Ignorance isn’t bliss

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There are two kinds of people: people like Petyr Baelish who say “Knowledge is power” and Cersei Lannister that insist “Power is power”.

I’m always struck with wonder whenever I hear the old adage; ignorance is bliss. If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn, it’s that the human mind is ferociously curious. Why choose to adopt an attitude that is not your intrinsic nature? I admit that sometimes the things you don’t know won’t hurt you.

I was standing at the balcony one time with my back against the rail, talking to my mum when I watched her smile grow wide and then wider. I wasn’t saying anything funny, so I knew something was up. I caught the shift of her gaze and followed its direction and  lo and behold I found a huge mantis positioned very close to my fingers. I screeched out loud and made a record breaking jump. Apparently the thing had been sitting there the whole time, that knowledge gave me vertigo. I mean I was perfectly fine, but my fine state crashed as soon as I found out.

The highlighting thing is there is good/beneficial knowledge and there’s bad/harmful knowledge; it all comes down to the type you pursue.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 74.

I don’t like the idea of one ‘choosing’ to turn a blind eye to things. I’m well aware certain knowledge are harbingers of pain, but pain as I always have at the back of my mind is inevitable.

I remember one time at home in the kitchen, I found a pack of haribos laying inside the fridge so I picked it up and started going through its ingredients. My other siblings were in the kitchen with me so I chose to ask the owner in front of the rest; they needed to know too. “Bilal is this yours?” He replied yes. I started to tell him he couldn’t eat it and I could see the instant fall on his face. “Why can’t he eat it?” the others interjected.

For those of you who love and eat haribos they contain gelatine, which is an ingredient made of boiled pig or cow skin or tendon but its often made from that of pigs. The good news is there are halal haribos out there, you just have to watch out for the halal label or ‘beef gelatine’ instead of simply gelatine.

So I’m in the middle of informing them of why he can’t have it when one of them cut me off and said “you know what I don’t want to know because If I know, I’ll be bound by the knowledge”.

I don’t know which is worse; knowing something is bad for you but not wanting to learn why just so you can continue to indulge in it or knowing something is bad for you and still indulging in it either ways. I remember frowning at that statement. Of course they verified my piece of information and in the end they decided it was safer for him not to eat it; as a muslim you don’t joke with the possibility of pork.

When I was younger I used to kid myself and say (about food i’m not so sure is halal; like some cake or ice cream that may include a small percentage of alcohol) that as long as I say bismillah at the beginning, its fine. Allah’s name is pure, so it will make the impure pure. Oh Hasiya, little do you know the gravity of what it is you utter, not to mention your justification is based on mere speculation. You utter things you do not know. The things you count as little and not so grave in your eyes or heavy on the tongue, are usually the things that are big in Allah’s eyes. Are you trying to be smart? Would it kill you to verify it’s content?

The examples i’ve given so far lean towards trivial, a little more on knowledge that really cuts deep and scars the soul, knowledge that most would rather not find out about, and therefore claim ignorance is bliss. For example having a corrupt child or a cheating spouse, but what about a diagnosis of cancer? Or some other serious disease? The injustice you see documented on TV everyday?

Will ignorance be bliss when you later find out than an earlier diagnosis would have prevented the cancer?

The truth is scary, bitter and painful but just because it is should you turn a blind eye? How does not knowing help the situation? Does the corrupt child become good or the cheating spouse become faithful, the cancer become cured, or the people who oppress the weak stop oppressing if we simply refuse to acknowledge our fears? No, most people would rather not find out for fear of being ‘hurt’, again that inevitable feeling.

We can’t allow the fear of getting hurt stop us from searching, facing and speaking the truth. If your eyes and ears are to be veiled let it not be by your wilful ignorance but by your innocence. Innocence on the other hand does not always serve as a good excuse. If you do not know the truth, seek it and like Albert Eintein rightly stated, those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.

We often worry about the repercussions of the things we do and learn. But what about the repercussions of the things we don’t do or learn? I’ll leave you with that thought.

Have a fabulous week ^.^

4 thoughts on “Ignorance isn’t bliss

  1. I can honestly say that this piece of writing has inspired me. Going through a hard time and I just feel like this has lifted me up. When I first came across your blog I can say that I didn’t care much about my religion. But eventually as I read through you’ve completely inspired me to see everything in a different way. I find myself happier when I’m using a vail or hijab rather than being in shorts or revealing clothes and I never thought i would be confident enough to do that and I have you to thank. Thank you for writing such an inspiring piece every week, May Allah bless you always.

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