Moral Values of Ignorance
In a society steeped in ignorance, there
is a single type of human character. Though changing in details from
one person to another, the attributes of this character are fundamentally
the same. The main reason why ignorant people have this common character
is evident: their disbelief in Allah and the Hereafter.
It is quite pointless to expect someone, who feels no fear
of Allah, to conduct himself honestly and responsibly. That is simply
because these people assume that Allah is unaware of what is in their
minds or whatever they do in secret.
In this section, we will further analyse the reprehensible
moral values indoctrinated by the primitive rationale of ignorance. Yet,
one point needs to be clarified before going into details: the characteristics
that will be mentioned below do exist in every man’s soul. Allah informs
man in the Qur’an that these are inspired in the soul for man’s essential
trial on earth:
By the soul and the proportion and order given
to it; and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; truly he succeeds
that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it! (Surah Al-Shams: 7-10)
Only men of understanding endued with faith do not
allow themselves be led astray by the negative commandments of their soul.
They demonstrate a very strong commitment to purifying their souls.
Ignorant people, who never ponder on the Day of Judgment,
naturally find no reason to condemn reprehensible moral values and replace
them with values deemed to be righteous in the presence of Allah.
There is another point that deserves mention: among
ignorant people, there may be some who, for certain reasons, discard the
above-mentioned reprehensible qualities. It may well be that these people,
for personal benefit or other reasons, avoid conducting themselves as
ignorance commands. However, it should be well understood that these people
conduct themselves responsibly not because they fear Allah. In other words,
they do not restrain themselves from indulging in the ignorant way of
conduct because they are God-fearing. This is rather an important point,
since a person who feels no fear for Allah may well abruptly change his
attitude once changing conditions contradict his interests. An apparently
generous and tender person may, therefore, suddenly turn out to be mean
and rude. Feeling no fear for Allah, he is prone to evil and apt to commit
misdeeds at any time.
In brief, all individuals of the ignorant society may not
display the attitudes described in the following pages. However, there
is no reason to believe that they will never change their minds and suddenly
start to behave ignorantly. The fact that one has no fear for Allah makes
him open to the inculcation of ignorance. On the contrary, adherence to
Qur’anic principles, firmly based on fear of Allah, never allows for indoctrination
of any kind and makes man committed to His Will.
In this section, some aspects of the reprehensible aspects
of ignorance will be described:
People consider laziness as having rather limited connotations.
Mostly they never accept the idea that they, too, may be lazy. Laziness
is only attributed to people who are relatively less sensitive to the
undertaking of any responsibility as compared to the rest of the individuals
in a society. This aside, what is meant by “laziness” here is a behavioural
disorder, having serious negative consequences, both spiritual and material,
on society. Ignorant people are very likely to have this “disorder.”
There is one major harm laziness does to man: it is to put
him into an idle state of mind. However, what imbues a man with the virtue
of being a human being is his ability to think. If he never employs this
ability, he becomes a mere mechanical being, completely bereft of wisdom
and insight. Reduced to this level, the individual adheres to a rather
static lifestyle, bound by given rules and principles. Making something
different for the betterment of life becomes almost impossible for such
a person. Rather than being scrupulous and committed to improving the
current conditions, it is perceived as being easier to comply with the
status quo without judging or questioning.
The influence of slothfulness over conscience and willpower
is observable in all dimensions of life. Those who find pondering a burden
never seek answers to some of the most essential questions such as: “Why
do we exist in this world?” Though acknowledging the importance of these
issues, they prefer other people to cogitate on their behalf. This state
of mind may even at some point jeopardize a person’s spiritual and material
He fails, for instance, to take measures to maintain perfect
health. For instance, he delays seeing the doctor when he is suffering
from a serious illness. Moreover, he makes every effort to avoid undergoing
the treatment advised by his doctor.
Laziness keeps him away from enjoying himself, or having a good time.
Rather than enjoy himself, he watches others enjoying themselves, since
this does not require any effort.
Having the opportunity to prepare a comfortable place for
himself, he prefers to live in an uncomfortable one, only because he finds
it difficult to think.
Rather than cook healthy food, ignorant people prefer fast
food, just because it is easy to obtain. They find it difficult to read
and widen their horizons, and hence always confine themselves to a narrow
way of thinking. They are very willing to earn a lot of money, yet rather
than concentrate on honest ways of making money, they try effortless and
illegal ways. Where they face a serious difficulty, they prefer suicide
which is the easiest way out. Infinite examples can be given on this subject;
the main idea here, however, is the ultimate aim of ignorant people to
survive by making the minimum effort.
The best way to do this is to allow the status quo to perpetuate
itself. This is why productivity and creativity continuously decline in
ignorant societies. As well as on the personal level, such a regression
takes place on the social level as a whole. No sooner does something gain
popularity in one country than it also becomes fashionable in others.
Songs, movies, commercials or propaganda methods are immediately copied.
The main rationale lying behind this is surely “laziness”, the lack of
commitment to innovation.
As we have seen, laziness is one of the important “behavioural
disorders” which ignorant people suffer from. However, it is interesting
that this behaviour is never condemned in society; rather it is accepted
as a normal trait. People who are involved in this system are not even
aware of the detriment it brings into their lives and the beauties they
miss. Therefore, they find no reason to change this situation.
Adherence to Qur’anic principles removes all these features
which are peculiar to the ignorant. What makes a person take action is
his belief in Allah and the Hereafter; this causes him to make serious
efforts to engage in good deeds. For such a person there is no time to
lose in this world. Every passing moment brings an opportunity to do good
deeds. He has important targets to achieve. Therefore, rather than being
lazy, he tries to be productive and demonstrates a relentless dedication
to work. Allah states in the Qur’an that this is the type of person He
Vie with one another for forgiveness from your
Lord and a Garden as vast as the heavens and the earth, which is in store
for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. Such is the bounty
of Allah, which He bestows upon whom He will. Allah is of Infinite Bounty.
(Surah Al-Hadid: 21)
And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for
it with the effort necessary, being a believer for such, their effort
shall find favour (with their Lord). (Surah Al-Isra: 19)
One of the basic features of the ignorant society is jealousy. One, having
no belief in the Hereafter, embraces this world ambitiously. He desires
to take advantage of all the opportunities this world offers and to satisfy
the infinite passions he has. This ambition is felt so intensely that
he always wants to be the best in every aspect of life. Such a target
inevitably makes him perceive the people surrounding him as potential
This standpoint, the main basis of jealousy, shapes almost
the whole life of a person from his birth. He learns the competition rules
by heart and puts them into practice with no difficulty. At some point
in his life, this passion reaches such extremes that he can’t accept others
being superior to him or simply can’t stand others being successful.
