This is an unauthorized transcript

Islamophobia 1 - Ep3

Is Religion The Opiate

Of The Masses?

Sh. Fadel Soliman

[transcribed by Omar K Neusser]

opium | scientists | enslaved | liberator | jihad | tyrants | kingdom | revolutions


Sh. Fadel Soliman Islamophobia 1 - Ep3, Opiate Of The Masses?

[This is a transcript, which is more or less, not exactly and not completely verbatim from this → YouTube presentation. We found it worth it. Subtitles and footnotes are ours.
Allah knows best and most!]

Religion The Opiate of The Masses?

Unfortunately throughout history religion has being used as an opiate[6] or a sedative for people so they would not rebel against tyrants, as well as prevent advancements in scientific research, and in many other fields.

However we must not be unfair towards Islam regarding this issue.

At the time of Karl Marx’s saying his famous quote[1] - Europeans - Christian countries were suffering under the dominance of the church over the countries’ affairs and over people’s minds. The church even claimed to control Heaven through ’indulgencies’[2] by paying various sums of money to guarantee a place in heaven, commensurate to the amount of money paid. So in effect they were dividing heaven into pieces of land and selling it like real estate.

It was a dismal state of affairs. They were even able to control scientists and scientific research. They actually subjugated Galileo Galilei and forced him to apologize for his work and his scientific research. Ironically 200 years later his research was proven correct and forms the basis of astronomy as we know it today.

Islam Is A Humanitarian Revolution

On the other hand Islam appreciates scientists. I would like to use Moshe Maimonides as an example.
Maimonides is considered the greatest scientist in Jewish history. This man was one of the closest advisers to Salahadeen Ayyubi or Saladin. Being Jewish, Christian or Muslim is considered something personal between each person and God. On the other hand being a scientist is not personal. Society must benefit from scientists. Be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

The (different instances of) inquisitions in Europe were mainly what let Karl Marx to say his famous quote[3] about religion. Sadly – through the inquisitions people were put on trial because of their beliefs. On the other hand Islam grants freedom of creed.

I want to point out that Islam is a humanitarian revolution that seeks to free humans in many ways. To free man from being enslaved by fellow man, to free men from being enslaved by his desires. And to free man from being enslaved by materialism. Islam came to free man from arcane traditions [4].

This is my response to Muslims who say ”we are conservative, we have to hold on to our traditions!”

No – Islam says:

You're welcome to hold on to your traditions and your heritage, if they comply with God's rule, but if they do not comply you must throw them out through the window!

(Such people are described in the Quran as saying:)

{ Indeed, we found our fathers upon a certain way, and we will guided by their footsteps.} 43-23

The quranic verse mentions that every group of non-believers rejected Faith who said:

{ [Each warner] said, "Even if I brought you better guidance than that [religion] upon which you found your fathers?" They said, "Indeed we, in that with which you were sent, are disbelievers."} 43-24

In the following verse they say:

{ So we took retribution from them; then see how was the end of the deniers.} 43-25

And the Quran mentions that every one of God's messengers answered them saying:

{ What even if I brought you better guidance than that what you found your forefathers following?} 2-170

They answered:

{No we will follow what we found our forefathers doing.} 2-170

Islam then argues:

{Even if your forefathers understood nothing? Nore where they guided?}

In other words, even if your forefathers were mislead and ignorant?

So Islam does not hold on to old traditions indiscriminately. They must not be immoral or otherwise displeasing to God in order for us to follow them. And this is in itself a revolution.

The Prophet Muhammad ( sallAllahu `aleihi wa sallam ) himself was described in the Holy Quran as a liberator, the one who breaks the restraints that bind people. And as the Quran says:

{He relieves them of their burden and of their shackles which were upon them} 7-157

Islam: To Speak Up For What Is Right

The Prophet MHMD ordered us to speak up for what was right and to revolt against tyrants.

He said the best form of jihad, which is holy struggle, is to speak the truth in the face of an oppressive ruler, ordering him to do right, and refraining him from doing wrong . … He even praised anyone who is getting killed as a result of speaking the truth.

Thus the holy Prophet MHMD ordered the Muslims to speak the truth even if it costs them their lives.
Why is that so? Because we all will die one day. So one might as well die with dignity whilst doing what is right.

So basically a person would stand up for the truth and for what is right, regardless of the consequences. Anyone who withholds the truth, is a mute devil.

Why should you see the truth and withhold it? The Quran says:

{ You who believe, be staunch in justice and bear witness to God even if it be against yourself, your parents, and your close relatives.} 4-135

So that not an innocent person will suffer, if you withhold your testimony or are dishonest in it and justice will not take its course. The Prophet ( sallAllahu `aleihi wa sallam ) also says:
”If you see my nation afraid of telling the oppressor ’you are an oppressor’ then say farewell to that nation.”

… tyrants kill …

So here we see the Prophet MHMD commanding us Muslims to speak the truth, to practice freedom of speech limitlessly, even if it costs our lives.

All of this proves that freedom of speech is encouraged in Islam.

