The Religion Of The Ignorant
Among the people there are some who say, "We believe in Allah and the Last Day," when they are not believers. They think they deceive Allah and those who believe. They deceive no one but themselves but they are not aware of it. (Surat al-Baqara, 8-9)
The hypocrites are an example of why adopting Islam for any other reason than Allah's approval is worthless. In any case, these people do not practice all the stipulations of Islam, avoiding those observances that involve making sacrifices.
Ignorantists are in a similar position. They have accepted Islam not because they believe in Allah and seek His approval. Their reason for their accepting Islam is the logic of abiding by one's forefathers, one of the basic characteristics of the unbelievers. They regard their ancestors as guides. Their real religion is that handed down from them. They accept Islam since they regard it as a part of that tradition. In addition, they also accept many non-Islamic teachings inherited from their forefathers and accept only those aspects of Islam that do not conflict with their own interests. This shows that they do not possess sincere faith. They regard Islam as a cultural, traditional component of the nation they say they belong to.
Since they regard Islam as a tradition, they also have no fear of Allah, the very basis of Islam. The religious expressions they use are generally the same as those in the Qur'an. They refer to Allah, faith, Paradise and Hell, fasting, and the need to pray five times a day. Yet since they fail to approach these with the sensitive conscience that fear of Allah brings with it, they are unaffected. In the description of believers in the Qur'an, it is revealed that they are most sensitive to remembering Allah and His verses:
The believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, whose faith is increased when His signs are recited to them, and who put their trust in their Lord. (Surat al-Anfal, 2)
In contrast, members of the Religion of the Ignorant are unaffected by remembering Allah, in other words they have no awe of Him. They attest to Allah and the Hereafter only in words, and their hearts are entirely empty. They do not live by the moral values of the Qur'an. These characteristics are emphasized in various verses of the Qur'an:
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 pay heed?" 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)
If you ask them, "Who sends down water from the sky, bringing the earth back to life again after it was dead?" they will say, "Allah." Say: "Praise be to Allah." But most of them do not use their intellect. (Surat al-'Ankabut, 63)
Adherents of Ignorantism are unaffected by the existence of Allah and are easily able to carry on living in violation of His commandments because they lack the reason with which to comprehend the meaning of what they attest to. They affirm the existence of Allah in words because belief in Allah in the tradition has come down to them from their forebears. They have certainly not thought in a conscious manner or displayed the behavior of a believer, who are described in the verse as:
those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the Earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surah Al 'Imran, 191)