Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe and Allah's peace be upon the noblest Messager, our prophet Muhammad and also upon his Family, above all his Companions and above all those, who follow honourably in his steps until the Day of the last Judgement.
This is an article concerning khat in the Shari'ah (Islamic Law) comprising three sections;
1) The exposition of certain proofs indicating the prohibition of intoxicating substances, the drugs, the psychotropics, mischief and everything harmful.
2) The exposition of certain harmful effects of khat.
3) The exposition of the application of the proofs of the Shari'ah on khat and of certain rules of the Shari'ah which can be applied to khat.
Generalities on the Shari'ah.
God sent Muhammad - Allah's peace be upon him - to the humans
and the jinns, revealed to him the Qur-tin and ordered him to make
it known to men. The Proof of it is His word:
" We have not sent thee
But as a universal (Messenger)
To men, giving them
Glad tidings, and warning them
He also said: "1. Say: It has been
Revealed to me that
A company of Jinns
Listened (to the Qur-fin)
They said, 'We have
Really heard a wonderful Recital
2. 'It gives guidance
To the Right,
And we have believed therein: We shall not join (in worship) Any (gods) with our Lord.
He further said: " Behold, We turned
Towards thee a company Of Jinns (quietly) listening To the Qur-an: when they Stood in the presence
Thereof, they said, "Listen
In silence" When the (reading) Was finished, they returned
To their people, to warn (Them of their sins).
They said, "0 our people, We have heard a Book Revealed after Moses, Confirming what came Before it: it guides (men) To the Truth and To a straight Path.
"0 our people, hearken
To the one who invites
(You) to God, and believe
In him: He will forgive
You your faults,
And deliver you from
A Penalty Grievous.
"If any does not hearken
To the one who invites
(Us) to God, he cannot
Frustrate (God's Plan) on earth,
And no protectors can he have
Besides God: such men
(Wander) in manifest error."
"This Qur-An hath been Revealed to me by inspiration That I may warn you and All whom it reaches".
These verses contain the whole message of Muhammad - Allah's peace be upon him - to jinns and humans whether Arab or not, whether Jewish, Christians, mages or others.
b) The Perfection of the Shari'ah.
The Shari'ah is perfect, completely clear in its enunciation of the interests of jinn and human, on earth and in the hereafter. Proof of this is the word of God:
'' This day have those who Reject Faith given up
All hope of your religion: Yet fear them not
But fear Me.
This day have I
Perfected your religion For you, completed
My favour upon you,
And have chosen for you
Islam as your religion. "
Nothing we have omitted from the Book.
c) Leniency of the Shari'ah and its Tolerance.
This law is that of leniency and tolerance; it does not know neither coercion nor constraint, as is proved by the word of God:
"God doth not wish
To place you in a difficulty"
God also said: "God intends every facility
For you: He does not want To put you to difficulties"
And furthermore: "On no soul doth God
Place a burden greater Than it can bear."
As well as many other verses denying coercion, the same in the Shari'ah.
d) Necessity to refer to the Shari'ah.
As it is a perfect and complete law which does not know coercion God ordered all species to refer to it in all matters, spiritual as well as material. He said:
It But no, by thy Lord,
They can have
No (real) Faith,
Until they make thee judge
In all disputes between them,
And find in their souls
No resistance against
Thy decisions, but accept
Them with fullest conviction. "
He declared as unbelievers, wrong-doers and rebellious those, who do not refer to His Law:
" If any do fail to judge By (the light of) what God Hath revealed, they are (No better than) Unbelievers."
" And if any fail to judge By (the light of) what God Hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers."
" If any do fail
To judge by (the light of) What God hath revealed, They are (no better than) Those who rebel. "
THE PROOF OF PROHIBITION.
The Qur-an progressively prohibits that which intoxicates in three stages.
A) God's Messenger - Allah's peace be upon him - had been asked
about wine. The word of God was then revealed:
" They ask thee
Concerning wine and gambling.
Say: "In them is great sin,
And some profit, for men;
But the sin is greater
Than the profit."
God thus showed that wine and gambling both have benefit, harm, but to compare between benefit and harm, the harm appears to be greater than the benefit,
This leads to the second stage. For he who hears this verse, understands by his reason that man should abstain from that which results probably in more harm than benefit.
