Hashish and other psychoactive substances in the Islamic World
CANNABIS CULTURE – While there are a number of local differences, the use of cannabis with a varying intensity has had a time-honored role in many Muslim countries. Mystic use of cannabis continued in Persia through the late Zoroastrian period and into the early Islamic times. The earlier use and its continuation in the early Islamic period is attested to in many texts reviewed here. Its use during the Zoroastrian period was strictly prohibited from anyone but the most elite members of that society and subjected to much secrecy surrounding its use, contributing to misunderstandings. Most of the more mystical branches of Islam adopted the use of cannabis, but this ancient religious use of cannabis use is currently generally met with disbelief and disdain. Colonial control of the Middle East and India by the British imposed their views and norms, punishing Sufis who used cannabis products, further driving this entheogenic substance from practice and public view.
In our modern day people have been executed for smuggling hashish into Islamic countries, and the Koranic bans on alcohol are often interpreted as a religious prohibition on all intoxicants. However this has not always been the case, and in past centuries there have