Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Media and the Islamic Identity of the Muslim Child - II

1- The importance of protecting children from the media invasion and the obliteration of identity:
Childhood is one of the most important stages in one’s life, because his personality and tendencies are formed during this time, in addition to physical and mental growth.

Psychological and educational studies prove that this is the most critical stage in a person’s development, and that the child stores the majority of the experiences and information that affect his life in the future during this stage.
The child, as described by Al-Ghazzaali  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him is a “blank sheet in which we may write down good or evil. So, if we habituate him to be good, he will be a good, and vice versa.”
Therefore, it is vital that we pay attention to the child and ensure that what is introduced to him in his social environment is intellectually beneficial to reflect positively on the young child, his behavior and development.
Today, our children face an intellectual invasion in a world dominated by influential cultures that own the most influential mass media.
Hence, there must be practical means to protect children from the bad and negative programs that are presented to them.
Ismaa‘eel ‘Abd Al-Kaafi, says, "We must preserve the Islamic identity of our generations through providing them with suitable cultural and media production alternatives to exist side by side with foreign media and cultural products in this age of information technology.

The family, school, mosque, mass media and the society as a whole should participate in guiding and directing this process. The society must be aware of the danger of mass media against our children if they are not directed rightly under the supervision of different educational institutions."
2- Types of educational means and their influence on the child’s identity and culture:
1- TV as a means of media: There is no doubt that watching TV daily occupies the spare time of the children and adults as well. They acquire information and are introduced to different cultures through it. One of the negative impacts of TV, to which we should pay attention, is that the children spend many hours in front of it. This affects their social life and relations as well as their behavior with their playmates.
TV also affects their studies and the negative effect of the violence and crime on TV programs cannot be denied.
This shows us the role of the TV in sowing the seeds of fear and worry in our children through horror movies and movies featuring ghosts and devils.

2- Computer as a means for developing the culture of the young:
PC and video games are among the most influential factors in guiding and directing children. Educational studies reveal that computer programs can have negative and positive effects on the culture of the Muslim child.
The positive effects include strengthening the child’s ability to read, write, express himself orally, listen, and pay attention.
They also provide the child with general culture, teach him some scientific principles, help him to learn foreign languages, and help him to develop his artistic and mathematical abilities.
These programs also strengthen the child’s ability to solve problems, improve his social adjustment, develop his skills and hobbies, and make use of his spare time.
On the other hand, these programs have negative effects, because they weaken the child’s ability to perform social activities and duties. They also distract the child from playing physical games. Negative health effects include habituating the child to laziness and may cause obesity due to lack of movement, in addition to deterioration of general health.
Despite the benefits of these programs, their use as a means of education and culture ‎is still limited in comparison to direct social interaction. Their role in education and culture is still weaker than the printed and visual mass media in poorer communities and among lower classes.
The Internet absorbs the child’s attention and makes many children lose their ability to talk and communicate with others.
3- Printed mass media and stories as sources of the child’s culture:
Printed materials such as books and magazines still play an important role in developing children’s culture, because they encourage creative abilities, entertain the child, occupy his spare time and develop his hobbies.
Printed media refines behavior and instills good morals, corrects deviant characters and loosens the shackles of blind imitation and foreign destructive ideas.
We want to transform the printed media and all mass media into resources that enrich the child’s culture away from all the materials that do not accord with our social environment and culture.
Stories are considered a vital resource that can implant correct beliefs in the child’s mind, provides him with facts, and reinforce the educational process. Children’s literature is a positive means that forms the religious creed and develops cultural experiences.
A story is still considered a beacon and an important educational method and its content has always played a key educational role because of its psychological and educational advantages. 

