What is your view of Drug Use among Muslims?

What is your view of Drug Use among Muslims?


Assalamualiakum. First off, I would like to commend you on your Dawah. May Allah bless you. Also, what is your view of drug use in the Muslim community? By this, I mean drugs such as marijuana, and such as prescription drugs that make you fall asleep and such. Do you think using these drugs to alter our life would be considered Makruh? Should we rely on drugs as “happy pills”?

Wa alykum as-salaam,

Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate them, and while I do not think I deserve it, they motivate me to work harder and insha Allah, I hope I can continue to earn such praise (however undeserved) in the future.

That being said, I would like to underline that I am not a scientist, despite my overwhelmingly scientific family, and that if I make any statements that are scientifically dubious, please correct me, and please, be understanding that I am more concerned with the effect of drugs on society, and that on a chemical level, I am in no position to comment.

As far as my view of drug use in the Muslim community, I think I would have to make a sharp distinction between the two things:

First, I do not see marijuana and prescription drugs as the same thing, for reasons I will explain.

Second, there is a difference between the use of an item, and the abuse of it.

Now, the reason why I differentiate between marijuana and prescription drugs is precisely because of the very nature of the drugs, you mentioned sleep aids, which can serve vitally important functions for people.

For instance, older people who have high blood pressure, and are taking medication for this condition, need to sleep 8 hours in order for the medicine to work properly through the night. However, at their age, they do not sleep that long, and thus the sleep aid is critical for their health.

I could go on, citing the use of ADHD medication in helping children with dyslexia, while it does not treat their dyslexia, I have students and friends, with dyslexia who have cited the ADHD medication as profoundly helpful.

The point is that, the prescription drugs treat an issue that is there. Boredom, a desire to alter one’s state of mind, or the excuse that marijuana helps a person think better, all seem to be poor arguments.

However, I believe that in the case of cancer patients, who cannot muster the appetite to eat because of chemo therapy, that if smoking marijuana would give them the ability to eat and keep down their food, that it should not be classified as Makruh for them to do this. Scholars have long-held that the use of alcohol in medicinal capacities is permissible, and thus, I see little difference in the 25% alcohol content in Nyquil and the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

As far as the use of marijuana in non-medical situations, I truly think it is a result of boredom, and akin to the problems that are found with alcohol. I think the slight difference is that marijuana can be smoked alone, and people can thus justify that they need it to “clear their heads,” or some other round about way. The reality is that you are making yourself weaker, because you are, on some level, becoming dependent on something in order to find some inner peace.

I think if that is a drug or a person, that effect is the same: you are weaker because of that dependency. While we take our parents for granted, they (or we, only God knows) will depart this Earth, and while I realize that Muslims on tumblr love posting about their future spouses, I think that to depend on your spouse, to sooth you on a constant basis, would be detrimental to your marriage, and would create a level of dependency that does not foster a healthy relationship.

However, that is just one issue, I think a major element as to why Muslims look at pot as something that is “less haram,” is because it is smoked, and because the scholars who declare smoking Makruh, are then outside of the Mosque, smoking. The reality is that smoking is haram, whether it’s a cigarette or a shisha (I don’t even smoke, and ‘hookah’ annoys me) and that because Muslims see these activities as somehow “less haram,” it has opened the door for marijuana use as acceptable.

The bigger issue, and why it is prohibited to sell alcohol, as far as Islam goes, is ultimately because that you are spreading suffering. Alcohol ensures that people are unhappy, and the effect of the sale of alcohol on society is tremendous, as I’ve mentioned earlier.

However, what makes marijuana bad, despite people calling it “harmless” is that they fail to recognize what has to happen in order for the pot to actually get to their stupid suburban drug dealer. Someone has to grow it, someone has to transport it, someone has to secure it, someone has to smuggle it.

Have you heard of the Mexican drug wars? Did you know that over half (some estimates say 70%) of the revenue for these Mexican drug cartels come from marijuana? I had thought it was cocaine, which would make sense, when you consider that if a coca (plant for cocaine) farmer loses 90% of his crop, he can still make a profit.

Regardless, the point is that, this “harmless” pot that these “bored” kids smoke, fuels a drug war that has killed 47,000 people since 2006. The death toll has risen every year since 2006. Teachers have been beheaded, mother’s sons have been sucked into crime and died so that a shipment could get through, etc all so that stupid college kid X could smoke.

The argument is then that, “oh, well let’s make it legal and everything will be fine.” Right… So, when these drug cartels, suddenly lose 50+ percent of their revenue, they’re just going to be like, “Oh, really? Oh. No, no, that’s fine, I’ll just go back to studying basket-weaving and take that pottery class I was always meaning to take, but was too busy killing people to take.”

I understand the argument behind legalization, and I see the parallels between prohibition and today, but I think there is an element that we forget about prohibition. Once the organized crime elements stopped making their money from alcohol, they began pushing even harder drugs, and their enterprises expanded to further degrade the society.

Every time someone discusses the legalization of marijuana, they suddenly become constitutional and political scholars, yet, I have yet to hear their plans in how to handle the drug cartels, that they, the consumers, built.

As far as the drugs that alter your mind, that are prescription drugs, like I said earlier, if used as directed and in a manner that truly benefits the individual, then, of course I think they are acceptable.

However, those (prescriptions drugs) that are used simply, like you said, as “happy pills,” and are thus not used properly, that misuse would be akin to the use of non-medicinal marijuana or alcohol, without a shadow of a doubt. However, the issue is that for those that truly need anti-depressants or other drugs, to declare the entire gamut of prescription drugs as “Makruh” would be dangerous and prevent people from seeking out legitimate medical help.

I mean, we have a Muslim Ummah that feel that doing travel-length prayers is a cop-out, because we’re on airplanes and trains now, instead of camels. I could not, in good conscience, declare prescriptions drugs as makruh, however, I am not hesitant to declare the abuse of anything to be impermissible.

Besides the fact that my declaration of things “makruh” or “halal” or whatever is useless, nonbinding on any human being, and frankly, funny when I think about it, the central issue that you are pointing to is the potential for abuse in these types of drugs. There is a potential for abuse in some of the most mundane items. People huff glue, others use condensed air cans to get high, so, honestly, the amount of items that we utilize that we can abuse is tremendous.

I think that many times, the contrast between marijuana and prescription drugs is meant to illustrate some sort of hypocrisy within our view of things. Perhaps that is the case, but, I still think that there is a big difference between the two, but there is no difference in the abuse of either.

Insha Allah, I hope I was able to answer your question, and that if you or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to ask me.

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