The Incorrect Conception of Islam in Ignorantism
The concept of religion is exceedingly misunderstood in many countries today. There is an enormous difference between the religious moral values revealed by Allah in the Qur'an and those perceived by society.
The most obvious indication is the way that besides referring to people's religion, one may also speak of their world view, ideology, philosophy of life or lifestyle. According to this corrupt logic, a person may be a member of any religion—a Muslim, for example—but there is no contradiction in their also adopting a philosophy of life or world view that is outside Islam. Being Muslims is concerned with their beliefs, but there are also the facts of life.
By far the greater part of the members of the Religion of the Ignorant with this false rationale do not openly deny the true religion. On the contrary, they all claim to be good Muslims, but they do not much appreciate certain rules of Islam according to their unhealthy mindset, and claim these need to be changed. No doubt this is a very perverted and distorted claim. The religion revealed in the Qur'an is the last true religion. It is exalted far above any imperfections. They accept those aspects of the religious moral values that do not run contrary to their own interests. While doing so, they still maintain that they are good Muslims. The fact is, though, that what they're doing does not represent the sincere features described in the Qur'an. In one sense, they are engaged in disbelief.
This situation is described in the Qur'an the example of those who "believe in one part of the Book and reject the other." (Surat al-Baqara, 85)
Here we need to accurately determine why members of the Religion of the Ignorant accept Islam only partially, and why this is so characteristic of unbelievers. Someone turns to Islam and lives by it because of his or her acceptance of Allah and submission to Him. If Islam is adopted for other reasons, then that cannot be true faith. The hypocrites—a human community mentioned in the Qur'an—is the best example of this. They appear to have accepted Islam and live the same way that Muslims live, but their aim is not to obtain Allah's approval but, in their own eyes, to put on a show for others. They calculate that by accepting Islam, they will obtain a better status and achieve certain advantages. These people are described thus in the Qur'an:
Among the people there are some who say, "We believe in Allah and the Last Day," when they are not believers. They think they deceive Allah and those who believe. They deceive no one but themselves but they are not aware of it. (Surat al-Baqara, 8-9)
The hypocrites are an example of why adopting Islam for any other reason than Allah's approval is worthless. In any case, these people do not practice all the stipulations of Islam, avoiding those observances that involve making sacrifices.
Ignorantists are in a similar position. They have accepted Islam not because they believe in Allah and seek His approval. Their reason for their accepting Islam is the logic of abiding by one's forefathers, one of the basic characteristics of the unbelievers. They regard their ancestors as guides. Their real religion is made up of the superstitious rules handed down from them. They accept Islam since they regard it as a part of those rules. In addition, they also accept many non-Islamic teachings inherited from their forefathers and accept only those aspects of Islam that do not conflict with their own interests. This shows that they do not possess sincere faith. They regard Islam as a cultural, traditional component of the nation they say they belong to.
Since they regard Islam as a part of the rules handed down from their ancestors, they also have no fear of Allah, the very basis of Islam. The religious expressions they use are generally the same as those in the Qur'an. They refer to Allah, faith, Paradise and Hell, fasting, and the need to pray five times a day. Yet since they fail to approach these with the sensitive conscience that fear of Allah brings with it, they never listen and fulfill. In the description of believers in the Qur'an, it is revealed that they are most sensitive to remembering Allah and His verses:
The believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, whose faith is increased when His signs are recited to them, and who put their trust in their Lord. (Surat al-Anfal, 2)
In contrast, members of the Religion of the Ignorant are unaffected by remembering Allah, in other words they have no awe of Him. They attest to Allah and the Hereafter only in words, and their hearts are entirely empty. They do not live by the moral values of the Qur'an. These characteristics are emphasized in various verses of the Qur'an:
Say: "To whom does the Earth belong, and everyone in it, if you have any knowledge?" They will say: "To Allah." Say: "So will you not pay heed?" Say: "Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Mighty Throne?" They will say: "Allah." Say: "So will you not pay heed?" Say: "In Whose hand is the dominion over everything, He Who gives protection and from Whom no protection can be given, if you have any knowledge?" They will say: "Allah's." Say: "So how have you been bewitched?" The fact is that We have given them the truth and they are liars. (Surat al-Muminun, 84-90)