B) Prohibition of consumption, if such consumption results in a person coming to prayers in a state of drunkenness. God thus said:
" ye who believe,
Approach not prayers With a mind befogged, Until ye can understand All that ye say, -"
This can be understood: the lapse of time between the moment of evening prayer and that of the early morning prayer, as well as the lapse of time between the early morning prayer and the evening prayer is long. Whilst the lapse of time between the moment of the midday prayer and that of the afternoon prayer and between the afterrioon prayer and that of the evening prayer and between the evening prayer and the night prayer is short. God has thus forbidden drinking at the dawn hours so that when the moment of prayer has arrived one is not drunk. It is the same for midday. God also forbids drinking between noon and the end of the afternoon and the evening and between the evening and the night because the time passing between those different moments is sure. The hour of prayer can then sound when a person is drunk.
C) The third stage is decisive for God has categorically prohibited intoxicants by saying:
,, ye who believe,
Intoxicants and gambling, (Dedication of) stones,
And (divination by) arrows,
Are an abomination, Of Satan's handiwork: Eschew such (abomination), That ye may prosper.
Satan's plan is (but)
To excite enmity and hatred Between you, with intoxicants And gambling, and hinder you From the remembrance
Of God, and from prayer:
Will ye not then abstain? "
In these verses there is the proof that wine and other things mentioned above are abominable. This abomination indicates, among others, what is forbidden and what is impure. On the basis of both characteristics, intoxicants are forbidden.
These verses also signify that it is the work of Satan; now the works of the devil are completely worthless and forbidden. One reads there the command to avoid them. Now all commands imply obedience and constraint. Then the command to avoid them is stronger than to stop drinking because the command to avoid them already implies the giving up of drinking as well as to abstain from all activities leading to drinking, sale, purchase, etc.
These verses indicate also that giving up is a positive achievement since this mean success and the realisation of one's goal; it supposes success and triumph in this world as in the hereafter. To understand this signifies the prohibition of intoxicants. In addition God showed that the consumption of intoxicants breaks the relation between the individual and others, between the individual and himself and between the individual and his God.
This relationship between the individual and other people is broken because of enmity and hate as mentioned by the divine words:
" Satan's plan is (but)
To excite enmity and hatred Between you, ..."
This quotation also justifies prohibition.
The rupture of relationship between the individual and himself takes place by failure to remember God as mentioned in the Divine Word: "and hinder you from the remembrance of God".
Because man needs invocation and remembrance when he obeys God. In that way he will have more favour in the sight of God and if he is not obedient in God he can ask pardon. Then everything which hinders your remembrance of God is forbidden.
The relationship between the individual and his God will be broken by abandoning prayer as mentioned in the Divine Word. That which leads to the abandonment of prayer is forbidden because abandoning prayer is denying God. At the end of the Verse there is a question "Will ye not then abstain?"
This means avoid drinking. In this Verse intoxicants are prohibited from eight different aspects and this is the confirmation of their prohibition .
Abu Dawood said, quoting Abu Sulma - God bless them - that the Prophet, - Allah's peace be upon him - forbids every intoxicant and depressant. Finally he said that the depressant when it is consumed makes one feel warm inside and afterwards one becomes depressed. This results in weakness and breakdown.
Al-Khatabi said also that the depressant is any beverage which leads to depression, limpness and numbness in the extremities. That is the first stage of intoxication.
Intoxicants have also been prohibited because of what they contain being more harmful than the benefits. The command to avoid all depressants means prohibition of what is bad (and impure). God said:
tt Those who follow the Apostle,
The unlettered Prophet,
Whom they find mentioned
In their own (Scriptures), -
In the Law and the Gospel; -
For he commands them
What is just and forbids them
What is evil; he allows
Them as lawful what is good
(And pure) and prohibits them
From what is bad (and impure);
He releases them
From their heavy burdens
And from yokes
That are upon them. It
The Prophet - Allah's peace be upon him - also said no harm and no promotion of harm.
That Verse indicates as lawful what is good and as prohibited that which is bad and impure. In this Hadith there is prohibition of harm and of its prohibition. All that means that everything which has more harm than benefit is bad, impure and harmful. Also those things in which the harm and the benefit are equal are bad, impure and harmful because the rejection of harm has priority over the obtention of benefit and also from the start has priority over that from which no benefit can be obtained.
In addition those things about which there is a bad and impure because - Allah's peace be upon
which fall between prohibition and legality and doubt concerning prohibition and legality are of the universality of the words of the Prophet him, - " Renounce that which inspires doubt in
favour of that which does not give rise
him, - also said:
" The lawful is clear and the prohibited is clear and between them there are doubtful questions which few people know. He, who defends himself against doubtful things, serves well his religion and his honour and he, who falls into doubtful activities falls into actions which are prohibited."
He - Allah's peace be upon
From the foregoing it appears that that which is bad and impure has no benefit in it or that in which the harm is more than the benefit or that in which the harm and the benefit are equal therefore becoming doubtful.
