The Religion Of The Ignorant
In public offices, there is a rather more stereotyped state of mind. The irritable, tense climate in such places is accepted by everyone. A great many employees combine arrogance with a sense of inferiority. Their word counts for anything only in their field of work. They therefore adopt a harsh, even domineering attitude towards those who have business with them. One sees cups of tea being constantly emptied and refilled, a thick fog of cigarette smoke, employees complaining how hard it is to make ends meet, family problems and shopping, and carry out their work with a listless air.
The employees' tone of voice and bad temper make it clear they cannot stand the work they do. The suppliant must be constantly pleasant to those who will actually be doing the work. Asking too many questions may irritate them. In all probability, no reply will be forthcoming to the questions he asks, which are silenced with a harsh look. One can even hear reprimands the whole time.
However, this image of the difficult, bad tempered, know-it-all civil servant in public offices emerges only in the presence of poor, ignorant or oppressed people who come to the office. In contrast, civil servants who are members of the Religion of the Ignorant never display that kind of behavior before wealthy, well-dressed people of high rank. On the contrary, they treat them with the greatest respect, even though this is generally not a genuine, but a vulgar respect stemming from an inferiority complex and a lack of identity. In all probability, the civil servant has something to gain from the respect shown to such people. Yet since this is an important value judgment, the civil servant necessarily feels respect for the wealthy personâ€”respect that may be described as a mixture of envy and admiration. The vulgar, self-interested Ignorantist character can be seen here very plainly.
Adherents of the Religion of the Ignorant regard all this as perfectly normal and ordinary, in the same way that fish are unaware of the water around them. Ignorantists are not aware how unreasoning, vulgar and hollow are their attitudes and behavior. Neither are they as aware as they should be that Allah has created them, that they are in this world to be tested and for only a short time, and that eventually they will return to our Lord and account for themselves to Him. Instead of considering these things, giving thanks to Allah and seeking His approval, they spend their entire lives on simple quarrels and cultivating simple interests. They work for years in a tiny office, seek to increase their salaries and position, invent gossip about others, experience crises of envy, live in a state of stress and pretense the whole time. However, since they ignore the approval of Allah and forget about the Hereafter, everything they do is hollow and meaningless. As revealed in the verse, "Humanity's reckoning has drawn very close to them, yet they heedlessly turn away" (Surat al-Anbiya', 1), they are totally heedless and are described in the Qur'an as those "who play at frivolous games" (Surat at-Tur, 12).
Putting down people who need to have things done, those without money, the ugly or younger people is a general rule in the Religion of the Ignorant. Attitudes are determined according to the client's type and appearance in those workplaces in direct contact with customers. The client is treated politely and with interest if he or she appears to be wealthy. But if not, then a superior and uncaring attitude is displayed, along with a desire to be rid of the person. In this way, the general attitude in stores, shops and boutiques is determined.
Every profession has its own customs and ethics. But these moral values can be broadened, narrowed or altered according to the value of the goods in question, the wealth of the client, or the nature of the work. Making someone believe that an outfit suits them when it doesn't, selling a low-quality item as if it were a high-quality one, or making people think that an expensive item is actually very affordable requires professionalism, as the Ignorantism terms it. That, in any case, is the work ethic of the Religion of the Ignorant. It is known as the "work" ethic because it is very different from the moral values of the Qur'an. That ethic encourages sin to be committed secretly:
- Under Ignorantism, blatant theft is a violation of the Religion of the Ignorant. But obtaining unfair advantage for oneself under a legitimate guise by cutting the job to suit one's cloth is a rule of that religion.
- Openly taking bribes is forbidden. But bribes under the guise of gifts are accepted.
- Murder is a grave crime, but not lifting a finger as someone dies, in order to avoid finding oneself in difficulties, is intelligent behavior.
- It is bad form to insult or swear at people to their face, but backbiting and gossiping behind their back is normal.