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"Work" Psychology in Ignorantism

Earlier, we said that a Muslim's only important feature of identity was being a Muslim, that he cannot define himself according to any other worldly criterion. Muslim is a name Allah has bestowed on believers (Surat al-Hajj, 78), and a great honor it is for a person to bear that title. For that reason, those with a Muslim awareness never seek to find another identity by adopting other values. They would never stoop to doing so. Other worldly criteria—a person's descent, lineage, social status, language, color or circle for instance—have no importance in the sight of believers. This is explained in a verse:

O humanity! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah's Sight is the one of you who best performs his duty. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. s. (Surat al-Hujurat, 13)

A believer aware of this never changes his behavior or character according to prevailing worldly circumstances. When he obtains great worldly wealth, for example, he never becomes spoiled. When he is impoverished, he never adopts a defeated state of mind. Examples of this are provided in the Qur'an; and the way in which the Prophet Solomon (as) maintained his modesty and submission to Allah after acquiring great material wealth is described. On the other hand, however, people with weak and ignoble characters change according to every circumstance and condition.

The unseemly behavior of Qarun, who grew proud when property was given him, or of other unbelievers who panicked and despaired in the face of the slightest difficulty, are examples of such behavior, as described in the verse:

When We bless man, he turns away and draws aside. When evil touches him, he despairs. (Surat al-Isra', 83)

This lack of a firm identity engrained in the character of unbelievers emerges in the Religion of the Ignorant as an attempt to find identity. That is because the Ignorantist is all about attaining status in society. Since members of the Religion of the Ignorant possess no genuine, unchanging and stable identity in the way that Muslims do, they set out various worldly identities for themselves.

The most significant of these is professions. Adherents of Ignorantism find an identity in terms of the professions they belong to, and develop a character appropriate to them. Muslims have professions too, of course, but their place of work or status do not determine the characters of people with sincere faith in Allah. Muslims do not enter the state of mind that their profession brings with it, and never make any concessions on their attitudes.

In the Religion of the Ignorant, people are only as valuable as their professions. People enjoy as much esteem as the money they earn. That is why, within minutes of meeting someone, the conversation turns to what work they or their fathers do. Establishing that is of great importance in terms of establishing the other party's worth. The criterion by whether a person is to be taken seriously is their career, income or rank. When people from different professional groups meet together, everyone generally seeks to imply that he has the most highly regarded profession, and that the others' are less important.

In Ignorantism, every profession has its own particular psychology. If it requires higher education, then its psychology will consist of the individual's having been to university, and indoctrination starts with teachers and senior students.

In Ignorantism, every profession has its own particular psychology. If it requires higher education, then its psychology will consist of the individual's having been to university, and indoctrination starts with teachers and senior students.

The self-employed and those engaging in commerce see themselves as the backbone of social and economic life and imagine that nobody can take their place. At every opportunity, they raise the idea that were it not for them, people would be in a dire state, even unable to survive—and that they themselves are very important.

The self-employed and those engaging in commerce see themselves as the backbone of social and economic life and imagine that nobody can take their place. At every opportunity, they raise the idea that were it not for them, people would be in a dire state, even unable to survive—and that they themselves are very important.

The self-employed and those engaging in commerce see themselves as the backbone of social and economic life and imagine that nobody can take their place. At every opportunity, they raise the idea that were it not for them, people would be in a dire state, even unable to survive—and that they themselves are very important.

The work ethic of the Religion of the Ignorant reveals itself even while people are looking for employment. The most important, even the sole criterion when seeking work is the salary that job will bring in. The point of the work—its purpose, which belief, idea or individual will be served, and the harm it may do—are never made part of the equation.

In Ignorantism, one job often chosen by women is secretarial work. Their boss is usually a man, who tends to look for female secretaries. Femininity tends to play a major role here. Potential employees seek to get hired by means of their external appearance, rather than with their competence, knowledge, experience or intelligence.

Bosses tend to select employees who will witness their every move, either at work or at home, with the greatest care. For that reason the secretary, male or female, hears and sees nothing. He or she must have the kind of character that can lie when necessary, but must never lie to the boss and must demonstrate the highest loyalty. In normal life, people are unwilling to witness a deception and remain silent, or even become a party to it. When the same happens within the boundaries of the workplace, however, the Religion of the Ignorant regards this as part and parcel of the job. This aspect of being a secretary is a moral requirement of the profession in community of the ignorant. Nobody finds it strange. z.