Media and the Islamic Identity of the Muslim Child - I

1- The meaning of the child’s culture:
Culture refers to a combination of beliefs, morals, traditions, laws, knowledge and behavioral patterns that one acquires within society.
Children have their special and distinguished vocabularies, as well as special values and methods that they use in playing, expressing themselves and satisfying their needs. They also have special reactions, stances, trends, emotions and lifestyle. We call all this the “child’s culture”.
2- Mass media as a source of the child’s culture and experiences:
Today all cultural borders between nations have disappeared and we live now amidst a massive technological and scientific revolution within which the mass media plays a very important role in forming the child’s psychology religiously, culturally and socially. To have a child with a distinct and integrated personality, there should be a specific vision to preserve his cultural and religious identity.
In this respect, the mass media including TV, the Internet, electronic games, and so on, play a key role in building the Muslim child culturally. It should be determined what is introduced to him from the other cultures.
Studies all over the world show that the child between the ages of six to sixteen spends about 12-24 hours a week in front of screens.

Influence of the mass media on the child:
The mass media provides a small child with different cultures while he is still unable to differentiate between what is good and what is bad. This transforms the mass media into a double-edged weapon with its positive and negative influences. This should draw our attention to the fact that the mass media and media institutions that are directed to the child and that are concerned with childhood should be the center of attention of the whole society.
We do not deny the importance of print, audio, and visual mass media in forming learning experiences, and defining, modifying and dispersing attitudes. Similarly, we do not deny the role of the mass media in developing the child’s personality, polishing his skills, and developing his mental, emotional and social abilities. The media for the child is a method for guidance and entertainment, as well as a means for transferring and establishing traditions. However, where are the mass media that cover all that interests the child?
The media materials that our children watch on TV or other mass media can be divided into three categories:
The first category:
Disney films, which are made in the West and that aim at serving the American culture in particular. The theme of these films is derived from their Western values, which contradict our own Islamic traditions and values. So-called "love" dominates every single word of these stories, which aim to mold the child’s mentality in a certain way. If we contemplate the appearance, we will find that they fulfill the criteria of material beauty.
Therefore, a child who watches such films will grow up knowing nothing but the Western concept of beauty, not to mention that these films aim at making profits in the first place. This attitude transforms the child into a consumer, because once he sees the story, he hurries to buy pens and notebooks that carry the pictures of its heroes.
The second category:
The Far East dubbed cartoon films that are characterized by wild imagination and featuring violent electronic aliens that walk in the streets to destroy and kill. These films are introduced to the Arab child through the local mass media.
The third category:
This category is represented in the local materials that are produced by private and public media establishments. They are mostly in audio or video format. However, they are artistically and technically weak and cannot compete with the other alternatives. Nevertheless, some successful and beneficial works appear from time to time. Some institutions also produce stories derived from the Quran and Islamic history in addition to Nasheeds (Islamic poetry). However, such materials are too few to meet the Muslim child’s needs.
3- Mass media and their influence on the identity and culture of the Muslim child:
The issue of the mass media and the Muslim child’s culture is critical, given the important role of the mass media in transferring the Ummah’s culture from generation to generation. The mass media are also considered cultural means that help in supporting stances, encouraging desired behaviors and warning against undesired ones. This shows us the greatness of the responsibility of the mass media that target the Muslim child and those who run them.
The majority of studies and researches in this field show that belonging to a strong and civilized environment with a distinct identity since early childhood is one of the most influential factors in the child’s upbringing and culture. Hence, the mass media shoulder a great responsibility regarding focusing on the Islamic values that should be implanted in the child to form a set of beliefs that express his Islamic identity.

Guided to Faith by a Blind Boy - II

I wiped away his tears with my hands and held his hand. I wanted to take him to the mosque by car but he refused, arguing that it was close by and that he wanted to walk to the mosque. I felt ashamed because I could not even remember the last time I had entered the mosque. However, it was the first time I was feeling fear and regret for my negligence over the past years.
The mosque was full of worshippers, but I managed to find a place for Saalim in the first row. We listened to the Friday Khutbah (sermon) together and he prayed beside me; actually, no, I prayed beside him.
After the end of the prayer, Saalim asked me to hand him a copy of the Quran. I was surprised: how could he read when he was blind?
I was about to ignore his request, but I responded for fear of hurting his feelings. I handed him the copy of the Quran.

