The common aim that drives societies of ignorance is to maximize the pleasures of this earthly life. No matter where you go in this world, you will find that each member of the societies of ignorance—rich or poor, villager or city-dweller, young or old—does not waver in the pursuit of this goal. Because they are of the corrupt opinion that life is limited by death, they seek to derive maximum enjoyment of this brief and fleeting existence.
This notion, of course, is completely false. The life of this world has been created to test us. Allah has created this world to be particularly appealing to human beings by endowing it with many blessings. Few realize that these blessings are from Allah, and that they are fleeting. They give thanks for them, because their aim in this life is to do the good that will earn Allah’s favor, and, ultimately, eternal life. Others forget that these blessings derive from Allah; deceived by these illusory adornments, they put any thought of the Afterlife out of their minds.
Therefore, a society of ignorance is composed of individuals that choose the second alternative, placing all their hopes in this life alone. The life of this world to come does not figure in any of their future plans. Allah revealed the reason for their choice in the Qur’an:
That is because they prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter and because Allah does not guide disbelieving people. (Surat an-Nahl, 107)
As related in this verse, the life of this world deceives them by appearing more pleasant than it actually is. All that Allah has created as a blessing and a test for human beings deceive the ignorant who forget their responsibilities to Him, and lose themselves in this life.
That which lures the ignorant into heedlessness, as they indulge their various passions, is obvious. They want to live a “good life,” possessing wealth, respect, status, a good marriage and successful children, and numerous similar things the ignorant prefer to eternal life.
Of course, all such blessings are desirable and legitimate things that one can possess in this world. But, in this regard, the ignorant fall into great error. They forget that all such blessings belong only to Allah, and that Allah has granted them for the purpose of showing gratitude towards Him; they also forget that what is at stake is the Afterlife.
The fact that the ignorant fail to recognize this reality causes that ultimately their lives are dull and ordinary. Many people in the world are in pursuit of these several main ideals. They may often compromise basic moral principles in order to rise above others, earn more money or take greater advantage of what the world has to offer. But, these things are not the “good life” they think it is; on the contrary, it causes them anxiety. No matter how much they are blessed with, those who have corrupted themselves by placing excessive value on this life can never experience the pleasure they had hoped to gain. The further pursuit of more and more, prevents them from enjoying what they have come to possess. Becoming overly selfish about that which they possess, they are never satisfied with what they have.
From their excessive ambition to reap greater and greater profits, they begin to show signs of ill health and early aging. Finally, they confront death and encounter the next world, where, contrary to the life of this world, wealth, status and renown are of no value, and where rewards are tabulated according to one’s efforts to earn Allah’s favor. The great sorrow of those who had neglected Allah during their time in this world, when they are confronted with this reality, is related in the Qur’an:
It may be that those who are disbelievers will wish that they had been Muslims. Leave them to eat and enjoy themselves. Let false hope divert them. They will soon know. (Surat al-Hijr, 2-3)2012-01-21 14:33:26