The Religion Of The Ignorant
16- THE FALSE CONCEPT OF RESPECT
We first need to examine the concept of respect revealed in the Qur'an, according to which a believer feels enormous respect for Allah, first and foremost.
Surah Al 'Imran refers to those "who stand in awe of Allah" (Surah Al 'Imran, 199). 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-Anbiya', 90). In Surat al-Muminun, believers are described as "those who stand in reverent awe of their Lord" (Surat al-Muminun, 57). In other verses, respect is employed as a component of the sincere awe felt towards Allah.
The source of believers' feelings of respect, therefore, is the respect they feel for Allah. Respect shown for other human beings is a reflection of that fundamental respect. Since believers feel respect for Allah, they respect everyone who obeys Him and seeks to earn His approvalâ€”in other words, all believers. (A believer never feels sincere respect for those who are unworthy of itâ€”for those who deny Allah, who behave in a manner that contravenes His approval and who refuse to recognize Him.)
The conception of respect in Ignorantism is of course totally different from the true concept of respect described in the Qur'an. The respect in believers, as already stated, is a genuine and sincere one stemming from respect for Allah. In the Religion of the Ignorant, on the other hand, it manifests itself in hypocritical forms of behavior founded on superficial models and formalistic relationships of mutual interest.
According to Ignorantism, showing respect implies courteous behavior and adopting regular models of speech. Respect is regarded as an attitude that helps a person obtain a place in society, whose duration and form are always changing according to the circumstances and person involved.
Since the philosophy of the Religion of the Ignorant is based upon hypocrisy and falsehood, respect is shown under compulsion and unwillingly. People merely endure the times when they are obliged to show respect. Respect is not part of their characters. From that point of view, Ignorantists feel most at ease in circumstances where they do not have to show respect for anyone and where they can easily reveal their true natures. Under those circumstances, a person's defects of style, distorted ethical understanding, and true feelings and attitudes about other people emerge.
Just as the concept of "respect" changes according to place and environment, it also changes with age. In the Religion of the Ignorant, people need to prove their self-confidence, that they attach no importance to anyone and therefore have no fear of themâ€”in other words, that their personalities are fully developed. This they do with the exceedingly vulgar and disrespectful behavior commonly referred to as "being real" or "acting natural."
Environments perceived as "natural" have their own particular forms of intrusive behavior. The most obvious manifestations include opening the refrigerator in the kitchen of a stranger, someone one does not know, rummaging through a friend's room, opening a closet and trying on clothes, putting one's feet up on the furniture, assuming a recumbent posture when sitting down, being tactless under the guise of sincerity, speaking loudly, and swearing.
As we've seen, Ignorantism's ethical model is the exact opposite of all the moral principles revealed in the Qur'an. It has been forgotten that an account must be rendered to Allah and that people have been taken in by the baubles of the transitory life of this world. This society is ignorant, in the words of the Qur'an, since it is completely unaware of the existence of Allah and the Hereafter.