He asked me to open it and get the beginning of Chapter Al-Kahf. I kept on turning the pages one time and searching for the page number in the index another time until I finally found it.
He took it from me, put it before him and started to recite the Chapter while his eyes were closed. He had memorized the whole Chapter!
I was ashamed of myself. I picked up another copy of the Quran.
I felt a shiver going through my body as I read more and more of it. I asked Allaah The Almighty to forgive and guide me and began crying like a child. I kept reading the Quran and asked Allaah The Almighty to forgive and guide me.
There were still some people at the mosque performing the voluntary prayer. I was embarrassed and tried to hold back my tears, but my crying turned into weeping and sobbing.
I did not feel a small hand touching my face and wiping away my tears. It was Saalim. I embraced him, looked at him and said to myself: "You are not the blind; rather, I was the blind one when I followed some dissolute persons who were dragging me to Hell."
We returned home to my wife, who was very worried about Saalim. Her worry turned into tears of joy when she came to know that I had performed the Friday prayer with Saalim.
From that day on, I did not miss any congregational prayer in the mosque. I deserted my bad companions and had righteous companions whom I befriended at the mosque. I tasted the sweetness of faith with my new friends and learnt things from them that I had been too preoccupied by worldly pleasures to know. I never missed a gathering of knowledge or a Witr prayer and completed the recitation of the Quran many times within one month, by the grace of Allaah The Almighty. I kept my tongue often busy with remembrance of Allaah The Almighty, hoping that He would forgive me for past habit of backbiting and mocking people. I felt that I got closer to my family. The look of fear and pity that always loomed in my wife's eyes disappeared.
Now, a smile never leaves Saalim’s face. Anyone who sees him would feel as if he owns the whole world with everything in it. I praised Allaah The Almighty so much for His favors.
One day, my righteous friends decided to visit a remote area in order to give Da‘wah. I was hesitating about going with them. I performed the Istikhaarah prayer and consulted my wife. I had expected that she would refuse but her answer was the opposite!
She was very happy and even encouraged me. She used to see me traveling for dissolute purposes to commit lewd acts in the past without consulting her. I went to Saalim and told him that I was going away for a few days, and he embraced me with his small arms and bid me farewell. I left home for three months and a half. During that period, I used to call my family whenever I had the chance. I missed them so much! I missed Saalim so much!
I wished to hear his voice. He was the only one who I could not speak with since I had traveled for he was either in school or the mosque whenever I called them.
Whenever I told my wife how I missed him, she laughed from sheer joy and happiness. The last time I called her, however, she did not sound her normal self and I did not hear her expected laugh.
I asked her to convey my greetings to Saalim. She replied, “In shaa’ Allaah (God Willing)” and kept silent.
Finally I went back home. I knocked on the door, hoping to see Saalim opening the door, but I was surprised when my son Khaalid, who was less than four years old, opened the door. I carried him in my arms while he cried out in joy, “Father! Father!”
I do not know why I felt a sense of distress when I entered the house. I sought refuge in Allaah The Almighty from the accursed devil. My wife came forward with an unusually strained face: it was as if she was faking her joy and happiness.
I looked at her carefully and then asked her, “What is the matter?” She said, “Nothing.” Suddenly I remembered Saalim and said, “Where is Saalim?”
She lowered her head and did not answer and some tears fell on her cheeks. I cried out, “Saalim! Where is Saalim?” Thereupon, I heard only the voice of my son, Khaalid, saying in a childish tone, “Saalim went to Paradise...he is with Allaah…”
My wife could not bear her sorrow in silence anymore and burst into tears. She was about to fall unconscious on the ground, and left the room.
Later, I came to know that Saalim had contracted fever two weeks before my return. My wife took him to the hospital but his fever got worse and he died.

