THE IDENTITIES ACCORDING TO THE OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS IN THE CORRUPT
MORALITY OF IGNORANT SOCIETIES
The personalities of all who live in a society of ignorance are subject
of certain influences. One of these influences is their line of work.
Because, a person's work or profession is an important factor in shaping
identity and status in a society. Every individual who lives in a society
divorced from religion is evaluated according to his profession, social
status and degree of prosperity. Although these are not formally recognized,
the ranking of all professions, in terms of the respect they command,
is nonetheless known to all. For example, the respect commanded by a professor
is greater than that of an administrator; a doctor's is greater than a
fashion designer's; and an architect's is greater than a teacher's.
For this reason, those in a society of ignorance who are faced with making
a decision about what profession to pursue make their choice not only
on the basis of what interests them, or what their talents are, but also
consider the social status it will bring.
When a person chooses a profession, his sense of identity changes accordingly.
If he really wants to "make it" in the society and achieve real status,
he will have to take on the identity determined for him by the ignorant
societal mores he find himself under.
The other members of the society do not find fault with such a change
of personality; on the contrary, the more a person behaves according to
his new identity, the more respect he receives. The way he dresses, his
manner, the way he sits and walks, and his tone of voice are all to be
reflective of his profession.
Moreover, he is expected to adopt a particular interpretation of the
world around him according to his profession known as "professional ethics,"
with which he must conform in order to be successful and advance in the
profession he has chosen.
However, it must also be stated that there are those in a society of
ignorance who, for various reasons, do not conform to these rules of behavior.
Because of their principles, they may not allow their profession to dictate
their sense of identity. Though, such people are but a small minority.
The main purpose in describing these character types is not to criticize
them specifically, but to show the distorted perception of the greater
part of the society divorced from religion.
Before proceeding on the topic of professions, there is an important
matter that must first be considered. In the detailed account to be given
in this section, we do not mean to criticize any profession. Indeed, if
people are to live together in society, everyone must have a line of work
and use his talents to be useful to the rest of society. However, it is
important to recognize the error of judging others and ranking them according
to their profession. Moreover, it is wrong for a person to alter his personality
depending on his profession. People will be judged according to the criteria
that Allah has revealed in the Qur'an:
Humanity! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples
and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among
you in Allah's sight is the one with the most fear of Allah. Allah is
All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Surat al-Hujurat, 13)
We can see from the verse above that individuals will be held responsible
for their degree of devotion to Allah. Whether man or woman, young or
old, doctor or secretary; that is not the criteria by people will be judged
on the Day of Judgment. No matter what a person's circumstances may be,
all must obey the Qur'an. Everyone is responsible for living as Allah
has commanded, and developing their personalities according to the morality
taught in the Qur'an.
So, in this section, we will draw attention to this error: People forget
Allah's religion, become overly enamored with this transient world, and
develop their own values. In time, they become ever more entrenched in
their identities depending on the values they have determined. Before
discussing in detail the example of the ignorant person who alters his
character according to his profession, it will be useful to consider the
basic character of the business man and woman because of their dominance
in the society.
The Character of the Working Woman According to the Morality
A working woman receives more respect in society than the housewife.
They are thought to have higher ideals, and more important responsibilities
than housewives. Indeed, the main reason why a woman decides to have a
career is to avoid being a housewife, and the negative perception attached
to it, and to rise to a more respected position in society. For her, being
a working woman will, above all, grant her a different identity; it will
allow her to stand on her own two feet, which will bring her a greater
measure of equality with men.
Indeed, this is exactly what is expected of a working woman in a society
of ignorance. For those who live their lives divorced from religion, the
most important thing is the financial independence that wealth offers.
For this reason, such people consider an independent woman superior to
other women. Their level of morality is not an issue; what is important
is their bankbooks, assets, company privileges and reputation.
Working women are aware of these perceptions in their society, they being
their prime motivation to work. The more successful they are in their
profession, the more, they believe, they achieve for themselves. For that
end, they will do their utmost to prove themselves to others in their
Rising to the management level, alongside other men, they regard as a
major success. They also regard it as important confirmation by which
to allay their insecurities. They can order others around; if some complete
a job incorrectly, or are late finishing a project, these women do not
hesitate to berate them publicly. On one hand, they do so to try to prove
themselves to the men; on the other hand, they are competing with the
other women in the company. They will seize any opportunity to advance
themselves by pointing out the failings of the other women.
