Although they are unaware of it, most people are under the influence of a superstitious religion. This is a secret faith that does not openly reveal its existence. It has no written laws. It does not even have a name. But it still controls people’s actions, behavior and thoughts. Many people unconsciously follow the rules of this religion throughout their lives and live according to its commandments and prohibitions. This religion is not Islam, Christianity or Judaism, although when asked people who live by it may say they are Muslims or Christians. Such people may even be atheists. But they are all at heart still members of this hidden faith.
This religion does not initially suggest itself to people as a coherent whole. People adopt this religion after a long period of indoctrination after their arrival in this world. They are therefore unaware that their behavior, thoughts, actions and even their gestures all stem from it.
This religion presents its followers with the aim of ‘living by the rules of the religion of the ignorant’ ‘Living by the rules of the religion of the ignorant’ means adopting this religion’s values, applying its rules, prohibitions and forms of behavior and possessing its character traits. It is essential to live by the rules of ‘the religion of the ignorant’ in order to be popular, not regarded as peculiar and in order to get on. As a result, the religion is one of ‘living by the rules of the religion of the ignorant.’ And shall refer to it as ‘the religion of the ignorant.’
Before going on to discuss the concept of respect inherent in ‘the religion of the ignorant,’ we need to consider the concept of respect set out in the Qur’an. According to the Quran, first and foremost, a believer has a great respect for Allah. Verse 199 of Surah Al‘Imran refers to "... some who believe in Allah." Referring to the prophets, verse 90 of Surat al-Anbiya’ says: "... They outdid one another in good actions, calling out to Us in yearning and in awe, and humbling themselves to Us.” Surat al-Muminun also uses the term, " Those who are filled with the fear of their Lord,” (in respect of believers) (Surat al-Muminun, 57). Respect is also used in other verses as a component of awe (fear of Allah).
Therefore, respect for Allah is the source of the respect felt by believers. The respect they show for other people is a reflection of that basic respect. Because they respect Allah, believers also respect all people who obey Him and strive to attain His approval, in other words, all believers.
The concept of respect in ‘the religion of the ignorant’ is of course too far from the true concept of respect described in the Qur’an. As we have already seen, believers’ respect is an honest and sincere emotion stemming from respect for Allah. In ‘the religion of the ignorant,’ however, it is rooted in superficial and predetermined models and manifests itself as forms of behavior entirely rooted in mutual self-interest.
According to ‘the religion of the ignorant,’ "respect" means showing the appropriate good manners and the artificial use of formalized speech and actions. Respect can be regarded as an essential form of behavior believed to help the individual get on in society, which changes according to the environment and the duration involved.
Since the philosophy of life of ‘the religion of the ignorant’ is based on hypocrisy and falsity, respect is only shown with difficulty and reluctantly. A person can put up with showing respect when he has to. But respect is not part of his nature. Therefore, in ‘the religion of the ignorant,’ those places where an individual will feel most at ease and most easily be able to reveal his true character are those where he will not have to show respect for anyone. In such environments a person will reveal his poor manners, distorted conception of morality, true thoughts about other people and his true self.
In the same way that respect changes according to place and environment, it also changes with age. In ‘the religion of the ignorant,’ an individual’s proving he has self-confidence and attaches no importance to anyone else, that he therefore has no fear of anyone, and that his character is , therefore, fully developed, gives rise to a very facile and disrespectful form of behavior known as ‘being relaxed.’ Environments where ‘being relaxed’ is perceived to rule have their own unique forms of behavior and speech. The most obvious of these are loud laughter, sitting with one’s legs as far apart as possible, opening the fridge in the house of someone one does not know, poking around in a friend’s room and looking in their cupboards, wearing his clothes, sitting with one’s feet raised up as high as possible, sitting down in an almost prone position, being inconsiderate under a guise of sincerity, speaking loudly or at the top of one’s voice, swearing, and bringing sexuality into all jokes.
As we have seen, the ethical model in ‘the religion of the ignorant’ is totally at odds with the moral values given to mankind by way of the Qur’an. This inevitably arises in societies in which people forget they will have to account for themselves to Allah and in which they are carried away by the transient adornment of the life of this world – which is the case in most societies in the world. The Qur’an refers to these as societies of ‘the ignorant,’ because they are unaware of the existence of Allah and the Hereafter.
The life of this world is the only measure for these people. But the fact is that the life of this world brings with it nothing but deception:
“Know that the life of this world is merely a game and a diversion and ostentation and a cause of boasting among yourselves and trying to outdo one another in wealth and children: like the plant-growth after rain which delights the cultivators, but then it withers and you see it turning yellow, and then it becomes broken stubble. In the Hereafter there is terrible punishment but also forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure. The life of this world is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion.” (Surat al-Hadid, 20)
A society that has forgotten Allah soon produces a culture of ignorance that takes the life of this world as its only measure. Such a culture contains traditions handed down from previous generations, superstitions and countless moral rules based on relationships of self-interest. The religion of the ignorant is the name for this culture of ignorance.
Someone born into such a society will adopt the culture in question over a long period of education. From the moment they first become conscious they will be inculcated with the culture of the religion of the ignorant, first by their families and then by their peers. They will increasingly learn to use other people for their own ends, "to look out for themselves," and to develop a longing for possessions, rank and status. The society of the ignorant indoctrinates people with just what they need to do in order to force them to live the religion of the ignorant.’