I want to go so far and say that the Quran tells us that freedom of speech is a right even with God himself. This is very obvious in chapter 2

{ I will create a trustee on earth, they said… } 2-30ff … {and praise You }

In other words, ”what about us?” The angels long for that role of God's trustee on earth - did God punish the angels for questioning Him?

Then He showed them a practical demonstration, when he asked them (if they could tell Him) the names of the things – and they could not, then Adam was brought forth for them to tell them all the names and when he did it, they realised that Adam was not a ordinary creature, for he had superiority in knowledge over them.

The point here is that God didn't punish the Angels, when they dared to question Him. God knew that they were only expressing what was going on inside them.

Other Examples

Ibrahim (a.s.) wanted to see some practical evidence. He was a believer but he wanted to see some practical evidence, so the verse (was revealed).

{ So my heart is satisfied.} 2-260

Story of birds who came back walking. The point here is God didn't punish Abraham for expressing what was going on in his mind, and for saying that he needed reinforcement to his faith, by witnessing a practical demonstration.

Another example is what happened with Prophet Moses (a.s.)

{ My Lord show me Yourself! } 7-143

God didn't punish him because he was just expressing his thoughts. If mountain stays in its place…

All of this goes to show that there is a wide scope for freedom of expression in Islam.

Prophet Muhammad MHMD actually changed the positions of his army twice (at Khaybar and Badr) after a debate between him and one of his soldiers.

It is interesting to see the way in which this pious companion of the Prophet argued with the Prophet MHMD.

First he asked him very politely, is this position you have chosen for the army something revealed to you by God, or is it a war-strategy, subject to different opinions and advice? If it were a revelation from God, then there would be no point in arguing, since a believer should not argue with God's rules.[5]

This shows us the extent of freedom of expression that was present in Islam, that the Muslims had the right to contradict the Prophet of God MHMD when it came to his personal opinions. However the limit was drawn on religious matters since they were revelations sent by God Himself.

Islam Brought Freedom To The People.

Example of one of the honourable companions of the Prophet MHMD in a conversation with Rostom, the leader of the Persian army was asked, who are you and why are you people here? … He said:

"We have been sent by God to deliver people from worshiping God’s subjects to worshiping the Lord of those subjects. And to deliver them from the injustice of man-made religions, to the justice of Islam."

Thus the companions of the Prophet MHMD looked upon themselves as liberators of non-Muslims and not as warriors coming to enslave them or kill them!

Islamic history is actually full of revolutions against tyrants. And note that these revolutions were not carried out by common mobs, but rather by great people, great scholars and ahlul-bait, all descendants of the Prophet MHMD.

The revolution led by Husain Ibn Ali (r.a.), the grandson of the Prophet ( sallAllahu `aleihi wa sallam ), was to prevent the derogation of God's right as the supreme authority, when he realised that the (Islamic) nation was turning into a kingdom. The danger of the Islamic nation turning into a kingdom had prompted one of the late Prophet's companions to say in indignation:
”You wanted to be like a Persian emperor, one Chosroe followed by another or like the Roman empire, one Caesar following another.”
Then he led the revolution… mainly for the right of supreme authority.

In Islam, the right to rule is determined by the consensus of voters, not merely by hereditary factors.

Further examples... 13:07

So Islam was never opium for the people, it was in fact the driving force behind revolutions against tyrants.

There are many more examples…

Abu Hanifa 13:52

These revolutions (such as in the Arab spring) were not revolutions against religion, nor were they secularist revolutions.

Scholars as advisors of sultans. 15:11

Also there was a problem with oppressive rulers, who preached it was a sin to rebel against the [oppressive] ruler. Because of inventing new fatwas from Scholars of the Sultans, which served the rulers' interests. 16:05

Story of horrible neighbour - to sit at the street. 16:37

Protests and sit-ins are not only allowed but have a basis in Islam.

Sultans' scholars, to prevent the corruption of religion, ”Everything has been said by earlier scholars and that there was no more room for new opinions.” = not completely proper. 17:23


Islam has always been and continues to be a positive force towards advancement in science, knowledge and towards rebellion against tyrants, and was never an opiate for the masses.

1: That ”religion is the opium (not opiate - see note 6) of the masses.”

2: This was from the Roman Catholic Church, it was one of the reasons why Western Christianity split into Catholicism and Protestantism.

Indulgencies were ”grants by the Pope of remission of the temporal punishment in purgatory still due for sins after absolution. The unrestricted sale of indulgencies by pardoners was a widespread abuse during the later Middle Ages.” (Apple Dictionary)

3: That ”religion is the opiate of the masses.”

4: arcane: mysterious and known only by a few people.

5: @ 10:27 …

6: opiate: the original quote by Karl Marx says ”opium”, which does not change the meaning.

Related links

- Kafir, kufr; Sh. Fadel Soliman [transcr.]
- The Essence of Worship In Islam; Sh. Fadel Soliman [transcr.]

- What Makes A Person Kafir? Shaykh Gibril F Haddad
- Who is a kafir? Omar KN
- Who Are The Disbelievers? Sh. Hamza Yusuf [summarized]

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latest update: 2016-10-04

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