Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Assalamualaikum wbt.

(a) Religion is the opium of the masses.
-Karl Marx

(b) Opium is the religion of the masses.
-Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad

1. I quote two renowned personalities from two different generations above.

2. The former, Karl Marx, a German economist, may be more well-known to us, possibly due to his association with Communism.

3. The latter, Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad is a great scholar of Muslim ummah currently serving at Cambridge University. He is a British.

4. This article is going to be much longer than several others I recently authored (mostly in Malay language), nevertheless hopefully interesting enough to trigger us to think insya Allah.

5. To briefly begin, opium (Papaver Somniferum), is a species of plant from which drugs like morphine and heroin are made. If I am not wrong, the Malays call this drug Popi.

6. Let us analyse the language twists and gymnastics involved in the above quotes, not so much linguistically, but in the meanings they carry (as far as I try to understand).

7. People who oppose religions, for example Islam (which we rather describe as ad-deen i.e way of life) always see religions as a problem to humanity. 

8. It is as though we feed the people with religion to 'temporarily' numb them and knock them away from their own senses i.e become unconscious. As if religion has made people to be irrational, giving the same effect acquired through drugs.

9. Perhaps, that is how religion is accused of being a drug (opium) to the masses. As Islam is only second to Christianity in terms of its number of followers in the world, such a statement is an attack not only to people who are inclined towards Islam, but undoubtedly also to Muslims like us.

10. Sheikh Abdal Hakim, in response, beautifully 'engineered' the sentence into a new construct.

Opium (instead), is the religion of the masses.

11. Let me not spend more time defining what religion is, because if we are Muslims especially, there should be no problem at understanding the word religion, although most probably quite loosely.

12. What matters more is to reflect from Sheikh's contention above.

13. If we take the words literally (which we should), then we shall see a statistical proof to the statement as reported in the news, for instance on the fact that there are about half a million of chronic heroin addicts in Karachi, Pakistan now.

14. This intense addiction, hence dependence upon drugs is perhaps a new type of 'god'. And that, has been their religion, in which the consumption of drugs is their 'rituals'. And this is not unique in one place. All over the world, in many places, drugs have become gods to many people.

15. However, let us further expand the subject of discussion by looking at a much larger context of the word 'opium' from the statement of Sheikh.

16. As the plant is the creation of Allah, it must have had some benefits, and the truth is, drugs are important in medication, such as their role as painkillers. We Muslims never deny this.

17. In fact, assuming that there is something that only brings harm to this world, when we take that as a test and be patient about it, Allah will elevate our ranks and reward us with His great Mercy and infinite Treasures. In this case, we are looking at the good side of things.

18. After all, isn't life (and death) a form of test we have to face in this world?

19. So, the drugs derived from opium, is actually the 'invention' of men. They are man-made.

20. Building up our discussion from that, don't you think that there are many other man-made 'toys' in this world which people take as their gods?

21. Now, isn't it true that opium (and other man-made invention) have been the religion of the masses?

22. Something they really strive for to live in this world? 

23. In the Quran, Allah SWT has spoken to us:

"Have you seen the one who takes as his God his own desires? Then would you (Muhammad) be responsible for him?"

24. This is in Surah Al-Furqan (Chapter 25, aayat 43).

25. Look at people who submit to their desire in their struggle to amass wealth and money, that they pay their own health for such temporary belonging i.e they get ill and fall sick.

26. Then the money is used up to get back good health. Most probably, this is when one has attained old age. Do we not see where this is going?

27. In reality, religion does not take away our consciousness, instead, all it does is wake us up from our sleep; this world is just a dream!

28. Sayyidina Ali (may Allah ennoble his face), the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet (peace be upon him), once said:

We are sleeping (in this world). When we die, we wake up!

29. Islam has offered to us a model of the best ummah. We do not forsake this world for the Hereafter, neither do we forsake the Hereafter for a temporary world.

30. Instead, we go for both, with more emphasis on the latter, which is eternal. Our continuous prayers to Allah is so that we are granted goodness in this world and goodness in the Hereafter. Ameen..

31. By the time I am writing this 31st point for the article, I have actually postponed the completion of it (until point 30 above) since about months ago. By right, this is only half of what I wanted to write.

32. I ain't planning to write further anyhow.

33. Need your prayers everyone. It's not that life has been tougher. But I think I have deteriorated in many ways; or maybe it's just a feeling of new self-consciousness for better reflection (and action) from my poor self.

34. Wallahuaklam. Take care everyone, and Selamat Hari Malaysia (16 September).

35. Wassalamualaikum wbt.


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The Colours of Life

The Colours of Life
Picture taken on Syawal 1, 2009

THE BELOVED FAMILY-Hey, do the maths!

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