emphasis” and I thank you for pointing out this important distinction!

    Obviously, and to your credit, you try to uphold the Golden Rule in your personal life and I admire people who “try”, for this is against our innate selfish and requires real “heroic virtue” to succeed, if only in part.

    I can see you are a naturally kind, good person seeking to believe the very best about others and seeing life through a loving mystical lens. Such a lens should not filter out reality. We live in a postmodern world where many people try to create their own reality and even their own facts! They are merely living in unfounded speculation or to put more bluntly in “a fantasy world” of their own devising.

    Question: If the Golden Rule is not in the Noble Koran, how can it be “true” Islam?

    Many people have pointed out the differences between the original, initial, pure Islam and the many later historic developments which led to the various teachers, scholars and schools. Sufism has the right to import the Golden Rule into Islam, but others have an equal right to point out that, in fact, the Golden Rule is not in the Noble Koran, Allah’s most perfect message. This leads to the question: who decides whether the Golden Rule is in the “true” Islam, if Allah left it out? Would this not be blasphemy and the sin of innovation?

    Finding a productive approach beyond subjective opinion:

    You and I could endlessly quote various scholars point by point. It would be exhausting, but in the end it is inconclusive to argue one subjective opinion (of one scholar) against another. There has to be a way to be a more objective approach, without name-calling or pointless yes-it-is-no-it-isn’t argumentation. Due to the fact that Islam has so many abrogated verses and dualities, it is often possible to take totally opposite positions on a whole gamut of questions. We need a way to settle these controversies objectively. In the science of physics, it appears light behaves sometimes as a particle and sometimes as a wave. A statistical approach is useful to understanding dualism.

    The Unitary (Golden Rule) versus the Dualistic Approach (Dual ethics):

    In a unitary system, there is one correct answer to an ethical question. The Golden Rule is such a unitary system. It says “Treat ALL people well ALL the time” not “Treat ALL the people well in certain conditions” or “Treat SOME of the people (ummah) well ALL the time, and OTHERS (kufaar) well some of the time.”

    Islam is dualistic, dividing all humanity into two groups with separate ethical treatments for each group. Moreover, on many other questions, the Koran’s given answer and its contradiction found elsewhere in scripture may both be right. Because Allah’s thought is above all human thought, a contradiction or an abrogated ayah may or may not be humanly understandable. We are forced to accept both; hence, all these dualisms are integral to Islam. So, if there are two right answers to almost every question, how does one discover what is the “real” Islam? Opposing one scholar’s opinion to that of another is merely subjective and will not get us very far. Only a thematic, statistical analysis of the Koran, Sira and Hadiths will lead to an objective assessment of the correct emphasis to follow in Islam.

    Counting themes in Koran and Hadiths to determine if the Golden Rule is compatible with “true” Islam:

    To make a case for the Golden Rule in Islam, there should be a clear thematic representation of it throughout the Koran and Hadiths. A great writer said: “Many errors may be avoided by counting.” Only an objective, statistical counting of Islam’s themes will help us to place the correct emphasis and tip the scales of controversy objectively.

    It has been shown that Islam possesses a number of mutually exclusive dualisms: the division between Ummah and kufaar, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. There are Allah and Allah’s Messenger, the perfect Word of Allah and the imperfect words of man recorded in the Hadiths. There is sometimes jihad and sometimes tolerance, religious Islam and political Islam, slave owners ruling over slaves, men over women, Muslims over kufaar.

    Counting Islam’s themes statistically:

    -Words of Allah compose 17% of the entire Trilogy (Koran, Sira and Hadiths)
    -Words and actions of Muhammad compose 83% of the total
    -Thus, Muhammad is represented statistically about five times more often than Allah.
    – Passages about kufaar compose 61% of the Koran and practically all of them are extremely negative. The basic argument in such passages is: the kufaar reject Allah’s Messenger and will be treated violently.
    -Passages about kufaar compose about 75% of the Sira (Muhammad’s biography) mostly reporting how kufaar were attacked, robbed, killed and enslaved. These aggressive actions against kufaar are portrayed in the Hadiths as normative behaviour deserving booty and heavenly rewards.
    – Outer Jihad: 97% of jihad references in the Hadiths are devoted to jihad as a way to eradicate kafirs and their culture
    – A total of 164 verses commanding jihad are found in the Koran (and many others that deal with other aspects of jihad such as the handling of loot robbed from the kafirs)
    -14 Koranic verses prohibit Muslims to befriend the kufaar

    As you will see from the above, statistically, the Koran and Hadiths are overwhelmingly against equal treatment of the kafir. After “refusing” Allah’s Messenger, the time for compassionate treatment has passed. One general opinion (of a single scholar) to the contrary recorded hundreds of years following the original events is therefore statistically insignificant.

    One must conclude from counting up the results of statistical analysis that the Golden Rule is not recommended by either Koran or Hadiths! One must conclude further, that al Nawawi’s opinion is consistently unsupported by statistical analysis of Islam’s original texts (Koran and Hadiths) and represents only his personal speculation.

