This is the edited transcript of a sermon by Br Abdurraheem Green entitled ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘N’ Roll’, presented during the Jamiyyathul Salaf-organised event, ‘The Call 2010’.
Today we gonna speak about Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll. Does that sound interesting? I think so.
So maybe you will be thinking how come you are talking about sex and drugs and rock and rock and roll, what sort of thing is that to talk about as a Muslim. I remember once in the UK, while giving this talk and and we were advertising it, and some of the masjids (mosques), they wouldn’t put the poster up. They said “no no no – no sex in the Masjid.”
Alhamdhulillahi (Praise be to Allah), I’ll tell you what today’s topic is not going to be about.
Today’s topic is not going to be about the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) of music – is it halal, is it haram, is it ‘makroom’? It’s not going to be about that.
Sex outside of marriage – is it halal, is it haram – what is the ruling in Islam? Today’s topic is not about that. What is the ruling in Islam on drugs? I’m not going to talk about that.
I will be talking about something much more fundamental, something much more basic than even that. Today’s topic is a little bit in a sense about philosophy. It’s about why, the purpose of life, why are we here, what is the reason for our existence.
And on this world – in fact, we don’t even need to talk about the world, we can just talk about capital Male’.
We can see two competing ideas, right here, because you my brothers and sisters, masha Allah, you have come here or maybe sitting watching this on TV.
I really wish you were here, it’s much more fun if you are here. You will enjoy the atmosphere more. It’s a bit hot here. We do not have AC [air conditioner]. Well, I know some of you are watching this on the islands, Masha Allah. Just I don’t know where… you hear that music? (Pointing to the direction of music outside the carnival stage). Can you hear the music?
Well, you see this is it, brothers and sisters. There are some of us sitting here, finding out something about Allah, about his religion, and there are some other people there, they have a different idea of what life is about. They think life is about something else. And someone has showed them a philosophy. Someone has showed them a religion. A way of thinking.
Because you know, this is the heart of my lecture brothers and sisters. The very idea of religion itself. The very idea of religion. What does it mean in the Quran when Allah says (recites a verse of Quran) verily, certainly, definitely the dheen (religion) with Allah is Islam.
What is this mean? What is this word “Dheen” mean? Does it just mean religion? And what do we understand, when we say this word “religion”? What is that mean to us?
You know half of the challenges we always face, when we talk about anything, is that words have a meaning. But the meaning of certain words can change throughout time and circumstances.
Now for example, if 50 or 60 years ago I went around saying “I’m feeling gay today”, you know, no one… no people would understand one thing if I say that “I’m feeling gay today”. Today people will understand something different – the language changes, the meaning changes.
When we say the word religion, often especially in the west, this word religion produces an idea that it is connected with an idea in the minds of people. And because the west is a secularised society, because the west, and in fact this is true, most of the world has made a division between religion and life.
Religion and life. Dheen (religion) and Dhunya (world), they think the two things are separate. So when you say religion in the west, people think going to the church once a week, they think of some things people do in their life, so it is very easy for them to think of religion as something separate from their ordinary life.
But this is not what Dheen means. When we say “Dheen” when we talk about religion, when Allah subhanahu wata’ala talks Dheen, Allah is talking about the way you live your life. And so think about that – when Allah says (recites a verse of Quran) that verily, the way of life, the way you live, that is acceptable for Allah is the way of submitting and surrendering and obeying Allah. This it what it means (repeats the same verse) the way you live your life.
How did you live your life? What is it that you put your faith and your trust in? What is it that you believe is going to make you happy and give you success in life?
It would be very interesting, even here in the Maldives, to go around and do an opinion poll. Let’s take the word ‘’success’’ and ask people, what is your definition.
In fact brothers and sisters, ask yourself now, right now, I want you to ask yourself what is your definition of success. Is your definition of success that you have a good education, you having good job, with a good salary, with a nice house, with a nice motorbike or a nice car, even a beautiful wife, a rich husband?
What is your definition of success? Because for many people in the world that would be the definition of success. They would define success and they say a successful person is one who makes money, who has a nice house, who has a nice car, who has a beautiful partner – this what most people in the world would define as success.
And if that is your definition of success, then you must truly ask yourself, what does it mean to be a Muslim? What is your dheen, because when we talk about sex, drugs and rock and roll, what you are talking about really is about lifestyle.
