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Man To Man Podcast: Why Muslim Families Should Limit Screen Time

In this episode, Irtiza Hasan interviews Siraaj Muhammad and Omar Usman (author of “Fiqh of Social Media”) to discuss the impact of social media and internet usage on the Muslim family today. They explore practical tips, best practices, behaviors to avoid and realities of living in this modern age where everyone seems to be on a gadget at all times. This episode is especially relevant in light of the U.S. Surgeon General’s announcement regarding social media and children.

Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters and Qalam Institute. He teaches Islamic seminars across the US including Khateeb Workshop and Fiqh of Social Media. He has served in varying administrative capacities for multiple national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow his work at ibnabeeomar.com.

Siraaj Muhammad is the Operations Director of MuslimMatters as well as its new lead web developer. He’s spent nearly two decades working in dawah organizations, starting with his chapter MSA in Purdue University, and leading efforts with AlMaghrib Institute, MuslimMatters, and AlJumuah magazine. Somewhere in there, he finds time for his full-time profession as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor’s in Computer Science from Purdue University and a Master’s certificate from UC Berkeley. He’s very married and has 5 wonderful children.

Related:

Muslim Social Media Crossroads – 3 Critical Questions to Move Forward

Social Media And The Struggle for Tomorrow

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Source: Muslim Matters

Fighting With Faith: New Exhibit Sheds Light On Campaign Against Muslim POWs in WW1

Fighting With Faith: New Exhibit Sheds Light On Campaign Against Muslim POWs in WW1

Behind the walls of a prisoner-of-war camp during World War I, Germany and the Ottoman Empire waged an unconventional battle: a fight for the minds and hearts of Muslim prisoners from around the world.

Known as Half Moon Camp or Halbmondlager in German, thousands of Muslim prisoners cycled through the camp. The institution even housed Wunsdorf Mosque, Germany’s first masjid; built in 1915. Prisoners lived a comfortable existence with extra food, rations for exercise programs, online lectures, and even visits from foreign dignitaries, all in an effort to woo them to rebel against their colonial empires.

It’s this storied history that is featured by the National WWI Museum and Memorial in “Fighting with Faith;” an online exhibit that went live this week.

Patricia Cecil, a specialist curator of faith, religion, and WWI at the museum, stumbled upon the camp and propaganda campaign after discovering the history of Wunsdorf Mosque. She says the exhibit details the first concerted effort to bring the warfare element of jihad onto the global stage. 

“The jihad that Germany and the Ottoman Empire created together in World War I set the tone of jihad with political motivations – motivations to overthrow rival empires,” Cecil said. “It was the first time on a global stage that we saw jihad with specifical global and political motives.”

While Cecil acknowledges the varying elements of jihad -which is, in its purest form, an internal struggle to honor divine expectations-, the camp embodied an organized effort to attempt to encourage Muslim prisoners to unite under the German and Ottoman Empire against their colonial masters. 

“It specifically targeted them to try and wage jihad against the British, French, and Russian empire as a way to destabilize the global and enshrine German supremacy.”

But the campaign was a clear failure. 

A resounding 84 percent of the nearly 6,000 prisoners in the camp were unconvinced of the propaganda campaign. 

The engineers of the propaganda campaign were unable to convince Muslim prisoners to engage in an all-out jihad against their Colonial overlords. 

“Their own concept of personal faith and their own understanding of jihad didn’t align with the propaganda they were being fed,” Cecil said. 

“The ties of culture and country also proved too strong to result in the amalgamation of a globalized force ready to engage in politically-motivated jihad.”

The effort was also destabilized after the Germans and Ottomans disagreed on how to execute the campaign. 

By the early 1920s, the camp was essentially a ghost town. In 1917, many of the prisoners fell ill and were moved to Romania. By then, resources were scarce and it was clear the effort was largely unsuccessful. By 1919, most of the prisoners were sent back to their countries.

Military recruitment from the camp broke down, prompting the Ottomans to import settlers and workers from the camp instead of military recruits. The shift in strategy was not amenable to the Germans who delayed future transports of Muslim prisoners of war to Turkey and used them as workers in factories and farms in Germany. 