Because they are freed from being a housewife, they are proud of themselves
and the life they lead. But their lives are not as different as they imagine.
Fundamentally, their character has not changed much. The only things different
are the environment and the people around them. No longer the housewife
concerned about her house and her family, and arguing with her husband
or her mother; in her place is a working woman concerned about her work,
competing with her fellow workers and proving herself. Otherwise, the
gossiping, arguments, jealousies and emotional outbreaks persist. Because
the way to escape a life-long anxiety and a somber spiritual state, is
not to change one kind of ignorant identity for another; it is only possible
by making a change in one's spirit, according to the teachings of the
Qur'an. Working women ignore this essential fact, and so maintain the
typical character type of a woman in a society of ignorance.
However, a woman who is a believer is aware of this important truth.
In order to reform herself, she does not just make superficial adjustments
in her life, but devotes her attention to developing her spirit, and her
moral character. For this reason, she is always progressing.
And, unlike the majority of women in a society of ignorance, they do
not suffer from complexes, and so they never compete with men in other
aspects of life. After all, such competition is meaningless. According
to the morality of the religion, there is no such thing as superiority
of the male or female over one another, and therefore no competition between
men and women or oppression of one over the other. Both men and women
behave in the way that suits to their creation. They do not try to imitate
each other, but to conform to the model of a believer described in the
Qur'an. It is only the measure of faith and morality that is of any value
in the sight of Allah.
The Character of a Working Man According to the Morality of Ignorance
The working man in a society of ignorance have a very different kind
of character than the working women in it. The main purpose that men have
for working is to be able to fulfill the duties that they have taken on.
Working men usually have financial responsibilities at home, so their
main aim is not to prove themselves, but to earn a lot of money. For this
reason, financial concerns figure more prominently for a working man than
As described in many verses of the Qur'an, these men are consumed with
concerns of this earthly life. Their world, their work and their goals
are focused on their becoming successful at their jobs. They will discuss
little with their family and friends; they either talk about their work,
or sit for hours thinking in silence about how they can make more money.
Their minds are so occupied with their work that they often forget the
emotional demands of those around them.
Everything they think about is in connection with their work. Their social
relationships are based on what they can profit financially from them.
They base their friendships, and even their marriage, in this way. They
nurture the relationships they think will bring them gain, and consider
it a waste of time to maintain friendships with those who cannot be of
any use to them.
At home, and at work, they are tense and stressed. After a bad day, they
become extremely irascible, ready to explode if anyone were to so much
as even touch them. When someone does not show proper consideration for
their mental state, their irritability increases. They especially blame
their wives for not being sensitive and understanding about their work.
They are usually very confident and sure of themselves in all they do;
they think themselves clever, and do not respect another's opinion. They
are proud of their years of experience, always insisting they know better.
It would be impossible to convince them they were wrong about something.
Even if they were aware that they have made a mistake, or had a bad idea,
they would not apologize; it is very difficult for them to admit to an
As stated earlier, the basic reason why they attain this kind of character
is their attachment to this world. This attachment has caused them to
lose many of their more humane qualities, and made them incapable of thinking
about anything other than financial gain. We must here state at the outset
that it is normal for a person to desire money, to be successful in his
career, and to hope to improve his situation; but, it is a mistake for
him to forget about the Afterlife, becoming overly passionate in his desire
for the things of this world. On the other hand, one may have great wealth,
but he may use it to please Allah or to achieve some high purpose.
There is no such pious intention in a working man of a society of ignorance;
on the contrary, he has a passionate attachment to this world. But, the
money he so desires is just a transient pleasure of this life. A man may
be the richest person in the world, or the most successful in his profession,
but he will one day die and leave behind him everything he had gained
in the world. The wealth he amassed will be of no use to him when his
body lies rotting beneath the earth. Then, he will be called to give account
of that which he has done in this world. On the Day of Judgment, he will
not be asked how hard he worked to acquire his wealth, or how much he
accumulated; he will be asked what he did for Allah to earn His favor.