    The example of Muhammad’s uncle at odds with normative Islamic families historically and today:

    Having been raised by his loving pagan uncle, Muhammad would have been poorly thought of he had not respected his kind surrogate father. His loving, protective foster father continued to protect him throughout his life. Other contemporaneous Muslims we read of in the Hadiths had an entirely different requirement put upon them by Allah’s Messenger: they were forced by him to reject their unbelieving families, even assassinate them. The same thing is happening over and over today. Many families are broken up by a difference of doctrine. I am sure you have heard of this sort of bitter divisiveness in the Salafist community. Killing apostate children in the name of honour is another example of the absence of the Golden Rule within Islamic families. In Islam this ethical duality is normative and approved on the interpersonal level and has overwhelming support in the Koran and Hadiths as shown in the statistics above. While declaring the rules Muslims were to follow, Allah’s Messenger had “special messenger privileges” for his own behaviour on many questions or one might say a “personal dualistic code of ethics”, that is, one code for the Ummah and a different one for Allah’s Messenger (different number of wives, etc.) This is an additional dualism in Islam to add to the previous ones listed.

    Dual Ethics of Islam irreconcilable with the unitary Golden Rule

    You cannot have a unitary law (the universal Golden Rule) and a dual ethical system (kafir, jihad) at the same time. The Golden Rule must apply to all ones neighbour at all times, not just some of the time. As a political system, the Islam of the Koran uses dual ethics. The Koran and Hadiths present one set of rules for dealing with brother Muslims and a different set of rules for dealing with the kufaar. Allah gave to Muslims the responsibility of ruling the kufaar. While there is only one correct way of treating brother Muslims, there are a number of approaches that are lawful governing the kufaar in keeping them subordinate to Muslims. Kufaar are presented in the Noble Koran as rebellious “refusers”, refusing to submit to Allah’s Messenger and their Muslim betters. They are “najis” (filthy vermin) and because they are ritually impure, they infect the world with their impurity. Therefore, their impurity must be severely controlled or the incorrigible ones must be exterminated. Yet, if the kufaar allow themselves to be “humiliated” by their divinely appointed overlords, they need not be killed. This is known as the dhimmi “contract”, a contract accepted under coercion. No kafir would voluntarily seek dhimmi status. But those who refuse to “submit” even under duress are all vermin and vermin are exterminated. There is thus no commandment in the Koran to treat kufaar as fully human. They are tolerated if they can produce revenues for the Islamic state. A breathing kufaar may be mined, for instance, for revenues to support the Islamic state’s treasury. The state in turn uses the revenues to repress the kufaar. This is the normative Koranic approach. There is no way to argue that the Koranic doctrine of the “kafir” in any way expresses the Golden Rule. The concept of the “kafir” is antithetical to the universal equal treatment of all persons expressed in the Golden Rule.


    The argument here is that the preponderance of Koranic and Hadithic verses (re kufaar and jihad) overwhelmingly and consistently proves there is no unitary Golden Rule in Islam. A case cannot be made by quoting a single scholar in opposition to unanimous evidence to the contrary by the letter and spirit of the earliest texts.

    If Islam actually contained the Golden Rule, all Islamic countries today would apply it politically and all Islamic states would be able to endorse the UDHR. Whereas, in liberal, secular democracies, each person has one vote and all are equal before the law. Islamic countries have not given consent to universal human rights enshrined in the UDHR. They felt it necessary to create their own Islamic version of rights making discrimination against kafirs fully legal. In all Islamic states, Muslims are more equal than kafirs, as consistently supported by Koran and Hadiths.

    Ask any lawyer who knows Pakistan or Egypt and you will recognize: It only takes a fatwa from a mullah or a blasphemy accusation against a kafir (not even a conviction) for them to lock up the kafir and throw away the key. In theory, as well as in practice, Islam is at odds with the unitary Golden Rule. Even between Sunnis and Shi’ites, both feel that if their party is in power, they have a duty to repress the other “sect”. Though 15% of the Saudi population is Shi’a, they still face enormous discrimination in Saudi Arabia.

    Dualistic ethics are recognised as normative in modern Islam (as from the beginning), both in politics and interpersonally. The Koranic and Hadithic texts are overwhelmingly dualistic and consistently fail to support a unitary Golden Rule in Islam.

  11. MT.Akbar Said:

    Thinkomatic is obsessed with trying to prove the Golden Rule doesn’t exist in Islam. He copy’s and pastes his copy and pasted arguments every where. He also spammed my website with his disingenuous comment on a post I had on this exact topic.


  12. thinkomatic Said:

    Jihad is genocide.

  13. Thinkomatic Said:

    Ad hominem insults reveal a vacancy of ideas and thought. Such fallacies of reasoning are meant to distract readers from understanding the facts. You are evidently unable to counter my points regarding the absence of the Golden Rule in the Koran or elsewhere in Islam and so you stoop to name-calling.

    Is name-calling all that Islam can oppose to facts and logic? Pity.

  14. sacrosanct Said:

    Think-omatic, there is a quote in the quran that says when someone does evil to you, repay them with good
    basically repel evil with good
    That is even higher than the Golden Rule and even better than the hadith….
    I appreciate your attempts to convince me that the Golden Rule does not actually exist in Islam but the golden rule and higher standards of behavior exist

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