ATLASOFCREATION.COMhttp://atlasofcreation.comatlasofcreation.com - Character-Types Of The Unbelievers - Recently AddedenCopyright (C) 1994 atlasofcreation.com 1ATLASOFCREATION.COMhttp://atlasofcreation.comhttp://harunyahya.com/assets/images/hy_muhur.png11666The Character Of Members Of The Societies Of Ignorance The lives led by members of the societies of ignorance which are far removed from the Qur’an cause them all to be in difficulty and error throughout all stages of their lives. The greatest of these difficulties, however, is suffered within themselves. Because of their corrupted understanding, the character they develop causes them discontent and anxiety.

During their childhood, these ignorant persons chose others to model themselves after. And, as they grew up, they try to be like them. The role-models they choose may be a parent, a sister or brother, a close friend, a neighbor or someone they have seen on television. The identity they want to emulate may lead a very different life and under different circumstances; the quality of the environment the role-model lives and his level of cultivation may also be different. While some may believe that the best life is attained by being rebellious and irresponsible, others, influenced by trends of his environment, may believe that the best attitude is to be aloof and arrogant.

Though, when they finally meet their role model, they realize that their personality is not as they had originally considered. From then on, they spend their lives in search of another way of life to satisfy their expectations — but, without any results. As they become older, and their circumstances and their environment change, so do the personalities they wish to emulate also change. They are influenced by every fashion and novelty; they hope to find the fulfillment they are seeking by imitating these people, trying them one after the other. This search for identity lasts throughout their lives, but they can never find the attitude and contentment that they were created for. That is because, everything they try is always merely a product of their ignorance.

After a certain time, some will settle into a particular identity. But, this is not because they have found their ideal role-model and attained happiness. On the contrary, they realize that their problem cannot be solved within the web of ignorance in which they live, and accept defeat.

In the coming pages, we will present the features of the types of character that pervade the societies of ignorance; we will try to define them, and show the difficulties they suffer. By investigating this important condition, we will come to recognize the tremendous difference that exists between the character of a believer and that of one mired in ignorance. Therefore, however ardently they may try to find a way out, those who live in ignorance are already lost. Their only salvation is, we repeat, to live the moral life of a believer.

But, before we continue, we must recall an important point: The types of character we will describe here represent the members of the societies of ignorance in general. Of course, there will be some exceptions that, for some reason, do not conform to the norm. Such individuals, under particular conditions, may not display any of the qualities predicated by these conditions. Therefore, we cannot say that all individuals in a society of ignorance acquire the character we will describe. We are not referring to these individuals, but only those who reflect the endemic corruption that plagues the societies of ignorance.

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What the Members of the Societies of Ignorance Believe about Death and the After-life. Although many among the societies of ignorance know of the Afterlife, in their own way they try to run away from it by avoiding thinking of it. They also disregard the fact their beliefs are grounded without consideration to it. Indeed, they look only to the life of this world to fulfill their aims and wishes, seeking fulfillment in mundane affairs. Due to the attachment they feel for this world, they would hope it to never end. In the Qur’an Allah tells us that they do not want to believe that death is real, and therefore, the Afterlife never enters their minds:

No indeed! We have given these people enjoyment, as We did their fathers, until life seemed long and good to them... (Surat al- Anbiya’, 44)

Belief in the Afterlife would not allow them to be excessively attached to this world.

In the Qur’an, Allah tells us that this life is a distraction, and that the real life is in the next world:

The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The abode of the Hereafter—that is truly Life if they only knew. (Surat al-‘Ankabut, 64)

In spite of this, they avoid giving careful consideration to this. They fail to realize that they have nothing to lose, but everything to gain, if they believe in the Afterlife. If they believed, they could gain not only the blessings of this world, which they would enjoy in the best possible way, but they could also hope to gain Allah’s good pleasure and an eternal life in Paradise. And, in the life in Paradise, they will live an eternal life in which concepts like boredom, wearisome and monotony are not created. In this life they will be surrounded by unlimited good, an endless variety of blessings and, most importantly, that life will be eternal. That is, a person who desires the Afterlife will gain the benefits of this world and of the world to come. But those who are satisfied only with this world will certainly lose the Afterlife. This is related in one of the verses of Allah as follows:

… (he) loses both the world and the Hereafter. That is indeed sheer loss. (Surat al-Hajj, 11)

By such an example, it is easy to discern the difference between real loss and gain. But, the people of a society of ignorance have difficulty in grasping these facts since they do not think giving due consideration. According to their shallow thinking, they are already enjoying the benefits of this world. Nevertheless, lacking a sure faith in the Afterlife caused them to doubt. In the Qur’an Allah gives the following response to this hesitance of the people of ignorance:

Whatever you have been given is only the enjoyment of the life of this world. What is with Allah is better and longer lasting … (Surat ash-Shura, 36)

… They rejoice in the life of this world. Yet the life of this world, compared to the Hereafter, is only fleeting enjoyment. (Surat ar-Ra‘d, 26)

But, merely because they do not want to sever their attachment to this world, the ignorant refuse to consider the reality depicted in the verses of the Qur’an. Rather, they offer unfounded excuses in order to deceive themselves and quiet their consciences. Throughout history, each prophet related to the community to which he was sent about the truth of the Afterlife, Heaven and Hell, and warned them to heed his message while they still had time. But, most turned a deaf ear to the warnings of the messengers, denying the Afterlife with responses related in the following verses:

... “Who will give life to bones when they are decayed?” (Surah Ya Sin, 78)

... “When we have been absorbed into the earth, are we then to be in a new creation?”... (Surat as-Sajda, 10)

“We and our forefathers were promised this before. This is nothing but the myths of previous peoples!” (Surat al-Muminun, 81)

And, Allah responded in the following way to their rejection:

Say “He Who made them in the first place will bring them back to life. He has total knowledge of each created thing; He Who produces fire for you from green trees so that you use them to light your fires.” Does He Who created the heavens and Earth not have the power to create the same again? Yes indeed! He is the Creator, the All-Knowing. His command when He desires a thing is just to say to it, “Be!” and it is. (Surah Ya Sin, 79-82)

We can see that, whether or not the ignorant believe, the reality of Heaven and Hell cannot be denied. By refusing to believe, they deceive themselves. However, when they are finally faced with this reality, they will know its truth:

On the Day when those who were disbelievers are exposed to the Fire, they will be asked, “Is this not the truth?” They will say, “Yes, by our Lord.” He will say, “Then taste the punishment for having been disbeliever.” (Surat al-Ahqaf, 34)

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Belief in Allah in the Societies of Ignorance Those who comprise the societies of ignorance do not share the same lifestyle and outlook on the world. There are some among them who are totally ignorant of the morality of religion, and others that are known to be aware of the morality of religion and are knowledgeable of many commandments of Allah. Many among them would respond, if asked, that they believed in Allah.