The masjid was funded by Germany’s military administration as a cornerstone of the propaganda campaign. But rumor spread that it was a gift from Kaiser Wilhem II; a story that buttressed Germany’s hope that the Kaiser was a friend to Muslims and Germany overall.  It was demolished in the 1930s after the building fell into disrepair. The military built barracks and garages for tanks around the former camp.

Forced labor was used to construct the mosque, which was built briskly within five weeks in the summer of 1915. The architecture represented varying regional styles in an effort to symbolically represent pan-Islamism. 

Most historical accounts depict Germany as the sole mastermind and the Ottoman Empire as a mere pawn in the effort. The exhibit challenges these historical accounts by portraying the joint effort led by the Ottomans and the Germans and the balance between the two powers. 

“For a really long time, the scholarship that existed was very biased in portraying Germany as the brains behind the operation,” Cecil said. “The Ottoman Empire was a major actor.”

Exhibit organizers hope the exhibit sheds new light on Muslims’ contribution to World War I and provides a glimpse into the untold story of the Half Moon Camp. 

“It really is a story that hasn’t been told really anywhere in the world,” Cecil said.  “This is a different way for the public to engage with the history of World War I and hopefully they will feel like they have uncovered a sort of previously hidden chapter of history.” 

The “Fighting with Fire” exhibit officially opened online on Jan. 26

 

Related reading:

Book Review: Lost Islamic History

The Unsung Heroines Of Islamic History

The post Fighting With Faith: New Exhibit Sheds Light On Campaign Against Muslim POWs in WW1 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Source: Muslim Matters

Podcast: Man To Man – Mentorship & Support with Irtiza Hasan

The MuslimMatters Podcast is pleased to announce a new show! “Man to Man” with Irtiza Hasan is all about real talk from Muslim men, to Muslim men, about fatherhood, masculinity, family, and much more. Zainab bint Younus and Siraaj Muhammad sit down to chat with Irtiza and get a glimpse of what his show will bring to the table.

Irtiza Hasan has a professional background in HR management and an extensive da’wah background: he was a founding manager and board member for AlMaghrib Institute founding Manager and board member, a volunteer with Texas Dawah Convention, ICNA Houston, Islamic Relief and MIST over the years. He is currently on Salaam Reentry Board, helping incarcerated Muslims transition and acclimatize back into society once they are released.

Related:

From Boys to Men: Addressing the Masculinity Crisis

The post Podcast: Man To Man – Mentorship & Support with Irtiza Hasan appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Source: Muslim Matters

Salvific Exclusivity: The Islamic Position

Salvific Exclusivity: The Islamic Position

Salvific exclusivity contends that salvation and eternal bliss in the hereafter are only granted to the believers in a particular creed. This discussion clarifies the nuanced Islamic position on this matter.

 The concept of salvific exclusivity, while not exclusive to Islam, causes many people to suspect it as a catalyst of hate and animosity. It seems that in Europe, the only way to move beyond hostilities between the different religious groups has been to undermine the place of religion or deny that any one of them may be superior to any other. This theological relativism is not accepted by Islam, and the concept of salvific exclusivity seems to be ingrained in the scriptures and tradition. I discuss here some nuances about it and explain why, when appropriately understood, it should not lead to hostility.

Dividing people into believers and non-believers is but a depiction of reality, not a construction of it. Let us keep in mind that the point of reference here is a particular religion. As for the claim that this division warrants oppression, there is nothing in the scriptures that justifies oppressing anyone, regardless of their religious affiliation. It is the role of enlightened scholars to transfuse the values of fairness and compassion into the consciousness of the public.

Also, most non-Muslims are not waiting for us to grant them visas to enter Paradise, nor do we possess that authority. Being kind, courteous, and ethical when dealing with the non-aggressive adherents of other faiths is an injunction of our religion, but treating them with kindness and justice does not require that we approve of their faith.

Moreover, if we feel that extending to the People of the Book the status of believers who are granted salvation is necessary for harmony in our homelands, the Muslims in India, China, Europe, and many African countries are probably no less in need of winning over the Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and pagans in those lands. In that case, should we deny the existence of disbelief altogether? What would eemân (faith) be if no disbelief exists?

Recognizing the Existence of Disbelief

Every ideology and religion must have boundaries that separate it from other ideologies and religions. Whoever accepts them as truths and adheres to them becomes a believer in them, and whoever denies them becomes a disbeliever in them. Hence, disbelief in any particular thing is the opposite of faith in it, and the two concepts are interdependent.

