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Sufi tokers and the green saint

 
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 1:51 am    Post subject: Sufi tokers and the green saint Reply with quote

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Sufi tokers and the green saint
by Chris Bennet (14 Apr, 2001) April 23 is the feast day of Khizr, Islam's patron saint of cannabis.

Cannabis has a tradition of use in the Near East that stretches back farther than recorded history, and it has served the Arab people as an initiator and healing medicine for at least six millennia.

Unlike alcohol, cannabis was not prohibited by Mohammed (570-632 AD). Many Moslems have used and praised marijuana over the centuries, and coffeehouses that served the drug were at one time commonplace. Some have even suggested that Mohammed himself was a secret imbiber of the herb, noting the prophet's shamanistic out of body flight to Mecca.

In his 1988 book Essays in Islamic Heresy, Peter Wilson writes how "cannabis inspires some of its devotees with precisely the sort of 'state' which the Koran appears to associate with paradisal wine, which 'causes no headaches,' and enhances the play of love with houris and cup-boys."

In his 1987 book The Assassins; Holy Killers of Islam, Edward Burman writes that "hashish has an ancient and accepted importance in the history of Persian mysticism, where it has traditionally been used not as a stimulant but as a spiritual soporific, producing a quiescence of the soul which is known as keyf or kaif, which translates as intoxication, carouse or placid enjoyment..."

Although it is generally prohibited in Islamic countries today, at different times many Moslems have seen cannabis as a holy plant. Medieval Arab doctors considered cannabis a useful medicine, calling it kannab among other names. Yet like the establishment of today, the ancient Arab elite viewed marijuana with suspicion, seeing it as a subversive element that usurped the work ethic and seduced the youth away from their orthodox heritage.

As early as the 13th century, government troops in Cairo were sent into battle against cannabis, eradicating fields and punishing offenders, in some cases extracting the teeth of users and putting dealers to death. Yet despite these harsh reforms, the public refused to give up their beloved keyf, and through intervening centuries it became somewhat culturally accepted.

The hippies of the Arab world

Part of the reason for cannabis' eventual prohibition in some Moslem countries had to do with the drug's association with certain heretical sects that existed on the fringes of Islam. The Sufis were one such group – they originated in the 8th century and are referred to by cannabis historian Ernest Abel as "the hippies of the Arab world." The Sufis used hashish, along with wine and coffee, to stimulate mystical consciousness and appreciation of the nature of Allah.

(The Sufis are actually considered to be the inventors of the drink coffee, which they would consume in potent brews that enabled them to stay up for hours singing and chanting. An Arabic story records how a wandering Sufi revealed the drink's preparation to a Moslem woman, brewing a pot over his hash-filled hookah.)

Cannabis was made into a chewy medicinal confection called ma'joun, and to the Sufis eating hashish was an act of worship. The benefits they claimed from their use of hashish included otherwise unattainable insights into themselves, as well as laughter, happiness, reduced anxiety, reduced worry, and increased music appreciation. But most importantly, as the Sufi al-Is'irdi noted, was the "secret" of the drug, which permits "the spirit to ascend to the highest points in a heavenly ascension of disembodied understanding." It was for this reason that many of the more mystically inclined of the Sufi preferred cannabis over wine.

In Essays in Islamic Heresy, Wilson explains that "The Turkish Sufi poet Fuzuli... wrote a treatise on Bang and Wine in which he claimed that wine is merely 'an eager disciple setting the world afire,' but hashish is the Sufi master himself. Wine shows the way to the hermitage of the Shaykh of Love... but hashish is the refuge itself. Once a certain Sufi of Basra began to consume hashish regularly, his shaykh realized this meant he had reached the ultimate degree of perfection, and no longer stood in need of guidance. This (says Fuzuli) 'proves that hashish is the perfect being, sought after by mankind with great eagerness. It may not be the perfect being for everybody, but it most certainly is for the seeker of mystical experience.'"

Shayk Haydar, Sufi hash-head

According to legend, hashish was first introduced to the Sufis by Shayk Haydar, (1155-1221), the Persian founder of one of their religious sects. The story has it that after years of silent recluse, Haydar one day decided to leave his monastery. While walking in the desert, he noticed a plant that seemed to sparkle and shiver as it basked in the still desert heat. Wondering what this mysterious plant was, he felt compelled to taste of its leaves and flowers.

Usually a reserved and silent man, when he returned to his monastery afterwards his disciples were amazed at how talkative and animated he seemed. Cajoling Haydar into telling them what he had done to make himself so happy, his disciples ran off into the desert to try the magical plant for themselves.

Upon the return of the plant's new devotees, Haydar made them take an oath to refrain from revealing the mystery of the herb, telling them "God has granted you the privilege of knowing the secret of these leaves. Thus when you eat it, your dense worries may disappear and your exalted minds may become polished."

After living another ten years as the Sufi's psychedelic shaykh, subsisting mainly on cannabis preparations, Haydar passed on, leaving the request that seeds of his holy plant be sown around his tomb, so that even in death he might enjoy the shade of its leaves and scent of its flowers.

Read full article here:
http://www.cannabisculture.com/cgi/article.cgi?num=1883


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Rev. Chazman
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is good information. I had read much of that before, but it was good to see it again. Thanks for posting it.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 9:00 am    Post subject: Happy feast day of Khizr! Reply with quote

I knew I'd find this posted here. I felt the need to "bump" it for this most auspicious occasion.

If 4/20 is equated to Stoners New Year, this would most certainly have to be equated to stoners Christ-mass.

A time of sharing, and kindness.

Not to mention, a good day for a feast. Wink

Much Love!

and

Happy feast day of Khizr!

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