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 fear Allah?” 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)

But, in their hearts, they reject the truth that they affirm with their lips. For this reason, they do not live in a way pleasing to Allah. Instead of doing that which will earn Allah’s favor, they live to satisfy their desires. They utter with their mouths that they believe because they recognize the reality. Everywhere they look, in whatever research they conduct, and in every aspect of every detail they observe, they encounter a superior intelligence. They comprehend clearly that nothing in this world is the result of chance, that every being, in its minutest detail, has been designed by Allah, the All-Mighty Creator, and that everything that happens is put into motion by Allah’s power and dominion. For this reason, they affirm Allah’s existence. However, in spite of that, they do not aim to conform their lives to the morality of the religion. The reason is explained in the Qur’an:

And they repudiated them wrongly and haughtily, in spite of their own certainty about them. See the final fate of the corrupters. (Surat an-Naml, 14)

Several among the societies of ignorance would wish to reject Allah openly. But, they also know that the perfection of the universe they live in cannot have come about by the operation of chance. Spiritually, they are in a quagmire; the solution they have devised for themselves is to ignore the proofs of Allah’s existence, and to keep the matter from their minds. Their conscience is constantly reminding them of the truth, but they provide various excuses to suppress it. But, none of these excuses is in any way valid; their only purpose is to disguise their rejection of Allah.

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The Life-Goals and Ideals Common to the Societies of Ignorance 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)

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Who Are the Societies of Ignorance Composed of? 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.

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Why They Cannot Be Happy -3-? Because They Do Not Remember That this Life is a Trial

Another reason why those who have adopted a character type of ignorance cannot be happy is because almost all forget the reason why they are in this world. Human beings are being tested to see whether they will appreciate the intelligence, power and other superior qualities of Allah, or become oblivious to these truths, become caught up in this world. Allah reveals to us the purpose of this life:

He Who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk, 2)

For this reason, Allah has permitted human beings a limited lifespan. From the time they reach the age of maturity onward, they are responsible for everything they believe and do. Each will be examined in the Afterlife about whether he followed his conscience which was continually dictating to him what is right and what is wrong. Because what a person’s conscience dictates is correct, if he does not obey it, he follows the desires of his lower-self instead. The lower-self constantly commands a person to do what is wrong. So, there is a constant battle trial taking place within a person, determining whether he or she either acts on the side of his lower-self, or on the side of his conscience.

This trial takes place at every moment of his life. It takes place in school, at work, at home, in the street; while he is alone, or in public; it goes on when he is sick or well; and even if he goes to the other end of the world, he will be tested there too. There is no moment when he is not tested. In the Afterlife, he will come face to face with everything he has believed, said and done. He will certainly be recompensed for the good and the evil he had done; everything will receive its due reward and, finally, all will be sent to the place they deserve.

Forgetting that everything that happens in this world has been foreordained as a trial hinders one from submitting Allah. In a society of ignorance you often hear such complaints which indicate a corrupted moral understanding: “Why did this happen? I wish it wasn’t this way” “ Things aren’t going well,” “I’m ruined,” “Everything’s going wrong,” “If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be in this situation.” But, the basis of them all is a lack of submission to Allah.

Anxiety and malcontent are clear results of this lack of submission. Because they do not consider the reasons behind that which happens, people complain when the even smallest obstacle impedes their way. As a result, they are always mired in false concerns. However, human beings must be satisfied with every moment Allah has created for them. Even if things seem to be going wrong, they must behave morally and be determined to remain faithful to Allah. Most importantly, they must not forget that the purpose of their creation is to be tested by all these circumstances. Those who live according to the high morals commanded in the Qur’an, are happy and content because they know that the patience they show in all their adversities will be turned in their favor in the world to come.

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Why They Cannot Be Happy -2-? They Want to Gain Acceptance from other People and Not from Allah

People in a society of ignorance cannot attain happiness, nor can they find a way out of their discontent, no matter what they do. One reason being, that they do not live for Allah, but for other human beings. If a person decides what is right and wrong, on the basis of what other people will say; if he is saddened by what makes other people sad, and pleased by what makes them pleased; if he tries to be appreciated by others and adjusts his behavior so as not to be embarrassed, then this person is living for others.

He then finds life difficult because everyone’s expectations are different. If we were to imagine one subjected to the whims of hundreds of other people, then clearly he would have to work hard to please each one of them. He would want to be animated in the presence of one, grave and sober in the presence of another. Behavior that pleases one person would not suit another. These differences would reach into the thousands. Under such circumstances, one individual who lives for others would have to meet thousands of different types of demands at the same time. Only in this way could he satisfy everyone and make them appreciate him.

Allah offers an example of their anxiety in the Qur’an: Allah has made a metaphor for them of a man owned by several partners in dispute with one another and another man wholly owned by a single man. Are they the same? Praise be to Allah! The fact is that most of them do not know. (Surat az-Zumar, 29)

Essentially, there is only one way out—to submit to Allah’s eternal knowledge and intelligence. Allah is the Creator of human beings and all other things. And it is only Allah Who knows what is best for human beings and what they must do to be happy. He has revealed to them in the Qur’an the way to salvation: Fear Allah alone and seek His pleasure.

Allah says, “Do not take two gods. He is only One God. So dread Me alone.” (Surat an-Nahl, 51)

Failing to do so not only makes human beings unhappy, it also a grave sin against Allah. To seek the pleasure of other beings apart from Allah is called in the Qur’an “ascribing partners to Allah.” One who ascribes partners to Allah chooses to worship a god other than Allah, and devoting himself to that god. But, they will encounter disappointment in the next world. Allah warns them so that they will not go to Hell and suffer repentance that will bring no respite.

It has been revealed to you and those before you: “If you associate others with Allah, your actions will come to nothing and you will be among the losers.” No! Worship Allah and be among the thankful. (Surat az-Zumar, 65-66)

Allah does not forgive anything being associated with Him but He forgives whoever He wills for anything other than that. Anyone who associates something with Allah has committed a terrible crime. (Surat an-Nisa’, 48)

Another thing that must be remembered is this: One may dedicate his entire life to the pleasure of others, abandoning Allah; in the Afterlife, however, it is He Who will abandon them. Everyone will be called to give account of the things he has done, and no one’s deeds will suffice to save another. This important fact is revealed in the Qur’an:

Each of them will come to Him on the Day of Rising all alone. (Surah Maryam, 95)

You have come to Us all alone just as We created you at first, leaving behind you everything We bestowed on you. We do not see your intercessors accompanying you, those you claimed were your partners with Allah. The link between you is cut. Those you made such claims for have forsaken you. (Surat al-An‘am, 94)

On that day, those fearing of being alone will ask those they called their nearest and dearest in this life—their children, spouses, friends—to offer ransom for them that they may escape the torment of Hell. Allah reveals this truth in the Qur’an:

No good friend will ask about his friend even though they can see each other. An evildoer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment of that Day, by means of his sons, or his wife or his brother or his family who sheltered him or everyone else on Earth, if that only meant that he could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze. (Surat al-Ma‘arij, 10-15)

In light of all the information provided in the Qur’an, we can see that a life based on pleasing others will not just bring unhappiness; it will also cause one to be at loss in the Afterlife. The way to escape this is evident: Submission to Allah and living to seek His pleasure.

