2 Types of Ignorance

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Ignorance are of 2 types as pointed out by Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen 1

  1. Slight/Simple Ignorance (al-Jahlul-Baseet) – which is absence of full comprehension. Meaning to not understand something fully and you know you don’t know.
  2. Aggravated/Compounded Ignorance (al-Jahlul Murakkab) – which is to comprehend something in a way contrary to its true reality. Meaning to be ignorant of something yet not be aware that you don’t know; you think you know everything so you act upon ignorance.


The second type that we mentioned above is very dangerous as acting upon ignorance can lead person astray, especially if this person is looked up to for the knowledge. Here I will also mention a very scary hadīth recorded by Imam al-Bukhari

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ﷺ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ انْتِزَاعًا، يَنْتَزِعُهُ مِنَ الْعِبَادِ، وَلَكِنْ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ بِقَبْضِ الْعُلَمَاءِ، حَتَّى إِذَا لَمْ يُبْقِ عَالِمًا، اتَّخَذَ النَّاسُ رُءُوسًا جُهَّالاً فَسُئِلُوا، فَأَفْتَوْا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ، فَضَلُّوا وَأَضَلُّوا

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al’ As: I heard Allāh’s Apostle saying, “Allāh does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray.” 2

Notes:

  1. Taken from Sharh Thalatatul-Usool
  2. Sahih al-Bukhari 100