Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim brothers and sisters!
On such a day as this many people might be asking; is marijuana halal or haram? For those not familiar with Islamic laws, halal refers to foods that are permitted for Muslims in the holy Quran. Haram on the other hand refers to foods that are forbidden under Islamic law. Does marijuana fall in any of these food categories?
Marijuana use by Muslims has always been a controversial subject. This is mostly because neither the holy Qur’an nor the prophet Muhammad addressed it specifically. This means that Muslims have been left to make their own interpretations about this matter.
Some Muslims consider marijuana use halal for as long as it is used responsibly. For example followers of Sufism (a sect within Islam that follows mystical practices) allows marijuana use for spiritual purposes. Other muslims, on the other hand, consider it as a narcotic and hence argue that it is haram. Speaking of which, countries that are governed by sharia law have some of the harshest marijuana laws.
Marijuana is Kosher
Jews are allowed to eat every “plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed.”This in Jewish religion is referred to as kosher and marijuana qualifies to be called Kosher. Kosher foods that do not contain alcohol are generally considered as halal in Islam.
Marijuana is Intoxicating; Does This Make it Haram?
Marijuana strains that contain high amounts of the psychoactive compounds tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are intoxicating. Alcohol, which is intoxicating, is considered haram in Islamic religion. Islamic scholars have used this rationale to argue that marijuana must be haram in the same vein.
The hadith of Muhammad states that if a small amount of something is intoxicating even a little bit of it should be haram. From this argument it appears that even a small amount of marijuana is forbidden in Islam.
The word for an intoxicating substance in Islam is “khamr.” Since marijuana use causes a change in mental status and has effects on both the mind and body it qualifies to be classified as khamr (intoxicating). Narcotics, on the other hand, are referred to as the Mukhaddirāt or المُخَدِّرات.
For most strict Muslims, use of marijuana recreationally is haram. This is because marijuana is psychoactive, intoxicating, and may cause harm to the body when abused.
History of Marijuana in Islam
Hashish was traded in the Arab world for many centuries. The Sufi in particular have been using hashish for meditation and spirituality since the 12th Century. In Iran, spiritual plant medicines and psychedelics are considered halal for Shi’i Muslims,
It is believed that the Islamic legend from Persia, Haydar, stumbled upon marijuana while wandering in the mountains. After consuming it he became “happy and spirited.” He later told his peers about this plant and they too ventured into the mountains in search of marijuana.
It is clear that some marijuana forms part of the rich history of Islamic culture both as a spiritual plant and also as a recreational plant.
Is Medical Marijuana Permitted in Islam?
Muslims believe that diseases that come from Allah have a cure or treatment that comes from nature.
Intoxicants are not necessarily considered haram if the primary desired effect is therapeutic value. For example, opioid analgesics which may cause drowsiness or addiction are allowed in Islam because the primary reason for their use if to provide pain relief. Antidepressants which may cause euphoria are allowed because the primary aim of consumption is the treatment of depression.
This takes us back to the criteria for using haram substances for medical purposes; tandawi-bil-haram. Medical marijuana in Islam is permitted in the following circumstances:
1. It has been prescribed by a qualified pious Muslim physician or a physician who values the teaching of the Sacred Quran.
2. Medical marijuana is the most suitable treatment in the given circumstance
3. Medical marijuana is prescribed for the sole purpose of medical treatment
4. In this regard, medical marijuana may be considered halal, if it can be proved that this is the best treatment available for a given medical condition. In this case it is considered a means to help one regain their health as the intention is not to get one intoxicated.
Is Marijuana Legal in Islamic Nations?
Marijuana is outlawed in most Islamic nations. The UAE Anti-Narcotic Psychotropic Substances Law states that marijuana should not be “brought, imported, exported, made, extracted, separated, produced, possessed or taken, and all other activities and connections thereof may not be performed”. If found guilty of contravening this law you risk paying a fine of not less than Dh 20,000 or serving a prison term of not more than 15 years. If you are a foreigner you face the risk of deportation as well.
With all the arguments stated above, it all boils down to intention. The intention of behavior is important when deciding what is allowed or not allowed under Islamic law. As much as this is subject to interpretation by others, a Muslim should be guided by their own convictions on why they are using marijuana. In this case, spirituality or medical benefits take precedence.
We hope you can now answer the question for yourself: is marijuana halal or haram?