Guided to Faith by a Blind Boy - I

I still remember the night my wife gave birth to my first son. I was not yet thirty years of age and had stayed out with my friends in a restaurant all night. It was an evening full of vain talk, not to mention backbiting and vulgar comments. I was often the one who instigated the comments and backbiting that made them laugh.
I remember that I made them laugh a lot that night. I had the unique talent of mimicking others to an uncanny degree. I could change the tone of my voice so that it became exactly like the person I was mocking. Yes, it was my habit to mock all people, even my friends. Some people avoided me in order to be safe from my tongue.
I remember that night I mocked a blind person I saw begging in the market. What is even worse is that I put my foot in his way and he tripped and fell to the ground. He kept on turning his head this way and that, not knowing what to say. I laughed in a loud voice and my laugh echoed throughout the market. I went back home late as usual and found my wife waiting for me. She was in a pathetic condition.
With a quavering voice, she said, “Raashid… where were you?”
I said sarcastically, “On Mars! I was with my friends of course.”

She appeared very tired and fatigued. She was overcome with tears and said, “Raashid... I am exhausted…it seems like I am about to give birth.” Then a silent tear fell on her cheek.
I felt that I had neglected my wife. I was supposed to take care of her and stop my evenings out, particularly as she was in her ninth month.

I quickly accompanied her to the hospital.
She entered the delivery room and was in labor pains for several hours, while I waited impatiently for the birth. She suffered from a difficult delivery. I waited for a long time until I got tired, then I went home and left my phone number in order for them to call me and give me the good news.
An hour later, they called me in order to give me the good news of the birth of Saalim. I immediately went to the hospital. When they saw me asking about my wife’s room, they asked me to meet the doctor first. I shouted, “What doctor? I want to see my son, Saalim.” They said, “You have to meet the doctor first.”
I entered upon the doctor and she started talking to me about afflictions and being satisfied with fate. Then she said, “Your child suffers from a serious deformity in his eyes and it appears that he is blind!”
I lowered my head, trying to conceal my tears. I remembered the blind beggar I had tripped up in the market and made people laugh at.
Glory be to Allaah! What goes around comes around! I kept silent for a while and did not know what to say. Then I remembered my wife and son. I thanked the doctor for her kindness and then went to see my wife.
My wife was not sad because she believed in and was satisfied with the divine decree of Allaah The Almighty. She had often advised me to stop mocking people. She had often repeated: do not backbite people.
We came out of the hospital with my son Saalim. The fact was that I did not care much about him much and ignored his presence at home. When he cried, I would flee to the living room to sleep. My wife, however, showered him with love and care. As for me, I did not hate him, but I could not love him either!
Saalim started growing and he started to crawl like all babies, but in a strange abnormal way. When he was almost one year old, he tried to walk but we discovered that he was disabled. This affected me a great deal.
Later, my wife gave birth to my other sons, Khaalid and ‘Umar.
Years passed and Saalim and his brothers grew up. I did not like to stay at home and spent most of my time with my friends; I was like a toy in their hands and completely under their influence. My wife, however, did not despair of reforming me; she was always supplicating Allaah The Almighty to guide me. She never got angry at my irrational actions, but she was greatly grieved when she saw me ignoring Saalim and taking care of his brothers.
Saalim grew up and my pain grew as well. I did not object when my wife asked to enroll him in a school for the disabled. I did not feel the passing of years. The routine in which I spent my days was: work, sleep, eating and enjoyment in the evenings.
One Friday, I woke up at eleven o'clock in the morning. It was too early by my usual standards. I has been invited to a wedding banquet, so I put on my clothes, applied perfume and went out.
I passed by the living room – but I stopped when I saw that Saalim was weeping bitterly!
It was the first time I had paid attention to Saalim’s weeping since he was a child. Ten years had passed and I had never given him any attention. I tried to ignore him but I could not. I heard his voice calling his mother while I was in the room.
I turned and then approached him. I said, “Saalim, Why are you crying?”
When he heard my voice, he stopped crying. When he felt me approaching him, he started trying to feel around him with his small hands. Why was he doing that? I saw that he was trying to move away from me! It is as if he was saying, “Now you deign to take notice of my presence! Where were you ten years ago?”