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Why They Cannot Be Happy -1-? They Do Not Look for Answers in the Qur’an

Not looking for answers in the Qur’an is one of the first errors made in a society of ignorance. The majority of these people see clearly that the situation in which they find themselves is a dead end. They recognize that the lifestyle they have adopted and the character they have assumed have not led them anywhere; that these things have been unsatisfying and even disappointing. In response, they experiment with other alternatives provided by the society of ignorance, but find that these too bring them nothing. Because, one ignorant pattern of behavior is basically no different than another. People, places and conditions may change, but the false expectations and anxiety remain the same; the “intellectual” and the “socialite” are both focused on this world.

However, this earthly life is too brief to be worth becoming overly attached to. There is nothing to be gained from this world; when a person dies, everything he had will be taken from him. For this reason, every kind of undue devotion to this world gives rise only to anxiety.

A human being can find happiness only when he turns to Allah. A person can be saved from his troubles only by being Allah’s friend and leading the kind of life He wills.

In the Qur’an, Allah reveals this important secret:

Those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace. (Surat ar-Ra‘d, 28)

One who had become the friend of Allah strictly obeys the Book sent down by our Lord to guide him. From that point on, his personality and lifestyle are determined only by the Qur’an. Therefore, by the will of Allah, the Qur’an can lead human beings from darkness to light:

Alif Lam Ra. This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring humanity from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the Path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy. (Surah Ibrahim, 1)

For this reason, there is no anxiety, discontent, worry or confusion in the personality derived from the teachings of the Qur’an. Instead, there is beauty, balance and faultless manners. Allah has promised such believers that He will offer them the finest reward for the good they do.

So that Allah can reward them for the best of what they did and give them more from His unbounded favor. Allah provides for anyone He wills without reckoning. (Surat an-Nur, 38)

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Concerning All the Character-types of Ignorance Since the beginning of this book, we have examined the character types, moral qualities, personalities, worldviews and habits that dominate a society of ignorance. Keep in mind that among them we found nothing that was positive or well-balanced, and nothing that could contribute to real contentment. Because, all of these character types derive from a system devoid of religion. Allah has created human beings who are able to attain happiness only by living a life of faith based on religious morality. If thousands more character types were to be developed, as long as they were to be apart from religion, the result would be the same—distress, conflicts and confusion. In the Qur’an, Allah provides examples of the condition of human beings who are apart from the morality of religion:

Those are the people who have sold guidance for misguidance. Their trade has brought no profit; they are not guided. Their likeness is that of people who light a fire, and then when it has lit up all around them, Allah removes their light and leaves them in darkness, unable to see. Deaf, dumb, blind. They will not return. Or that of a storm-cloud in the sky, full of darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, fearful of death. Allah encompasses the disbelievers. The lightning all but takes away their sight. Whenever they have light, they walk in it but whenever darkness covers them, they halt. If Allah wished, He could take away their hearing and their sight. Allah has power over all things. Humanity! Worship your Lord, Who created you and those before you, so that hopefully you will fear Allah. (Surat al-Baqara, 16-21)

In these examples, Allah provides an important account of why the ignorant will be at loss. They were given the opportunity to follow the right path, but they chose another way, disbelief. They made their choice based on certain worldly expectations, but they have been unable to find the true happiness, peace and any other thing that they have been looking for by the means they have chosen.

On the contrary, their choices have rendered them spiritually deaf, blind and dumb. For this reason, although they are lost, they cannot turn away from what they have chosen.

Allah uses the example of lightning to explain their state; every time lightening flashes it illuminates the surroundings. The travelers move on but immediately the surroundings become buried again in darkness, and they are confounded. So, the ignorant are deceived by thinking that they can manage alone this brief journey they have set out on. However, as stated in the Qur’an, salvation comes only by turning to Allah, serving Him and living by that which He wills.

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The Character-type of the Intellectual That which is recognized in society as “intellectualism” is a non-religious character type, and it influences a significant segment of a society of ignorance. Before proceeding with the attributes of this morality of ignorance one point deserves mention: the character of an intellectual dealt with here does not include intellectuals who deserve respect. It is of utmost importance and value to be an intellectual, to enjoy free thought and to develop ideas for the community of which an individual is a member. The character-type of an intellectual related here, however, is the one that bases its philosophy upon faithless lifestyle and rationale and makes it his goal to make it dominant in all spheres of life, and struggles to show himself as someone of great intellectual capacity despite not being a person of such caliber. But, most, especially the young, are unaware of this agenda; they want to become “intellectuals” because they think it will bring them prestige.

This milieu is usually located in the university setting. However, there is also a common notion that those lovers of the “fine arts” also fall into this category. For this reason, one who behaved quite otherwise in high school, changes as soon as he enters a university program such as Fine Arts in university. He begins to dress differently, changes his hairstyle, and assumes the air of an intellectual in his habits and tastes. The ignorant society he lives has instilled in him the idea that all successful artists act this way.

From then on, they are prepared to do everything to meet up to these expectations. They spend their days in cafes where “intellectuals” meet, in dark and dingy places filled with cigarette smoke, or in bars having “intellectual” conversations. They believe themselves to represent the enlightened and progressive segment of society, and dream up schemes to “save the world.” But, most of their pretense is nothing but irrational, futile and incessant prattle. For these people, the important thing is to be “radical,” and lead a life accordingly, in order that they can stand out from others. They aim to express a certain “mood” in their paintings, sculptures, books and music, however, when you look at the work they produce, you can see that, under the guise of “intellectualism,” most of them express the same shallowness. They have no real understanding of high art, or of the depth of beauty and truth it can express; usually their art reveals their somber, melancholic and confused state of mind.

The films they watch, and the books they read, all must reflect this “intellectualism”; or they can’t enjoy them. To look like “intellectuals,” they will wander around with a book in their hands, that they have supposedly read. Though, they have not really read it; nevertheless, they try to gain prestige by repeating a few sentences that they have memorized from it.

They memorize certain phrases they have gleaned from the philosophers, using them as often as they can in their cafés. If you ask them, they will say that they have studied all philosophical movements, and even pretend to be experts on their subjects. However, they usually do not have any in-depth knowledge in any such field.

Their obsession with being “non-conformists” is the reason for which they develop strange ideas with regard to morality. They insist that family and marriage are unnecessary, and that a life lived without respect for bounds of decency is a sign of modernity and civilization.

Their confused state of mind dominates their whole lives. They enjoy dark and dingy places and disorder. Their own dwelling also reflect their errant notions; fast-food containers are scattered everywhere, books are piled on top of another, living amid filth.

But, generally speaking, they do not fully enjoy their lives. Unbelief is a delusion permitted by Allah from which man can derive no pleasure and joy. They aspire to a society where there are no rules, where all can infringe upon the rights of others, in which there is no order or limits, and in which there is an absence of the humane and moral qualities that religion brings. They only harm themselves in the end by that which they promote. Even just a brief experience of that which they desire would ultimately cause them harm.

The only thing that can bring honor and edify human beings is the true religion that Allah revealed for them to live by. It is only by living according to this religion that human beings can achieve contentment.

