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TexasDude's avatar

Where can I find information on the relationship between drugs and Islam?

Asked by TexasDude (25244points) November 16th, 2011

I’m writing a research paper for my history of Islam class about the use of psychoactive substances in Islam, but I’m having trouble locating scholarly sources.

Topics I intend to cover are:

-The Qur’an and alcohol
-Sufis and the use of hashish and caffeine
-The opium trade in Afghanistan
-Modern attitudes towards drugs in the Muslim community and rates of use

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also, additional suggestions for points to research would be appreciated as well.

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12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Can’t point you to resources, but you may want to include the use of qat in Yemen and southeastern Saudi Arabia.

thorninmud's avatar

I agree that Khat might be a good case study because its use is almost entirely confined to Islamic cultures and so it has generated a fair bit of debate pro and con among Islamic scholars. Here’s one presentation that looks at Khat use from an Islamic perspective.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I found this quote from this article
O ye who believe, liquor, gambling, idols and divining arrows are but abominations and Satanic devices. So turn wholly away from each of them that you may prosper. Satan desires only to create enmity and hatred between you by means of liquor and gambling and to keep you back from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer.

Surah 5:91–92

wundayatta's avatar


Tamil Tiger heroin smuggling

Go here
enter relig as the row variable, and evidu as the column variable select percentages for rows and run the table. You may be quite interested. You should also locate other drug variables and run them. These data are about Muslims in the US.

Report on opium trade in Afghanistan. Drugs and Islamic Law. Impact of opium addiction on Afghan families

Sufism. Sufi and hashish. Ethnographic study of shamanism in Afghanistan. Blog about westerner’s experience with Sufi and drugs.

That should get you started. Look for other data sources and references in the footnotes. I think it’s ok to include stories of personal experiences as illustrative of both what it’s like and also what it’s like for a westerner to enter into these experiences.

Want to know the secret? Just enter your search terms of interest (Islam, Moslem, drug, alcohol, sufi, Afghanistan) either alone or in pairs and then add the term “data” or “research” or both. You will just about always get useful hits. This is in Google. I suppose you could use Google scholar or any of the scholarly journals you have access to at Uni, too.

In terms of real data, the GSS (General Social Survey) is almost always useful about general experiences that people have. It also includes a lot of attitudinal questions, if you want to see if Muslim attitudes in the US differ from other religions in terms of disapproval of drugs (or approval). Good luck. Hope this helps.

cockswain's avatar

Very interesting question!

janbb's avatar

It just so happens I am on the Reference Desk right now. If you have access to the JSTOR scholarly database, you can use several variants of keywords to search journals in selected academic disciplines. I searched initially for just “drugs” and “Islam” in religious, historical, Middle Eastern studies and psychology journals and got over 1100 hits. When I narrowed it down to “psychotropic drugs” and “Islam” I got about 30 full-text articles. You could adjust the keywords and dig up various aspects of the topic.

Your college library should give you access to JSTOR; it is one of the leading databases for scholarly articles.

wundayatta's avatar

Yay Librarians!!!! ^^

TexasDude's avatar

@Michael_Huntington and @thorninmud I knew I was overlooking something! And I’ve totally read about qat numerous times. Thanks guys. Also, @Michael_Huntington, thanks for the quote. That saves me the trouble of finding an actual quote as to what the Quaran says.

@wundayatta, thank you, those links are fantastic! I appreciate it!

@cockswain, I thought so too. I’m taking a class on the history of Islam, and a class on the history of narcotics, so I thought for my final Islam paper, I could use knowledge I gained from both classes to my advantage. We will see how it works out.

@janbb, I do have access to jstor, actually. I’ve never really used it before, but what you are telling me is encouraging. Thanks a bunch!

TexasDude's avatar

Ok, new question…

How would I cite the Qu’ran in Turabian format?

Response moderated (Spam)
syed_shaji's avatar


Brother, Islam completely prohibits drugs,alcohol and any other form of intoxication.
For more information see

Drugs in Islam

Why Islam prohibits alcohol and other intoxicants

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