If you ask them, "Who sends down water from the sky, bringing the earth back to life again after it was dead?" they will say, "Allah." Say: "Praise be to Allah." But most of them do not use their intellect. (Surat al-'Ankabut, 63)
Adherents of Ignorantism are unaffected by the existence of Allah and are easily able to carry on living in violation of His commandments because they lack the reason with which to comprehend the meaning of what they attest to. They do not ponder on Allah's might and power and appreciate them in the way they should. They have certainly not thought in a conscious manner or displayed the behavior of a believer, who are described in the verse as:
...those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the Earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surah Al 'Imran, 191)
The prayers of many who live by Ignorantism are different from that of the prayers of believers..Instead of praying for greater fear of Allah and for the continuation of their observances and faith, they pray Him only for matters such as to remedy their difficulties, to be able to buy a better car, or to be able to marry the boy or girl they love. Whenever they land in trouble—for example, when they are seriously ill or facing a major problem—they pray to Allah, but forget Him (Surely Allah is beyond that!) again as soon as that problem is resolved, and again begin ascribing partners to Him. This state of mind has been revealed in the Qur'an:
Any blessing you have is from Allah. Then when harm touches you, it is to Him you cry for help. But when He removes the harm from you, a group of you associate others with their Lord, ungrateful for what We have given them. Enjoy yourselves. You will soon know! (Surat an-Nahl, 53-55)
Believers, on the other hand, pray to attain Allah's good pleasure, mercy and Paradise. They humbly and secretly call on Allah and ask for profound faith. Aware that Allah answers prayers, they consider prayer as a way to draw closer to Allah. For members of Ignorantism, on the other hand, it is important that religious observances be carried out visibly. For that reason, they tell stories to other people about how scrupulous they are in performing their five daily prayers, even though they do not perform them at all when they are alone. Although they should perform their prayers because they fear Allah and hope for His mercy, actually they perform them to show off and seek others' approval. Allah says the following in the Qur'an about those who perform their observances for purposes of show:
So woe to those who perform prayer, and are forgetful of their prayer, those who show off. (Surat al-Ma'un, 4-6)
As we have seen, the most distinct aspect of the Religion of the Ignorant is that despite being totally at odds with the essence of Islam and the Qur'an, most of its adherents imagine themselves to be true believers. That is because Ignorantism—in contrast to the Qur'an—sets out in detail the kind of religious conception a person will have and what they will practice, the kind of belief in Allah they will possess, and what their ethical conception must be. The beliefs and observances of this corrupt religion are totally different from those of a true believer. Indeed, in many regards they are the exact opposite.
One of the major deceptions of the Religion of the Ignorant is making people believe they are Muslim, while adopting a religion that is actually far removed from Islam. Those who adopt the rules, beliefs and ethics of Ignorantism are even unaware that the Religion of the Ignorant is their actual religion. Such people live by a false religion adorned and set in front of them in accordance with their passions and weaknesses by satan—but they are completely unaware of the fact.
This false religion has a deviant perspective that feels no proper fear of Allah but accepts His existence, according to its own preconditions. Allah's title of the Creator is accepted, but His infinite Power and Might over His creations are ignored. They admit that it is Allah Who will save a person in an instant or cure them of a hopeless disease, and that He will determine the moment of their death. Beyond that, however, that everything in daily life, including the stock exchange, technology, scientific research, trade and politics, occurs by the will of Allah is denied. In this deviant belief, it is believed that here, it is human power, reason and intervention that apply. Allah is regarded as a deity who created only various natural phenomena, as was the case in primitive beliefs. (Surely Allah is beyond that!) According to that distorted mentality, it is Allah Who causes the wind to blow, storms to arise and earthquakes to strike. But it is infinite human knowledge that makes jet planes, spacecraft, and nuclear power stations! This is very definitely an extremely deviant outlook which is incompatible with the Qur'an. Every detail in the universe, every moment of one's life, everything, including research by NASA or an experiment carried out at CERN, a new piece of information or a discovery, in brief every moment and detail, occurs by Allah's will and His Superior Might, and because He so wills.