I followed him and he entered his room. In the beginning, he refused to tell my why he was weeping. It was only when I spoke gently to him that he ventured to mention the reason behind his weeping. As I listened to him, I began trembling. Do you know why?
His brother ‘Umar, who used to accompany him to the mosque (Masjid) was late and because it was Friday, he was afraid of not finding a place in the first row. Saalim called ‘Umar and his mother but neither of them answered. Thus, he began weeping. I looked at the tears falling from his blind eyes and could not bear the sight, and so, I put my hand on his mouth and said, “Are you weeping for this reason, O Saalim!” He replied, “Yes…”
I forgot my friends. I forgot the banquet. I said, “Saalim, don’t be sad. Do you know who will accompany you to the mosque today?” He said, “‘Umar, of course. But he is always late.” I said, “No. I will accompany you.” Saalim was surprised and could not believe his ears. He thought that I was mocking him, and continued to weep.

Hijaab: definition and conditions

Hijaab is an Arabic word that describes the Muslim woman's entire dress code, which includes a veil and whatever else is needed to cover everything except the face and hands. It is adopted at puberty - an age when, according to Islam, people become accountable for their actions.
This essay will attempt to briefly enumerate the basic requirements regarding the Hijaab as stipulated by the Sharee’ah (Islamic Law). The term Hijaab includes not only dress and the covering of the body, but also the methods of behaviour that one has before members of the same and/or opposite sex, promoting privacy for females and prohibiting loose intermingling between males and females; it is, therefore, an encouragement of modesty, decency, and chastity.
The following requirements represent the ones agreed upon by the overwhelming majority of Islamic scholars and are all solidly backed by firm evidence taken from the Quran, the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) and the practice of the Companions of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) .
1. The Extent of Covering
The dress worn in public must cover the entire body except what has been specifically excluded, based upon the following verse:
Allaah Says (what means): “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not display their adornment [Zeenah] except only that which [ordinarily] appears thereof and to draw their headcovers [Khumur] over their chests and not display their adornment [i.e., beauty] except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their female slaves, their women [i.e., their sisters in Islam], or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allaah in repentance, all of you, O Believers, in order that you might succeed." [Quran 24:31]
The word Zeenah in the above verse literally means adornment, and includes both:
(a) That which Allaah has adorned (i.e., the woman’s natural and/or physical beauty), and,
(b) That with which they adorn themselves (i.e., jewellery, eye shadow, attractive clothing, hand dye, etc). The word 'Khumur' (pl. of 'Khimaar') refers to a cloth that covers the head (including the ears), hair, neck and bosom.
2. Thickness
The garment should be thick and opaque so as not to display the skin colour and form of the body beneath it. Delicate or transparent clothing does not constitute a proper covering. Imaam Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported a narration from ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her that some women from the tribe of Banu Tameem came to see her wearing transparent clothing. ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said to them: "If you are believing women, these are not the clothes of believing women.” He also reported that on another occasion, a bride came to see her wearing a sheer, transparent Khimaar, whereupon ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her remarked: “A woman who wears such clothing does not believe in Soorah An-Noor (i.e., the chapter in the Quran that contains the abovementioned verse regarding the Hijaab)." Moreover, the following Hadeeth makes this point graphically clear. Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "There will be among the last of my Ummah (Nation), scantily dressed women; they will wear their hair on top of their heads, like a camel’s hump. Curse them - for verily they are cursed."