Ignorant people with such an outlook devote all their energies
to excelling in their professional lives or in any other aspect of social
life. They should be married to the most beautiful woman or to the most
handsome man. The most gorgeous house, the most luxurious furniture, the
best car, the most successful children, the best quality clothes should
always belong to them. They should be the ones travelling to the most
beautiful places in the world. This outlook ultimately leads to a vital
competition for ignorant people. Out of jealousy, they don’t want others
to prosper. This surely demonstrates a flawed mentality, since the beauty,
wealth or relatively better living standards of others is not an impediment
to one’s own improvement.
The flawed rationale of the ignorant society is not only
limited to these examples. Being jealous is accepted as being a greatly
appreciated characteristic in public. Those who claim not to be jealous
are believed to be somewhat abnormal and extraordinary. According to what
the convictions of ignorance demand, relationships should be driven by
jealousy. If an ignorant individual, for instance, has someone he really
loves, he feels he must not allow anybody else to approach him, to feel
attachment to him or to become a good friend of his; he should remain
that person’s one and only friend. However, an individual may be loved
by more than one person. The love of one by no means affects the love
of another. On the contrary, if that particular individual has a remarkable
personality, it is natural that many people would like to love him.
Never feeling content with what they have, those who suffer
from jealousy cannot attain real happiness. The existence of better things
around them always make them feel restless and depressed. This is a rational
explanation of the harm which can be done by jealousy.
Rather than adhering to such a difficult and troublesome system, it is
much more convenient to comply with what is revealed by Allah and purge
the mind of jealousy, envy and greed and keep away from temptation. The
soul of man is prone to jealousy, yet it is quite possible and, in fact,
easy to rid oneself of this feeling through wisdom and conscience. This
fact is explained in the Qur’an as follows:
Greed is ever present in the minds (of men). But
if you do good and keep from evil, Allah is ever informed of what you
do. (Surah Al-Nisa: 128)
Allah commands man to purify his soul of jealousy and replace it with
a totally different attitude, giving priority to the wishes and needs
of other people rather than one’s own soul.
This is indeed a self-sacrificing attitude. In a number of verses in
the Qur’an, the actions of a spirit completely purified of jealousy are
They give food, despite their love for it, to the
poor and orphans and captives. (Surah Al-Insan: 8)
Those who, despite their love for it, give away
their wealth to their relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and
to travellers and beggars and to set slaves free. (Surah Al-Baqarah: 177)
Muslims give everything — even the things to which they attach
much importance — to others, and while doing so, they are never diverted
by any kind of ambition or jealousy. Following the moral principles of
the Qur’an will certainly remove all the grief from one’s heart and will
enable one to attain the good pleasure of Allah.
Ignorant people are often possessed by “delusions of grandeur”, due to
the favours given to them by Allah. One who is “contaminated” with this
evil called “arrogance” soon sees himself as the wisest or the most talented
man on earth.
Moreover, the possession of money, status or beauty is not
essential for one to be arrogant; once an individual sees his intelligence
as superior to that of others, he may well be caught up in ignorant self-confidence.
An arrogant person believes that all people surrounding him are incapable
whereas he, himself, is very gifted and therefore impressive.
In time, these convictions become the underlying philosophy
of all behaviour. In this state of mind, arrogant people disregard all
advice or criticism that might help them to think more clearly. They often
humiliate other people by frequently expressing their dislike for them
and their ideas. Furthermore, they carry the conviction that, as other
people’s mistakes become apparent, so does their own “perfection.”
Such a misapprehension is actually detrimental to man. Arrogance
blurs the mind to such an extent that one can never realise to what degree.
While, due to a lack of proper understanding, everybody surrounding him
almost pities him, he believes himself to be a “remarkable” person. He
further believes that he is a person who earns the respect of others.
However, contrary to what he believes, such an attitude displayed with
the mere intention of appearing superior makes one inferior in the eyes
of other people; people of this sort are merely disliked, disrespected
and are ultimately left alone in society.
An arrogant person can never make an intimate friend; lacking
in wholeheartedness and modesty, he displays no respect for others. Such
manners inevitably cause uneasiness among the people surrounding him.
Not only for the people around him, but also for the person
himself, arrogance is surely a major source of trouble. First of all,
a person claiming superiority over others should always be cautious; he
should never make mistakes. Otherwise, he may lose the so-called “respect”
he has earned in the eyes of other people. Such an attitude certainly
requires painstaking efforts. He cannot express himself freely or treat
people as he likes; he has to consider all the consequences of any behaviour
that is likely to tarnish his image. If a particular kind of behaviour
fits in with his image, or has an improving effect on it, he decides to
indulge in it. If not, he simply remains quiet. He can neither laugh,
enjoy himself nor participate in an intimate conversation as he would
like to do. This meticulous attention to such details eventually reveals
itself in his body and on his face in the form of spasms. Such an appearance
renders the expression on a face, albeit very pretty, ugly and meaningless.
Furthermore, despite the fact that the human soul was created as a social
being with a natural enjoyment of companionship, an arrogant person remains
distant and cool towards people, and thus never experiences a close relationship.
Such a manner is, however, both meaningless and detrimental
to the human soul. Man is only a servant of Allah, inherently weak and
dependent on his Creator for all his needs. He has no control over the
shape of his body or his talents. These are all shaped under the control
“Arrogance” creates a mentally unhealthy person, unable even
to have a grasp of the greatness of Allah. He cannot think that he himself
is merely one of the billions of living things on this planet. The capacity
of an arrogant person to think becomes so limited that he cannot comprehend
that he can never create something similar to the creation of Allah. Nor
can he ever think that he is vulnerable to the diseases caused by viruses
and microbes, all invisible to the naked eye. Considering these facts,
to avoid being the servant of Allah is incomprehensible for a wise man.
The harm caused by arrogance to the human soul is quite apparent.
However, the destruction it brings is not restricted only to this world.
Allah proclaims that, in the Hereafter, those having conducted themselves
arrogantly will face a bitter punishment.
Enter the gates of Hell, remaining in it timelessly,
for ever. How evil is the abode of the arrogant!(Surah An-Nahl:29)
And when it is said to him: Be careful of your
duty to Allah, pride carried him off to sin. Hell will settle his account,
an evil resting-place. (Surah Al-Baqarah: 206)
There is no reason for a person whose mind has no complete grasp of the
Hereafter to be forgiving and tolerant. The rationale commanding him merely
suggests that this life is short and temporary, and thus one has “to make
the most of it.” Under such circumstances, personal interests should be
guarded resolutely and “a good lesson” should be given to those who are
a hindrance to the furtherance of these interests. This rationale further
commands that a person should never forget any misbehaviour. With a sense
of grievance, he should always occupy his mind with the remembrance of
unjust conduct towards him and make plans to take his revenge as soon
Nursing grievances almost becomes a habit with such a person;
sometimes a minor mistake is not forgotten for decades. Mostly, misbehaviour
is really quite minor; so minor that it is not recalled by the perpetrator.