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The Character-type of the “Nouveau Riche” Those called “nouveau riche” in a society of ignorance are usually people in the middle income bracket, who have become suddenly rich, either as the result of an inheritance or some other fortuitous cause. Among them are those who are divorced from religion, and who want to appear superior in the eyes of others; nor do they give thanks to Allah for the blessings they have received. When speaking they continually make reference to how rich they are, how they spend money without keeping track of it, what they have bought and where they have been on vacation. If they buy clothing, it will be from a designer label. They will have their pictures taken in all the prestigious locations they have visited, and display them conspicuously in the house. Whether they enjoy it or not, they do what rich people are known for, trying in all cases to imitate their way of life. For example, to give the impression that they know a foreign language, or that they have just come from abroad, they will use foreign words in their conversations, even though they do not know what they mean. Rather, they tend to show their ignorance by using words out of place. They want to appear to be cultivated but only embarrass themselves. They wear clothing that does not suit them, just to have the image of a person wearing latest styles.

They are unable to be critical of themselves. That is, they cannot see themselves through the eyes of others. They cannot see how ridiculous they look, or what suits them or is more becoming for them. They go out of their way to imitate what the wealthy are known to do.

It is clear that it is Allah Who has provided their new-found wealth. Perhaps, until that time, they had often prayed that Allah would increase them in wealth and possessions. But, when their prayers are answered, they immediately forget their former circumstances, and the prayers they have made. Allah describes in the Qur’an those who show bad morality after they have already been conferred with blessings:

When We grant blessing to a man, he turns away and draws aside but when any evil touches him, he is full of endless prayers! (Surah Fussilat, 51)

They resort to various methods to ingratiate themselves to the wealthy, but this just makes them despised. Actually, their attempts have only sunk them into a trap. Instead of seeking to win Allah’s favor, they try to make others like them. But, for this, Allah has prepared for them a dire reward. They will lose not only the love of Allah, but also the estimation of other people.

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The Character-type of the Rich Person Social environment is a major influence in the development of character types in a society of ignorance. Each society offers a different social environment, and this environment develops traits in a character type that are life-long. A person’s personality may vary according to the city, or even the area of a city, which he lives in.

In discourse typical of the ignorant, a new acquaintance may be first asked his name, then where he was born and brought up, and then, which part of the city he lives in. The purpose of this interrogation is to find out under what circumstances he brought up under, and thereby to acquire a basic idea of what type of character he ought to be. Because, the ignorant are very aware of the influence a specific environment can have on a person’s character.

One type of character formed by specific social environments is that of a rich person. This character-type is that of one who has been brought up in wealthy surroundings. Compared with other members of the society, these individuals have benefited from much more favorable circumstances, not having experienced any difficulty or hardship. They have always had little problem getting what they want; everything is at their disposal. When they are hungry, food is put before them; if they make a mess, it is cleaned up for them; they get what they want immediately; their cars are bought for them and money is put into their wallets. And, they do not have to put forth the slightest effort to get any of these things. However, there are many “behind the scenes” who are required to expend much physical and spiritual effort to provide them these things. There are those who work to earn the money, determine their needs, provide what is required, prepare it and offer it to them. But, a great majority of the people living by the morality of ignorance do not recognize these efforts, and therefore show no gratitude for them.

A fundamental characteristic that attends this ingratitude is a lack of sympathy. Because majority of these people have nothing to worry about, and experience no difficulties, they have no appreciation for those who live in lesser circumstances.

Another prominent characteristic of some of the people living by the morality of ignorance is their lack of faithfulness. They do not appreciate the virtues of others, and therefore see no reason to be loyal towards them. Such individuals can never establish sincere relationships; they rely too heavily on their material wealth, and think that, even if they were to lose one friend, through it they could find others. What they regard as important in another person is not his good character, or the fact that he practices the moral teachings of the Qur’an; that which is important to them is what material gain he may be. They do not value friendships on the basis of love and good morality, and so can never establish real ones. They keep company with others whose money they want to take advantage of, or with other inconsiderate and wealthy people like themselves, who also do not know the real meaning of friendship.

Indeed, it is because of all these vices that they are unable to find happiness easily. Majority of them are used to getting everything easily, and so take the advantages of their material wealth for granted. And, they fail to derive due pleasure from good that is spiritual because they cannot recognize it. Compared to other character-types, their deviance is more blatant. One who is not accustomed to recognizing such subtleties, will not appreciate an act of kindness done towards him, and will soon forget it. For this reason, he becomes one who is hard to satisfy.

Because they are not able to appreciate the good in others, they cannot experience love or respect for them. It does not enter their minds that others appreciate that the good in them and love they are ready to show to be recognized.

Evidently, these people have developed for themselves a type of character contrary to the values otherwise considered acceptable. But, it must be pointed out that, even though they were to be exiled from the social milieu, or lose their wealth, they would continue in their debased morality. Therefore, this character type does not refer merely who are wealthy. Merely the fact that they have been brought in such a milieu and under specific circumstances, is sometimes enough for them to acquire such character traits.

However, being brought up in a wealthy environment is no reason not to have a good moral character. On the contrary, wealth is a blessing from Allah. The important thing is to thank Him for these blessings, and to use them in a way that will please Him. We can see examples of this morality in the lives of the prophets. We are told in the Qur’an that the Prophet Sulayman (as) asked for wealth from Allah so that he could worship Him, and show gratitude for His blessings:

He (Sulayman) said, “Truly do I love the love of good, with a view to the glory of my Lord until the Sun disappeared behind its veil.” (Surah Sâd, 32)

Moreover, one who appreciates the blessings that Allah has conferred upon him will have the breadth of insight to enable him to acknowledge the good in the others around him. Therefore, such a person, even if he were to be the wealthiest person in the world, and have everything served to him on a silver platter, and even if he had never experienced any difficulties or troubles in his life, he will nonetheless be sympathetic and considerate, exercising a good conscience. He knows the emotional and material needs of those who are poor and troubled. He shows a deep sense of compassion and respect. He knows what friendship is. Because, he is a believer and, no matter how prosperous he may be, he will never act carelessly or against his better conscience. A believer is always looking toward what is good and just, and searches for ways to win Allah’s favor. For this reason, prosperity does not lead him into moral depravity.

Such people are truly racing towards good things, and they are the first to reach them. (Surat al-Muminun, 61)

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The Character-type of the Public Servant According to the ignorant way of thinking, public servants are of a specific different character-type, so one should be able to recognize them right away. What gives them away is not what they do as part of their occupation; it is their manners and expression on their face.

The rationale that dictates the way these people with the morality of ignorance act is the fact that they have a secure job and determined salary. Therefore, even if they make some special effort, they gain nothing in salary, position or respect. They think that, if they take on an extra task, they will have merely extended themselves out for nothing. In any case, in a society of ignorance, it is considered foolish for them to make any extra effort if there is someone else to do it. They do not care how they behave towards their clients, because they would regard as doing something extra.