Secretaries gain the boss's trust by ignoring his secret dealings in the workplace, even sometimes with regard to his own family. They share with the boss common attitudes toward everyone outside. Secretaries also put on a show with the boss for the outside world. His going on business trips, his outside meetings, and the salary he earns are all elements for display.

Other jobs like marketing, sales or reception are other trades based on show. Bosses inspect candidates in meeting rooms and monitor their reactions by making vulgar and crude jokes. Not showing an adverse reaction revealing one's dislike of these jokes and attitudes is a major advantage.

Some of the attributes sought in jobs like these, which involve dealing with many different people, include an ability not to blush in the face of other people's words or behavior, keeping one's cool, never taking things to heart, and even suggesting that one enjoys such things. The character of staff who make closing sales is particularly well suited to this; and is a requirement of the sales staff's work ethic. Vulgar personality traits such as shamelessness, insensitivity and lack of character are all part of the work ethic of Ignorantism. Among believers, on the other hand, that ethic promotes superior moral values such as dignity, seriousness, honor and nobility.

Passion constitutes the bedrock of the behavior required in the workplace in the Religion of the Ignorant. A burning desire to earn money, a passion to lead, or a passion for fame are highly regarded. That's why a materialist atmosphere to a large extent pervades workplaces. All behavior and attitudes, all conversation, are aimed at obtaining money and position. Employees have specific duties and positions. Everyone conforms to the mould of their own job description. The general behavior of most employees is ruled by giving the appearance of being very busy, irritable behavior, a tense expression and haste.

The Ignorantist boss speaks and behaves with the ease imparted by being the proprietor or the one who hands out wages. He can shout at, insult or humiliate the person in front of him. He is the one who hands out money. He needn't show the same respect to those beneath him as he does to others. He does, however, expect great respect to be shown to him. Those under his command must put up with everything he does. There is a kind of slave logic in the relationship between employer and employee. The boss imagines that he has freedom to behave however he likes to anyone whose salary he pays, and to address and use him as he chooses.

Business terminology is employed even in normal office conversations. In foreign countries, English terminology from the profession concerned is constantly employed—appropriately or not and whether the other party understands or not—as a means of putting on airs. There are even ways of holding the telephone. Disapproving of one another's work and constantly correcting it in a know-it-all way are widespread among employees. There is intense internal office gossip. Longstanding employees know all one another's deceptions, but hesitate to bring them out into the open because they fear that their own misdeeds will similarly be dragged into the light of day.

Everyone loads pressure onto newcomers, acting as know-it-alls and treating them as beginners, and constantly watching for their mistakes. Someone who's been employed for only two weeks tries to lord it over the brand-new employee. Longstanding workers give newcomers advice on all sorts of matters, necessary or otherwise, and try to make their superiority felt on all matters. Sometimes there can be disputes between different departments in the workplace. People show off by saying, "I have sorted that job out," and try to give the impression of being highly competent.

The prevailing psychology in such workplaces as shops, stores and boutiques is no different. Shop staff tend to act as if they owned the store, even though none of the goods in it actually belong to them. That stems from the state of mind wherein everyone else is buying and they are selling. Employees experience the burden of being there only as sales staff. If they perceive that the customer is not well-off, they show them goods as if throwing them down, in an uninterested and cold tone of voice, and exhibit a constantly irritated air. They first try to be courteous, but if they feel that the customer is unwilling or unable to buy what they want to sell, immediately they become rude and begin ignoring the customer, talking to their friends or staring outside. They give rude answers, as if the customer is imposing on their time. In workplaces of this kind, time generally passes in hollow and pointless dialogues, watching the outside world through the window, and gazing at oneself in the mirror.

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 person—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 rules. But these 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. According to the perverted criteria of the religion of ignorantism:

- 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.

- Atheism is bad, but being too religious is also unacceptable.

In addition, Ignorantism has produced a conception of Islam according to its own lights. According to that perverted concept, and in contrast to the Qur'an, it is legitimate for someone to perform only those religious duties that suit him, in a manner appropriate to the time and place. Yet living the life described by Allah and abiding by all the laws of Islam is regarded as excessive and is regarded as not right. The Religion of the Ignorant has produced its own conception of Islam, based on its own logic.

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