Yet the "supposer" believes that a wicked intention lies behind
the mistake. In the ignorant society, the passion to take revenge often
results in undesirable incidents like injury or murder.
However, such an attitude does the most harm to the person
himself. He feels anxious and believes that the people around him feel
enmity towards him. He evaluates every incident in the light of this baseless
distrust. Devoting all his energy and skills to following the negative
inspirations of his soul, such a person eventually becomes bereft of creativity
and productivity. Moreover, he is set adrift by hatred and grief, and
totally loses his joy in life.
Nevertheless, the joy that forgiveness and tolerance gives
to man is incomparably greater than any satisfaction arising from being
in a furious state of mind, — the consequence of hatred and the desire
to take revenge. Forgiving people, contrary to how it is perceived in
the ignorant society, is a virtue and is conduct worth praising. In the
Qur’an, forgiveness is praised thus:
Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness,
and turn away from the ignorant. (Surah Al-Araf: 199)
Let evil be rewarded with like evil. But whoever
pardons and seeks reconcilement, his wage is the affair of Allah. He does
to love the wrong-doers. (Surah Al-Shura: 40)
Contrary to this gloomy life of ignorance, the principles
of the Qur’an offer a very “warm” environment. This is also shown to be
a characteristic of Heaven. Hence it reminds us that forgiveness is conduct
of the highest virtue:
And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of
injury. Beneath them will be rivers flowing, and they shall say: “Praise
be to Allah, who has guided us to this (felicity): never could we have
found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah: indeed it was
the truth, that the Messengers of our Lord brought to us.” And they shall
hear the cry: “Behold! the Garden before you! You
have been made its inheritors, for your deeds (of righteousness).” (Surah
Being Displeased and Bored
Those adhering to "moral principles" grounded in ignorance
have one attribute in common: being bored and depressed. Such people constantly
express complaints. What is more, those who have nothing wrong with them
try to find something they can complain about. In the ignorant society,
this has become an absolutely natural habit, like eating or drinking.
Besides, it is readily accepted by society since it is the habit of so
From the moment one wakes up in the morning, anything can be the subject
of complaint. Not having had a sound sleep, hot weather or the loud noise
neighbours make may well be the cause of that day’s complaint. Ignorant
people relentlessly complain about traffic jams, the grim life in a big
city, the ill-natured people all around, being tired, having a monotonous
life, bad neighbours, not being understood by other people and many other
things one can imagine. If there is no reason to complain, the habitual
complainant finds “pseudo-reasons” to complain; if a woman, she complains
because she is a woman. If she is dark, she expresses displeasure because
she is not blonde or blue-eyed.
There is no end to these reasons... this is a state of mind and people
display reluctance to change it.
In this state of mind, ignorant people never feel happy with anything.
Never staying positive about life and seeing the good side of things,
they never feel contented, even if they have the best of everything.
Though endowed with infinite favours, man feels unsatisfied
and shows ingratitude. This is mentioned in the Qur’an in the following
He gives you all you ask of Him, and if you reckoned
up the favours of Allah, you could not count them. Man is truly a wrong-doer,
an ingrate. (Surah Ibrahim: 34)
This primitive rationale stemming from ignorance dulls people's senses
and causes them to remain apathetic towards the favours surrounding them.
The moral principles of Islam, the system best meeting the spiritual
and physical needs of man, has just the contrary effect. A believer, perceiving
every detail of creation surrounding him as a kindness and gift of Allah,
unceasingly shows his gratitude to Him. He evaluates every incident positively
and finds the goodness in it. Furthermore, he devotes all his abilities
to refurbishment. Hence, he will be rewarded by Allah with more favours.
Allah states in the Qur’an that those who complain and thus show ungratefulness
to Him will be deprived of all these favours.
And remember! your Lord declared: “If you are grateful,
I will bestow more favours upon you. But if you show ingratitude, truly
My punishment shall be terrible indeed.” (Surah Ibrahim:7)
A person, who does not adhere to religious principles, believes that
every incident takes place by pure chance. He attributes everything to
“good luck” or “bad luck.” A desperate state of mind is the inevitable
consequence of this spirit; doubtless, “luck” is not something to rely
on or to invest hopes and dreams in.
This state of mind is actually a misfortune befalling the ignorant. This
is a natural consequence of not having a thorough grasp of the extent
of Allah’s Power and not understanding that everything is predestined
by Him. A believer never loses hope and always stays positive about life,
since he firmly believes there is no single incident that does not occur
under the control of Allah. There is one and only one Power who creates
everything, living and non-living, and who controls them every moment;
this is the Power of Allah. A person who is well aware of this fact understands
that nothing is impossible and that everything can change in a moment
by the Will of Allah. It is therefore very natural that a person, having
no faith in Allah and believing in “coincidences” cannot overcome despair.
This is actually a state of mind, a mere consequence of his standpoint.
Ignorant people are inherently prone to see a mundane event as a sinister
steamroller that would flatten their lives. Therefore, they are never
“on good terms with life.” They entirely abandon themselves to negative
convictions and conceive almost all circumstances to be ripe for tragedy.
They are disgruntled to an extreme degree. From the very beginning, they
approach problems with a defeatist attitude. Always carrying the conviction
that “nothing will be all right”, they believe their lives will be full
of misery. They always see their prospects as being grim. For instance,
they assume that they will not go on to a brilliant academic career. Even
if they manage to earn a graduate degree, their fear in this occasion
will be of not making a remarkable career. They are also apprehensive
about their marriages. They have deep misgivings about marriage, children,
their children’s education and all plans regarding the future. Their unfathomable
misgivings go to great lengths indeed. For instance, they give themselves
up to such thoughts as how once they die, they will be soon forgotten
and there will be no one visiting their graves. This desperate mood is
recounted in the Qur’an thus:
And when We make life pleasant for man, he turns
away and is averse; and when ill touches him he is in despair. (Surah
Man does not weary of asking for good (things),
but if adversity touches him, he gives up all hope (and) is lost in despair.
(Surah Fussilat: 49)
The ignorant are also known as disaster-mongers. They always predict
the worst and so lead other people also to despair. For instance, just
when their friends are about to board a plane, they talk about the dangers
of travelling by plane. Or, rather than wish others well in a new investment,
they express concern about the declining market situation and the chances
of being unsuccessful.