So, all the efforts he had put forth for worldly gain, will have been
The Qur'an speaks of the vanity of such efforts:
Say: "Shall I inform you of the greatest losers in their actions? People
whose efforts in the life of this world are misguided while they suppose
that they are doing good." Those are the people who reject their Lord's
Signs and the meeting with Him. Their actions will come to nothing and,
on the Day of Rising, We will not assign them any weight. (Surat al-Kahf,
The Character-types of Managers and Directors
In societies divorced from religion, you can find several different types
of characters in a single workplace. Every one of these character-types
is influenced by the position he has been given, and determined by his
responsibilities, salary and rank in relation to other workers. One of
the characters shaped by these factors is that of a manager. Those who
are of this kind of character are of a disposition regarded as otherwise
quite normal for a person in their circumstances, but which is the product
of a corrupt way of thinking; they can be two characters at once, changing
according to the particular situation. They show one of side of this character
to those who are their superiors; and show the other to those who are
When they are with their boss, they are humble and submissive; they treat
him with deference, sometimes bending over backwards to please him. They
do everything he wants immediately, being careful not to make the least
mistake. The boss, on the other hand, has the right to say anything he
wants to his subordinates and, if necessary, to berate them. Managers
do not mind being treated in this way, and regard it as the boss's right
to criticize them. They do everything they can to get the boss to like
them, and to get on his good side. They will even fulfill menial tasks
outside of work to gain his favor. The purpose of all this self-sacrifice
is definite: The boss is the one who pays their salary, and exercises
the final authority in the workplace. Therefore, all the manager's wages
and benefits are determined by him. Gaining support and sympathy from
the boss is extremely important for the manager's career and future. For
this reason, he will not hesitate to compromise his honor and integrity.
It will be useful at this point to make an important distinction: It
is good for people to respect those who are in a higher position or senior
to them. But, in doing so they must seek the pleasure of Allah, acknowledging
that person's level of morality, and not seek any material benefit from
But, people in a society of ignorance do not acknowledge the level of
morality of another. They respect a rich man even if he is morally weak.
They try to oppress those who work with them, with no regard for their
moral qualities, because their criteria by which they judge others is
not based on earning the pleasure of Allah. According to the distorted
way of thinking of a society of ignorance, these individuals regard themselves
as superior to those they oppress, and they think they have the right
to treat them badly. Now, this manager, who was so meek and mild when
the boss was present, becomes arrogant, over-confident, a "do what you're
told" dictator. He is very harsh and uncompromising towards those under
him. He barks out orders, and if a problem arises, he does not hesitate
to publicly berate the person responsible, because these people he deems
to be of no advantage to him. Besides, he wants to inflict the arrogance
on those under him as the boss inflicts on him. In this way, he hopes
to deny the meek character he shows when the boss is around.
The contradiction in these two different character sides is generally
regarded as normal in the workplace and in a society of ignorance. This
is the way the system works: The owner of the company can treat a manager
any way he wants; a manager can do the same to a secretary and a secretary
can do it to the janitor. The reverse is also true; everyone behaves as
best he can towards a superior, and is careful to do what is expected
of him. But when the superior is absent, the others do not hesitate to
express their hatred of him. The respect they show is false.
This moral system is evidently corrupt. These people know how to behave
respectfully, but they do not feel they have to behave in such a way towards
each other, because there is no material benefit to be derived from it.
Not only this vice not considered controversial, but it is not even noticed
in the corruption of a society of ignorance. However, according to the
Qur'an, one who behaves this way has no conscience. A human being is responsible
for behaving as well as his conscience will allow, and Allah has commanded
all to be tolerant and humble.