2. Effects of Khat
Use of khat has religious, economic, social and health consequences. I have heard what has been said by lecturers concerning the harmful
effects of khat. I have read a great deal in this field and I have questioned some khat users who have declared that there are more bad consequences than beneficial ones in this use. As example I will cite some of these and they are not the only ones.
1. Ahmad ben Muhammad ben Ali ben Hogar As-Sa'adi Al-Haithamy (died 974 - H) questioned some doctors on khat. These replied that it causes harm such as pallor of the face, diminution of appetite, gonorrhoea, and the continuity of the discharge after urination.
2. Ben Hogar cited in his book "Warning the Faithful against using khat" a person who ate khat and found that he had to be careful about its use.
3. Ben Hogar also quoted some khat users to the effect that khat produced a black-out and those who used it were incapable of distinguishing earth and sky and length and breadth.
4. Abn Bahr ben Ibrahim Al-Mukhari Al-Harazi one of the theologians in the 10th century wrote a book on khat in which he said "I used to eat khat when I was young. Then I noted that from eating it harm came to my body and to my religion. So I gave it up".
- The religious harm includes:
a. he who eats khat feels comfortable and becomes cheerful and his sadness disappears.
b. then within two hours of eating he is invaded by accumulating concerns, and sadness turning into misbehaviour. In this situation if somebody read to one I found great difficulty in asking him to repeat (when I did not understand). Not only did I find this very difficult but also annoying.
c. khat makes the appetite disappear.
d. it causes insomnia.
- The physical harm. The khat causes after urination a discharge similar to gonorrhoea which continues for some time. Every time I washed for prayer I felt this discharge and washed again and that is a calamity in the exercise of religion.
5. Dr. Taha Baasher said in his abstract: "Evidence shows that khat is a serious dependence-producing drug and has to be recognized as such".
6. According to the abstract of Dr. Taha Baasher it is clear that khat is a drug resulting in dependence and this is a truth which must be recognized in order to take adequate measures to combat khat and prevent its use.
7. From the book "Yemen between Khat and the Corruption of the Government before the Revolution" we read: Among the most manifest characteristic effects of khat on its addicts.
a) It extinguishes the sense of hunger and make the stomach forget its appetite. The khat user has a full sense of satiety
thus he does not dine in the evening and in the morning he will breakfast without appetite. Resulting from this comes bad nutrition and its consequences especially in the under-priviledged classes such as gonorrhoea, anaemia, ulcers, tuberculosis and enlarged liver.
b) Khat has both a stimulating and a depressing effect. It dilates the pupils of the eye and it stimulates the central nervous system.
c) It has been proved that it affects the milk of the nursing mother quantitatively and qualitatively and this affects the nutrition of the children at the breast.
d) With the continuance of addiction and the progression of age the muscles of the anus soften; defecation is involuntary.
8. The principal effects of khat on man could be presented under two heads.
- The physical consequences:
a. tachycardia, heart palpitations, high blood pressure;
b. heightened respiration;
c. increase in body temperature and prespiration;
d. dilation of the pupils of the eye;
e. inflammation of the mouth and stomach;
f. constipation which is the principal symptom of a khat-user. Every khat addict complains of it;
g. the cause of this constipation is tannin;
h. liver cirrhosis resulting from the absorption by the body of tannin;
i. loss of appetite which is one of the most import effects of khat and amphetamines and this loss of appetite is reflected on the nutritional level. That is why khat-chewers have a weak constitution which his an effect on their work capacity;
j. loss of sexual desire and discharge of semenal liquid (gonorrhoea); the psychological effects (neurological).
The stimulating effect of khat on the nervous system is the motivation for chewing khat. As mentioned before khat has the same stimulating effect as amphetamine. The principal effects of khat on the central nervous system are:
a. momentary exhilaration;
b. increased sensation of awakeness;
c. heightening of social communication;
g. tendency to be influenced by others;
h. disquiet and insomnia.
Based on what we have heard concerning the harmful effects and the benefits and on the references cited the harm caused by khat is greater than its benefits. In such cases cultivation should be prohibited as well as sale, purchase, traffic and consumption. The little benefit to be obtained from khat has been eliminated by the legislator just as he did in the case of intoxicants according to the proofs mentioned above.
Khat as a result of its bad consequences which are greater than its benefit falls under the rule of prohibition of intoxicants, under the rule of bad and impure things and under the rule of the prohibition of harm. And this in addition to the fact that it falls under the command of the Prophet - Allah's peace be upon him to avoid every intoxicant and depressant.
Some lecturers such as Dr. Taha Baasher stated that: "Evidence shows that khat is a serious dependence-producing drug and has to be recognized as such".
God is the Guide. His Peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his Family and his Companions.