3. Looseness
The clothing must hang loosely and not be so tight and fitting as to show the shape and size of the woman’s body. This obviously prohibits such things as skin-tight body suits and the like. The following Hadeeth proves this point clearly. Usaamah bin Zayd  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) once gave me a gift of thick Coptic cloth that he had received as a gift from Dahiyyah Al-Kalbee, so I gave it to my wife. Afterwards, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked me: “Why haven't you worn the Coptic cloth? I replied: 'I gave it to my wife.' The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) then said: "Tell her to wear a thick gown under it (i.e., the Coptic garment) for I fear that it may describe the size of her limbs.” [Narrated by Ahmad, Al Bayhaqi & Al-Haakim]
4. Colour, Appearance and Demeanour
Allaah Says (what means):  “O wives of the Prophet! You are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allaah, then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech." [Quran: 33:32]
The reason for the revelation of this verse was not due to the fear of distrust or misbehaviour on the part of the women, but rather to prevent them from speaking invitingly, walking seductively, or dressing revealingly so as to arouse sexual desire in the heart of lecherous and evil men. Seductive dressing and enticing speech are the characteristics of ill-intentioned women, not Muslims. Imaam Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him mentioned that Mujaahid  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "Women (before the advent of Islam) would walk about among men." Qataadah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "The women (at that time) would wear an untied cloth on their heads, while provocatively toying with their necklaces, earrings, and other ornamental jewellery."  
5. Difference from Men’s Clothing
The clothing of a Muslim woman must not resemble that of men. The following statement helps to explain this: Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: "The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) cursed the man who wears women’s clothes and the woman who wears men’s clothes." [Abu Daawood & Ibn Maajah]
6. Difference from the Clothing of Unbelievers
Her clothing must not resemble the clothing of the unbelievers. This is a general ruling of the Sharee’ah which encompasses not only dress but also matters such as manners, customs, religious practices and festivities, transactions, etc. Indeed, dissimilarity with unbelievers is a precedent that was established by the first generation of Muslims. ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Amr bin Al-’Aas sad: "The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) once saw me wearing two saffron coloured garments, so he said: “Indeed, these are clothes of 'Kuffaar' (unbelievers), so do not wear them.” [Muslim]
7. No Vain or Ostentatious Dressing
The woman’s dress must not be an expression of ostentation, vanity or a status symbol by being excessively showy or expensive, nor must it be excessively tattered so as to gain admiration and fame for being extremely humble. Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Whoever dresses for ostentation in this world, Allaah will dress that person in a dress of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, and then set it on fire.” [Abu Daawood]