Religion makes a claim to the ultimate Truth. While postmodern relativism made valuable contributions in relativizing human intellectual output, the same cannot be applied to religion. Without denying the presence of truths and the utility of dialectics in discovering them, humans should be humble about the output of their intellect. The Divine/Transcendent is not subject to this human fallibility. A religion that claims a Divine origin is either true or false (in its original version, although it might be thereafter adulterated by human error or intent). And while most of our interpretation of it is subject to error, some religious certainties are beyond reinterpretation. If they are false, the religion itself must be false. You cannot be Muslim and deny resurrection or Christian and deny Christ. As we recognize the existence of disbelief, we must also recognize the existence of heresy.

The difficulty in explaining salvific exclusivity within the currently dominant intellectual milieu of post-modernist relativism is understandable. However, doing away with Truth and certitude will impoverish the human experience and undermine Faith as the chief giver of meaning and purpose.

As for some people striving to describe every person with eemân, this is contrary to numerous proofs in the Quran and Sunnah, as well as the unanimous agreement of the Ummah. In fact, it has been agreed upon by every Divine Revelation. Allah the Exalted says,

“Indeed, those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and wish to discriminate between Allah and His messengers and say: “We believe in some and disbelieve in others,” and wish to adopt a way in between – Those are the disbelievers, truly. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment” [Surah al-Nisâ’:4;150-151]

 And,

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” [Surah Âl ‘Imrân: 3;85]

 And,

“And whoever has not believed in Allah and His Messenger – then indeed, We have prepared for the disbelievers a Blaze.” [Surah Al-Fatḥ: 48;13]

 And,

“O People of the Scripture, why do you disbelieve in the verses of Allah while you witness [their truth]?” [Surah Âl ‘Imrân: 3;70]

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لاَ يَسْمَعُ بِي أَحَدٌ مِنْ هذِهِ الأُمَّةِ يَهُودِيٌّ وَلاَ نَصْرَانِيٌّ، ثُمَّ يَمُوتُ وَلَمْ يُؤْمِنْ بِالَّذِي أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ، إِلاَّ كَانَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ “

“By the One in Whose Hand is Muhammad’s soul, no one of this nation (the nation that is to be called to Islam), Jew or Christian, will hear of me then die without believing in that with which I have been sent, but he will be one of the people of Hell.” [Muslim]

The proofs regarding this are beyond being accommodated here, but the ijmâ‘ (consensus) confirming the disbelief of anyone—from no matter which nation—who does not believe in the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and follow him, was reported by many verifying scholars like Ibn Ḥazm in Marâtib al-Ijmâ‘, ‘Iyâd in al-Shifâ, al-Ghazâli in al-Iqtiṣâd1 and Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Fatâwâ.

If you are standing at a multifurcation with your fellow human beings, and you see the path to salvation and prosperity and see them seeking another, is it not mercy here to tell them of the loss that awaits them?

religionIslam is not the only religion that upholds the concept of faith and disbelief and that people are either believers or disbelievers. In fact, the Torah, the Evangel, and the scriptures before them all confirm this. However, what worries many people about the terms disbelief and disbeliever is that during an era of history, like that of the Crusades or the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, they implied “those whose blood can be spilled.” The history of Muslim nations, according to countless testimonies by non-Muslim historians, thinkers, and even “hawkish” politicians, reflects the tolerant ideology of this belief system—even if violations occurred as a result of human error or corruption in applying the Divine instruction.

People may still ask, doesn’t believing that another person deserves eternal damnation by God for their disbelief dehumanize them and harden the hearts against them, which leads to treating them with animosity and oppression? This is, of course, a fair question. As for the eternity of damnation, while this is the mainstream position of Muslim scholars, it is not a matter of consensus among all of them, and we find imams like Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim leaning toward its temporality. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah’s optimistic theodicy may have motivated him to reevaluate the evidence concerning this matter. It is also known that some of the main Sufi mystics did not believe in eternal torment. However, what may be more practically relevant here and more accepted by the mainstream views are other concepts that are important to grasp for a better understanding of this issue.

First, who is subject to punishment?