For that reason, most public servants possessing the morality of ignorance show little concern for those around them. They do only what they are told, and if anything is asked of them beyond that, they either ignore it or pass it on to someone else. When someone asks them a question, they may not even look at the person, or they may look at them without answering, nod their head and continue what they were doing. They feel no qualms about treating people harshly. This aloofness of the public servants abiding by the moral values of ignorance is well known. They have no respect for others and, because they do not want to be bothered, they will keep people waiting in line for hours without an excuse, and wandering about the office. They see no reason to be considerate, polite or tolerant towards people. No matter how they behave, they will continue to receive the same salary. In any case, as far as they are concerned, they will never see those people again anyway. For this reason, they perform all their tasks methodically; speak little, hardly smile, think little, and just fulfill what is expected of them. However, one who abides by the moral commands of Allah would never behave this way. He or she takes an interest in everyone, and is always respectful and polite. They will do all they can to help a person in difficulty and, even if they cannot be of assistance at that time, they will at least be supportive to the individual.

Another character trait of the public servant is that he conforms to a stereotype; that is, he always behaves the same way, and his responses to things are always predictable. His every-day life, the people he speaks with, that which he talks about, his habits and tastes, are all according to this stereotype. He still dresses as he did when he was young, wearing the same hairstyle. He is narrow-minded and does not want to interfere with the status quo. He cannot be persuaded to take on new methods of doing things, even though they may be better. He persists in old-fashioned ways, though it wastes much time. Still, he will not abandon his old habits.

It can be seen from these explanations that majority of public servants possessing the morality of ignorance exhibit a laxness in character not only in their moral make-up but also in their social lives. As long as he sees nothing to gain, he will not alter his behavior. However, the job of a public servant is to serve the public. A public servant, who practices the morality of Islam, will serve those who come to him with respect. He will never cause them difficulty or waste their time. He knows that anything he does of good will not be for nothing. For him, his work is an act of worship, in which his intention is to earn Allah’s favor, by maintaining the best level of morality he can. All his good works are kept in a book in the Presence of Allah, to be opened on the Day of Judgment.

In the Qur’an, the Prophet Luqman (as) reminds his son of this truth:

My son, even if something weighs as little as a mustard-seed and is inside a rock or anywhere else in the heavens or Earth, Allah will bring it out. Allah is All-Pervading, All-Aware. (Surah Luqman, 16)

The following are other verses where Allah reminds us of the same:

Say: “Servants of Mine who believe! Fear your Lord. For those who do good in the world there is good and Allah’s earth is spacious. The steadfast will be paid their wages in full without any reckoning.” (Surat az-Zumar, 10)

... If anyone does a good action, We will increase the good of it for him. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Thankful.” (Surat ash-Shura, 23)

Not so! All who submit themselves completely to Allah and are good-doers will find their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat al-Baqara, 112)

Allah does not wrong anyone by so much as the smallest speck. And if there is a good deed Allah will multiply it and pay out an immense reward direct from Him. (Surat an-Nisa’, 40)

Those who produce a good action will receive ten like it. But those who produce a bad action will only be repaid with its equivalent and they will not be wronged. (Surat al-An‘am, 160)

Certainly, human beings will have to expend much effort to behave appropriately, but the reward they will receive, as we ought to understand from these verses, will be a life in this world, eternal Paradise and thus Allah’s good pleasure.
 

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The Character of Merchants A large number of individuals in society are grouped under the heading of merchants. This group includes a wide spectrum of occupations, from shopkeepers to small businesses and street vendors. In the societies where people abide by the morality of ignorance, people who are called as merchants share some common features like many other groups of professions.

As with many other characters of ignorance, that which most influences the character of the merchants in the society of ignorance is, again, the values of materialism. Majority of these individuals tend to be middle-income earners, and are of character types dedicated to acquiring wealth no matter what because they live by the values of ignorance and fail to abide by the Qur’an. That is because it is only possible for them to earn respect and to gain a name for themselves if they become wealthy. This is due to the fact that, in a society of ignorance, being wealthy is more highly valued than morality. When it comes to money, it makes no difference how ignorant, or impolite a person is. Material means may always open all sorts of means.

For this reason, the majority of merchants living by the criteria set by the ignorance seek ways to earn money and their whole being becomes consumed with the desire to make money.

Surely there is no harm in making effort to acquire financial gains. However meanwhile, he should keep in mind that it is Allah Who is the actual owner of wealth and possessions, that Allah renders whoever He wills well-off or poor, and that there is wisdom in this. He should be contented with what Allah grants, and demand wealth merely to earn Allah’s good pleasure and approval. Besides, he should put his possessions, which are again Allah’s blessings, into best use in the path of Allah. When this is not the case, a person may develop a selfish and self-seeking character. For this reason, the character of merchant in the society of ignorance lacks any high ideals, or any broader concerns for the lot of humanity. Their sole aim is to become rich. They usually become overly opportunistic; and, the more they can exploit others, the more clever they think they are.

As a result, as would be expected, many regard merchants as being a form of occupation for the dishonest and fraudsters. Of course, among them you could find honest individuals, who adopt the morality of Islam, and follow the commands of the Qur’an; it is certainly not necessary for merchants to compromise their morals. The fraud and dishonesty expected of them is the result of the absence of religion in an ignorant society. For example, many merchants in such a society would not hesitate to sell damaged merchandise without properly informing the client. And, because their conscience does not bother them to do such a thing, they make it a regular mode of operation. They buy defective goods and sell them to customers at the normal price. The other merchants in the area know what these people are doing, but turn a blind eye because they regard it as a requisite of business practice. For some of them, their idea of a customer is a one they can swindle. However, Allah has commanded in the Qur’an that all should be honest in business:

Give full measure when you measure and weigh with a level balance. That is better and gives the best result. (Surat al-Isra’, 35)

He said, “He has wronged you by asking for your ewe to add to his ewes. Truly many partners are unjust to one another—except those who believe and do right actions, and how few they are!”... (Surah Sâd, 24)

Throughout the history of these societies of ignorance, there have been those who refuse to obey Allah’s commands; they act unjustly and consistently cheat others. Allah has warned them through His messengers. Allah informs us in the Qur’an of the warnings offered by the Prophet Shu’ayb (as) to his people:

And to Madyan their brother Shu‘ayb. He said, “My people, worship Allah! You have no god apart from Him. Do not give short measure and short weight. I see you prospering and I fear for you the punishment of an all-encompassing Day. My people! Give full measure and full weight with justice; do not diminish people’s goods; and do not go about the Earth, corrupting it. What endures with Allah is better for you if you are believers. I am not set over you as your keeper.” (Surah Hud, 84-86)

But, in general, because of their moral turpitude, members of a society of ignorance have failed to heed these warnings. For this reason, they experience anxiety in this world, and will be called to render account of their actions in the world to come. In the society of ignorance people with such characters will tend to be unscrupulous when it comes to making a profit. Such a tendency is also discernible among clerks. In compliance with the morality pervasive in the society of ignorance, they will resort to anything in order to sell something to customers. They will go on at great length, lying to convince a customer to buy an outfit that is otherwise unattractive on him or her.

They respect most those rich businessmen, and are, in their own way, honored to have the opportunity to serve them.

As is the case with some people in a society of ignorance, they are aware of the teachings of Islam. However, in spite of this, they disregard its commands and prohibitions, devoting themselves solely to the pursuit of profit.

In addition, they are highly ambitious, and will go to all sorts of extremes to earn money. However, they are not disposed to obeying the commands of Allah, Who has created them and provided them everything they have gained. In several verses of the Qur’an, He has warned them, and all others of a similar disposition, about becoming so caught up in this world that they forget the one to come.