This is a talk about lifestyle, this is a talk about how you live your life. And there is a whole way of life, the way of life of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It’s attached phrase. It’s attached phrase that describes a way of thinking. A way of living.
And what does it say? There are no gods. There’s no paradise, there’s no day of judgment, there’s no hell fire, there’s no pie-in-the sky waiting for me when I die. If you wanna have fun, if you wanna enjoy yourself, if you want paradise you need to find it right here, right now, on this earth. So you enjoy your life, enjoy your life and live it to the max. Sex, drugs, rock and roll. That’s the message – that’s the message.
It’s the message of the consumer society. The materialistic culture, the idea that in the world and the things in this world, and the pleasures of this world, you will find happiness.
The word they have for it is ‘hedonism’. That’s the idea, that by sex and music and drink and drugs and money and entertainment, this is how you would be happy. This is how you will enjoy your life.
This is the religion of the world today. This is the religion of most people, even most of the people who call themselves Muslims – their true dheen, is this one. The way they truly think of success is the materialistic one. They don’t think of success as being jannah, they don’t think of success as praying five times a day.
The fast in Ramadan, of memorizing the Quran, most people think of success, as a person who is a scholar who has knowledge, who is studying the knowledge of the religion they don’t think of this one in the successful one, no, no, no, no, no.
So this is it. The materialistic society, and we are surrounded everywhere by the preaching of materialistic culture: the hedonism, the sex, drugs, rock and roll society.
We turn on the TV, we sit and we hear it. We open the newspapers and the magazines and we see it and we hear it. We turn on the radio we hear it. It’s everywhere – you walk on the street and you see it. The billboards, the advertisements, 24 hours a day, 365 days in a year, we are being exposed to this message. The message that if you buy this and if you buy that and if you have this and if you have that you will be happy. Your life will be better. You will have more fun.
Look at it – let’s look at some of those advertisements.
I remember back in the United Kingdom. They have an advertisement for an alcoholic drink called Bacardi. Bacardi is a rum, a type of strong alcoholic drink. And the advertisement might have been a picture of an island here in the Maldives.
There was a beautiful, beautiful white beach, palm trees hanging down, blue seas and blue skies and you could see two bikini-clad girls walking down the beach. You will look at that, and say ah… I wanna be there, that’s where I wanna be.
And the advertisement said, this is what the caption was: ‘’a rainy Sunday night in Peckham if you’re drinking Bacardi’’ (NB: Peckham is a borough in South London notable for its high crime rate).
I need to tell you something about British culture. Our weekend is Saturday and Sunday. Well, your weekend is Friday and Saturday, our weekend is Saturday and Sunday. So the worst day in the weekend is Sunday night.
Because Sunday night means the next day I have to go back to work. I have to go back to my boring job, in that boring office with those stupid people.
Most of them hate their work. They just work so that they can make enough money to have fun to buy these things. So you could imagine it’s Sunday night. And the rain… I don’t know, in the Maldives you’ll probably like the rain.
In England we hate the rain. Rain… all we get is rain. That’s why the most tourists come to the Maldives from the UK – the biggest percentage. Because we have so much rain.
So it’s Sunday night and it’s raining that means it’s miserable, it’s Sunday night and oh… it’s the worst. Tomorrow is Monday, and even worse, it’s in Peckham. Peckham. I really can’t describe to you what a horrible place it is. It’s a really horrible place. We don’t have horrible places like this in the Maldives – Peckham is horrible.
So you can imagine, here’s the advert. You’re on the worst day of the week, the weather is horrible, and you’re living in this dump of a place called Peckham, but… but, if, you are drinking Bacardi, it would seem as if you are in paradise.
That’s the message. You know this is what we are being brainwashed with. Oh… alcohol paradise, I could be in the worst condition, I’ll drink Bacardi.
Look at the adverts for Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola, ‘It’s the real thing’, ‘Coke is life’, ‘Coke is it’. And you see the advertisements: Coca-Cola, the sun is shining, the young girls looks so gorgeous. They’re brown, not brown like you. White brown you know, when white people get brown it’s so sexy.
And there the girls smiling and the boys have six-packs, drinking the Coca-Cola. And looking to that you say, huh… I want some of that. You know the women are looking, saying “Oh I want some of that man, he’s nice.” And we’re looking at the girl and we’re saying “Oh, I want some of that.”