These are doubtless only a few examples. Yet what deserves mention here
is the system ignorance introduces: people who adhere to the morals of
ignorance not only suffer themselves but also become a major cause of
unrest for others. This is surely a predictable outcome of any system
rooted in ignorance. What is more interesting is that ignorant people
knowingly give their seal of approval to a system that creates trouble
and restlessness both in this world and the Hereafter.
The moral values of religion give man a much more elevated
standpoint, in no way comparable to this ignorant rationale. Knowing the
Power of Allah makes people hopeful and happy, both in this world and
after. That is due to the fact that they comply with the commandments
Do not despair of the solace from Allah. No one
despairs of solace from Allah except for the disbelievers. (Surah Yusuf:
The word “indifference” expresses the unconcerned and insensitive attitude
people assume towards events. Misled by ignorance, people conceive “indifference”
to be perfectly sound behaviour. After all, they have been born into a
society of ignorant people who habitually display this manner. However
an objective outlook, entirely purified of the misapprehensions of ignorance,
asserts just the contrary: being unconcerned is surely not as innocent
a standpoint as it sounds; the reality is, indifference is a state in
which the conscience is “numbed”.
A person who wants to have a clear conscience has to be ready at all
times to undertake any responsibility he meets. This is no doubt a burden
for those who have no faith in the Hereafter. Therefore, in order to avoid
having to carry out tasks, they make this state of mind the fundamental
philosophy of their existence. In such a state, the individual primarily
does not shoulder his own responsibilities. The people around him have
to do so on his behalf.
No less than the person himself, the people surrounding him
also suffer from this attitude. Such a person makes promises, but never
keeps them due to his inconsiderate attitude. Likewise, he borrows money,
but never gives it back; not because he has no money, but because he simply
forgets it. Sometimes his inconsiderate manners go to great lengths and
become a threat to his health as well as to the health of others. He neglects
taking a vital drug, for instance. Or, he leaves his toddler alone on
the beach, never considering that he may drown. One can observe thousands
of similar examples in daily life.
For instance, encountering a severely wounded person in a
traffic accident, what a person of clear conscience does is to take him
to the hospital, no matter how great a hurry he is in. However, a person
who remains indifferent just glances at such a scene and keeps on driving.
Or, he simply thinks that someone else would come and help the wounded
As we have seen, "being indifferent" is another
way of saying “lacking in conscience.” In such a mood, due to insensitiveness,
the indifferent person simply disregards many issues and does not suffer
the slightest pangs of conscience. Moreover, he inwardly thinks for himself
as the smartest man on earth. Such an attitude causes an irreplaceable
loss to one’s eternal life; he loses all the opportunities in this world
to attain the good pleasure of Allah.
A believer, on the other hand, who displays considerate behaviour,
does the best for his eternal life. His sensitivity also makes it possible
for him to lead a comfortable life in this world.
Attachment to this life and craving for possessions cause ignorant people
to go all out to attain their worldly goals. A person aiming to “make
the most of this life” surely shows no hesitation in displaying a greedy
attitude. Life is short, he thinks, and rather than engage in good deeds
to attain the eternal life, he believes it to be wise to make the most
of this life. With this goal in mind, he takes every opportunity to have
more of everything.
This structure, though obviously seen in all sections of
the ignorant society, is said to apply only to a particular section of
it. In this context, it is widely believed that only some people are prone
to greediness. Yet the facts are otherwise. Being one of the prevalent
characteristics of the morality of ignorance, greediness reveals the standpoint
of the people and the ignorant society in the clearest way.
Be they wealthy or poor, ignorant people, indoctrinated with a philosophy
based on worldly benefits, are driven by greed. For instance, at social
gatherings, and parties, they overeat and drink too much, even when they
are not hungry. At work, they make dozens of unnecessary telephone calls
just because they are free. Or, they browse for hours in shopping malls
and pricey boutiques to buy goods they don’t really need. This is indeed
a deep-rooted “disease” influencing relations even among immediate family
members. A woman, for instance, demands that her husband dedicate himself
ambitiously to his work, so that she can maintain her expensive tastes.
Ambition and greediness dominate society to the extent that it numbs the
ignorant into becoming burglars or swindlers.
This morality, making a man greedy for every kind of trifle, is perceived
by ignorant people as a sign of smartness. Yet it obviously degrades him.
Being sincere and honest is much easier and more enjoyable
than using low cunning to attain certain goals. A faithful person takes
the benefit of all the favours in this world in the best way. He knows
that all favours belong to Allah and that He rewards man unceasingly if
He Wills. Hence, he neither feels ambitious nor becomes greedy. Such an
attitude rewards man with nobility and respectability, and, more importantly,
the approval of Allah.
In the ignorant society one man cares for another only when he believes
that he is someone from whom he can derive benefits. Otherwise, there
is no reason why a person should devote all his energy to the care of
another. Occasionally, there may be some instances for his doing someone
a favour; yet ignorance demands that this should not be adopted as a principle.
Due to this viewpoint, ignorant people become inconsiderate and egoistic.
A deep sense of egoism is implanted in children by their parents when
they are still very young. Children refusing to share their favourite
toys, food or beloved family members is the initial sign of this attitude.
In the latter years of life this negative attitude is buttressed by inhumane
and thoughtless manners.
An egoistic person thinks only about himself. The needs and
problems of others never bother him. Sitting next to a hungry person,
he enjoys his meal, never thinking to share it. When he is sick, he looks
after himself very well, yet fails to care for some other person when
he is sick. He pretends not to see his friend dripping wet in the rain
on the street, thinking that seats of his car would get wet if he offered
him a lift. He just side-steps someone falling next to him.
Ignorant people also display inhumane behaviour when conditions
call for prompt action. For instance, they refuse to donate blood for
a wounded person who urgently needs it.
In religion, however, egoism, selfishness and inhumanity
are replaced by mercy and considerate behaviour. Whenever there is need,
a believer comes to help. A call for help is immediately responded to.
Nor does a believer ever give trouble to the opposite side. A striking
example of such conduct is recounted in the Qur’an as follows:
They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and
captives: ‘We feed you only out of desire for the
Face of Allah. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks. Truly
we fear from our Lord a glowering, calamitous Day.’ (Surah Al-Insan 8-10)
In the ignorant society, only the people who really make a nuisance of
themselves are referred to as “difficult people”. People who stir up a
dispute or provoke a conflict in daily life are wholly excluded from this
description. However, tolerant and seemingly quiet people also show intolerance
and become bad-tempered in particular situations. There are definitely
some people they dislike and whom they cannot get along with. However,
the rationale of ignorance accepts such an attitude to be perfectly “reasonable”
In family life, unceasing quarrels among family members are also regarded
as “ordinary.” Impudent manners are played down or even covered up by
using expressions like “these are family problems,” or “this happens in
every family.” The same mentality holds true for relations among friends.
