The History of Psychedelics in Islam
Islam's history, as far as the use of psychedelics is concerned, stretches back to its earliest days, making it a complex and, at the same time, fascinating subject. Although there isn't much substantial proof that psychedelics were used in pre-Islamic Arabian culture, it's possible that some local tribes engaged in religious ceremonies involving psychotropic plants and chemicals.
Many Sufi orders often used psychotropic plants and substances, and it was considered an important part of their spiritual activities. They thought that taking psychedelics enabled them to experience a state of euphoria and oneness with God. Hashish was the most well-known of these drugs, and it was thought that Rumi's devotees, Sufi mystics who lived in the 13th century, consumed it. Furthermore, because historical records are frequently incomplete or unclear, it is difficult to determine which specific drugs were used by Muslims and Sufis throughout history. However, historical texts contain references to the use of certain substances for spiritual and mystical experiences. Here are a couple of examples:
Cannabis: Sufi literature mentions the use of cannabis for spiritual purposes, particularly in the context of dhikr (remembrance of God). Cannabis is thought to help people achieve heightened awareness and perception, allowing them to connect with God more effectively.
Opium: Opium has been used for medicinal purposes in the Muslim world for centuries. There are also reports of Sufi mystics using it to induce mystical experiences and visions.
Mandrake root: Also known as mandragora, it has been used as a sedative and analgesic in Islamic medicine. It is said that some Sufi mystics used it to induce visions and mystical experiences.
Ayahuasca: Ayahuasca is a psychoactive plant brew used for centuries by indigenous peoples in South America for spiritual and medicinal purposes. Sufi mystics have reportedly traveled to South America to learn about the use of ayahuasca in spiritual ceremonies.
Mushrooms: It is said that some Sufi mystics used hallucinogenic mushrooms like Psilocybe to induce mystical experiences and visions.
Datura, also known as jimsonweed, has been used for its sedative and analgesic properties in Islamic medicine. It is said that some Sufi mystics used it to induce visions and mystical experiences.
It should be noted that using these substances for spiritual and mystical experiences is not sanctioned by Islamic law nor considered a legitimate practice in mainstream Islamic traditions. The Quran has several verses that forbid drinking and caution readers against overindulging in anything that tampers with our senses and cognitive faculties. But there is also a strong Sufi tradition within Islam, often associated with using hashish, hallucinogens, and other mind-altering drugs.
While some contend that psychedelics can be a legal, spiritual activity that shortens the distance between man and God, others say that it is a risky and improper departure from Islamic tradition. In the end, psychedelic use in Islam has a complicated and nuanced history that has been influenced by some cultural, historical, and spiritual reasons over the course of time.
Note: The use of these substances can be risky. It is critical to approach these substances with caution and under the supervision of a medical professional.