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The Blissful Ignorance

The Blissful Ignorance

 

Published in August 6, 2006

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy  

1- Reasonable persons are those who think before they talk; others talk before they think; these are the ignorant once, but the worst type who talk all the time and never think, and these are the fools. The fools not only take some time to think, but they talk about nothing but lies and falsehoods, and with the passage of time, the number of fools and ignoramuses increase exponentially, making lies and falsehoods part and parcel of the dominant culture in a given society that crate hallowed and sanctified myths. In order to maintain the 'holy' myths, ignorance and lack of reasoning thinking are preserved in a given society, and this is easily done when ignoramuses spread and propagate their ignorance and mythology in writing not just through talking, as if their myths were 'knowledge'. The problem exacerbates when ignoramuses get their PhD degrees to teach myths to generations at universities: this fabrication of ignorance is spread all over the Arab world and sponsored by all State ministries: media, education, culture, Waqfs (i.e., religious endowments), and Al-Azhar with its current head and leadership. Such corrupt climate makes corrupt less-than-60-year-old journalists spread and grow up and flatter the ruling party by praising hallowed ancient myths.         

2- Within media, the epidemic of hallowed myths of ignorance, lies, and falsehoods spreads all over the formal media to non-governmental press, and we mean Egyptian newspapers of political parties and independent opposition newspapers, where journalists are trained to tell lies and never feel ashamed of spreading (religious) ignorance and mythology; most of them were taught within the environment of dominant oral traditions heard by all society without reading or criticizing it. Thus, they accept such oral traditions without thinking at all; their religious life, like the rest of citizens, is based on a bunch of lies such as phrases that oppose real Islam (i.e., Quranism): (we're lucky to have Muhammad as our Prophet!); (we seek refuge in Muhammad the Prophet!); (let's recite the Quranic Chapter One for the Prophet's sake!); (we swear by the realm of Muhammad the Prophet!); (for the Prophet's sake, please God accept our blessings and greetings to the soul of the Prophet!), etc. Of course, such false statements are falsely ascribed forcibly to Islam as part of it; but the silliest thing is when one says in an article or speech the phrase  (Muhammad the Prophet said that ... etc.), as most gullible people believe all such nonsense without stopping for a moment to think, as if they heard Muhammad himself speak! This obscurantist, backward quasi-religious environment is based on spreading lies, myths, and falsehoods, made to appear as if 'holy', within TV channels, radio channels, mosques' sermons, books, newspapers, clubs, shops, etc. Hence, we never expect learned youths or budding journalists to respect the truth in their words, written or spoken. The press looks just for controversies and idle talk to bring ads money, while avoiding red lines imposing by the Mubarak regime, and the journalists thus focus on sex scandals, arrested sex workers, and low arts, while chasing away any reformist writers and thinkers who criticize religious and cultural traditions based on deep knowledge and expertise.      

3- We have been a victim of servile obsequious young journalists, who desire to please Mubarak regime, since the mid-1980s in Cairo, Egypt. It is laughter-inducing that some young journalists have written articles to attempt refuting our Quranist views despite their being too ignorant to even read one page of the traditional books of the Middle-Ages fiqh and hadiths, and yet, they wore the garb of learned erudite scholars! Such young ignoramuses were just kids when we, as a Professor, delivered our lectures to students at Al-Azhar University in 1979 and began to author our books that have terrified and shocked Azharite scholars until now. Until now, blissful ignorance making many people feel comfortable; this is OK as long as one does not spread, propagate, and proselytize ignorance and religious myths among people. When such ignorant journalists attempt to undermine and refute a thinker like us, they deserve to be ridiculed and publicly disgraced and scandalized even after their death, as long as there are people who critically read everything that falls into their hands and judge the reading material; hence comes the responsibility of all writers, as their words outlive them.      

4- The internet has exacerbated the problem of spreading hallowed myth by ignoramuses; countless ignorant people, journalists or not, have the nerve to dare write comments on eruditely written articles of knowledge, without their studying anything, while covering their true identities and real names, under the pretext of freedom of expression, forgetting that this freedom means to be responsible for one's word and suing one's real name. Using pseudonyms and hiding behind PC screens is ignorance coupled with being hidden; those persons are actually paid handsomely to spread and preserve ignorance and myths. To be able to discuss writings of knowledgeable persons in their fields, one must be a real researcher in the field in question, just as Muslim traditions and history, our field of specialization.     