According to this perverted belief system, there are certain places where Allah observes human beings. When performing such observances as fasting or praying, one believes one is in the Sight of Allah. But they harbor an extremely deviant and unreal belief asserting that apart from that, there are times when Allah does not see or hear. (Surely Allah is beyond that!) There is therefore a superstitious idea that falsehoods, gossip and the like can be hidden from Allah. The erroneous nature of this belief is revealed in the Qur'an:
Do you not see that Allah knows what is in the heavens and on the earth? Three men cannot confer together secretly without Him being the fourth of them, or five without Him being the sixth of them, or fewer than that or more without Him being with them wherever they are. Then He will inform them on the Day of Rising of what they did. Allah has knowledge of all things. (Surat al-Mujadala, 7)
The keys of the Unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him. He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness of the Earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a Clear Book. (Surat al-An'am, 59)
[He is] the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, the Most Great, the High-Exalted. It makes no difference whether you keep secret what you say or voice it out loud, whether you hide in the night or go out in the day. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 9-10)
Since members of Ignorantism do not fear Allah as they ought, they try to distort the concepts of religious moral values in ways appropriate to their own interests. Instead of the one described in the Qur'an, they interpret the concept of being a Muslim in a distorted way. However, this is a vain endeavor, and no matter what they may be, the claims these people make or assert are invalid both in this world and the Hereafter. For example, statements such as "I will perform my daily prayers in due course. I do no harm to anyone. I am not a murderer or a thief. I read, I have a good job, I am successful. Why should I go to Hell?" have no place in Islam, but can frequently be heard uttered by adherents of the Religion of the Ignorant. These people think that being a Muslim consists of not wronging anyone. They fail to understand that the foundation of the true religion is unconditional obedience to Allah, and are deceiving themselves. These people think that it is sufficient to please Allah by giving small amounts of money to beggars or getting on well with their neighbors, and seek to ignore hundreds of the stipulations of the Qur'an. Sometimes they try to offer allegedly logical explanations for this insincerity. On the subject of some stipulations in the Qur'an, they try to avoid their religious observances by means of distorted logic, along the lines of "The pace of life is very fast, so I have no time for prayer," or "People nowadays are different and have to make necessary concessions regarding honesty, humility and compassion." These people, who put forward willful misinterpretations of the verses of the Qur'an are in the following position:
Say: "Do you presume to teach Allah your religion when Allah knows everything in the heavens and everything in the earth? Allah has knowledge of all things."(Surat al-Hujurat, 16)
Neither do members of Ignorantism possess a true belief in the Hereafter. As with many provisions of the religion, they accept the Hereafter in words, but do not truly believe in it. In the Qur'an, however, the final end awaiting people with such deviant rationale is described thus:
Man never tires of praying for the good and if evil touches him, he despairs and loses hope. But if We let him taste mercy from Us after he has suffered hardship, then he says, "This is my due. I do not think that the Hour is going to come. And if I am returned to my Lord, I will definitely find the best reward with Him." But We will inform those who disbelieve of what they did and make them suffer a ruthless punishment. (Surah Fussilat, 49-50)
There is a group of people living by the religion of Ignorantism who base their faith on hearsay. They consider it permissible to commit all kinds of unlawful deeds and practices in this world, assuming that they will still be able to enter Paradise after being punished in the Hell for a period of time. After being "tormented" in Hell for a certain length of time, they, with their mediocre intellect, assume that they are guaranteed to enter Paradise. However, this is a superstitious belief and another example of self-deception. This is related thus in the Qur'an:
That is because they say, "The Fire will only touch us for a number of days." Their inventions have deluded them in their religion. But how will it be when We gather them all together for a Day about which there is no doubt? Every self will be paid in full for what it earned. They will not be wronged. (Surah Al 'Imran, 24-25)
Another verse refers to this superstitious belief in these terms:
They say, "The Fire will only touch us for a number of days." Say, "Have you made a contract with Allah—then Allah will not break His contract—or are you rather saying about Allah what you do not know?" (Surat al-Baqara, 80)
Yet the position is not like they imagine. In the very next verse, the situation in the Hereafter is reported as follows:
No indeed! Those who accumulate bad actions and are surrounded by their mistakes, such people are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-Baqara, 81)
In addition, there is the following hadith of our Prophet (saas) as a blessing from Allah:
The Prophet (saas) said: "He with the slightest speck of faith will be saved from the fire." Abu Said says: "Whoever doubts (the reality imparted by this statement) should read the following verse: 'Allah does not wrong anyone by so much as the smallest speck...'" (Surat an-Nisa, 40) (Tirmidhi, Sifat al-Jahannam 10, 2601)