A human being possesses nothing of his own that would raise his stature
among those around him. Rank and status come only from Allah. He bestows
upon those of His servants He chooses, and raises the stature of those
whom He wishes to raise. When He wishes, He can reverse the situation;
He has the power to take back every blessings He has conferred. For this
reason, a human being must always act humbly before Allah. In the Qur'an,
Allah reminds us of this truth:
Do not strut arrogantly about the Earth. You will certainly never split
the earth apart nor will you ever rival the mountains in height. (Surat
A believer lives aware of this reality. No matter who he has to deal
with in this world, he is never boastful and does not forget that he is
responsible to Allah. For this reason, he does not believe that such alternating
and insincere behavior is acceptable, and adopts in all times and in all
places a moral character pleasing to Allah. No matter what the rank or
position of another, he always acts towards that person with respect and
courtesy. He does not expect a reward for his politeness; on the contrary,
he expects recompense only from Allah for every good he performs. He severs
Allah, and works to win His favor.
The Character of the Secretary According to the Morality of Ignorance
In a society of ignorance, some professions are considered more noble
and some more ordinary than others. The job of a secretary is regarded
as more ordinary than many other jobs. One of the main reasons for this
is no doubt the idea that being a secretary is not really a profession,
that it does not take much training, and that secretaries are merely someone
else's assistants. For this reason, if you ask secretaries what they do
for a living, they will often make themselves appear more qualified by
saying that they work as personal assistants. Because being a secretary
does not command a lot of respect in society, they boast about their employers
and the assistance they give them. However, it should satisfy a person
that he works at a legitimate business and that he earns money by legal
means. No one ought to be attributed superior status, as in the ignorant
society, or need to be regarded with respect by those around them. What
makes an individual worthy of good in this world and the next are what
he has done to win the favor of Allah.
As stated earlier, morality based on ignorance offers a totally different
way of interpreting reality. Secretaries who adopt this value system revere
their employers. Their employers consider themselves their benefactors
and think that they have all kinds of rights over them. Secretaries do
not take it personally when their boss treats them badly, orders them
around or makes them do all sorts of jobs; in fact, it actually pleases
them. They do much more than is expected of them, and try their best to
make their boss happy. Because, in a sense, their boss is their future.
They consider their boss to be the only one who can improve their prospects,
expand their network of acquaintances, and bail them out of difficulties.
Actually, most of the tasks secretaries do are not defined in their job
description; in a society of ignorance, they have to do everything they
are told to do. Their bosses take advantage of this and work them very
hard. When they become irritated during the day, they shout at their secretaries
who do not say a word in response; they just smile in return. But, at
the first chance they get, they criticize them behind their backs.
As well, secretaries behave the same way towards other employees as their
bosses behave towards them. They will surely find someone else in the
workplace to order around and put to work, these usually being the janitors.
Those who work as secretaries for high-level bosses act especially arrogant
towards other employees, because they see themselves as the person closest
to him. In fact, this is often the case. In the ignorant society, the
secretary to the boss of a major company occupies a high position. All
the managers are obliged to go through the secretary if they want to see
the boss. Most often, they ask the secretary what kind of mood he is in.
These secretaries take advantage of their position by constantly ordering
other people around and speaking harshly to lower-level personnel.
In such a person, we can discern types of ignorant behavior such as lying,
ignoring bad habits, being hypocritical and criticizing others behind
their back. They do all this to get one person to like them and for the
advantages that they believe they will derive from it.
However, the only power that can benefit human beings in this world and
the next is the power of Allah. Those who try to ingratiate themselves
with others, and to make themselves liked, forget that Allah is the only
One whose pleasure has to be earned. They forget that Allah exists. But
a believer is one who strives only to win Allah's favor. Believers never
make the mistake of exaggerating the importance of other human beings,
or attributing to them any real power; and, they never entertain the hope
of gaining anything from them. They are aware that their fate is in the
hands of Allah.
The Character of the Doctor in the Morality of Ignorance
In today's society doctors are the most respected professionals. Indeed,
to work to promote the health of others is a serious undertaking and requires
a self-sacrificial spirit. But, in societies divorced from religion, the
way people regard doctors and the character doctors develop out of this
are somewhat different.
Firstly, people mistakenly believe that their lives are in the hands
of their doctors. For this reason, they look at them for help. There is
another reason why people in a society of ignorance regard doctors with
such respect: A person needs a lot of education to become a doctor and
candidates must exert much effort to complete that education. So, a person
who is known as a doctor is regarded in society as intelligent, industrious
Most families want their children to be doctors and instill this idea
in them. For this reason, almost every child says that he wants to be
a doctor when he grows up. Of course, it is good for a family to want
their children to have a useful profession for humanity but, in a society
of ignorance, the main purpose of a family that directs their children
to this profession is to win adulation from their community. Another reason
is that, when a family member gets sick, their children who are doctors
will be able to look after them and this gives them a sense of security.