5- In order to be an erudite knowledgeable scholar in Arab and Muslim history and traditions, one first has to read most of books of this field, from pre-Islamic era to the advent of Islam, to eras of the Umayyads, Abbasids, Mamelukes, Ottomans, and modern renaissance: Rifaa Al-Tahtawi, Muhammad Abdou, Ahmed Ameen, Taha Hussein, Georgie Zeidan, etc. and one must specialize in certain era by imbibing all its details and culture and everyday life on all levels: social, political, etc. this goes for studying political and literary history as well as Muslim/Arab religious thought and philosophy, and the latter is a more difficult field; let us suppose that one desires to be a researcher within the Mameluke Sufism, one must first understands the Quran (real and only Islam) using its own terminology and methodology first, and then, one must read all Sufi books authored before and during the Mameluke Era, while absorbing all Sufi terms, traditions, sheikhs, pioneers, etc. within these Sufi books written by Sufis themselves. This means that one must read all manuscripts, books, volumes, tomes, periodicals, and documents of the period, about Sufism, travel logs, historians' accounts, books on mausoleums' visits and Sufi saints, etc. as well as books of fiqh, hadiths, interpretation, and literature of the Mameluke Era, while detecting the Sufi influence in all such writings. Real researchers would spend months in reading manuscripts without even copying a single line from them; as such manuscripts will help them to get to know the mentality of the Mameluke age. In many cases, researchers copy lines of extra information from manuscripts that will prove useful later on; it often happens that they disregard to copy certain items that would prove later on to be much needed and they have dig for them again within manuscripts to be pored through over and over. Normally, researchers find many obstacles on their way when they collect data for their research, especially the problematic area of terminology; Sunnite books have their own terminology and so are Shiite and Sufi books, apart from books authored by historians, grammarians, fiqh scholars, etc. Within Sufism in particular, its books are filled with unique terminology and its secrets and symbolism that differ from one Sufi sheikh/author to another even in the same era, part from Sufi terminology typical of the Mameluke Era itself; besides, the Arabic language of the Mameluke Era differs a lot from previous eras in Egypt and in other countries, and this is true of the language of historians as well: Al-Makrizi, Al-Sakhawy, Ibn Hajar, Ibn Eyas, Al-Sharnouby, etc. Such myriads of details assert the suffering of real serious researchers when reading and researching, to finally feel content with being truly knowledgeable, more than ordinary people who are content with their blissful ignorance.                   

6- In general, serious researchers within any fields must be keen on learning more and increasing and widening their scope of knowledge; they read extensively, think critically, and analyze what they read before discussing anything. Serious researchers when discussing anything never aim at sophistry and stubborn Byzantine discussions; rather, they seek the truth and what is right, regardless of the source of the source of the views expressing this truth. Real serious researchers realize that democracy has little room in scientific research – this is a long story, but we briefly assert here that democracy have ample room within political life and human rights within all the political, social, economic, cultural, and religious levels; every human being has to absolute freedom of self-expression without disparaging those who hold different opinions from his/hers. This does NOT apply to scientific facts in all fields: history, geography, physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc. as there is no room for voting, surveys, questionnaires etc. to collect views of citizens or the general public regarding scientific facts proven within throughout and meticulous research and experiments by experts in certain fields. The general public is to make use and gain benefits from conclusions made by these experts in their respective fields, and this occurs within modern democratic countries that never reject research centers and experience of people in their respective fields of specialization. The Quran tells us to obey those experts for the benefit of society: "O you who believe! Obey God and obey the messenger and those in authority among you..." (4:59); the phrase (those in authority among you) refers to specialized experts in all artistic, scientific, economic etc. fields, NOT to rulers as Sunnites assume.  These fields include the field of security, as we infer from this context of refuting rumormongers among the hypocrites in Yathreb: "When some news of security or alarm comes their way, they broadcast it. But had they referred it to the Messenger, and to those in authority among them, those who can draw conclusions from it would have comprehended it...." (4:83). There are countless scholars who have spent most of their lives reading and researching Arab and Muslim history and traditions, and they have no awards nor positions, as the State never gives high-rank well-paid jobs and awards except for those who obsequiously please the tyrant, even if these flatterers have no high school degree or even a birth certificate! Erudite history scholars are not necessarily those having a university degree; Arab universities are corrupt and not one of them have a position in the list of top 100 universities worldwide. Even the most ancient university in the Arab world, built 1000 years ago, the Cairo-based Al-Azhar University, is spreading ignorance and myths while chasing creative, innovative thinkers of ijtihad who has new ideas. The Quran tells to obey those in authority among us; i.e., experts in all fields for the benefit of society, within the frame of obeying God and the messenger; by the way, the messenger here means the message (i.e., the Quran), as Muhammad died. Thus, those ignoramuses behind PC screens must not comment on articles written by erudite historians and researchers within cyberspace; ignoramuses showing their ignorance online deserve our pity and despise, as they take pride in their blissful ignorance and never read a single book on the field they attempt to discuss, taking advantage of the fact that scholars like us adopt a lenient tone and tolerance and never scream or threaten possible critics that they oppose Islam, as Wahabi sheikhs do more often than not.                       

