As we all know, human life is on an extremely fast pace of progress that is made possible by human expeditions and exploration. But no one can say for sure that all the achievements of this progress have been used on the righteous path. Some of these explorations are known as a forward leap in human history just like dynamite that has been used to ease miner’s jobs. But the same invention has also been used as a deadly weapon against thousands of innocent humans. Obviously, Islam did not miss this point about human life and gave advice to all Muslims in this regard: “Islam forbids eating, drinking and consuming things that are harmful to human health. The more harmful it is, the more severe the prohibition of its cause and effect, to the extent that it reaches the level of sanctity.” (1)
Now, we are going to talk about narcotics, the basis of all of the soothing medicine that are used as one of the essential materials in the ancient times surgery but is also used by heedless people for entertainment at the expense of decomposing their body and brain.
Narcotics are the most common cause of death and disability in the world that exacerbates many diseases, including cardiovascular, pulmonary, infectious diseases, cancer, bone diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, hearing problems, and oral diseases. In every 8 seconds, one person in the world dies of diseases caused by narcotics; fortunately, with the advancement of science and technology and optimal information, the level of awareness of people about the effects of narcotics on their health has increased. We will see what advice Islam gave us on the issue of using narcotics for mortal pleasure.
As we said before, Islam forbids consuming materials that are harmful to human health to the extent that even on some occasions it reaches the level of taboo. Imam Khomeini, the first leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran said: "Eating something that is harmful to human beings is forbidden."(1) It is obvious that the criterion for being haram (forbidden) is to have harmed, and it does not matter whether this harm goes through eating or in some other way. Drugs is one of the things that harm human health, but is it harmful to the extent that makes it forbidden to use?
Many physicians and practitioners are following the opinion that narcotics has significant harms and have written numerous books on the dangers and diseases caused by narcotics, especially smoking. Therefore, it can at least be claimed that the harmful effects of smoking to human health vary based on the person and the situation. On this basis, some jurists have considered the extent of the forbiddance of narcotics to the level of absolute religious prohibition. Some other leaders have not seen the extent of the damage to the extent that could lead to an absolute ban on smoking. For example, if a person has heart disease and his doctor strictly forbids him from smoking, smoking is forbidden for him. (2)
Not only Imam Khomeini, but also Ayatollah* Makarem Shirazi said: It is forbidden to eat or drink something that is significantly harmful to human beings. Smoking cigarettes and other types of tobacco is also haram if it has significant harm, but the use of narcotics is absolutely haram (3), whether in the form of injection or smoking or eating or in any other ways; also the production, sale and assistance in spreading it, is forbidden. (3)
Grand Ayatollah Sistani gave guidance to Muslims in this matter: If smoking and tobacco -though in the future- causes significant harm to the body to the amount that is feared by the wise person, it is haram for being safe from the major harm caused by it. There is no problem with moderate smoking, however. (4)
As we think about this matter reasonably, we surely would understand an important point:
1. Why should we harm ourselves for a little mortal entertainment?
2. What price should we pay for this kind of entertainment?
Just think and you will see how important abstaining from narcotics is. Live safely in the light of the Quran.
- Majma Al-Masayel (third volume – page 65)
- Islamic Laws (Second volume – page 600)
- Jame Al-Masayel (First volume – page 578)
- Islamic Laws (Second volume – page 600)
- The official site of Ayatollah Sistani
* Ayatollah is an honorific title for high-ranking Twelver Shia clergy in Iran and Iraq that came into widespread usage in the 20th century.
When my nephew was about two years old, he experienced his first meet up with a cockroach. My sister and I found him sitting very close to a cockroach, looking at it, smiling and enjoying his discovery. As soon as we saw the cockroach, we started screaming out of fear of the cockroach. In a way that the poor little kid ran away and started crying. From then on, whenever he saw a cockroach, his first reaction towards the poor insect was to start screaming and running away.
We, unwantedly, passed on our fear and hatred of the insect to that little kid. This hatred was shaped in us when we were kids and is passed on to next generations. Hostile actions are being shaped against cockroaches. Different poisons are made to destroy them. And still, they are the biggest enemies of people of some nation. The same story exists with British people and their spider enemies.
We never even start asking ourselves, if we can have a different attitude towards these insects. In our understanding, they are dirty, aggravating creatures that should be destroyed. Yet, it has happened to me to watch some well-made documentary films about insects. And think to myself why I am so ignorant and hostile towards these beautiful creatures of God.
Prejudice, as described in Merriam Webster dictionary, is a “preconceived judgment or opinion; an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics.”  Prejudice is usually based on ignorance. For example, using the following phrases: ‘all men, all women, all Christians, all Muslims, all uneducated people, all youths, all poor people, all rich people, all Americans, all Arabs, etc.’ are signs of having prejudice toward a specific gender, religion, social level, or nationality.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “Avoid prejudice, as it begins with ignorance and ends up in regression.” 
In this article, we are going to analyze prejudice in Islam. And find out how much the definition of Merriam Webster dictionary is compatible with Islam’s view towards prejudice.
Imam Ali (AS) states that one of the main reasons for prejudice is “ignorance”. He explains that “As for Satan, he felt proud over Adam because of his origin and taunted him about his creation since he said, "I am of fire while you are of clay." And in the same way “the rich among the prosperous communities have been feeling vanity because of their riches, as (Allah) said: And said they: "We are more (than you) in wealth and in children, and we shall not be chastised." (Qur'an, 34:35)” 
In the Arabic text, the word that is used for “vanity” is Al-asbiyyah and Al-Lijajah, which means prejudice in Islam. Indeed, most of the times it is vanity and pride that makes people think they are better than others. As a result, they classify people and discriminate between different groups of people.
