From arrogance, the next in the sequence of deadly habits is ignorance, and continued ignorance. It is the roots of all the diseases. This is the state that makes one defeated and miserable within and also with others.
Ignorance is an offspring of arrogance. Arrogance is a disease that snatches all the good character from the person and makes the person a candidate of all the bad behaviour. They cannot listen, ask for consultation or seek knowledge. They keep liking themselves until they destroy themselves and the surrounding. It is a disease which is always united with another symptom which is blindness. If we talk about ignorance, it is also very related to arrogance. Ignorance is a form of arrogance and arrogance is a form of ignorance. Also they are fools, but everyone knows this except them.
The characteristics of an ignorant person include a lot of assuming, liking the status quo and being unwilling to reflect over his mistakes or to grow.
Maturity in life is not gained by age, but by learning from our mistakes and increasing our knowledge for our benefit. In Islam it is incumbent on each and every one of us to seek useful knowledge, meaning the essential practical knowledge of this earth, and more crucially the knowledge of Allah by getting to know our Creator and His message. One of the qualities of the kaffir is ignorance, because he rejects the truth by not making an effort to search for it or seek it, or, when presented with it, ignores and rejects it.
There is only one step needed to get out of this cycle, but you will find people being stuck in this phase, refusing any sound reason, wisdom or knowledge even if the knowledge is handed to them on a silver platter. They close the door and are satisfied with their own ignorance.
Ignorance here does not necessarily relate to academic ignorance, but rather the refusal to continuously better oneself. Therefore, even university graduates can be ignorant. They can earn a master’s degree and be fluent in one narrow field, but remain ignorant about life and current affairs in general. They become failures because they have stopped improving themselves.
The ignorant keeps repeating his own mistakes and bad habits, with regards to his relationships, jobs, the way he deals with other people, and the method of doing things – even basic things like cooking! When presented with a similar scenario, he chooses exactly the same path and does things exactly the same way. This is why ignorant people cannot progress, for they have chosen to limit themselves. No one else is to blame.
To watch an ignorant person in action is like watching a runaway train. The person keeps repeating his mistake, and takes shortcuts while stubbornly rejecting advice until the whole situation is out of control and he leaves a trail of destruction in his wake. We have all seen it – someone leaves a bad relationship only to enter into another one exactly like the previous one. Someone fails at his job and gets fired again at the next job for the identical reason. Someone keeps losing money because he keeps repeating the same unsound investment decisions.
The ignorant one will continue on the same methodology in every aspect of his life, without wanting to seek consultation or admit that he knows very little. He will never progress, develop or mature as a person. Any conversation with such a person is shallow and unfulfilling. Such persons will remain stuck in the same mentality and mindset, even five, ten or twenty years later. He will be talking about the same pointless topics, carry the same bad habits and be stuck in a time warp where maturity is concerned.
What about the context of that person’s faith? Islam commands us to seek knowledge, not run away from it. One who prefers to remain in his state of ignorance will never fully understand Islam or improve as a person, because he can only do things one way and disregards any alternative. The implications are disastrous. Islam is not a religion of blind obedience, but one that appeals to the heart and also the reasoning.
We see people making the same excuses – they spend seven years to earn an architectural degree, but claim they don’t have the time to learn salah, and the discussion ends there. People can master multiple skills but do not any priority to learn Arabic alphabets, much less read the Qur’an. Again, especially if they have reached adulthood and have the physical resources to educate themselves, no one else is to blame.
Ignorance is darkness, and knowledge is light. Knowledge illuminates the path before us, prevents us from stumbling, and lights up things that were previously dark and therefore unknown and scary. A wise person who is armed with useful knowledge is always happier than an ignorant fool, because he knows the right decision to make in life, no matter how awkward or tragic the surroundings may be.
Let us step out from the blindness of our own ignorance and seek the light of knowledge, for our salvation in this life and the next, ameen.
Meanwhile, if you know those who have the characteristics of an ignorant person, our advice is to stay away from them. It may sound brutal, but any form of advice you give will just be a waste of breath for you. You can never fill a cup that is upside down, the water will just spill everywhere and be wasted. Just like the example of the runaway train, there is no stopping someone when he prefers to go on his own blind course of personal self destruction. We will explore this topic in another article, insha Allah.