7- Let us take an example to show what we have referred to above; within our lengthy research article titled "The Unspoken-of History of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab", we never quoted Shiite sources that hat this historical figure, nor orientalists' books that we never trust; we only quoted Sunnite books and oldest history books such as the one by the historian Ibn Saad titled "Al-Tabakat Al-Kobra", which is a seminal book often quoted by historians of later eras. This authoritative book is known to all modern historians today, and we have analyzed and discussed facts written in this book, proving that Omar as a caliph was just with Arabs and unjust with non-Arabs of the conquered countries; if the cultural climate was healthy, our research would have been praised and lauded even by those who may disagree with us; yet, we have received an avalanche of verbal abuse in comments and via email message by those who deify Omar as an infallible immortal god. Their case is one of polytheistic ignoramuses who sanctify and deify mortals. By the way, the Quranic term ''ignorance'' means polytheism, lack of true religious knowledge, and lack of politeness: "Say, "Is it other than God you instruct me to worship, you ignorant ones?"" (39:64). We assert here that ignoramuses could not refute our article, and they had not option left but to verbally abuse us and slander us. One of these ignoramuses felt that he fished for any mistake we might have made in this article, when we mentioned women in Omar's life and his children, and this commentator thought we erred when we have mentioned that one of his female slaves (i.e., Jareiya, in Arabic) named Faqeeha bore him a daughter named Zeinab, and we have written that she was never sold because female slaves who bore children to their masters at the time were never allowed to be sold. The ignorant commentator accused us of making a mistake by describing Faqeeha as (Um Al-Walad); literally mother of (male) child, as she bore only one daughter not a male child. This ignoramus made a depressed person like us burst out laughing; he does not know terminology of Arabic of the 7th century: the term "Um Al-Walad" means a female slave boring any child of either sex, and must not be sold by her master at the time. This asserts the vital importance of understanding terminology by real researchers. By the way, the term (Jareiya), that means female slave or a small female child that runs, has a totally different meaning in the Quran: it means a moving ship; see 69:11, 26:32, and 55:24. By the way, some men were named Jareiya as a proper name means a ship, such as Jareiya Ibn Qodama Al-Saady, the faithful supporter of Ali Ibn Abou Talib, and who made a reconciliation between Mu'aweiya and Al-Hassan Ibn Ali, who made people swear fealty to Mu'aweiya as the first Umayyad caliph. When Jareiya Ibn Qodama Al-Saady was mocked by Mu'aweiya, at his palace, as he referred to the double meaning of his name (ship or female slave), Jareiya reminded Mu'aweiya that his name in Arabic means a small dog that barks. This is indeed the meaning of the name Mu'aweiya in classical 7th century Arabic.                  

8- Another commentator who claims to be a medical doctor made us burst laughing at the low level of culture of Arabs, whether they are atheists or Muhammadans, as his superficial comment shows he never read but few lines of our article. To be able to write a useful comment of criticism, one must read the entirety of the article, by the way! This ignorant superficial medical doctor has accused us of being wrong when we have mentioned the linguistic fact that Arabic like all living languages change its semantic levels of words with the passage of centuries; this ignoramus has mentioned an example to 'refute' us: the word (Bab) (i.e., a door, in Arabic) never changed its meaning in the last 14 centuries. Nothing could be further from the truth; this ignorant man does not know that Sufis use the same term to indicate their 'holy' sanctified sheikhs and saints as gates to god, to heaven, and secrets of the metaphysical realm, that Shiites used the same meaning to refer to their supreme deity Ali Ibn Abou Talib, that Bábism is a term in the Baha'i faith with the same meaning, and that the word (Bab) means in books the (Part) that include many chapters, as in classical and modern books. We do not deny the literal meaning of the word to mean a physical, literal door or gate, but we prove here that ignoramuses never know Arabic as used today or in the Middle-Ages, and yet, they have the nerve to accuse us of being wrong! The cyberspace provides indeed an ample room for Arab ignoramuses to voice their ignorance and superficiality within endless chattering and blubbering, unlike Western users of the internet that fill its webpages with knowledge in all fields increasing exponentially.             

9- When we were in the preparatory stage in an Azharite school in 1960, in Cairo, the Arabic teacher who was stern and carried a long cane to 'discipline' pupils write at the blackboard the first ten lines of poetry from the 1000-line poem of Ibn Malik that summarizes the Arabic grammatical rules, and he forced us to learn the first ten lines by heart. We were taught also a book that explains this long poem so as to never make mistakes in Arabic grammar. In these days, education was not corrupt as it has become in later eras. By the way, the first line of this poem of Ibn Malik urges its readers to be brief and sue the minimum number of words in Arabic and to ponder deeply on what we read to discern levels of meanings; this advice matches the Quranic teachings in avoiding idle talk and useless chatter; see 23:3, 25:72, and 28:55. One must be responsible for ones written or spoken words, as everything is registered by God; see 50:17-18. We must be responsible as written words outlive their authors and thousands (or millions) of readers read it, who will either curse or laud the dead author. One must follow the straight path when writing anything; this is the summary of celestial messages of Islam (i.e., submission to God) in all eras and languages: "Guide us to the straight path." (1:6). This verse is uttered within the five daily prayers 17 times. This verse also shows to us that there is no mediators (i.e., clergy of all types) between man and God. Thus, Quran-believing people must submitters only to God (i.e., real Muslims; see 22:78) in their faith beliefs and reject the Sufi, Sunnite, Shiite notions and ideas as well as clergymen/saints. The straight path is the Quran; see 6:126 and 6:153.

Lastly:

  If all Arabs would follow a straight path in all aspects of life, behavior, faiths, research, etc., no injustices or aggressions would be committed and people will confine their demeanor to good deeds instead of sins; this will happen only if the Arab culture is purified from lies, falsehoods, and blissful ignorance.       


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