Only those who rejected the Truth after it was clearly presented to them in a way they can comprehend. Imam al-Ghazâli argued,

“The majority of the Roman and Turkish Christians in these times are included in the mercy [of Allah]—God willing. I mean those who are in the far away peripheries of the Roman and Turkish lands, whom the call [to Islam] did not reach. For there are three types: A type whom the very name of Muhammad saw] did not reach, so they are excused. A type whom his name and description reached, as well as the miracles manifested by him, and those are the ones who are close to Muslim lands and mix with Muslims, and they are the deviant disbelievers. A third type that is between the other two, the name of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) reached them, but not his description and true qualities; they only heard from childhood that a deceptive liar named Muhammad claimed to be a prophet, just like our children hear that a liar called al-Muqaffa‘ claimed that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sent him and falsely asserted his prophethood. To me, these are like the first type, for those neither heard his name nor the false claims against him, and these heard the opposite of his true qualities, and such would not motivate them toward further investigation.”2

It is interesting that Sh. Muhammad Rashid Reda considered the people of America during his time of the first kind.3 The fairest position on this is to recognize the concept and avoid any blanket statements, as Imam Ibn al-Qayyim stated,

“The establishment of the plea differs with times, places, and individuals. The plea may be established against the unbelievers in some times, not others, and in some places, not others, and it may be also established on someone, not another, either because of his lack of intellect and discernment, like the child and the insane, or his lack of understanding, like the one who does not understand the speech [language], and no interpreter was present to translate for him.”4

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah speaks specifically here about the Jews and Christians whose scriptures—we believe—have been altered, and says that they will be judged based on what they received:

“As for those whose time is far from the time of Christ or Moses, and some accounts about them reach them, but not others, the plea becomes established against them concerning what has reached them only. Additionally, if they disagree on the interpretation of parts of the Torah or Gospel, whoever among them sought the truth and excelled in finding it should not be subject to torment, even if they were mistaken, far removed from the truth, and misguided, just like those who seek the truth from among the Ummah of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).”5

While we are confident that the truth of Islam will shine before a diligent, sincere seeker, we realize that many non-Muslims do genuinely believe in the truth and superiority of their religions. When we asked them to take an oath in a Muslim court, we requested them to swear by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) who saved Moses if they were Jewish or let Jesus bring the dead to life if they were Christians. We even asked them to take the oath at a church or by the altar.6

 Second, Islam teaches us that people’s spiritual condition is more fluid than we think. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“By the One beside Whom there is none other worthy of worship! One of you will do deeds of the people of Paradise, until there is between him and it but a forearm span, then he is overcome by what is written for him, and he is sealed off with the deeds of the people of the Fire, so that he enters it. And indeed, one of you will do deeds of the people of the Fire, until there is between him and it but a forearm span, then he is overcome by what is written for him, and he is sealed off with the deeds of the people of Paradise, so that he enters it.”7

While this hadith must be understood within the framework of Divine justice and compassion, it tells us that we cannot tell without Divine Revelation who goes to paradise and who does not. Imam al-Ghazâli said,

Even when he [the scholar] sees an unbeliever, it would not be allowed for him to treat him arrogantly for it is conceivable that the unbeliever accepts Islam and he concludes his life in a state of faith, and that [Muslim] scholar goes astray, and he concludes his life in a state of disbelief.89

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reminds us that we can never lose hope even for the worst of people. He said to the believers about the disbelievers of Quraysh who tortured them and condemned them without pity,

“Perhaps Allah will put, between you and those to whom you have been enemies among them, affection. And Allah is competent, and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Surah al-Mumtaḥanah: 60;7]

If I am not one who receives revelation from God, I cannot predict my own destination, let alone that of anyone else. All I am required to do is be just with all people and kind to those who do not oppress me because of my religion. The knowledge of my and their final abodes belongs to God alone and has no bearing on how I should treat them.