They say, for instance, “just because we have a few disagreements, this
does not mean we are not friends”. There is constant disagreement between
teachers and students in school, bosses and employees, employees and other
employees at work. Drivers, for instance, dispute with other drivers in
traffic. There is dissension among neighbours, relatives, in brief, among
all those in social contact with each other.
Mostly these arguments rest on ridiculous bases. Even if
there is nothing to argue about, they “invent” one. For instance, a man
sees the absence of his favourite dish at supper as a good reason to argue
with his wife. A woman, unable to convince her husband to take a stroll,
may well pick a quarrel. Every moment of daily life is a source of unrest
and discussion for ignorant people; the noise neighbours make, a crying
child, a barking dog, a car occupying the private parking lot, a honking
horn, or a low increase in salary, in brief, everything...
These people who become tense over even minor situations do not see anything
wrong with this or the unbearable environment they live in. Sometimes
spending too much time together with a person becomes “ a good” reason
for an argument. They become bored with each other, and even their acceptable
wishes become upsetting. This relationship in time becomes intolerable.
What is more interesting is that they are well aware of the fact that
a change in circumstances and people would not alter this situation. Wherever
they go and whatever they do, intolerance is always a factor.
At this point the following question arises: “What are the underlying
reasons for this intolerance?”
In ignorant societies, all members believe that they are absolutely right.
Not displaying tolerance, they never think of being gentle to someone
who is harsh. Instead, they remain contentious and create more tension.
Yet the Qur’an is quite clear on this point and those adhering
to the Qur’an see what is right and immediately follow it. Consequently,
the “conflicting opinions of individuals” are replaced by “what is commanded
by Allah in the Qur’an.” The commandments of Allah provide solutions to
problems. Hence, rather than contradictions and problems, solutions are
inevitably forthcoming. One who is totally obedient to the moral principles
of the Qur’an respects and loves people. Adherence to the Qur’an demands
being thoughtful and respectful to the opinions of others. With such an
attitude, no trouble arises. While ignorant people constantly bother each
other over minor issues, believers live a life of adhering to the Qur’an.
Therefore, in a society of believers nothing happens to trouble people
and make them restless.
One of the characteristics of a person who sticks to the principles of
the morality of the Qur’an is that he does not “indulge in idle talk.”
No doubt, such an avoidance offers much gratification, both spiritual
and material. Rather than joining in a conversation that is pointless,
a believer spends his time on important and beneficial tasks. In that
way, he also avoids the numbing effect of idle talk.
On the contrary, ignorant people have the incorrigible habit
of “killing time” in long and unwise conversations. The underlying reason
for this irrational tendency is to free their minds from the serious problems
of daily life. However, the obstinate and arrogant attitude they assume
in conversations generally changes a frank talk into a heated argument.
Mostly, they argue for hours about a subject they know little about and
generally arrive at nothing conclusive. During these arguments they try
to impose their opinions on others. Sometimes they become so obstinate
that they don’t change this attitude even when they are talking to an
expert. In their “small” world, they know more than a doctor and are wiser
than a philosopher.
The comments they make in these arguments commonly rely on
assumptions or hearsay. This is also a characteristic for which people
are never taken to task in the ignorant society. These people are only
referred to as “a little bit stubborn” or “people of fixed ideas.” Furthermore,
these are thought to be personal characteristics particular to that person.
However, the fundamental reason for people getting into heated
arguments is the fact that their souls are inclined to contention. Allah
addresses this characteristic in the Qur’an:
“...but man is, in most things, contentious.” (Surah
People may argue to defend their standpoint. However, what is striking
about them is the agitated style they use in their arguments. The most
prominent feature is the tone of voice they use. Ignorant individuals
assume that if they shout loudly and drown out the voice of the other
speaker, they will emerge victorious. Therefore, they speak in a high-pitched
tone. In the charged atmosphere which this creates, contention also affects
the arguers physically. Their agitation becomes apparent from their blushing
or the swelling of the veins on the neck. Their faces turn wild with anger,
which gives an ugly expression to their features. They cannot keep calm;
they try to intimidate the other side. They interrupt each other, or rather,
speak at the same time, not paying attention to anyone. If one side remains
calm, then the other provokes him, trying to involve him in an argument.
They free themselves from this tense mood and find relief only when their
opponents give up.
Believers, on the other hand, never experience such a state of mind.
They acknowledge that there are always some people of superior understanding
and never insist on maintaining their convictions when they are told the
truth. If they are not knowledgeable about a subject, they simply refrain
from expressing opinions. Likewise, they shun baseless conversations and
take no notice of hearsay. With such an attitude, believers from the very
outset make a point of not engaging in an argument. Their talks never
reach a deadlock. They find complete relief and peace in providing solutions
to problems, and resolving conflicts. If they don’t have any information
about an issue, rather than stating their opinion and involving themselves
in an argument, they prefer to gather information in order to arrive at
a healthy conclusion. This is also what is advised by Allah in the Qur’an:
…and over every lord of knowledge there is one
more knowing... (Surah Yusuf: 76)
Are those who know the equal of those who do not?
But only men of understanding will pay heed. (Surah Al-Zumar: 9)
Hypocrisy and Pretension
In the ignorant society, what bothers people most is the hypocritical
and insincere type of behaviour displayed. What is interesting, however,
is the fact that those who complain about it are likewise hypocrites themselves.
This is surely a clear manifestation of the cruelty of the system created
by the ignorant.
Hypocrisy is displaying two separate characters; one displayed outwardly
and the other hidden inside. The one for the outer world, embodies the
bogus aspects of the character artificially shown to others. The inner
one harbours the deep, real thoughts. Surprisingly, in the ignorant society,
everybody knows this fact and acknowledges it. Allah relates one of the
features of hypocrites in the Qur’an:
…They speak with their tongues that which is not
in their hearts. (Surah Al-Fath: 11)
Nevertheless, everybody knows when and where people reveal their true
opinions. While gossiping, for instance, people express their sincere
thoughts about others. However, even at that moment people do not conduct
themselves completely honestly since they still hide their inner thoughts
about the person they are speaking to at that moment. Most probably, their
personal opinion about that person will be later disclosed to somebody
Similarly, ignorant people reveal their inner thoughts when they believe
their interests are at stake. For instance, people cannot help hiding
their true feelings when they are furiously arguing with somebody.
Hypocrites also continuously deceive others and never conduct
themselves honestly in order to hide their real faces and inner thoughts.
The weapon they often employ for this end is pretension. Rather than being
sincere and being the way they are, they try to give an imitation of sincerity.
