Marijuana Use By the Moslems
It is interesting to note that the use of hemp was not prohibited by Mohammed (570-632 A.D.) while the use of alcohol was. Moslems considered hemp as a “Holy Plant” and medieval Arab doctors considered hemp as a sacred medicine which they called among other names kannab. The Sufis (a Moslem sect) originating in 8th century Persia used hashish as a means of stimulating mystical consciousness and appreciation of the nature of Allah. Eating hashish to the Sufis was “an act of worship”. They maintained that hashish gave them otherwise unattainable insights into themselves, deeper understanding and that it made them feel witty. They also claimed that it gave happiness, reduced anxiety, reduced worry, and increased music appreciation.
According to one Arab legend Haydar, the Persian founder of the religious order of Sufi came across the cannabis plant while wandering in the Persian mountains. Usually a reserved and silent man, when he returned to his monastery after eating some cannabis leaves, his disciples were amazed at how talkative and animated (full of spirit) he seemed. After cajoling Haydar into telling them what he had done to make him feel so happy, his disciples went out into the mountains and tried the cannabis themselves. So it was, according to the legend, that the Sufis came to know the pleasures of hashish. (Taken from the Introduction to A Comprehensive Guide to Cannabis Literature by Earnest Abel.)