And besides this, doctors make the best candidates for marriage.
This way of looking at doctors in a society of ignorance begins as soon
as a student enters a faculty of medicine. The students who navigate the
corridors with their white lab coats have only one model in mind. According
to the model they are taught, doctors are above all sure of themselves
and think they know everything. When they talk to patients they use phrases
containing medical terms which the sick person cannot understand. Of course,
the doctors know that their patients cannot understand this language but
they continue to use it thinking that this is the way a doctor speaks.
After they start practicing, they have only a few goals left; they want
to be a famous specialist or a professor, to have a luxury office and
earn as much money as possible.
The idea that their lives are in the hands of their doctors is instilled
in every member of society and it is this idea that lies behind the respect
and regard that doctors receive. Members of ignorant society who are totally
unaware of the existence of Allah, Who created them from a drop of water
and feeds them, almost perceive doctors as beings with supernatural powers.
For this reason, they feel that they are of less value than doctors and
that, as we said before, doctors are their only hope for recovering from
an illness. However, Allah warns human beings that they are only servants:
Those you call on besides Allah are servants just like yourselves. Call
on them and let them respond to you if you are telling the truth. (Surat
Of course, it is right for a person to go to a doctor and follow his
advice. But, in doing this, that person must not forget that it is Allah
Who restores them to health. It is only He Who knows where and when an
individual will die. Allah has set the time of everyone's death and all
people approach that day without knowing when it will come. But many people
make the great error of ignoring this reality; they forget to pray to
Allah and look to their doctors for help. And because so much is expected
of them, doctors, who are far removed from the morality of the religion,
develop certain arrogance.
The difference between how some doctors act in their private offices
and how they behave while working in a hospital well illustrates the distorted
values of ignorant society. Because the office is private, the patients
that come there are usually well-off. An ignorant person's love of money
requires him to act politely to those who are financially comfortable
and some doctors are overly polite to those who come to their offices.
The patient who comes to the doctor's office has chosen him and if that
patient does not like the treatment he gets, he may pay his bill and go
to another doctor.
There is another aspect to this discussion; doctors' attitude to those
patients who have no money. In a society of ignorance it is accepted that
those who have no money are always treated without respect and some doctors
who work in hospitals are very good at treating such patients in this
way. The patients that doctors have to deal with in hospitals are most
often poor. For this reason, the doctors regard themselves as the most
important people in the hospital. They do not often look at their patient
in the face because they think that the sick person is of no value. Even
the hospital personnel have the same point of view. They ignore someone
asking for directions or for a doctor's name. They get established in
their environment, become used to its sights and forget about mercy and
compassion. Even as patients are entering the door of the hospital, they
encounter the irritable attitude of security guards who treat them badly.
Doctors work in a hospital more or less to earn their salary. After working
there for years, they have at most a waiting room and a treatment room
that doubles as an office. From morning to night they treat patients there
and this is their life's greatest ideal. No doubt, helping people is something
to appreciate. However, no matter what one's profession may be, what will
make a person honorable, respected and esteemed will be his efforts to
win Allah's good pleasure, love and the infinite life in the Hereafter
and his awareness of his weaknesses.
We should keep in mind that, no matter what their profession may be,
after living in this world for a short time, every person will come face
to face with the next world. After his death it will not matter how many
patients a doctor has treated, whether or not he knew his medical terms
well enough or what title he earned; he will be asked what he did to earn
Allah's favor. In societies divorced from religion, most doctors are not
aware of these realities because they are living under the strong influence
of ideas instilled in their minds by the ignorant society they live in.
It is very important for them to win society's approval and be respected
in its eyes.
Every deed done in accordance with the teaching of the Qur'an is directed
towards winning Allah's approval and, no matter what their profession
may be, believers exhibit high moral standards. Believers are the best
supporters and helpers of those in their community who are sick, weak
and helpless. This behavior comes from their adherence to the Qur'an and
their unwavering dedication to the morality that Allah has commanded.