The reason why adherents of Ignorantism and all unbelievers in general dare to hold such beliefs on the subject of the torments of Hell is that their belief in Allah and the Hereafter is weak, if they have these beliefs at all. Believers, on the other hand, are very sensitive on this subject and always remain in fear and hope. They fear Allah's torment and are terrified of the possibility of Allah's not being pleased with them. They constantly pray to Allah to forgive their sins and for their hearts to remain true. Examples of this are such prayers as "Our Lord, do not make our hearts swerve aside after You have guided us..." (Surah Al 'Imran, 8)
The Prophet Joseph (as) also prayed, and this prayer of his is revealed in the Qur'an as follows,
"... take me as a Muslim at my death and join me to the people who are righteous." (Surah Yusuf, 101)
In short, believers definitely do not regard themselves as perfect, flawless human beings. On the contrary, they try to do all they can to remedy their deficiencies, correct their mistakes and mature in faith. For that reason, as is revealed in many verses of the Qur'an, they pay the greatest attention to warnings issued to them. Since members of the Religion of the Ignorant are very fond of themselves and regard themselves as flawless, they never listen to any advice. When called to the Book of Allah, they turn away and try to gloss over the subject by maintaining that they are in any case exemplary Muslims. The situation of such people is revealed thus in one verse:
Who could do greater wrong than someone who is reminded of the signs of his Lord and then turns away from them, forgetting all that he has done before? We have placed covers on their hearts, preventing them from understanding it, and heaviness in their ears. Though you call them to guidance, they will nonetheless never be guided. (Surat al-Kahf, 57)
They even make statements intended to exonerate themselves, along the lines of "I come from a very religious family," or "My grandfather was an esteemed scholar on the subject of religion whose opinions were sought, a hadji, an imam." Or else they bring up a good deed they once performed, such as a large amount of money they gave to a poor person, and hint at how devout they are. Such people are referred to in these terms in the Qur'an:
Do you not see those who claim to be purified? No, Allah purifies whoever He wills. They will not be wronged by so much as the smallest speck. Look how they invent lies against Allah. That suffices as an outright felony. (Surat an-Nisa', 49-50)
Adherents of Ignorantism produce various religious observances of their own, according to their own lights, and imagine that by performing these they will go to Paradise. One can often hear the statement, "Work is a religious observance" from the lips of such people. Working is a good thing, and every believer works by displaying a pure and good morality. However, using work as an excuse for not obeying Allah's commands is surely insincere behavior. Starting from that logic, members of the Religion of Ignorance then say that their own professions are religious observances. According to this distorted logic, since they "serve" by means of their jobs, there is no need to abide by the provisions of the Qur'an. The person saying this may be a civil servant, a barber, a doctor, a tradesman or a tailor. They all imagine that they help people through their jobs, and that this is the greatest form of religious observance. Being of assistance to people is no doubt a good attribute but it is insufficient by itself. Moreover, this is a great error.
These people have chosen the job that will bring them the most money, the best lifestyle and the most fame, but then they claim they fulfill their religious observances through that job. Religious observance means serving Allah. Helping others is a religious observance only if done for the sake of Allah's approval. A person cannot fail to abide by the moral values of the Qur'an and then say, "I helped such-and-such a person. That is a religious observance." If they wish to perform a religious observance—in other words to serve Allah—then they must try to fulfill all the provisions He set as well as fully living by the morality Allah commands.
Some verses in Surat at-Tawba explain this in the finest manner. These verses refer to the custom of the polytheists in Mecca of giving water to those people coming to repair the Kaaba or coming to it on pilgrimage. It is revealed that this action by the polytheists is not regarded as a religious observance, despite being a positive deed. That is because, as already stated, religious observance means serving Allah. Yet the polytheists performed that action not for the approval of Allah, but for show, and as a requirement of tradition and custom:
It is not for the idolaters to maintain the mosques of Allah, bearing witness against themselves of their disbelief. They are the ones whose actions will come to nothing. They will be in the Fire timelessly, for ever. (Surat at-Tawba, 17)
Do you make the giving of water to the pilgrims and looking after the Sacred Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] the same as believing in Allah and the Last Day and striving in the way of Allah? They are not equal in the Sight of Allah. Allah does not guide wrongdoing people. (Surat at-Tawba, 19)
Adherents of the Religion of Ignorant interpret the concepts of Islam in distorted ways. These people in question are convinced of the correctness of the path they follow and deceive themselves by saying that Allah will be pleased with them. In seeking to justify themselves with such thoughts, they are unaware that they may fall within the provisions of the following verse:
Do they imagine that, in the wealth and children We extend to them, We are hastening to them with good things? No indeed, but they have no awareness! (Surat al-Muminun, 55-56)