Yet since they fail to do this also, they conduct themselves in a wholly
It is evident that in an environment where people are pretentious,
true love and respect can never be attained. Ignorant people are also
aware of this fact and quite disturbed by it, yet, because of their crude
way of thinking, they still foster this system. It is really difficult
and troublesome for a person to try to act like someone else believing
in a totally different system and set of values.
Being honest and conducting oneself as a “single” person,
both deep inside and outwardly, brings great relief to the individual
who then becomes reliable and truthful, respected and loved by everybody.
Honesty and truthfulness are the rewards of the morality of Islam to the
human soul. Complying with the commandments of Allah brings relief and
peace of mind, since one does not have to behave like something one is
not. It eliminates the superstitions of ignorance and offers an easy life
to believers. Contrary to the gloomy environments of ignorance, Islam
makes it possible to have sincere and warm relations and hence a life
to be content with.
Rather than negative behaviour that should be eliminated, mocking is
considered a way to have fun or to have a good time in the society of
ignorance. Therefore, it is socially acceptable and never considered a
misdeed. The members of the ignorant society assume that they can attain
superiority by degrading others.
People mock others not only by words but also by “sophisticated”
methods like gestures, mimicry, body language or other covert ways of
How these sophisticated methods are transferred from one
generation to another and how every member of the ignorant society is
knowledgeable about them remains indeed a mystery. There is neither a
book nor a school to instruct youngsters about these “refined” ways to
mock. Yet everybody knows what meanings lie behind a piece of mimicry
or a gesture. No one openly speaks about mockery, although it is widely
known and insidiously used.
In the ignorant society, everything can be a subject of mockery.
There is no limit to it. Disabled people, the mispronunciation of a word,
the physical make-up of an individual or even sneezing and sobbing can
be made a mockery of. According to the ignorant society stumbling and
falling is something to laugh at for hours on end. A person who is laughed
at for this reason feels humiliated. For this reason, even if it hurts
a lot, he pretends that it does not hurt.. Furthermore, to imply that
he is not bothered by being mocked, he too laughs at himself.
People always feel anxiety about the possibility of looking
ridiculous because of their failures or appearance. For instance, someone
stammering does not feel comfortable even talking to his closest friend.
Therefore, he mostly remains quiet. In such an environment, everyone has
to be cautious about being ridiculed.
Mocking is not specific to a particular section of society,
however. It is widespread in high society, in ghettos, at work, in schools,
in brief, everywhere where the "moral values" of ignorance are
prevalent. It does not change according to culture or the level of civilisation.
Quite conclusively, it makes life troublesome with the individual required
at every moment to pay attention and make efforts to avoid being mocked.
People adopting the moral values of the Qur’an, however,
never annoy others. Believers know that weaknesses are specially created
for human beings by Allah. This fact establishes the grounds of communication
among people. Accordingly, instead of contempt, mercy is shown to the
disabled, to sufferers or to anybody who has a weakness. Allah enjoins
careful attention to this fact in the following verse:
O you who believe! Let not a man deride another
man who may be better than he (is), let not a woman deride another woman
who may be better than she is; neither defame one another, nor insult
one another by nicknames. It is an evil thing to be called by a bad name
after embracing the true faith. Those who do not repent are evil-doers.
(Surah Al-Hujraat: 11)
What deserves specific mention here is that being in the mood to make
fun of everything may well distract a person’s attention from religion,
death or the Day of Judgment. Of the sceptics who assume the same attitude
the Quran says:
“‘What!’ they say. ‘When we are turned to bones
and dust, shall we be restored to life?' Say: ‘You shall, whether you
turn to stone or iron, or any other substance which you may think unlikely
to be given life.' Then they will say: ‘Who shall bring us back (to life)?
Say: ‘He Who created you at first.’ Then they will shake their heads at
you, and say: ‘When will this be?’ Say: ‘It will perhaps be soon.’"
(Surah Al-Isra: 49-51)
A person who mocks people should, however, keep in mind that he will
face a bitter end for all eternity:
Then evil was the consequence to those who dealt
in evil, because they denied the revelations of Allah and made a mockery
of them. (Surah Al-Rum: 10)
Emotionalism and Being Romantic
In the ignorant society, emotionalism and being romantic are recognised
to be essentially humane behaviour and a reality of life. People who are
not emotional are regarded as ruthless and somewhat odd. Being romantic
is associated with a certain idealized image tinged with magic and beauty.
Yet emotionalism is a state in which a person remains completely under
the influence of his emotions and surrenders himself entirely to his instincts.
Bereft of thinking faculties, such a person fails to make sound judgements.
Nobody, not even he himself, can predict how his emotions will affect
his decisions. An emotional person is simply at the mercy of his feelings.
During the course of events, he fails to take into consideration the latter
stages or the detrimental consequences of a decision and he becomes aware
of his mistakes only when everything is over and done with. He takes sudden
and thoughtless action. His mood also changes abruptly; he feels plunged
into gloom or despair at one moment, while he is seized by jealousy at
another. He feels easily offended and becomes furious. His life is like
This is actually an attitude distressing to those who seek emotional
satisfaction in their relations. Not knowing what kind of moods other
people experience, they always wait for a “good time” to communicate.
In this way, their life is spent in meeting the emotional expectations
of others. Meanwhile, they expect the same from others. Though they dislike
the trouble it gives, to one’s astonishment, ignorant people enjoy the
grief and gloomy moods brought by emotionalism.
Furthermore, they find a life bereft of emotionalism “too monotonous
and gloomy to live.” This is actually a pretext to cover up their unsound
behaviour, and to make this behaviour socially acceptable.
This emotional state of mind inevitably creates “mentally
unstable” people. Being constantly under the influence of melancholy,
nothing gives them pleasure. In an environment where everybody has something
to enjoy, they inevitably find something to grieve over. Sometimes they
try to further intensify their grief by imaginary scenarios made up in
their own minds. For this reason, even though they try to look good, they
feel an unceasing restlessness deep inside. Rather than living in peace,
they live in trouble and anguish.
In a romantic world, people remain under the influence of
events for a prolonged period of time. For instance, they cannot easily
escape from the influence of the bad incidents they encounter, and are
not emotionally strong enough to eliminate their negative effects. Rather,
they find such incidents to be a good reason to become emotional.
Wisdom is the only basis on which to take pleasure from life,
to succeed and lead a life in peace. This understanding is only attained
by complying with the commandments of Allah. Adherence to the Qur’an eliminates
emotionalism and provides a positive perspective enabling man to resolve
problems rather than exaggerating and turning them into a source of trouble.
