If you‘ve never lived abroad, it’s like a free pass to ask stupid and uncomfortable questions. It’s brilliant. So when late at night I start wondering if my Muslim friends smoke pot no one really blinks an eye when I just ask. So I just asked. Is hashish haraam?
I know this may a difficult topic for some (there are Arabic words on your computer screen! Don’t panic! Don’t panic!). You have to remember not to think of Muslims as Fox News props because what I’m going to say is kind of interesting and will make you look like a super smart stoner the next time you puff puff pass and hear the whole “well, now, my faith forbids me” argument.
So don’t get distracted. Think about what you know of say, Christianity, and when I write ‘Muslim’ you read ‘Christian.’ Let’s give it a go.
Muslims (read Christians) are a large and diverse section of the world’s population. At one end of the Islam (read Christianity) scale you have the devout every Friday (read Sunday) folks and the apathetic but harmless holidays-only folks (think Easter and Christmas). At the other end of things there are the scary Islamacist dudes (read Westboro Baptists) and even ISIS (read KKK with an army, a death wish and an arsenal). However, the vast majority of practicing Muslims (read Christians) fall somewhere in the moderate middle.
Get the idea? So, where was I? Oh yes, so I just asked my Muslim friends if cannabis was against Islamic law. I was immediately (and excitedly) given a very long history lesson and a very long religion lesson. But don’t worry, here’s the really, really, really short version: it’s a no…ish.
Alright, here’s a little more detail.
We know that Islam recognizes both Moses and Jesus as prophets of Allah right? Oh you didn’t know that? And they said a 40K liberal arts degree would be pointless. Okay, so if something is in the Bible’s revealed text (the stuff God said directly to Moses or Jesus) then it is considered fact by Islam. But even though it clearly states in Genesis that God gave “every herb bearing seed” to humanity (why, thank you kindly) it is not a revealed text. That means, the herb rule does not automatically carry over to the Qur’an and thus to practicing Muslims. Darn it.
Islam has two main texts: the Qur’an (words of Allah) and the Hadith (words of Mohammed). The Qur’an makes no mention of cannabis but the Hadith clearly states no intoxicants. Most folks accept the Hadith text is referring to alcohol. Unfortunately modern Muslim scholars have chosen to interpret the text to mean anything that intoxicates the mind. Young Muslims are told to say no to drugs and stay away from dangerous intoxicating weed. The modern interpretation of ancient religious texts: that always goes well.
But don’t panic, all is not lost.
Remember the ‘ish’?
If a doctor prescribes marijuana to a Muslim patient they are allowed to and should take it. Oh yes, you read that right. The Qur’an says to look after the body so if cannabis will help the doctor do that… My friend is a practicing Muslim and heart surgeon who regularly prescribes morphine to his patients. He said he would prescribe cannabis if he felt it was the best treatment for his patient. Logic and health trumps scholarly interpretation.
I know you so weren’t expecting that right? Super twist ending.
So for all you Muslims out there I think it’s pretty clear what is allowed and what you need to do (aside: get a medical marijuana card). And everyone else? Don’t you feel smarter? And they say we’re killing brain cells over here.
Hey, I think I just single handedly added 1.6 billion people to the pro medical marijuana demographic.