 

Related reading:

Salvific Exclusivity – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

A Critique Of Deism

 

1    الغزالي في الاقتصاد في الاعتقاد: الرتبة الأولى: تكذيب ‌اليهود ‌والنصارى ‌وأهل ‌الملل كلهم من المجوس وعبدة الأوثان وغيرهم، فتكفيرهم منصوص عليه في الكتاب ومجمع عليه بين الأمة، وهو الأصل وما عداه كالملحق به.
2    Abu Ḥâmid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazâli, Faiṣal al-tafriqah, ed. Maḥmood Biju (Beirut: Dâr al-Bayrooti, 1993), 84.
3    Muhammad Rasheed Riḍâ, Tafseer al-manâr (Cairo: al-Hay’ah al-Miṣriyyah al-‘âmmah li-l-Kitâb, 1990), 1:338.
4    Shams al-Deen Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Ṭareeq al-hijratayn wa bâb al-sa‘âdatayn, 2nd ed. (Cairo: Dâr al-Salafiyyah, 1394), 414.
5    Taqi al-Deen Aḥmad ibn ‘Abd al-Ḥaleem Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-jawâb al-ṣaḥeeḥ li man baddala deen al-Maseeḥ, 2nd ed., ed. ‘Ali ibn Ḥasan, ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Ibrâheem, and Ḥamdân ibn Muhammad (Riyadh: Dâr al-‘Âṣimah, 1419/1999), 2:301.
6    Manṣoor ibn Yoonus al-Buhooti, Sharḥ muntaha al-irâdât (Beirut: ‘Âlam al-Kutub, 1414/1993), 3:614-615.
7    al-Tirmidhi, on the authority of ‘Abdullâh ibn Mas ‘ood.
8    al-Ghazâli, Iḥyâ’ ‘Uloom al-Deen, 3:364.
9    الغزالي في إحياء علوم الدين: بل ‌لو ‌نظر ‌إلى ‌كافر ‌لم ‌يمكنه ‌أن ‌يتكبر ‌عليه إذ يتصور أن يسلم الكافر فيختم له بالإيمان ويضل هذا العالم فيختم له بالكفر.

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Source: Muslim Matters

From The Chaplain’s Desk: Smoking Weed

From The Chaplain’s Desk: Smoking Weed

Recreational use of marijuana is often glorified and celebrated in the mainstream media. Those of us who were or are immersed in popular media and pop culture are intimately familiar with the language, culture, and images of smoking weed through various movies, TV shows, and songs. Even if one doesn’t smoke weed or hang around with those who do, they are still familiar with the vocabulary and imagery because of the media they consume. There has been a long trend of socializing and culturing Americans to be more comfortable with marijuana usage and decriminalizing it. As a result of various social, cultural, economic, and political factors, there has been a movement to decriminalize marijuana. In 2016, California voters legalized cannabis for adults, and currently the recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in 21 states. 

As a PSA, just because the recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in these states, it doesn’t mean that it is lawful, ḥalāl, or permissible. According to the overwhelming majority of past and present scholars, the recreational use of weed is impermissible, stress being on the word recreational. Our morals, values, ethics, customs, traditions, and culture are informed by divine revelation through the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ. 

Unfortunately, recreational cannabis consumption has become more widespread in American Society, and by extension in the Muslim community. I went to high school and college in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and even though recreational use was still a crime, it wasn’t uncommon. There were always some kids who had access and were known to sell, others who would smoke regularly, and some who would occasionally try it at parties or when hanging out with their friends. Generally speaking, the Muslim kids, at least the ones I knew, tried their best to stay far away. They understood that it was unlawful and harmful. Fast forward 20 years and the trend has definitely shifted. From 2017 to 2018, California’s marijuana use by 18- to 25-year-olds continued to surpass their use of cigarettes, 25.16% vs. 14.52%. In California, 36.3% of adults aged 18 to 25 reported using cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or marijuana in 2018. According to a study conducted by the Family and Youth Institute, 17% of female Muslim college students and 28% of male Muslim college students used marijuana recreationally. The Muslim kids that come to the masjid, youth groups, and MSA’s are struggling with this challenge. They no longer recognize or realize that it is both unlawful and harmful. I hear questions and comments such as: What’s the harm in smoking an occasional joint or vaping using a cannabis cartridge? It doesn’t really affect me? I don’t get high off one joint. It helps calm my nerves and reduces anxiety. It helps me focus and pay attention. It’s less harmful than a can of soda. 

