In the first Jahiliyya time people were ignorant. When someone from the Sahabi (the companions of the holy Prophet) spoke to them, they were sitting and listening and comparing it with what they know. And so many were accepting. That was a Jahiliyya time, the first Jahiliyya, where Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) came only one person and then hundreds and thousands of people started following. Those people were against the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) because they did not have any knowledge of what he brought. They were holding on to their traditions only. They were ignorant people.
... Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is saying that the Ahir Zaman, the End of Times, the second Jahiliyya time is going to be worse than the first because people are going to study the religion, they will know how to read and write but they are not going to accept anything, they are not going to accept anybody. They are just going to accept what is only for them, what is their understanding from what they read and write. So in this time people read and write. Millions read and write. So many people are reading and writing but they are ignorant.
Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is saying, “They are going to be ignorant with what they read and write. They are going to become ignorant with the knowledge that they know.”
As everyone of you know, by the law of the government today you have to send your children to school. They have to learn how to read and write. But learning how to read and write is not giving them any knowledge or wisdom. However they are programming them, that is the only thing they know. Today’s people became more ignorant than the people fourteen hundred years ago. They became ignorant with the knowledge of reading and writing. Not being able to read and write is not the sole problem. The secret is to know, that you need to read and write to understand. Everyone who reads and writes does not understand. They say, “Take the Quran and read.” If you take the Quran and read and understand only according to your own understanding most likely you will become a terrorist. That is what most of them are doing.
You cannot even understand the newspaper. Take a part from the newspaper and read. Then I am going to ask you “Give me the summary” and you are not going to be able to put it together.
To be able to write and read is to learn. To know what? To know your self. Not to know other things but first you have to study you, your self, you have to know yourself, who you are, what you are and what is your position in this world. What is your secret, what is your duty, what is your mission, why have you been created, why are you occupying this space, why are you leaving this space and where are you going? That is the most important matter.
from Sohbet by Sheykh Abdul Kerim el-Kibrisi