The English word “ignorance” comes from a Latin word which means “not to know.” It is used in the Qur’an to refer to a nation that does not know Allah, or acknowledge His qualities and eternal power as it should; a society that is unaware of the spiritual values, the truths of religion, and the high moral character Islam presents to mankind.
Whatever society that does not live by the principles of the morality of religion can be referred to be a “society of ignorance”. At first glance, these societies may seem to be very different; their members may follow a particular way of dressing, different habits, likes and dislikes, or have their own manner of speaking. Nevertheless, they share a common philosophy and beliefs. Every member of these societies ignores the religion of Allah and, although they realize that He created us, they do not live the kind of life that He has prescribed. They neglect His religion, substituting for it their own false beliefs. These false religions are not founded on love towards Allah, but rather on the love for this world. Instead of seeking to gain Allah’s favor, they strive to gain the approval and acknowledgement of other human beings. Instead of giving thanks to Allah, and seeking help only from Him, they are grateful to human beings and establish bonds of intimacy with them. They forget that Allah possesses all power, and instead of fearing only Him, they fear other human beings and the rules they have established.
But, when referring to a society of ignorance, it is not only those who are completely uninstructed in the morals of the Qur’an we speak of; there are those who know the true religion very well, but still cannot escape the ignorance into which they have fallen. These individuals may perform some acts of worship enjoined by Allah, but do not come close to feeling the devotion of a believer, or adhering sufficiently to the moral teachings of the Qur’an. The reason for this is that their hearts are not deeply devoted to Allah, or adequately fearful of the Day of Judgment. It is the love they feel for this world that has caused them to develop personalities contrary to the demands of the Qur’an; still, even if they did know something of the morality taught by the religion, they could not save themselves from the society of ignorance.
These societies exist in every corner of the world. However, although they are entirely independent of one another, and their members have beliefs completely different from them, we can recognize common traits, and a specific pattern of belief pervading all of them. For this reason, before discussing the personalities of the citizens of societies of ignorance, it will be useful to examine these common false beliefs that form the basis of these different types.2012-01-21 14:31:51