You who believe! Do not let your wealth or children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Whoever does that is lost. (Surat al-Munafiqun, 9)

Say: “If your fathers or your sons or your brothers or your wives or your tribe, or any wealth you have acquired, or any business you fear may slump, or any house which pleases you, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and struggling in His Way, then wait until Allah brings about His command. Allah does not guide people who are deviators.” (Surat at-Tawba, 24)

But, the difference of believers and their superiority in the Sight of Allah is right at this point. Although they too would have to devote much of their day to working to earn money, they do so to win Allah’s favor, and spend it in His cause. Moreover, no matter what they do, they never neglect their prayers, or forget to remember the Afterlife. In compliance with the command of Allah, they always treat others justly, as they deserve to be treated, never infringing on their God-given rights. In the Qur’an, Allah relates to us the virtue of this character:

Not distracted by trade or commerce from the remembrance of Allah and the establishment of prayer and the payment of alms; fearing a day when all hearts and eyes will be in turmoil. (Surat an-Nur, 37)

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A Nurse’s Character It must first be made clear that there are many nurses who work devotedly day and night caring for their patients, despite their inadequate salary. However, we will discuss here those nurses who abide by the morality which is far removed from the true religion. Such persons have become calloused to their patients’ problems, because of the numerous hours they are required to spend under adverse conditions caring for the sick. Some have lost all feeling for their patients and, instead of treating them with understanding and compassion, behave harshly towards them, often forcing them to wait for their care. It is not unusual for a nurse to even criticize or chastise a patient. Such individuals think that most patients are mere hypochondriacs, that they exaggerate their illnesses, and may even withhold the help that patients ask for.

Aware that the sick are helpless and in need of their assistance, nurses, who are ignorant of the morality of the Qur’an, behave arrogantly towards them. They look down on the patients, humiliate them and sometimes even berate them. They are in a position of being needed and, as far as they are concerned, “important people” ought to act haughtily towards ordinary people.

And, the way these people living by these wicked morals treat one another is not different from the way they treat their patients. They will behave towards others according to their station; for example, they show great respect towards the head nurse, but belittle other nurses.

Just as the lives of some housewives living by the morality of ignorance are confined within the four walls of her house, similarly, nurses confine much of their world to the hospital. They think quite highly of themselves in their situation. They think it to be themselves who heal people, not realizing that they are only the means. However, if they were themselves sick, they would not able to cure themselves, and therefore should recognize that they cannot prevent illness from themselves. However, majority of them are obstinate in this false belief. In the Qur’an, Allah tells us that no one other than He has the power to cause good or harm.

If you ask them, “Who created the heavens and the Earth?” they will say, “Allah.” Say: “So what do you think? If Allah desires harm for me, can those you call upon besides Allah remove His harm? Or if He desires mercy for me, can they withhold His mercy?” Say: “Allah is enough for me. All those who truly trust put their trust in Him.” (Surat az-Zumar, 38)

Allah has revealed to us that we should trust only in Him. As discussed earlier, from the Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) prayer related in the Qur’an, believers should learn to trust only in Allah and look for assistance from Him alone. They sincerely believe that Allah ordains both good and harm and, apart from Him, there is no other power that can prevent such things from happening. They do not forget that Allah created every cure, as well as all doctors and nurses in the world, as the means for healing people.

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The Character of the Doctor In today’s society doctors are the most respected professionals. Indeed, to work to promote the health of others is a serious undertaking and requires a self-sacrificial spirit. But, in societies divorced from the morality of the Qur’an, the way people regard doctors and the character doctors develop out of this are somewhat different.

Firstly, some people mistakenly believe that their lives are in the hands of their doctors. For this reason, they look at them for help. Most families want their children to be doctors and instill this idea in them. For this reason, almost every child says that he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Of course, it is good for a family to want their children to have a useful profession for humanity but, in a society of ignorance, the main purpose of a family that directs their children to this profession is to win adulation from their community. Another reason is that, when a family member gets sick, their children who are doctors will be able to look after them and this gives them a sense of security. And besides this, doctors make the best candidates for marriage.

This way of looking at doctors in a society of ignorance begins as soon as a student enters a faculty of medicine. The students who navigate the corridors with their white lab coats have only one model in mind. According to the model they are taught, doctors are above all sure of themselves and think they know everything. When they talk to patients they use phrases containing medical terms which the sick person cannot understand. Of course, these doctors know that their patients cannot understand this language but they continue to use it thinking that this is the way a doctor speaks. In the societies living by the morality of ignorance, after they start practicing, the majority of doctors have only a few goals left; they want to be a famous specialist or a professor, to have a luxury office and earn as much money as possible.

The greatest suggestion that people are indoctrinated with in some societies is the error that people’s lives are in the hands of their doctors. It is this subconscious suggestion that underlies the respect and awe in which doctors are held in such a society. Members of ignorant society who are totally unaware of the Might and Power of Allah, Who created them from a drop of water and feeds them, are deceived to perceive doctors as beings with superhuman powers (surely Allah is beyond that). For this reason, they feel ignorantly that they are of less value than doctors and that, as we said before, doctors are their only hope for recovering from an illness. However, Allah warns human beings that they are only servants:

Those you call on besides Allah are servants just like yourselves. Call on them and let them respond to you if you are telling the truth. (Surat al-A‘raf, 194)

Of course, it is right for a person to go to a doctor and follow his advice. But, in doing this, that person must not forget that it is Allah Who restores them to health. It is only He Who knows where and when an individual will die. Allah has set the time of everyone’s death and all people approach that day without knowing when it will come. Many people make the great error of ignoring this reality; they forget to pray to Allah and look to their doctors for help. And because so much is expected of them, doctors, who are far removed from the morality of the religion, develop certain arrogance.

The difference between how some doctors act in their private offices and how they behave while working in a hospital well illustrates the distorted values of ignorant society. Because the office is private, the patients that come there are usually well-off. An ignorant person’s love of money requires him to act politely to those who are financially comfortable and some doctors are overly polite to those who come to their offices. The patient who comes to the doctor’s office has chosen him and if that patient does not like the treatment he gets, he may pay his bill and go to another doctor.

There is another aspect to this discussion; doctors’ attitude to those patients who have no money. In a society of ignorance it is accepted that those who have no money are always treated without respect and some doctors who work in hospitals are very good at treating such patients in compliance with this flawed mentality. The patients that doctors have to deal with in hospitals are most often poor. For this reason, the doctors acting in compliance with the rationale of ignorance regard themselves as the most important people in the hospital. Due to the same flawed rationale, they do not often look at their patient in the face because they think that the sick person is of no value. Even most of the hospital personnel have the same point of view. They ignore someone asking for directions or for a doctor’s name. They get established in their environment, become used to its sights and forget about mercy and compassion. Even as patients are entering the door of the hospital, they encounter the irritable attitude of security guards who treat them badly.