So what do you think? In your mind – you don’t even realize it that in your brain – that the people who make the advertisement, they know how to manipulate your minds. Because they spend billions of dollars studying how to brainwash you into buy that product.
So you’ll say ‘I want some of that’, and in your brain you connect it with drinking Coca-Cola. So you think if I drink Coca-Cola I will be young and beautiful and have a nice time like them. So what you do, you go out and you buy some Coca-Cola.
You know what Coca-Cola does to you – Coca-Cola doesn’t give you shiny white teeth. It makes you fat, and you get cancer. That’s what Coca-Cola does to you. It doesn’t make you young and happy… no. It’s the opposite.
Whether the ad is for a washing machine, or even washing up liquid, look at them. They are not just trying to sell you a product. They don’t just say, you know this product, this product will wash your clothes and this and that, and it’s gonna be this ingredient, no no no. They want you to feel that if you buy this product your whole life will change. Your whole life will change – because they want us to be consumers. They want us to buy, buy, buy, spend, spend, spend.
So they make us think that if I have this and if I have that my life will be so much better.
I have my mobile phone here [takes out his mobile phone] my HTC, but you know what, one of the brothers is driving me around, he has the HTC HD2.
That’s the newer model of mine – keep looking at it jealously. He’s got the HTC HD2, how come I only have the HTC HD? I want what he’s got. Now what’s the difference, between my phone and his phone? The screen is a little bit bigger, it has a slightly faster operating system, but there is one really cool feature. HTC HD2 in your hotel, it acts as a wireless router. So I can log in to the internet through my HTC HD2 if only I have it.
Oh I want it… oh yes I do… I’m not happy anymore with this mobile phone. I need the latest. I need the latest gadget. I need… so I’m never happy. I want the latest and I need the next thing.
My life is gonna be different, my life will not be the same if I don’t have the latest phone. This is what they want you to believe. How did I ever live without it? This is what they want you to believe. So what… we will consume and consume and consume… buy this, buy that, have this, have that. The consumer society. The consumer culture.
Now just like every religion, the materialistic religion has its theologies. It has to have some attempt at a rational basis to explain it.
So for the materialistic culture the most important idea is the idea of evolution. Evolution is essential to the whole materialistic philosophy. Evolution says that you and me, and all the human beings and everything in this universe evolved through a series of random events.
There’s no God, we don’t need gods [because] evolution has explained everything. Evolution has explained how we came here, without the need of believing in God. This is the heart of what evolution is saying. This is the heart of their philosophy. You don’t need to resort to God to explain how we came here. You and me and everybody, we are descended from apes.
Actually no, that’s not quite true… they don’t say that. They say that we and apes are descended from a common ancestor. Yeah.. that’s what they say. We come from the same branch of the tree. But basically we human beings are sophisticated monkeys. That’s it, think about it, we are just animals. We are a little bit more complex, a little bit more sophisticated.
Now, how do you make a monkey happy? Very easy. Give monkey banana [makes monkey sounds], give him some fruit, happy monkey.
Number two, keep the monkey safe. Meaning you give the monkey some shelter keep him safe, happy monkey… hoohoo… and of course give man monkey woman monkey, woman monkey man monkey, very happy monkey [makes monkey sounds].
We gotta really happy monkey. So you give the monkey some food, you give the monkey some shelter, and you give the monkey some sex. And don’t worry, if man monkey doesn’t like woman monkey, man monkey can go with man monkey. And women monkey with women monkey. Because it doesn’t matter anyway, it’s natural right. It’s just your feelings. If you’re homosexual, if you’re gay according to this idea of course that’s just nature. It’s natural, that’s what they claim. So just do it.
As that Nike slogan tells you, just go do it, just do it man, don’t think about it. Just go do it, get out there and have some fun. Fulfill your desires, because you are just an advanced monkey. That’s what they say. So that’s why our governments concentrate on that – most of them live by laws.
Whose laws are they? They are monkey laws. They are sophisticated monkey laws. Laws made by monkeys for other monkeys. That’s it. A bunch of monkeys in parliament making some rules for other monkeys. It’s more of a monkey business. The most of them live by laws of the jungle, really. The law of the jungle because we are just monkeys, right.
So what do they do, the governments, they concentrate on more and more people who have the chance to vote. What do they vote for? What do they look for in their governments masha’Allah, is he a pious person, does he fear Allah, does he want to judge by the book of Allah? Does he implement Islam?