Prejudice in the following cases is blamed according to Islamic teachings:
“Among His (Allah) signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. There are indeed signs in that for those who know.” (30:22)
“Do not marry idolatresses until they embrace faith. A faithful slave girl is better than an idolatress, though she should impress you. And do not marry [your daughters] to idolaters until they embrace faith. A faithful slave is better than an idolater, though he should impress you.” (2: 221)
This verse emphasizes on the fact that the only thing that elevates people in the eyes of God and should be noticed in human classification is one’s faith and wariness of God. “Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most Godwary among you.” (49:13): unlike many people who may choose their spouse based on appearance, wealth, education, family lineage, etc.
“O mankind! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you nations and tribes that you may identify yourselves with one another. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most Godwary among you. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-aware.” (49: 13)
As it is clear in the above verses, that differences in nationality, race, color, or social class should not make a group of people feel that they are superior to others and that they have the right to insult or assault them.
Since prejudice is followed by mocking, insulting and humiliating others, Allah clearly detains people of such acts; “O you who have faith! Let not any people ridicule another people: it may be that they are better than they are, nor let women [ridicule] women: it may be that they are better than they are. And do not defame one another, nor insult one another by [calling] nicknames. How evil are profane names subsequent to faith! As for those who are not penitent [of their past conduct]—such are the wrongdoers.” (49: 11) and He emphasizes that “Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most Godwary among you.” (49:13)
From definitions that we usually read about prejudice, we may think that prejudice in Islam is always an indecent attitude. But, in Islamic teachings, prejudice is not always a negative manner. Rather, in some cases, it is known to be admirable.
As Imam Ali (AS) points out, people should have prejudice for “good qualities and in praise-worthy habits like the protection of the neighbor, the fulfillment of agreements, obedience to the virtuous, opposition to the haughty, extending generosity to others, abstention from rebellion, keeping aloof from blood-shed, doing justice to people, suppressing anger and avoiding trouble on the earth.” 
With what we have discussed so far, we realize that prejudice comes from ignorance. And every one of us may have a negative prejudice against some people. Simply because we do not bother to gain more knowledge about other people, other religions, other cultures, etc. If we try to know other humans better and try to put ourselves in their conditions and empathize with them, and do not judge them based on what we’ve heard about them, but expand our knowledge by the sufficient studies, then there is a chance that we can help each other in the way of growth and improvement.
One of the aims of sending Prophets (PBUT), including Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) , was to recite to faithful people the signs of Allah Almighty, to purify them and to teach them the Book and wisdom (3:164). Therefore, the Quran considers Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) as an excellent exemplar for the believers (33:21). It means that all his deeds and behaviors at the individual, social, political, and cultural levels and even with other nations of that era, are instructive and he (PBUH & HP) is a perfect role model to be followed. Besides, he (PBUH & HP) was sent as a mercy to all the nations (21:107), both Muslims and non-Muslims. Hence, his approach in spreading peace and concordance in the world can be an excellent model to be followed. Here, we review how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) acted in this regard.
Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH & HP) Sunnah did not ignore other nations and their internal independence at all. On the contrary, Islam is a worldwide religion that has recognized other tribes and nations, whether inside or outside of the Islamic state’s territory. Clear evidence for that are the treaties that have been made between the Islamic state and different nations or tribes during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP). In the pre-Islamic Arab era, fighting other tribes, killing, and bloodshed was a culture. But, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) made various treaties and emphasized on adhering to them to demonstrate how the tension between parties can be peacefully reduced and fighting back is the option only when invaded. The Islamic state was always faithful to the peace treaties as far as other parties were so.
As an example, as soon as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) arrived at Medina, he drew up a covenant among those who had emigrated with him from Mecca (Muhajirin) and the Jewish tribes of Medina including Aws and Khazraj (who were known later as Ansar (i.e. helpers, since they helped Muhajirin). This covenant was called the Constitution of Medina. This constitution aimed to guarantee the security and coexistence of various groups who lived in Medina and formed the basis of a multi-religious Islamic state. Some of its articles were:
• Muslims and Jews constitute “one nation” (Ummah Wahidah). Muslims are on their religion, so are Jews;
• Muslims and Jews are gracious to each other;
• The Jews adhered to this constitution should be protected and helped. No oppression upon them. No alliance with their enemies;
• Each party of this constitution should be allied with the other in case one of them is invaded;
• Both parties should ally whenever Medina is invaded;
• Both parties should take part in the expenses in case of a war. Muslims should pay their expenses, so do the Jews .
At the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP), Mecca was under the control of one of the most significant Arabian tribes called Quraysh, who were polytheists. They had forbidden Muslims to enter the city and perform Hajj rituals. After Prophet (PBUH & HP) had dreamed entering Mecca doing Hajj rituals with companions, this Ayah confirmed his (PBUH & HP) dream: “Certainly Allah has fulfilled His Apostle’s vision in all truth: You will surely enter the Sacred Mosque, God willing, in safety, with your heads shaven or hair cropped, without any fear.” (48:27). Hence, The Prophet (PBUH & HP) and a group of Muslims with some other Arabs of around Medina, marched peacefully towards Mecca without arms, in the hope of making a pilgrimage. At first, Quraysh prevented them from entering Mecca. Still, after some negotiations, a treaty called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was drawn up between the two parties, which helped to decrease the tension between them.
This treaty guaranteed a 10-year peace between Quraysh and Muslims and authorized Muslims to return to Mecca in the following year to perform a peaceful pilgrimage .
- M. A. Amini, “The principle of peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims in Islam,” Ma’rifat Journal, no. 165, p. 35-52.