Characteristics of Unaware Individuals
Unaware individuals focus their attention on and pursue worldly desires and expectations as if they were in a trance. They direct all of their efforts toward achieving a higher rank or position and more possessions, and constantly imagine and talk about what they will do with the money they earn. They are so preoccupied with these things that they forget about Allahâ€™s commands and prohibitions. Unable to conceive of Allahâ€™s knowledge and power, they feel under no obligation to respect the limits He has established for humanity.
Remembering Allah stimulates the conscience of those who do not believe in the Hereafter and reminds them of their unawareness. But when they struggle with their egos as to whether they should fulfill their responsibilities to Him or not, they end up clinging to their unawareness. As a result, they feel great inner discomfort whenever Allahâ€™s name is mentioned:
When Allah, the One and Only, is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink back, shuddering. But when others apart from Him are mentioned, they jump for joy.
Now, letâ€™s examine the general character of these unaware individuals.
They do not remember Allah and the Hereafter and their hearts are filled with worldly ambitions.
Believersâ€™ morality is so deep and sincere that nothing prevents them from remembering Allah and observing the obligatory prayers:
(There are people who are) not distracted by trade or commerce from remembering Allah, performing prayer, and giving alms, fearing a day when all hearts and eyes will be in turmoil.
But, unlike believers, unaware individuals have their hearts set on this worldâ€™s possessions. This makes them always want to have more and a better life, regardless of how they are currently living. They think money can buy them power and recognition and make them happy. First, they want to amass wealth, and then they want to store it and acquire even more. To make this appear legitimate, they make various excuses. By refusing to spend their money to earn Allahâ€™s pleasure, they amass wealth and think only about satisfying their worldly desires. Their fate is described in the Qurâ€™an:
On the Day it is heated up in the fire of Hell, and their foreheads, sides, and backs are branded with it. (They are told): â€œThis is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you were hoarding!â€
â€¦ who has amassed wealth and hoarded it! He thinks his wealth will make him live forever. No indeed! He will be flung into the Shatterer.
Blinded by their desire for worldly possessions, these people are unaware of the fate awaiting them. Having spent their lives obsessed with earning and spending money, they cannot remember Allah, perform their daily prayers, or give money to the poor. However, believers whose hearts are filled only with the desire to win His favor never forget that all of their possessions are no more than His gifts that are to be used to earn His pleasure. Believers, who think only of pleasing Allah and obtaining His mercy, work eagerly so that they may contribute to His religion. Since they cannot become caught up in any other passions, they will always remember Allah, approach Him in prayer, and understand that everything comes from and ultimately belongs to Him. As a result, they will regard their possessions as reminders to thank and praise Him.
Allah gives the example of Prophet Solomon (as) who, although he had great wealth, was neither distracted by it nor made it a focus of ambition; rather, he saw all of it as a reason to thank and praise Him:
When swift horses champing at the bit were displayed before him in the afternoon, he said: â€œTruly do I love the love of good, with a view to the glory of my Lord,â€ until the sun disappeared behind its veil.
Until Prophet Solomon (as), Allah had never given anyone such power and wealth. He used these blessings to exalt Allahâ€™s glory and proclaim His religionâ€™s magnificence and honor. He always gave thanks to the true owner of his wealth and possessions.
Unaware people turn their backs on Allah, thinking that wealth, position, and fame can make them happy and content. They enjoy being among people who talk about these things, for in such an environment they can praise themselves and criticize others as well as spend hours watching useless and inane television talk shows:
(Unbelievers are) those whose eyes were blind to My remembrance and whose ears were unable to hear.
But believers are not content with possessing worldly goods or participating in useless conversations; rather, they are content only when praising and remembering Him and reading the Qurâ€™an:
â€¦ those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Him can the heart find peace.
Not using their intellects
In unbelieving societies, the phrase â€œlack of intelligenceâ€ denotes people with mental disabilities and those who behave in an abnormal manner. But in the Qurâ€™an, this phrase refers to those individuals who reject Allahâ€™s existence and that of the Hereafter, who live only to satisfy their own egos. According to this definition, people who lack intelligence are not only found in mental hospitals, but also make up a part of society as a whole.
The mind is one of Allahâ€™s greatest gifts to humanity. Rational people always act according to their consciences; properly appreciate His knowledge and power; and love, fear, and respect Him. They do their best to please Him, to save themselves from Hellâ€™s eternal punishment, and are eager to attain the Hereafterâ€™s endless blessings. In addition, they ponder deeply on Allahâ€™s creation and appreciate His endless power and greatness, In other words they are believers. Those irrational individuals who do not have this ability are described in the Qurâ€™an:
Have they not traveled throughout the land, and do they not have with which hearts to understand or ears with which to hear? It is not their eyes that are blind, but the hearts in their breasts that are blind.
The most distinguishing feature of these irrational people is their preference for the life of this world, to which they are so passionately devoted, over that of the Hereafter. And yet Allah warns such people to reflect on this worldâ€™s true nature:
The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The Hereafter is better for those who guard against evil. So will you not use your intellect?
Anything you have been given is only the enjoyment of the life of this world and its finery. What is with Allah is better and longer lasting. So will you not use your intellect?
We have sent down to you a Book containing a Reminder for you. So will you not use your intellect?
The perfectly ordered systems and creatures that Allah has created, together with all that they teach us about reality, are beyond the vision of unaware people; they can only be appreciated by believers who use their intelligence. Intelligent, aware believers carefully observe everything in their vicinity and ponder deeply on what they see. In the Qurâ€™an, Allah gives the examples of a mosquito, a honeybee, a spider, and many other creatures He has made to encourage people to think about and appreciate His knowledge, power, and artistry. However, only those believers with intelligence can know their qualities and understand the perfection of living things and their qualities based on what they produce. From these, they can appreciate His power and artistry.
As for unaware individuals, their irrationality causes them to imagine that the creatures they see around them every day are simple and ordinary. To them, a bee just buzzes around and lands on flowers, and a mosquito is just a blood-sucking pest:
The worst of beasts in Allahâ€™ sight are the deaf and dumb (people) who have no intellect.
Another important aspect of such people is that since they cannot discriminate between rationality and irrationality, they imagine that they are rational and that it is the rational people who are irrational:
When they are told: â€œBelieve in the way that the people believe,â€ they exclaim: â€œWhat! Are we to believe in the way that fools believe?â€ No indeed! They are the fools, but they do not know it.
Characteristics of Unaware Individuals