Confucianism is the religion of the ancient Chinese, named after the great philosopher Confucius who appeared in the sixth century B.C calling for the revival of the religious values and traditions that the Chinese had inherited from their forefathers. To these values, he added his own philosophy and moral values leading to sound behaviour.Although Confucianism became the official ideology of the Chinese state, it has never existed as an established religion with a church and priesthood.
Prominent Figures
Confucius is regarded as the real founder of this Chinese philosophy. He was born in 551B.C. in Tsou, one of the cities of the Lu principality (now called Shantung province). Originally, he was called 'Kung Futze'; 'Kung' is the name of the tribe to which he belonged and 'Futze' means the president or the philosopher.
Thus, his name meant the 'President of Kung' or the philosopher of that tribe. Confucius belonged to a very aristocratic family which had deep roots and a respected history in that area. His grandfather was ruler of the provinceand his father was an excellent military officer. Nevertheless, he himself was the offspring of an illegal marriage and his father died before he was three, leaving his upbringing to his mother.
Thus, he lived as an orphan, worked as a shepherd and married at an early age before twenty. He had two children, a boy and a girl, but his wife was not able to continue living with him for more than two years due to his meticulous manners with regard to food, drinks and clothing, so they divorced.
Confucius studied philosophy with a man by the name of Professor Laotse who believed in contentment and absolute tolerance. Nevertheless, Confucius disagreed with his professor later on when the latter called for 'an eye for an eye' to maintain justice.
At the age of twenty-two, he established a school for studying the essence of philosophy. His students increased in number till they reached three thousand.
Confucius, confident in his ability to reorder society, held a number of important jobs: he worked as a consultant to princes and governors, was appointed judge and governor, minister of labour, minister of justice and finally prime minister in 496 B.C. In his capacity as prime minister, he sentenced some ex-ministers, politicians and riot-makers to death, thus making his province ideal with regard to applying his philosophical values and ideas.
Later, Confucius devoted his time to making trips to the various cities and towns of China, offering wisdom and consultation to the rulers and inviting people to adopt his values and traditions. Finally, he resorted to his province Lu where he devoted most of his time to teaching his friends, summarising the books of the ancients and introducing them to the people. He died in 479 B.C. at the age of seventy-three.
The Basic Beliefs of Confucianism with Regard to God, Angels and the Spirits of their Ancestors
God: Confucianists believe in many gods, though it is said that they believe in the great God, the Lord of Heaven whom they worship and to whom they offer sacrifices. However, these sacrifices are to be submitted through the mediation of the king or the princes of the different governorates. The earth also has a god that is worshipped by all the Chinese, as do the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds and the mountains, and to each sacrifices are to be offered.
Angels occupy a very high position in the Chinese religion; they are consecrated and sacrifices are offered to them as well.
The spirits of the ancestors are also consecrated by the Chinese: They believe in the immortality of these spirits and that they never die with the death of the bodies. The sacrifices offered to these spirits are given at celebrations where large banquets are extended, accompanied by music to help the spirits rejoice and feel happy. In every house, there is a small temple for the spirits of the dead and the gods of the householders.
Confucianism does not believe in the Hereafter, Paradise or Hell, nor does it accept any belief in Resurrection. Confucianists are mainly concerned with improving their life affairs with no regard for the destiny of the soul after leaving the body. One of the disciples once asked Confucius about death, Confucius answered succinctly: “We haven’t yet finished studying life to delve into the question of death.”
Confucianism is mainly concerned with moral values, which form the cornerstone of its philosophy and the basis of its religion. It tends to teach the individual to absorb these values until they become part and parcel of his very being.
These values can be materialised in absolute obedience to parents, elder brothers and rulers. These moral values also include sincerity to friends, refusal to cause any harm to others even in words, identical harmony between words and deeds, rejection of hypocrisy, care for common interests, encouraging beneficial arts, sympathising with foreigners and working for the common welfare of the princes and the common people of the empire.
There was, however, another side to Confucianism. Confucius not only stressed social rituals (Li), but also humaneness (Ren). 'Ren', sometimes translated as love or kindness, is believed to be the source of all virtues. The Chinese character represents the potential to live together humanely rather than scrapping like birds or beasts.
Areas Where Confucianism Spread
Confucianism started in China but in 1949 when China adopted a Communist regime, Confucianism was prohibited by the force of law like all other religions. Therefore, it spread to other places like Korea and Japan where it is studied in universities. Confucianism was welcomed by western philosophers like Lipnze (1646-1716) and Peter Noyel who later published a book about this system of Chinese Philosophy.
Author: By: Dr. Zaki M. Abdullah