A person who embraces the Qur'an knows that medical knowledge can only
be gained by the will of Allah and that He has created everything that
brings healing. He sees clearly that, if it were not according to Allah's
will, he would not do what he does or know what he knows. He never forgets
that he may become ill at any time and that, if that happened, he would
have no helper or healer other than Allah.
The prayer of Prophet Ibrahim (as) in this regard is a fine example of
the high moral standards that everyone should take as an example:
He Who created me and guides me; He Who gives me food and gives me drink;
and when I am ill, it is He Who heals me; He Who will cause my death,
then give me life; He Who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on
the Day of Reckoning. (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 78-82)
A Nurse's Character in the Morality of the Ignorance
It must first be made clear that there are many nurses who work devotedly
day and night caring for their patients, despite their inadequate salary.
However, we will discuss here those nurses who abide by the morality which
is far removed from the true religion. Such persons have become calloused
to their patients' problems, because of the numerous hours they are required
to spend under adverse conditions caring for the sick. Some have lost
all feeling for their patients and, instead of treating them with understanding
and compassion, behave harshly towards them, often forcing them to wait
for their care. It is not unusual for a nurse to even criticize or chastise
a patient. Such individuals think that most patients are mere hypochondriacs,
that they exaggerate their illnesses, and may even withhold the help that
patients ask for.
Aware that the sick are helpless and in need of their assistance, nurses,
who are ignorant of the morality of the Qur'an, behave arrogantly towards
them. They look down on the patients, humiliate them and sometimes even
berate them. They are in a position of being needed and, as far as they
are concerned, "important people" ought to act haughtily towards ordinary
And, the way they treat one another is not different from the way they
treat their patients. They will behave towards others according to their
station; for example, they show great respect towards the head nurse,
but belittle other nurses.
Just as the life of a housewife is confined within the four walls of
her house, similarly, nurses confine much of their world to the hospital.
They think quite highly of themselves in their situation. They think it
to be themselves who heal people, not realizing that they are only the
means. However, if they were themselves sick, they would not able to cure
themselves, and therefore should recognize that they cannot prevent illness
from themselves. However, they are obstinate in their error. In the Qur'an,
Allah tells us that no one other than He has the power to cause good or
If you ask them, "Who created the heavens and the Earth?" they will say,
"Allah." Say: "So what do you think? If Allah desires harm for me, can
those you call upon besides Allah remove His harm? Or if He desires mercy
for me, can they withhold His mercy?" Say: "Allah is enough for me. All
those who truly trust put their trust in Him." (Surat az-Zumar, 38)
Allah has revealed to us that we should trust only in Him. As discussed
earlier, from the Prophet Ibrahim's (as) prayer, believers should learn
to trust only in Allah and look for assistance from Him alone. They sincerely
believe that Allah ordains both good and harm and, apart from Him, there
is no other power that can prevent such things from happening. They do
not forget that Allah created every cure, as well as all doctors and nurses
in the world, as the means for healing people.
The Character of Merchants in the Morality of Ignorance
A large number of individuals from a society of ignorance are grouped
under the heading of merchants. This group includes a wide spectrum of
occupations, from shopkeepers to small businesses and street vendors.
These various merchants come together in special areas and it can be seen
that many of these people who meet in these crowded places share the same
As with many other types, that which most influence the character of
the merchants in the society of ignorance is, again, the values of materialism.
Most of these individuals tend to be middle-income earners, and are of
character types dedicated to acquiring wealth. Unlike most professions,
businessmen are often particularly corrupt. This is primarily because
they are often unable to garner respect for the work they do. Becoming
a businessman does not require one to have finished school or to possess
any particular skills. It is only possible for them to earn respect and
to gain a name for themselves if they become wealthy. This is due to the
fact that, in a society of ignorance, being wealthy is more highly valued
than morality. When it comes to money, it makes no difference how ignorant
or impolite a person is; all doors open for him.