The urge to shed tears is one of the troubles emotionalism brings. This
urge rests on no rational grounds, however. There is simply no reason
for it. Ignorant people, especially women, believe that crying is simply
a fundamental need like eating, drinking or sleeping. The same superstition
maintains that if a person does not do so, he is likely to develop various
diseases out of grief and trouble. Therefore, ignorant people rely on
weeping as a relief provider.
Over and above this, the negative and desperate outlook of
ignorant people is a factor prompting them to cry. With this outlook,
they always find a reason to do so. Rather than solve problems or eliminate
the likely causes that may lead one to grief, they prefer only to weep.
They have a strong interest in letting themselves go and like to have
this experience whenever they find a "proper" reason.
This belief is held by all sections of the ignorant society,
especially by women, due to their intensive conditioning by society. In
most cultures, the image of the male is associated with “not crying”.
Contrary to this image, women are encouraged to cry. It is an ignorant
conviction maintain that since women are physically weaker than men, they
should also be weak spiritually. Therefore, ignorant people expect a woman
to be strongly influenced by events and to remain so for a prolonged period
of time. Women, in turn, readily adopt such a model and show no objection
to such inculcation by society.
Crying is never perceived as a sign of helplessness or a
weak-willed personality in the ignorant society. Nobody blames a person
for breaking down. Rather, in daily life people are encouraged to relieve
their feelings in this way by TV-series, movies and magazines. People
feel sympathy for people in dramatic scenes who show their happiness,
love and pain by shedding tears.
Crying is so common in the ignorant society that people will indulge
in it, even for unnecessary things. They do cry while listening to the
news on TV or watching a dramatic movie. They even cry when they are happy.
At graduation ceremonies, weddings etc. it has become almost conventional
People who are “instructed” about the benefits of crying very soon realise
that it is also a strong weapon to use in particular situations. Indeed,
it is an insincere way of attaining goals that cannot be otherwise accomplished.
That is because crying speaks directly to the emotions and evokes the
feelings of mercy in the ignorant society. Therefore it is an efficient
method of abusing the feelings of other people. It is an established fact
that when crying is involved, ignorant people mostly accept proposals
they would normally decline.
From experience, “criers” become well aware of the benefits
this behaviour offers. Starting from early childhood, each member of the
ignorant society resorts to it maybe hundreds of times and each time he
contrives to get what he wants. Such experience gives an unyielding determination
to use this weapon; to justify a particular kind of behaviour, to seem
innocent, sincere etc., or sometimes just to attract attention.
However, the Qur’an relates that crying is a misfortune befalling
man rather than a favour given to him. This is further explained in the
Let them laugh a little: much will they weep in
recompense for the (evil) that they do. (Surah Al-Tawba: 82)
In the Qur’an it is clearly stated that the people of Hell will not be
able to attain happiness, peace and quietness even if they want to. Therefore,
it is surely not wise to emulate the people of Hell in this world. In
many sections of the Qur’an, it is repeated that wretchedness is only
an attribute of ignorant people:
The admonition will be received by those who fear
Allah, but it will be avoided by those most unfortunate ones who will
enter the great Fire. (Surah Al-Ala: 10-11)
Therefore, I have warned you of the flaming Fire,
which only the most wretched must endure. (Surah Al-Lail: 14-15)
On the day when it comes, (the Day of Resumation),
no soul will speak except by His permission; some among them will be wretched,
others glad.(Surah Hud: 105)
One of the manifestations of emotionalism is being offended easily. As
the word “emotionalism” suggests, the factors dominating the behaviour
of a highly strung person are his feelings. When the emotions rule, no
room remains for wisdom. In this case, it becomes almost impossible for
the emotional individual to deal with issues with a sound rationale. This
is actually the reason for being easily offended.
A person perceiving events with an irrational bent of mind assumes everything
to “revolve around himself.” He assumes that everyone talks about him
and makes plans against him. This tendency which especially governs the
behaviour of all members of the ignorant society becomes almost an obsession
for some. As a person grows old this tendency becomes remarkably observable.
Related or unrelated, elderly people take everything as an offence. Furthermore,
they generate imaginary scenarios; they may be cared for very well, but
they assume that their children do not love them and want to send them
to a nursing home. They further presume that they are perceived as a burden
by their children.
This is, in fact, a natural outcome of the insecure environment
the morals of ignorance creates. The way the members of the ignorant society
conduct themselves can indeed be easily perceived as offensive. Merciless,
hypocritical and vindictive behaviour is surely very disturbing, especially
when one considers the probability that such behaviour may be intentional.
Yet these explanations do not justify the misconduct of being easily offended.
However, this is important in the sense that it reveals the rotten base
the morals of ignorance rest upon. An elderly person staying with his
son and grandchildren feels offended, but there are surely reasons why
he feels so. Old people are generally perceived as a burden in the house
and disliked. However these feelings are only implied, and never directly
Once ignorant people adopt this emotional character, they live with it
until they die. Moreover, they suffer greatly from the negative side of
this character. In an environment where everybody treats each other in
an intimate and friendly manner, those who are offended easily never live
in real happiness and peace. When all others are enjoying themselves,
they sit all alone in a corner.
As we have seen, every aspect of ignorance creates dreadful environments.
On the other hand, in adherence to the Qur’an, people develop
a “transparent” character. In other words, they say what they think. If
there is something they dislike, they express it explicitly and never
try to imply it with looks, gestures or attitude. Besides, since they
are surrounded with people who are also endowed with these morals, nobody
feels offended by the attitude of others. In the Qur’an, Allah commands
man to “enjoin right conduct and forbid evil.” Such an approach completely
eliminates undesirable situations likely to result from emotionalism.
Ignorant people very frequently tell lies. Almost all social relations
are based on deceit.
An honest and sincere person never lowers himself to tell
lies. On the other hand, a person who establishes his life on the rules
introduced by a hypocritical system must inevitably employ dishonest methods
to attain success. Lying is one of these dishonest methods which is extensively
employed. Once a person believes it to be a workable method, he starts
to resort to it constantly and almost makes a lifestyle out of it. His
tongue and mind get quite used to the idea of lying, so that he indulges
in this practice whenever he faces a tough problem. In the ignorant society
this is a habit which meets with societal approval, as long as it does
not have detrimental consequences. Even telling lies to one’s closest
friend is regarded as normal. Only when these lies start to pose a threat
to material or spiritual well-being and especially personal interests,
do sufferers begin to express their distaste for it. In brief, though
lying is extensively employed, it also causes grave suffering in the ignorant
society. Yet, the suffering it will cause in the Hereafter will be much
Allah warns man against this mischief by His injunction: “shun
lying speech.”(Surah al-Hajj: 30). He explains the nature of people
who tell lies in another verse:
“Only they invent falsehood who do not believe
Allah’s revelations, and (only) they are the liars.” (Surah Al-Nahl: 105)
In the society of believers, however, any grounds for lying are completely
eliminated. For instance ignorant people lie because they simply want
to cover up their mistakes or indiscretion or just to make a good impression
on others. They tell lies in order to deceive people to gain benefits,
in brief to attain any kind of worldly gain. A believer, on the other
hand, corrects his mistakes and makes up for them rather then trying to
cover them up. He does not develop friendship with people whom he dislikes.
