By Maira Mukhtar
“No, stop! I don’t need to know,” interrupted a friend not wanting to discuss religion. “I’m not ready to practise just yet and Allah is too kind to punish anyone for things they are unaware of.” Her simplistic view made me wonder whether or not I was putting myself under unnecessary burden by digging deeper. I saw the temptation. I realized it would be wonderful not knowing the negative consequences of a seemingly innocent pleasure. One could indulge in its sinfulness without carrying the burden of any guilt. After all, you can’t be held responsible for something you didn’t know about in the first place. Fortunately however, my conscience shook me and forced common sense to take over. The universal idea of pleading innocence on the basis of lack of knowledge has been made infallible over centuries by the accursed Satan and further adorned by our own whims and fancies. We give ourselves up to the devil and allow him to steer us along a blinded path and consequently live a life we hardly have any control over. But, is this how we want to continue to live until ultimately death pushes us into the realm of the afterlife?
Since man began to live in clusters, there have been rules, spoken and unspoken, to make sure life proceeds smoothly. Man needs some kind of direction to give him a sense of purpose; this direction is outlined by laws and regulations of an area to ensure peace and stability. Imagine living in a country where the law is hardly implemented and corruption is widespread; a land where there is no sense of security; a state that lacks the basic infrastructure. Think of most of the developing world if you will. Why are the resourceful ones settling in the west? What compels people to move out of their homelands, leave their families and choose to live in places that are usually in contrast with their culture, religion and social values? You see, where there’s no consideration for the law, essentially, there is insecurity, fear, confusion and eventual chaos. People choose to settle in the developed world due to its stern adherence to the laws; this not only leads to a deep sense of safety but gives way to numerous opportunities, which finally culminate in peace, stability and contentment.
Ponder this; if one genuinely ignorant of traffic rules drove, in all innocence, on the wrong side of the road, would that exempt him from being fined? If a killer finds justification for his crime claiming purity of intention and goodness of the heart, would that deter the law from prosecuting him? The answer is fairly logical; declaring ignorance will do very little to save a person. Freedom comes only with abiding by the law. Why then do we suppose that in matters of religion, we are free to choose our own way?
When it comes to the hereafter, the outcome rests exclusively on our ability to keep to the fundamentals. Like everything else, religion is composed of a set of rules too; a guideline for all to follow if we want to achieve a state of true peace and tranquillity. There are only two possible ends to our existence; heaven or hell. One is a result of confusion, doubt, negligence and disregard of the divine principles; the other an outcome of knowledge, understanding, realization and complete obedience. Hence, we have to stop living in this shared delusion of ours and instead of choosing to remain ignorant, strive for knowledge and understanding. The more we learn and the more we struggle to follow the divine laws, the better will be our chances of attaining immortality in a state of indescribable ecstasy rather than chaotic wretchedness. I’d rather be aware and in control of my future than take the foolish risk of losing paradise—for there is not a soul that would ever knowingly trade absolute bliss with eternal damnation.
So, think again; is ignorance really bliss?