Introduction to Ethics classes for the week 5 was cancelled due to Chinese New Year. So on week 6 we had two lectures. On Monday we covered ancient ethical behaviours in Eastern Cultures such as Chinese, Persia and Japan. This lecture was delivered by Dr. Hamid. First we covered ancient ethics in ancient China. The tradition of Chinese ethical thought is centrally concerned with questions about how one ought to live: what goes into a worthwhile life, how to weigh duties toward family versus duties toward strangers, whether human nature is prone to be morally good or bad, how one ought to relate to the non-human world, the magnitude to which one ought to become involved in reforming the larger social and political structures of one’s society, and how one ought to conduct oneself when in a position of influence or power. It mainly focuses on the ethical behaviour of one’s individual life.
Next we learnt about the ethical behaviours in Persia commonly known as Zoroastrian. Zarathustra was a prophet who lived around 600 B.C.E was the founder of Zoroastrian. We covered loads and loads of things regarding the ethical behaviours of ancient Persia. We also go through some of the awkward discussions regarding Shia sect of Islam. I think it is out of ethics subject, so as to me the important fact to be obtained from this part of lecture is the Zoroastrian teaches Good thought, good speech and good deed. But when I read something for my background knowledge I came to know about the teaching of Zoroastrian, It includes Unflinching faith, Offering, Observing, Speaking the Truth, Moderation in matters, Charity, Industry and honest toil, Keep a promise, Aspire for higher knowledge, Respect ones elders, Honesty and integrity, Forgiveness, mercy and tolerance, Anger and jealousy, Greed and idleness, Arrogance-Little knowledge, Sloth, Foul language, Petty and unwarranted quarrel, Bad company, Malice.
Then we covered Japanese ethical behaviours. After I got a fair knowledge about the ethical behaviours, I wonder how eastern ethics contradict the ethical behaviour in western world even then. While western ethics promote injustice the other one promote cooperation between fellow human being.
The next lecture was on Thursday during our tutorial session. It was delivered by Miss Siti Nor and Dr. Hamid. We learnt about the pre Islamic cultural and tribal context called “Jahiliya” which means ignorance and the period of time “Fatra & sadar al-Islam. The “Fatra” means the period between two prophecies in absence of religion and “sadar al-Islam” means period of Muhammad (pbuh) was raised by god as prophet.
Then I learned about the changes in Islamic ethics during the historical period. After the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) there were changes like abandonment of infanticide & gambling, limitation of polygamy, introduction and implementation on Zakat, Daily prayer and alms. After that Miss Siti Noor continued the lecture on the Background of Islamic Ethics. It is about three Arabic terms Akidah, Shariah and Ahklaq which means believe, practice and morality.