So, many individuals in such a society, who are sometimes lacking in
cultural sophistication or education, aspire to wealth to make up for
their deficiencies. Their whole being becomes consumed with the desire
to make money. They do not have any high ideals, or any broader concerns
for the lot of humanity. Their sole aim is to become rich. So, they become
overly opportunistic; and, the more they can exploit others, the more
clever they think they are.
As a result, as would be expected, many regard merchants as being a form
of occupation for the dishonest and fraudsters. Of course, among them
you could find honest individuals, who adopt the morality of Islam, and
follow the commands of the Qur'an; it is certainly not necessary for merchants
to compromise their morals. The fraud and dishonesty expected of them
is the result of the absence of religion in an ignorant society. For example,
many merchants in such a society would not hesitate to sell damaged merchandise
without properly informing the client. And, because their conscience does
not bother them to do such a thing, they make it a regular mode of operation.
They buy defective goods and sell them to customers at the normal price.
The other merchants in the area know what these people are doing, but
turn a blind eye because they regard it as normal business practice. For
some of them, their idea of a customer is a one they can swindle. However,
Allah has commanded in the Qur'an that all should be honest in business:
Give full measure when you measure and weigh with a level balance. That
is better and gives the best result. (Surat al-Isra', 35)
He said, "He has wronged you by asking for your ewe to add to his ewes.
Truly many partners are unjust to one another-except those who believe
and do right actions, and how few they are!"... (Surah Sād, 24)
Throughout the history of these societies of ignorance, there have been
those who refuse to obey Allah's commands; they act unjustly and consistently
cheat others. Allah has warned them through His messengers. The Qur'an
informs us of the warnings offered by Prophet Shu'ayb (as) to his people:
And to Madyan their brother Shu'ayb. He said, "My people,
worship Allah! You have no god apart from Him. Do not give short measure
and short weight. I see you prospering and I fear for you the punishment
of an all-encompassing Day. My people! Give full measure and full weight
with justice; do not diminish people's goods; and do not go about the
Earth, corrupting it. What endures with Allah is better for you if you
are believers. I am not set over you as your keeper." (Surah Hud, 84-86)
But, in general, because of their moral turpitude, members of a society
of ignorance have failed to heed these warnings. For this reason, they
experience anxiety in this world, and will be called to render account
of their actions in the world to come. Such characters will tend to be
unscrupulous when it comes to making a profit. Such a tendency is also
discernible among clerks. In compliance with the morality pervasive in
the society of ignorance, they will resort to anything in order to sell
something to customers. They will go on at great length, lying to convince
a customer to buy an outfit that is otherwise unattractive on him or her.
They respect most those rich businessmen, and are honored to have the
opportunity to serve them, not behaving the same way towards less successful
merchants in their community.
Because they devote so much of their time to their business activities,
they leave little for other pursuits. Their social lives are limited and
empty, having few friends outside of the workplace.
As is the case with the majority of people in a society of ignorance,
they are aware of the teachings of Islam. However, in spite of this, they
disregard its commands and prohibitions, devoting themselves solely to
the pursuit of profit.
In addition, they are highly ambitious, and will go to all sorts of extremes
to earn money. However, they are not disposed to obeying the commands
of Allah, Who has created them and provided them everything they have
gained. In several verses of the Qur'an, He has warned them, and all others
of a similar disposition, about becoming so caught up in this world that
they forget the one to come.
You who believe! Do not let your wealth or children divert you from the
remembrance of Allah. Whoever does that is lost. (Surat al-Munafiqun,
Say: "If your fathers or your sons or your brothers or your wives or
your tribe, or any wealth you have acquired, or any business you fear
may slump, or any house which pleases you, are dearer to you than Allah
and His Messenger and struggling in His Way, then wait until Allah brings
about His command. Allah does not guide people who are deviators." (Surat
But, the situation for those who are believers is different. Although
they too would have to devote much of their day to working to earn money,
they do so to win Allah's favor, and spend it in His cause. Moreover,
no matter what they do, they never neglect their prayers, or forget to
remember the Afterlife. In compliance with the command of Allah, they
always treat others justly, as they deserve to be treated, never infringing
on their God-given rights. In the Qur'an, Allah relates to us the virtue
of this character:
Not distracted by trade or commerce from the remembrance of Allah and
the establishment of prayer and the payment of alms; fearing a day when
all hearts and eyes will be in turmoil. (Surat an-Nur, 37)
The Character-type of the Public Servant in the Society of Ignorance
According to the ignorant way of thinking, public servants are of a specific
different character-type, so one should be able to recognize them right
away. What gives them away is not what they do as part of their occupation;
it is their manners and expression on their face.