We look at: ‘Is this man gonna make me richer, is he gonna make my economy stronger, is he gonna give me more health care, is he gonna make things cheaper for us? Are we gonna have s more comfortable life?
That’s what we look for, and with most democratic governments, the ones who get into power get into power because they can persuade the people that they are gonna make you richer.
Bill Clinton. You know how he won? He won his election with one phrase: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
That’s it. It’s economy. It’s all about money. It’s all about wealth. I mean these people say they are Christians. Our politicians, they claim these things but how many of them stand up and say, how many times you hear Bush or Blair or anyone of those so called Christian leaders of so called Christian countries say you know how to be happy? If you wanna be happy believe in Jesus. Is that what they say. Vote for me because of Jesus. I’m gonna bring Jesus into your life. Is that what they say, no they don’t say that.
They say vote for me because I’ll make you more money. I’ll make you more happy. With materialistic things, we will improve your economy. We will give you health care, we will improve your social security.
The same with our Muslim leaders. The same things. That’s what they are claiming. They don’t say: “My brothers and sisters, you know what, I’m afraid our economy will go down, we know we will not have so much money but you know what, we will live by the lord of Allah.”
Who says that? We are Muslim by name, but we don’t know what Dheen means. Because we just want the money.
Maybe it’s true. Maybe we are just sophisticated monkeys. We just like the banana, the shelter and the sex. Huh… that’s how we keep us happy.
No brothers, no sisters.
So this is the philosophy, evolution. So we brought the philosophy of evolution. No we’ve got just like a religion has to have Ibadha, muslims we have salat, we have zakat, we have Ramadan, sure the materialistic culture have it.
That’s what it is, music. Music is the worship of materialistic culture, the Quran of Shaithan [satan]. That is why the shaithan calls the people to his guidance, to his materialism with music. That’s what it’s all about.
Yeah… and you see that, you listen to that, you see how they behave [very loud music sounds coming from outside of the carnival stage]. It’s very strange, why they need to fill their lives with this music. Think about it. What’s it all for, why do they need this music? Because their lives are so empty.
They have nothing in their lives. They have no understanding, they have no guidance, they have no comprehension, so they need to fill their emptiness with this noise.
It’s a substitute. That’s what it is. There’s no understanding, music, and you see them dancing. Dancing the music [makes drumming sound] like that – hours and hours of dancing dancing dancing. For hours and hours and hours.
I remember watching a documentary, when they went and filmed these people… they will put up these big speakers and they would start the music. They were dancing dancing dancing and there was this one guy, it was 7:00am in the morning, 7:00am in the morning, and these guys have been dancing all night.
I remember back in the days when I used to do that stuff. We used to go to discos. And you are to finish at like 3:00am or 4:00am in the morning. But these guys were still going on at 7:00am in the morning.
Subhanallahi (Glory be to Allah). The cameramen was interviewing this guy and was asking “Why do you come here, why do you dance, what’s it all for?”
You what he says? “Because I have this boring job, I have this boring life, but I come here and I dance and I dance and I dance till I forget myself. Until I forget myself.”
That’s what it’s all about: forgetting yourself, getting lost, living in a world of fantasy and escapism. That’s what it’s all about. Drugs and alcohol. What it’s all about. Why people take heroin, why people drink alcohol, why the people smoke marijuana, because they want to escape.
And look at the words they use: “I got stoned. I was wasted. I was got high. I was out of it.”
What does that describes? They describe, my brothers and sisters, self-annihilation: “I destroy myself.”
“I was like a stone.” What feeling does a stone have? None. “I was wasted. Out of it.” Out of what?
You see these people, they go drinking drinking drinking and they come home, in the morning, and you know what, they come home and they get sick. Blurrr… and they fall asleep, yeah really.
We have a problem in England, because police on Saturday night are so busy looking after people who are drunk and drowned in their own vomit.
That’s alcohol. That’s what happens. They are so drunk and then they wake-up in the morning and say ooh.. I had such a good time last night. You had a good time? What did you do? “Say, I don’t remember. That’s why I had a good time.”
The more they forget the more of the good time they had. And that’s what it’s all about: music makes you forget. Lost in music, I’m lost in music. I forget, I’m drunk, I forget. I watch the TV, I watch the movies, I’m in the fantasy world.”