In the societies living by the morality of ignorance, majority of doctors work in a hospital more or less to earn their salary. After working there for years, they have at most a waiting room and a treatment room that doubles as an office. This is the ideal of a great many doctors. No doubt, helping people is something to appreciate. However, for the character of a doctor in a society of ignorance in the basis of such diligent efforts lie mundane expectations such as ranks, status and fame. The fact is, however, no matter what one’s profession may be, what will make a person honorable, respected and esteemed will be his efforts to win Allah’s good pleasure, love and the infinite life in the Hereafter and his awareness of his weaknesses.

We should keep in mind that, no matter what their profession may be, after living in this world for a short time, every person will come face to face with the next world. After his death it will not matter how many patients a doctor has treated, whether or not he knew his medical terms well enough or what title he earned; he will be asked what he did to earn Allah’s favor. In societies divorced from the morality of religion, most doctors are not aware of these realities because they are living under the strong influence of ideas instilled in their minds by the ignorant society they live in. It is very important for them to win society’s approval and be respected in its eyes.

Every deed done in accordance with the teaching of the Qur’an is directed towards winning Allah’s approval and, no matter what their profession may be,believers exhibit high moral standards. Believers are the best supporters and helpers of those in their community who are sick, weak and helpless. This behavior comes from their adherence to the Qur’an and their unwavering dedication to the morality that Allah has commanded. A person who embraces the Qur’an knows that medical knowledge can only be gained by the will of Allah and that He has created everything that brings healing. He sees clearly that, if it were not according to Allah’s will, he would not do what he does or know what he knows. He never forgets that he may become ill at any time and that, if that happened, he would have no helper or healer other than Allah.

The prayer of the Prophet Ibrahim (as) related in the Qur’an in this regard is a fine example of the high moral standards that everyone should take as an example:

He Who created me and guides me;

He Who gives me food and gives me drink;

and when I am ill, it is He Who heals me;

He Who will cause my death, then give me life;

He Who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on the Day of Reckoning.(Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 78-82)

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The Character of the Secretary In a society of ignorance, some professions are considered more noble and some more ordinary than others. The job of a secretary is regarded as more ordinary than many other jobs. One of the main reasons for this is that secretaries are merely someone else‘s assistants. For this reason, in a society of ignorance if you ask secretaries what they do for a living, they will often make themselves appear more qualified by saying that they work as personal assistants. Because being a secretary does not command a lot of respect in some circles of the society, they boast about their employers and the assistance they give them. However, it should satisfy a person that he works at a legitimate business and that he earns money by legal means. No one ought to be attributed superior status, as in the ignorant society, or need to be regarded with respect by those around them. What makes an individual worthy of good in this world and the next are what he has done to win the favor of Allah.

As stated earlier, morality based on ignorance offers a totally different and erroneous way of interpreting reality. Secretaries who adopt this erroneous value system revere their employers. Their employers consider themselves their benefactors and think that they have all kinds of rights over them. Secretaries do not take it personally when their boss treats them badly, orders them around or makes them do all sorts of jobs; in fact, it actually pleases them. They do much more than is expected of them, and try their best to make their boss happy. Because, in a sense, their boss is their future. They consider their boss to be the only one who can improve their prospects, expand their network of acquaintances, and bail them out of difficulties.

Actually, most of the tasks secretaries do are not defined in their job description; in a society of ignorance, they have to do everything they are told to do. Their bosses take advantage of this and work them very hard. When they become irritated during the day, they shout at their secretaries who do not say a word in response; they just smile in return. But, at the first chance they get, they criticize them behind their backs.

As well, secretaries behave the same way towards other employees as their bosses behave towards them. They will surely find someone else in the workplace to order around and put to work, these usually being the janitors.

Those who work as secretaries for high-level bosses act especially arrogant towards other employees, because they see themselves as the person closest to him. According to the mentality of ignorance, the secretary to the boss of a major company occupies a high position. All the managers are obliged to go through the secretary if they want to see the boss. Most often, they ask the secretary what kind of mood he is in. These secretaries take advantage of their position by constantly ordering other people around and speaking harshly to lower-level personnel.

In such a character living in a society of ignorance, we can discern types of ignorant behavior such as lying, ignoring bad habits, being hypocritical and criticizing others behind their back. They do all this to get one person to like them and for the advantages that they believe they will derive from it.

However, the only power that can benefit human beings in this world and the next is the power of Allah. Those who try to ingratiate themselves with others, and to make themselves liked, forget that Allah is the only One whose pleasure has to be earned. They forget that Allah exists. But a believer is one who strives only to win Allah’s favor. Believers never make the mistake of exaggerating the importance of other human beings, or attributing to them any real power; and, they never entertain the hope of gaining anything from them. They are aware that their fate is in the hands of Allah.

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The Character-types of Managers and Directors In societies divorced from religion, you can find several different types of characters in a single workplace. Every one of these character-types is influenced by the position he has been given, and determined by his responsibilities, salary and rank in relation to other workers. One of the characters shaped by these factors is that of a manager. Those who are of this kind of character are of a disposition regarded as otherwise quite normal for a person in their circumstances, but which is the product of a corrupt way of thinking; they can be two characters at once, changing according to the particular situation. They show one of side of this character to those who are their superiors; and show the other to those who are their inferiors.

When they are with their boss, people having this morality in ignorant societies are humble and submissive; they treat him with deference, sometimes bending over backwards to please him. They do everything he wants immediately, being careful not to make the least mistake. The boss, on the other hand, has the right to say anything he wants to his subordinates and, if necessary, to berate them. Managers do not mind being treated in this way, and regard it as the boss’s right to criticize them. They do everything they can to get the boss to like them, and to get on his good side. They will even fulfill menial tasks outside of work to gain his favor. The purpose of all this self-sacrifice is definite: The boss is the one who pays their salary, and exercises the final authority in the workplace. Therefore, all the manager’s wages and benefits are determined by him. Gaining support and sympathy from the boss is extremely important for the manager’s career and future. For this reason, a person with such morality will not hesitate to compromise his honor and integrity.

It will be useful at this point to make an important distinction: It is good for people to respect and esteem those who are in a higher position or senior to them or to fulfill their requests. But, in doing so they must seek the pleasure of Allah, acknowledging that person’s level of morality, and not seek any material benefit from him.

But, people in a society of ignorance do not acknowledge the level of morality of another. They respect a rich man even if he is morally weak. They try to oppress those who work with them, with no regard for their moral qualities, because their criteria by which they judge others is not based on earning the pleasure of Allah. According to the distorted way of thinking of a society of ignorance, these individuals regard themselves as superior to those they oppress, and they think they have the right to treat them badly. Now, this manager, who was so meek and mild when the boss was present, becomes arrogant, over-confident, a “do what you’re told” dictator. He is very harsh and uncompromising towards those under him. He barks out orders, and if a problem arises, he does not hesitate to publicly berate the person responsible, because these people he deems to be of no advantage to him. Besides, he wants to inflict the arrogance on those under him as the boss inflicts on him. In this way, he hopes to deny the meek character he shows when the boss is around.

The contradiction in these two different character sides is generally regarded as normal in the workplace and in a society of ignorance. This is the way the system works: according to this false system, the owner of the company can treat a manager any way he wants; a manager can do the same to a secretary and a secretary can do it to the janitor. The reverse is also true; everyone behaves as best he can towards a superior, and is careful to do what is expected of him. But when the superior is absent, the others do not hesitate to express their hatred of him. The respect they show is false.