What dictates the way they act is the fact that they have a secure job
and determined salary. Therefore, even if they make some special effort,
they gain nothing in salary, position or respect. They think that, if
they take on an extra task, they will have merely extended themselves
out for nothing. In any case, in a society of ignorance, it is considered
foolish for them to make any extra effort if there is someone else to
do it. They do not care how they behave towards their clients, because
they would regard as doing something extra.
For that reason, most public servants show little concern for those around
them. They do only what they are told, and if anything is asked of them
beyond that, they either ignore it or pass it on to someone else. When
someone asks them a question, they may not even look at the person, or
they may look at them without answering, nod their head and continue what
they were doing. They feel no qualms about treating people harshly. This
aloofness of theirs is well known. They have no respect for others and,
because they do not want to be bothered, they will keep people waiting
in line for hours without an excuse, and wandering about the office. They
see no reason to be considerate, polite or tolerant towards people. No
matter how they behave, they will continue to receive the same salary.
In any case, as far as they are concerned, they will never see those people
again anyway. For this reason, they perform all their tasks methodically;
speak little, hardly smile, think little, and just fulfill what is expected
of them. However, one who abides by the moral commands of Allah would
never behave this way. He or she takes an interest in everyone, and is
always respectful and polite. They will do all they can to help a person
in difficulty and, even if they cannot be of assistance at that time,
they will at least be supportive to the individual.
Another character trait of the public servant is that he conforms to
a stereotype; that is, he always behaves the same way, and his responses
to things are always predictable. His every-day life, the people he speaks
with, that which he talks about, his habits and tastes, are all according
to this stereotype. He still dresses as he did when he was young, wearing
the same hairstyle. He is narrow-minded and does not want to interfere
with the status quo. He cannot be persuaded to take on new methods of
doing things, even though they may be better. He persists in old-fashioned
ways, though it wastes much time. Still, he will not abandon his old habits.
It can be seen from these explanations that a public servant exhibits
a laxness in character not only in his moral make-up but also in his social
life. As long as he sees nothing to gain, he will not alter his behavior.
However, the job of a public servant is to serve the public. A public
servant, who practices the morality of Islam, will serve those who come
to him with respect. He will never cause them difficulty or waste their
time. He knows that anything he does of good will not be for nothing.
For him, his work is an act of worship, in which his intention is to earn
Allah's favor, by maintaining the best level of morality he can. All his
good works are kept in a book in the presence of Allah, to be opened on
the Day of Judgment.
In the Qur'an, Prophet Luqman (as) reminds his son of this truth:
My son, even if something weighs as little as a mustard-seed and is inside
a rock or anywhere else in the heavens or Earth, Allah will bring it out.
Allah is All-Pervading, All-Aware. (Surah Luqman, 16)
The following are other verses where Allah reminds us of the same:
Say: "Servants of Mine who believe! Fear your Lord. For
those who do good in the world there is good and Allah's earth is spacious.
The steadfast will be paid their wages in full without any reckoning."
(Surat az-Zumar, 10)
... If anyone does a good action, We will increase the
good of it for him. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Thankful." (Surat ash-Shura,
Not so! All who submit themselves completely to Allah
and are good-doers will find their reward with their Lord. They will feel
no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat al-Baqara, 112)
Allah does not wrong anyone by so much as the smallest
speck. And if there is a good deed Allah will multiply it and pay out
an immense reward direct from Him. (Surat an-Nisa', 40)
Those who produce a good action will receive ten like
it. But those who produce a bad action will only be repaid with its equivalent
and they will not be wronged. (Surat al-An'am, 160)
Certainly, human beings will have to expend much effort to behave appropriately,
but the reward they will receive, as we ought to understand from these
verses, will be a life in this world, eternal Paradise and thus Allah's