Some of those claims may be true, but that doesn’t make it lawful to consume. Just because something may have some potential benefits doesn’t make it lawful within the Sharīʿah. That is the same argument people made regarding intoxicating beverages. Allah ﷻ Himself responds to these claims in Sūrha al-Baqarah saying,

“They ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about intoxicants and gambling. Say, “There is great evil in both, as well as some benefit for people—but the evil outweighs the benefit.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 2;219]

There may be some benefit in cannabis, but the harm and evil far outweighs the benefit. A simple Google search will turn up tens if not hundreds of articles highlighting the real harms of recreational cannabis use. 

In 2016, I penned an article discussing the medicinal use of marijuana. I feel that it is relevant to share here and will shed light on the ruling of recreational use as well. 

Medicinal Use of Marijuana

Question

I have chronic pain in my joints and am weary of using traditional painkillers that are full of chemicals and a number of potential side effects. I would prefer to use something that is more natural and green. Is it permissible for me to use medical marijuana?

Summarized Answer

According to the Sharīʿah, marijuana is impermissible to consume (smoke/eat) because it is classified as an intoxicant. All intoxicants that alter an individual’s mind and affect perception, judgment, ability to think, and behavior are impermissible.

Medicinal marijuana is thus impermissible to consume unless it is confirmed as an absolute necessity and meets the following three conditions:

  1. There is no alternative lawful medicine available that works.
  2. A trustworthy and qualified physician, who is considered to be a specialist in the field, informs the patient that it will most likely be beneficial.
  3. Only a minimal amount is used to meet the need of the patient and not anything more.

Background of the Issue

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, ganja, hashish, hemp and weed, has been used for thousands of years for the treatment and management of pain, digestive issues and psychological disorders1. In the past few years 23 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have passed laws that make it legal to use medical marijuana. The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat a disease or symptom. Laws regarding the use of medical marijuana for treating specific conditions vary by state and there are restrictions in place regarding the amount of marijuana that can be dispensed at each visit.

The two primary chemicals found in marijuana that have medicinal value are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)2. THC is marijuana’s main mind-altering ingredient that causes a “high”. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t affect the mind, but causes a more sleep-inducing effect, which is referred to as being “stoned”.

Some studies show that THC stimulates appetite, decreases nausea and may reduce pain and inflammation. Studies also show that CBD may be useful in decreasing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures and maybe treating psychoses and addictions. Medical marijuana is used to relieve pain, control chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting and stimulating appetite in patients with cancer or HIV/AIDS. At the same time there are also many harmful side effects including altering one’s thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception. Basically, marijuana causes a “high” interfering with a person’s attention, judgment and balance.

Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in several states there’s still a fairly large national debate regarding its efficacy. Advocates argue that it has allowed many with difficult problems to receive safe and effective therapy. Opponents argue that these benefits are overblown and that advocates ignore the harms of marijuana. Regardless of the arguments on both sides medicinal marijuana is a reality and there seems to be a strong movement for legalizing recreational use as well.

Detailed Answer

Recreational use of marijuana is absolutely impermissible according to all Muslim scholars throughout history because it is classified as an intoxicant and is harmful. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Every intoxicant is prohibited.”3 He ﷺ also said, “That which intoxicates in large quantities is prohibited in small quantities.”4 So even one hit or puff would be impermissible. In addition to being an intoxicant, research has shown that marijuana usage can be harmful. For example, a study showed that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teens and continued lost an average of eight IQ points between the ages of 13–38.5 Marijuana is also considered to be a gateway drug.6

Despite its intoxicating nature and various harms marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes. There’s a well-known principle of Islamic Jurisprudence that states “necessities permit the forbidden”. Based on this principle there can be instances where the use of an impermissible substance for medicinal reasons would be lawful. The books of jurisprudence discuss this issue under the topic of using an unlawful substance for medicinal purposes (al-tadāwī bi al-ḥarām) and stipulate a number of conditions that would make using an unlawful substance permissible.7 The purpose of these conditions is to ensure that there is a real and absolute necessity.

The conditions are as follows8:

1) There is no alternative lawful medicine available that works.

2) A trustworthy and qualified physician, who is considered to be a specialist in the field, informs the patient that it will most likely be beneficial.

3) Only a minimal amount is used to meet the need of the patient and not anything more.

