The Religion Of The Ignorant
Know that the life of this world is merely a game and a diversion and ostentation and a cause of boasting among yourselves and trying to outdo one another in wealth and children: like the plant-growth after rain which delights the cultivators, but then it withers and you see it turning yellow, and then it becomes broken stubble. In the Hereafter there is terrible punishment but also forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure. The life of this world is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion. (Surat al-Hadid, 20)
The above verse emphasizes how boasting and display, major characteristics of the Religion of the Ignorant, are widespread among people. In Islam, the greatest aim in life is to gain the approval of Allah, whereas in the Ignorantism, the greatest aim is to attain that of other people. In the Religion of the Ignorant, display is therefore of vital importance. Being liked, admired, approved of or envied is more important than anything else. In this religion people dress, speak, decorate their homes, or choose professions to impress those around them. Their greatest aim in everything they do is to gain others' approval. When they go to a bookshop, for instance, they look at the bestsellers rather than at books about the subjects that actually interest them. When choosing a book they wonder which will be most "cool" and in line with current fashion, because their aim is not to advance their experiences, knowledge or personality, but to have something to tell others about.
In raising their children, a great many people take pains to ensure that their children acquire attributes that those around them approve of, whether these be right or wrong, rather than trying to help them become patient, tolerant, devout, compassionate or generous. For example, they send their children to the most prestigious schools, hire piano teachers even though their children have no talent, allow children to call them by their first names in order to show off to their friends that raising an arrogant child is perfectly acceptable. In Ignorantism, a child is an important opportunity for display. For the sake of the parents' prestige among their acquaintances, it is most important for their child to study at a good school, know various foreign languages, to dress attractively, be popular and have many talents. Indeed, when adherents of the Religion of the Ignorant speak, parents prefer to discuss things that will be the subject of other people's envy, rather than how modest, how affectionate or how gentle their children are. They are more interested in appearances than in their children's moral values.
Another element of display lies in having a dashing home. Rather than considering their own comfort, people attach more importance to the opinion of those around them. Which area is it located in? How many floors does it have? The kind of view it affords and the amount of floor space available will increase their own prestige. They furnish and decorate entirely in the light of other people's opinions. Even if they prefer another color, they opt for the one in fashion at the time. They buy exceedingly uncomfortable furniture just because it is expensive and showy, and put up with styles of dÃ©cor they thoroughly dislike just to be able to say that such-and-such a designer carried out the work. Though they spend much of their time in that home, they never enter the drawing room except when they have guests, on the grounds that having spent so much money on it, they want "to keep it pristine." They cover up the furniture and sit in a tiny room somewhere else. In short, they set aside half their home for show and half for living in.
Boasting is such an intense passion for people that they seek to show off even to those closest to them. One of the best places to do that is at parties. They issue invitations not because they actually want to see their guests, but simply to show off. They prepare every little detail for the party with that in mind. They select the food not for its taste, but for its ability to display their wealth. Their objective is not for their guests to enjoy the party, but to envy the amount of money spent on it. At such dinner parties, everyone looks at everyone else's clothes, shoes and handbags, and the jewelry and perfumes people are wearing.
At such parties, the conversation is a kind of "show-off" competition, wherein everyone seeks to prove himself on some subject. Women seek to put down other women by discussing their trips abroad, the beauty of a country they visited, the difficulties in finding good domestic staff, the make of clothes they have bought, their hairdressers, and the jewelry they have ordered. Men, on the other hand, talk about their successes in the business arena, their network of contacts, commenting on economic or political matters as if they were experts on the subject. Any sincerity, warmth or friendship is therefore impossible in conversations in Ignorantism. Indeed, such guests, as soon as they leave the gathering, without fail, end the event by criticising those who remain. They discuss the insincerity of the people concerned, their attempts to show off, how boring they were, their hosts' vulgarity, the ugliness of their interior design and the tastelessness of the food. Tired, bored and offended, they leave parties where the Religion of the Ignorant reigns.
Know-It-Alls and Priggery
Anyone following Ignorantism will be far from possessing the reason and sharpness of understanding revealed in the Qur'an. Nevertheless, such people greatly admire their own intellects, imagining themselves as far more intelligent than others. An adherent of the Religion of the Ignorant believes that he has sufficient experience to give anyone advice on any subject whatsoever. Half-absorbed information garnished from all around is fused with the conclusions drawn from his own experiences, and the individual thus imagines that he or she has acquired a great knowledge of life. Such people then seek to demonstrate that experience at every opportunity. Such attributes as reason, intelligence, moral values and culture are relegated to second place. One of the most important credibility factors here is that of age. This alleged superiority is emphasized in expressions like, "I was doing that while you were still wet behind the ears," or "I have witnessed your childhood."
Even if a person realizes that an idea he's proposed is wrong or that his alleged knowledge of a particular subject is actually limited, it's very rare for him to admit that. Having one's mistakes or errors revealed is unacceptable to members of Ignorantism. In any case the important thing is not to arrive at a conclusion or to determine the truth and the facts, but generally to satisfy one's own need for prestige.