His friends are only those who seek the good pleasure of Allah and hence
conduct themselves honestly and responsibly towards Allah. Therefore,
there are no grounds whatsoever for a believer to lie. He does not approach
people in expectation of benefits. He is frank about his life; he actually
has nothing to hide and hence does not feel the necessity to lie. Therefore,
a believer lives in the comfort of being truthful all through his life.
In order to achieve a goal, ignorant people will stoop to anything, even
though they are aware that it is morally wrong. This is basically the
reason why shallow manners are quite common. Contrary to the prevalent
belief that shallow manners are particular to a certain section of society,
they commonly match the behaviour of all members of the ignorant society.
People generally believe that such behaviour is specific to uncultured,
uneducated people. However, these manners are the consequence of one fundamental
flaw in reasoning. Therefore, regardless of intelligence, culture or education,
all people adhering to the principles of ignorance display these manners.
Shallow manners, in reality, signal all sorts of attitudes
and behaviour stemming from the morals of ignorance. Once having fallen
to this level, the individual shows a natural tendency to demonstrate
all the primitive behaviour of ignorance. Provided that misconduct serves
his purposes well, a person coming from the ignorant society does not
show the slightest hesitation about telling lies, showing greediness,
or being jealous or selfish. The main reason prompting the ignorant person
to conduct himself so meanly is the fact that, in pursuit of worldly gains,
he all too quickly allows himself to leave off right and noble behaviour
and embrace the low principles of ignorance all too quickly.
Like all characteristics of ignorance, shallow manners are
also indoctrinated in early childhood years. “Don’t share your candy with
other children”, or “don’t trust even your father” are the typical pieces
of advice parents give to their children when they are still very young.
Given such an outlook, ignorant people inevitably base their moral principles
on superficial reasoning utterly bereft of noble and virtuous values.
Later in life they demonstrate "improved" versions of this mean
behaviour which is lacking in breadth of thought.
For instance, in business life, a company director who is
always mean to his subordinates — who when he gives orders, shouts at
the employees, displays a totally different character when the owner of
the company visits the office. When the boss arrives, the director suddenly
becomes a “poor fellow”, ready to obey any order given by his boss. Meanwhile,
he becomes kind towards his subordinates. He does anything to flatter
his boss. To this end, he dares to do inconceivable things. Such people
surely take the risk of being degraded or humiliated in society. Yet,
they never feel offended.
It is interesting that these people are well-educated and
have college degrees. Yet the desire to be promoted makes them conduct
themselves in such a degrading manner. They believe that this is a reality
of life. Although they know that it is a mean way of conducting oneself,
they see it as an essential part of “getting promotion in business life.”
Surely it is not their bosses they respect but their money and status.
The same approach is observed also at home. Let’s take the
attitude of ignorant people towards “unwanted” visitors as an example.
A visit by such an unwanted friend is avoided by lies on the telephone.
If a visitor comes unannounced, they just remain still in the house, making
no noise, waiting for him to leave. They see playing host to a guest as
a burden and express the distaste they feel for it openly. Despite all
efforts to the contrary, if they still have to entertain someone, they
start talking behind his back as soon as he leaves. They know full well
that it is immoral to talk as an intimate friend to someone’s face and
then to gossip behind his back, yet they cannot help indulging in such
In daily life, various other examples can be given pertaining
to this shallow rationale. It is, for instance, ordinary behaviour for
ignorant people to rush into a bus, pushing aside other people, to get
the seat next to the window. Or in a bus they do not give up their seats
to old or sick people who have to travel standing. Though they are not
hungry and can afford good food, they greedily eat something just because
it is being distributed free. Similarly, in the shopping malls, where
free samples of goods are distributed, they wait in queues several times
to get more samples. Worse, they make it a habit to jump a queue. They
think such behaviour is a sign of smartness and label as 'stupid' those
who are decent enough not to behave in this worthless manner.
Surely, what they call “smartness” is merely being selfish
and protecting their own interests. The people they call “stupid”, on
the other hand, are those noble people who do not allow themselves become
A person adhering to the moral principles presented by the
Qur’an conducts himself in the most honourable way. No matter how compelling
the conditions may be, he never stoops to anything degrading to himself
or to others.
One striking feature of all sections of the ignorant society, from the
people of the ghettos to the members of high society, is the fact that
they yearn for things they cannot attain. In contradiction to the commonly
held view, such yearning is not a feature peculiar to specific sections
Rather, it is an attribute prevalent in all social strata. However, finding
this to be somewhat degrading, people generally avoid acknowledging that
they have a tendency to yearn for things they cannot have and simply attribute
this shortcoming to others.
As with every other issue, the ideal model is determined not by the people
themselves but by the ignorant society. The features that are essential
to attain a certain level of “distinction” in the society are well known
to everybody: to be well-educated, to be fluent in a few foreign languages,
to travel abroad frequently, to go to popular cafes or restaurants, to
be fashion-conscious, to possess luxury cars and to have prestigious credit
cards. These are the factors that make you appear to be someone of importance
in society. This is also the way of living ignorant people yearn for.
(Incidentally, we need hardly mention that being well-educated and the
ability to speak a few foreign languages are personal assets. Yet, it
is a mistake to use one's capabilities simply to show off.)
For the majority of people, however, the attainment of a
high standard life-style is inconceivable. This is actually the point
where yearning for the lives of other people starts. Those unable to attain
such a life try to earn respect among those better endowed by at least
pretending to be like them.
Those who follow the guidance of the Qur’an, however, are aware
that all the things, everything people yearn for in this life are not
perpetual. This fact, which will be grasped by some people only when they
attain the Hereafter, is well understood by believers. Therefore believers
never yearn for a lifestyle other than that projected as being good by
the Qur’an. Even if they are the wealthiest or the wisest people in the
world, they do not use their gifts to impress others. Knowing that wealth
and power are given by Allah as gifts, they put these things to good use
and feel grateful to their Creator. Allah, in the following verse, makes
it clear that the only things of value in the presence of Allah is the
fear of Allah.
O mankind! We have created you male and female,
and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. The
noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah is
All-Knowing and Aware. (Surah Al-Hujraat: 13)