If these conditions are not met and there isn’t an absolute necessity, then it would be impermissible to consume medical marijuana. It is recommended for a person to explore some form of alternative medicine, such as eastern medicine, homeopathic medication, acupuncture, osteopathic manipulative techniques or chiropractic treatment before considering medical marijuana.

 

Related reading:

Drowning In Bottles: My Muslim Story Of Addiction And Substance Use Disorder

 

From The Chaplain’s Desk: The Value Of Time

 

1    Medical marijuana. NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/marijuana.
2    Drug facts: is marijuana medicine? National Institute on Drug Abuse website. www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine.
3    Muslim, k. al-ashribah, b. bayān anna kulla muskir khamr wa anna kulla khamr harām
4    Abu Dāwūd, k. al-ashribah, b. al-nahy ‘an al-muskir
5    Meier MH, Caspi A, Ambler A, et al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(40):E2657-E2664. doi:10.1073/pnas.1206820109.
6    Secades-Villa R, Garcia-Rodríguez O, Jin CJ, Wang S, Blanco C. Probability and predictors of the cannabis gateway effect: a national study. Int J Drug Policy. 2015;26(2):135–142. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.07.011.
7    Al-Mawsū’ah Al-Fiqhiyyah Al-Kuwaitiyyah
8    Ibn ‘Abidīn, Hāshiyah Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtār

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Source: Muslim Matters

Religion: Not A Substitute For Science

Religion: Not A Substitute For Science

According to the standard secular story that’s been repeatedly told to us for the past century or so, just a few short decades after the start of modernity, science was able to defeat religion with its sheer brilliance and power to explain. We’ve been led to believe that for centuries religion had been doing some extremely bad science. It tried to tell us how the universe began, how old the earth is, where the sun sets each night, or why rainbows exist. But such lamentable attempts were finally put to bed when science came along and investigated reality with reason and evidence, thereby driving religion into near oblivion. As such, and as a result, we can put our worries aside, rest comfortably and enjoy the fruits of science and all the astonishing tech it spawns. At least, that’s what we are meant to believe.

As seductive as the story is, and as triumphant as it sounds, the story isn’t quite true. It intentionally and cleverly misrepresents the actual purpose of religion, by first setting it up as something whose chief aim has been to do pretty much what science does: understand the natural world as well as the cosmic order, and then pointing out that it has done so very badly. Whereas science proceeded with its telescopes, microscopes, pipettes and equations, religion tried to interpret the workings of the physical universe with just an ancient holy book.

In truth, however, religion was never really interested in doing the things modern science does. It might have pointed out the odd fact or two about some aspect of science. It might have occasionally hinted at other facts. Its focus, though, was not really about explanations of the physical world or the physical workings of the cosmos. Its care and focus is altogether very different and more profound: guidance, self-knowledge, and salvation; and the ways to actualize our core humanity and inner life. The framing of religion as a flawed, draft version of science needs to be seen for the myth that it actually is.

Limits of Scientific and Rational Proofs

Now, this might seem something of a party pooper to some, but there is nothing in the logic of the created order that can irrefutably point to beyond itself. Be it scientific observations, philosophical arguments, mathematical equations, or rational proofs – they cannot point to beyond themselves. They are part of the material world. It’s one of the greatest blunders in religion to think we can come up with a watertight, rational argument that proves Theism irrefutably, beyond any shadow of a doubt. That’s just not possible. Materialist arguments can prove material things. It’s a closed system. The physical cannot encompass the metaphysical, but the metaphysical can encompass what is physical.

The Holy Qur’an says,

Vision encompasses Him not, but He encompasses all things.” [Surah Al-An’am:6;103]

That is, our fallible physical perception (basr) cannot encompass Him, nor can our fallible rational argument (nazr). Why? Because they are from the created order. What they can do, however, is cogently ‘point to’ Theism, rather than irrefutably ‘prove’ Theism.

What you can do with scientific proofs, cosmological observations, or rational arguments, is point to the coherence of Theism and demonstrate how it best fits the evidence: how it’s by far the best available explanation. This is what rational theology in Islam has sought to do for over a millennium.

And Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows best.

[This article was first published here]

 

Related reading:

A Problem of Interpreting Quran by Science

A Problem of Interpreting Quran by Science

Bint al-Shati’ on the Qur’an and Science

Bint al-Shati’ on the Qur’an and Science

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Source: Muslim Matters