No court in the world accepts a plea of ignorance as vindication: ignorance of the law is no excuse. By the same token, we cannot plead ignorance on the Day of Judgement or blame someone else for the wrong things that we have done. Nothing could be clearer than the statement in the Reading when it says:
Ain-taqulu yaumal qiamati ain-na-kun-na ‘an-haza ghor-filin. (7:172)
So that you will not say on the Day of Judgement, “Indeed we did not know about this.” (7:172)
Muslims on the whole – and the modern Arabs in particular – are grossly ignorant of God’s message in the Reading. They read without comprehension, believing that they gain merit for just chanting the Arabic verses aloud. They leave the understanding to the u’lema. On the whole, they are sincere and simple people who feel that they need to serve their Lord and lead a righteous life. They have been born into a suffocating inheritance of religion. While it is easy to empathise with this situation, we all have to take responsibility for what we do. We cannot blame our parents for our lot on Judgement Day.
Or you may say, “It was our parents who set up idols, and as descendants we followed their footsteps. Will You punish us because they strayed?” (7:173)
Today, people depend on the u’lema for guidance, but more often than not, the u’lema misguides them. By their deeds, and words we know that these u’lema are agents of the same wicked religionists who invented the Arab religion. We have seen how these fanatics twisted the meaning of the words deen, ‘abd, and Sol-laa. They also twisted the word zakaa (so often mentioned with the word Sol-laa).
Understanding that the u’lema have more than a passing knowledge of the Arabic language, they are doubly guilty of abetting the non-believers and hypocrites to distort the effect of the Qur’anic message on the hearers. They have deviated from the true teachings of the Reading and continue to educate their followers not to understand the meanings of the message of the Book. If that were not enough, they impress upon their followers that salvation is contingent upon those who do not use their common sense or to question the religionists. It is strange that the u’lema rarely encourage their followers to perform charitable deeds according to God’s way in the Reading. This should be the cornerstone of God’s deen. They are, though, most diligent in the matter of collecting ‘zakat’1 which they deem to be a lawful religious tithe. Contributors, on the other hand must not question what they do with this money. According to the Arab culture, it is a cardinal sin to question the u’lema.
Anyone with even elementary Arabic must admit that there is no firm reason why zakaa should signify paying out money. In truth, there is not a single reference in the Reading regarding any such financial contribution or contributions in kind. On the contrary, the Reading advocates non-prejudiced charity and donation as the act of self-sacrifice by men and women towards their fellows in society.
1 In many countries these collections are made through compulsory deduction of salaries from workers – every month. The Vatican survives with such a system and many so-called Muslim countries are doing the same.