“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know’ and thou shalt progress.”

~ Maimonides

Because it is commonly known, even by the journalist Abdulrahman al-Rashed, that “self-cure starts with self realization and confession”, we are confident that there is always hope for change but as long as you are conscious that you are ignorant rather than pretending you are smart. Let there be a club in the footsteps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which should be designed to help the ignorant become smart. And it should be called Ignorant Anonymous (IA). Just like the first meeting at AA, you have to stand up and say “My name is so and so and I’m an alcoholic” similarly those people suffering from the agonies of ignorance should unflinchingly stand up and admit, “My name is Atti Tude and I’m ignorant of the religion of Islam. The only knowledge I know about Islam is from these biased media and antagonists of Islam.” Others should clap at his courage of admitting the reality so that another person is encouraged to say “my name is Sahara Fried-man and I am ignorant of existence of the word of God. I regret for not having read the entire Qur’an/Bible and as a consequence, I found myself accompanied with confusion, distress and misery.” After other members burst into a “Hello Sahara!”, Mr Poppin should proceed with, “I’m Poppin Sparkle and I am unaware of Muhammad’s Prophethood. However, I am recovering from naivety and I am now reading the biography of Prophet Muhammad.” Before the meeting ends, the last person at IA would stand up with his sobering confession: “my name is Pilot Inspektor and  I’m ignorant of the authenticity of Qur’an. I have to admit that my busy life has distracted me from verifying the genuineness of Qur’an as a word of God.”

People who have a chance of becoming successful are those with the courage of saying “maybe you’re right” or the flipside of it, “maybe I’m wrong”. And if you believe that prejudice never shows much reason then we may want to ask, have you ever let the following statement cross your mind: “Maybe Muslims are right and we are wrong?” We should have the audacity to say like Marcus Tullius Cicero: “I am not ashamed to confess I am ignorant of what I do not know.” Or like the determination of Saul: “. . . I have been a fool, and have made a great mistake.” [1 Samuel 26:21] And obviously, learned men will nod in vigorous agreement with Richard Cecil’s statement: “The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.” However, after recognizing who we really are, we should then dispel the curse of ignorance through studying about God and end up submitting to Him. It is those who are infinitely ignorant who are denied access to the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, all of us were born ignorant of many things but it was through study and examination that stupidity vaporized. And if you treasure the advice of Benjamin Franklin, then heed his precious words: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.” You can always be smart unless you proudly chose to be a bastion of ignorance. “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” [Proverbs 1:22]

Reason and seeking knowledge about God can wrestle and overthrow ignorance. And whenever the know-nothing criticizes you for becoming a serious questor after the Truth of religions, always remember to “. . . turn away from the ignorant” [Q 7:199] Be humble and emulate the model of righteous people who walk on the surface of the earth in humility and sedateness, “. . . and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” [Q25:63] and keep on doing good because “. . . by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” [1 Peter 2:15]

The yes-we-can philosophy can help you jump from the planet of ignorance to safe landing in the Empire of Smart people. We believe that by becoming a member of smart people you will reap a great deal of benefits for “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” [Proverbs 13:20] Whether sin is ignorance or ignorance is sin, what is worth-celebrating is that there is always a way out. The Qur’an has this message to the ignorant:

Allâh accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allâh will forgive and Allâh is Ever All­Knower, All­Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment. [Q 4:17-18]

{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

 

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