Nullification of ablution

Before offering prayers and other particular acts of worship, one must be in a state of ritual purity. It is necessary therein to wash the parts of the body that are generally exposed to dirt or other impurities. This cleansing is called Wudhoo' (Ablution) and is performed as follows:
1. Have the intention that the act is for the purpose of worship and purification. Then, begin by saying 'Bismillaah' (ie., 'I begin in the Name of Allaah').
2. Wash your hands up to the wrists, three times starting with the right hand.
3. Rinse your mouth with water, three times.
4. At the same time, cleanse your nostrils by sniffing water and expelling it, three times.
5. Wash your whole face three times with both hands, if possible, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin and from ear to ear.
6. Wash your right arm three times up to the far end of the elbow, and then do the same with the left arm.
7. Wipe the whole head, or any part of it, with a wet hand from the front to the back, once.
8. Wipe the inner sides of your ears with the forefingers and their outer sides with the thumbs. This should be done with wet fingers once.
9 Wash your two feet up to the ankles, three times, beginning with the right foot.
The following acts render ablution null and void:
Natural Bodily Discharges
These include urine, stools, gas from behind, etc. Concerning the cases which necessitate ablution, Allaah Almighty says what means: “… or (if) one of you comes from the place of relieving himself…” [Quran: 5:6] This proves that such an act obligates new purification.
Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him who was one of the outstanding Companions, reported that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Allaah does not accept the prayer of a person who has released gas until he performs a new ablution." A person from Hadhramawt (in Yemen) asked Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him: “What does releasing gas mean?” He answered: “Passing wind, with or without sound.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]
He  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him also narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “If one of you finds a disturbance in his abdomen and is not certain if he released any gas or not, he should not leave the mosque (i.e., quit his prayer) unless he hears its sound or smells its odour.” [Muslim]
Hearing the escaping gas or smelling it is not the condition that nullifies the ablution, but the certainty that passing gas has occurred. As for a discharge of Al-Mathi (prostatic fluid), the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Perform ablution.” Concerning Al-Mani (sperm), Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him who was another outstanding Companion, said: “It requires Ghusl (ritual bathing) and for Al-Mathi and Al-Wadi (which is secreted from the sexual organ due to sickness or fatigue), wash your sexual organs and perform ablution.” [Al-Bayhaqi]
Deep Sleep that Makes a Person Completely Unaware of his Surroundings
If the person did not keep his buttocks firmly seated on the floor while sleeping, he must make a new ablution.  Safwaan bin ‘Asal  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to order us while we were travelling not to take our socks off unless we were in post-sex impurity (i.e. not for defecation, urination or sleep).”
If one’s buttocks remained firmly on the floor during his sleep, no new ablution is necessary.  This is implied by the narration of Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him who said: “The companions of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) were waiting for the delayed 'Ishaa' prayer until their heads began nodding up and down (from drowsiness and sleep). They would then pray without performing ablution." [Muslim, Ash-Shafi'ee, Abu Daawood & At-Tirmithi]
The wording that At-Tirmithi recorded from the chain of Shu'bah is: "I have seen the companions of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) sleeping to the extent that one could hear some of them snoring, but, they would stand for prayer without a new ablution.” Imaam Ibn Al-Mubaarak  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “In our view, this happened when they were sitting.”
Loss of Consciousness  
This nullifies the ablution, regardless of whether it was due to insanity, fainting, drunkenness, or medication. It also does not matter if one was unconscious for a short or long period of time, or if one was sitting, or fell to the ground, and so on. The aspect of unawareness here is greater than that of sleeping.  The scholars all agree on this point.
Touching the Sexual Organ Without Any 'Barrier' (clothing, and so on) between the Hand and the Organ
Busrah bint Safwaan (a female companion)  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Whoever touches his sexual organ cannot pray until he performs ablution.” [Maalik, Ash-Shafi'ee, Ahmad & Others]
Imaam Abu Daawood  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “I asked Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him: ‘Is the Hadeeth (prophetic narration) of Busrah authentic?’ He replied: ‘Certainly it is authentic.'” In the narration of Imaams Ahmad and An-Nasaa’i  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them Busrah heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saying: “Ablution is to be made by the one who touches his sexual organ.”  
This is general and encompasses touching one’s own sexual organs or touching anyone else’s. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as saying: “Whoever touches his sexual organ without any covering (over it) must perform ablution.” [Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan & Al-Haakim]
Imaam Ibn As-Sakan  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him who was a Hadeeth scholar, said: “This Hadeeth is from the best of what has been related on this topic,” Imaam Ash-Shaafi'ee  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him related: “Any man who touches his penis must perform ablution. Any woman who touches her vagina must perform ablution.” 
The scholars of the Hanafi school are of the opinion, based on the following Hadeeth, that touching the sexual organ does not nullify the ablution: “A man asked the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salami if a man who touches his penis has to perform ablution. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: “No, it is just a part of you.”
In addition to this issue (touching the sexual organ), there are other issues that are also controversial in this regard among Muslim scholars, such as excretion of pus or blood, vomiting and eating camel meat.