This moral system is evidently corrupt. These people know how to behave respectfully, but they do not feel they have to behave in such a way towards each other, because there is no material benefit to be derived from it. Not only this vice not considered controversial, but it is not even noticed in the corruption of a society of ignorance. However, according to the Qur’an, one who behaves this way has no conscience. Without being in an expectation of a mundane benefit, a human being is responsible for behaving as well as his conscience will allow under all circumstances, and Allah has commanded all to be tolerant and humble.

A human being possesses nothing of his own that would raise his stature among those around him. Rank and status come only from Allah. He bestows upon those of His servants He chooses, and raises the stature of those whom He wishes to raise. When He wishes, He can reverse the situation; He has the power to take back every blessings He has conferred. For this reason, a human being must always act humbly before Allah. In the Qur’an, Allah reminds us of this truth:

Do not strut arrogantly about the Earth. You will certainly never split the earth apart nor will you ever rival the mountains in height. (Surat al-Isra’, 37)

A believer lives aware of this reality. No matter who he has to deal with in this world, he is never boastful and does not forget that he is responsible to Allah. For this reason, he does not believe that such alternating and insincere behavior is acceptable, and adopts in all times and in all places a moral character pleasing to Allah. No matter what the rank or position of another, he always acts towards that person with respect and courtesy. He does not expect a reward for his politeness; on the contrary, he expects recompense only from Allah for every good he performs. He severs Allah, and works to win His favor.

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The Character of a Working Man As described in many verses of the Qur’an, in the societies having the morality of ignorance, the majority of working men are consumed with concerns of this earthly life. Their world, their work and their goals are focused on their becoming successful at their jobs. They will discuss little with their family and friends; they either talk about their work, or sit for hours thinking in silence about how they can make more money. Their minds are so occupied with their work that they often forget their moral liabilities towards their spouses, children, families and friends.

Everything people having this morality think about is in connection with their work. Their social relationships are based on what they can profit financially from them. They base their friendships, and even their marriage, in this way. They nurture the relationships they think will bring them gain, and consider it a waste of time to maintain friendships with those who cannot be of any use to them.

At home, and at work, they are tense and stressed. After a bad day, they become extremely irascible, ready to explode if anyone were to so much as even touch them. When someone does not show proper consideration for their mental state, their irritability increases. They especially blame their wives for not being sensitive and understanding about their work.

They are usually very confident and sure of themselves in all they do; they think themselves clever, and do not respect another’s opinion. They are proud of their years of experience, always insisting they know better. It would be impossible to convince them they were wrong about something. Even if they were aware that they have made a mistake, or had a bad idea, they would not apologize; it is very difficult for them to admit to an error.

As stated earlier, the basic reason why they attain this kind of character is their attachment to this world. This attachment has caused them to lose many of their more humane qualities, and made them incapable of thinking about anything other than financial gain. We must here state at the outset that it is normal for a person to desire money, to be successful in his career, and to hope to improve his situation; but, it is a mistake for him to forget about the Afterlife, becoming overly passionate in his desire for the things of this world. On the other hand, one may have great wealth, but he may use it to please Allah or to achieve some high purpose.

There is no such pious intention in a working man of a society of ignorance; on the contrary, he has a passionate attachment to this world. But, the money he so desires is just a transient pleasure of this life. A man may be the richest person in the world, or the most successful in his profession, but he will one day die and leave behind him everything he had gained in the world. The wealth he amassed will be of no use to him when his body lies rotting beneath the earth. Then, he will be called to give account of that which he has done in this world. On the Day of Judgment, he will not be asked how hard he worked to acquire his wealth, or how much he accumulated; he will be asked what he did for Allah to earn His favor. So, all the efforts he had put forth for worldly gain, will have been in vain.

Allah speaks of the vanity of such efforts in the Qur’an:

Say: “Shall I inform you of the greatest losers in their actions? People whose efforts in the life of this world are misguided while they suppose that they are doing good.” Those are the people who reject their Lord’s Signs and the meeting with Him. Their actions will come to nothing and, on the Day of Rising, We will not assign them any weight. (Surat al-Kahf, 103-105)

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The Character of the Working Woman A working woman in a society abiding by the morality of ignorance receives more respect in society than the housewife. Because according to the criteria set by ignorant societies, they are thought to have higher ideals, and more important responsibilities than housewives. Indeed, the main reason why a woman decides to have a career is to avoid being a housewife, and the negative perception some people attach to it, and, in her own way, to rise to a more respected position in society. For a person possessing such a mentality, being a working woman will, above all, grant her a different identity; it will allow her to stand on her own two feet, which will bring her a greater measure of equality with men.

Indeed, this is exactly what is expected of a working woman in a society of ignorance. For those who live their lives divorced from the morality of religion, the most important thing is the financial independence that wealth offers. For this reason, such people consider an independent woman superior to other women. Their level of morality is not an issue; what is important is their bankbooks, assets, company privileges and reputation.

Working women who are aware of these perceptions in their society abiding by the morality of ignorance ambitiously cling to their work. The more successful they are in their profession, the more, they believe, they achieve for themselves. For that end, they will do their utmost to prove themselves to others in their workplace.

Rising to the management level, alongside other men, they regard as a major success. They regard this as a very important opportunity. They can order others around; if some complete a job incorrectly, or are late finishing a project, these women do not hesitate to berate them publicly. On one hand, they do so to try to prove themselves to the men; on the other hand, they are competing with the other women in the company. They will seize any opportunity to advance themselves by pointing out the failings of the other women.

They think they are in gain because they do not have the image of a housewife in society. But their lives are not as different as they imagine. Fundamentally, their character possessing the morality of ignorance has not changed much. The only things different are the environment and the people around them. No longer the housewife concerned about her house and her family, and arguing with her husband or her mother; in her place is a working woman concerned about her work, competing with her fellow workers and proving herself. Otherwise, the gossiping, arguments, jealousies and emotional outbreaks persist. Because the way to escape a life-long anxiety and a somber spiritual state, is not to change one kind of ignorant identity for another; it is only possible by making a change in one’s spirit, according to the teachings of the Qur’an. The character of the working woman adhering to the morality of ignorance ignores this essential fact, and so continues to experience all the trouble and torment of the morality of ignorance.

However, a woman who is a believer is aware of this important truth. In order to reform herself, she does not just make superficial adjustments in her life, but devotes her attention to developing her spirit, and her moral character. For this reason, she is always progressing.

And, unlike the majority of women in a society of ignorance, they do not suffer from complexes. They do not stoop to getting into competition with other women around them, men in their workplaces or other people for material and mundane values. After all, such competition is meaningless. According to the morality of the religion, there is no such thing as superiority or inferiority of the male or female over one another, and therefore no competition between men and women. Both men and women behave in the way that suits to their creation. They do not try to imitate each other, but to conform to the model of a believer described in the Qur’an. It is only the measure of faith and morality that is of any value in the Sight of Allah. And men and women, all believers compete only for good.

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