Lights of Guidance
A Bahá’í Reference File
Compiled by Helen Bassett Hornby
Copyright © National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ecuador
Reproduced with the kind permission of the
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ecuador
XXIX. LAWS AND ORDINANCES
E. Alcohol, Drugs And Tobacco
“Concerning the so-called ‘spiritual’ virtues of the hallucinogens… spiritual stimulation should come from turning one’s heart to Bahá’u’lláh, and not through physical means such as drugs and agents.
“From the description given in your letter it appears that hallucinogenic agents are a form of intoxicant. As the friends, including the youth, are required strictly to abstain from all forms of intoxicants, and are further expected conscientiously to obey the civil law of their country, it is obvious that they should refrain from using these drugs.
“A very great responsibility for the future peace and well-being of the world is borne by the youth of today. Let the Bahá’í youth by the power of the Cause they espouse be the shining example for their companions.”
(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, April 15, 1965: National Bahá’í Review, No. 3, March 1968)
“In reply to your request of October 24, 1967 that we issue a statement concerning ‘the use of marijuana, LSD and other psychedelic products’, we have already informed the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States that Bahá’ís should not use hallucinogenic agents, including LSD, peyote and similar substances, except when prescribed for medical treatment. Neither should they become involved in experiments with such substances.
“Although we have found no direct reference to marijuana in the Bahá’í writings, since this substance is derived from what is considered to be a milder form of cannabis, the species used to produce hashísh, we can share with you a translation from the Persian of a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on hashísh:
‘Regarding hashísh, you had pointed out that some Persians have become habituated to its use. Gracious God! This is the worst of all intoxicants, and its prohibition is explicitly revealed. Its use causeth the disintegration of thought and the complete torpor of the soul. How could anyone seek this fruit of the infernal tree, and by partaking of it, be led to exemplify the qualities of a monster? How could one use this forbidden drug, and thus deprive himself of the blessings of the All-Merciful?…
‘Alcohol consumeth the mind and causeth man to commit acts of absurdity, but … this wicked hashísh extinguisheth the mind, freezeth the spirit, petrifieth the soul, wasteth the body and leaveth man frustrated and lost.’”
(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Hawaiian Islands, November 11, 1967)
“Anyone involved in the use of peyote should be told that in the Bahá’í Faith spiritual stimulation comes from turning one’s heart to Bahá’u’lláh and not through any physical means. They should therefore be encouraged to give up the use of peyote.”
(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, November 9, 1963: Alaska Bahá’í News, May 1972, p. 4)
“As to opium, it is foul and accursed. God protect us from the punishment He inflicteth on the user. According to the explicit Text of the Most Holy Book, it is forbidden, and its use is utterly condemned. Reason showeth that smoking opium is a kind of insanity, and experience attesteth that the user is completely cut off from the human kingdom. May God protect all against the perpetration of an act so hideous as this, an act which layeth in ruins the very foundation of what it is to be human, and which causeth the user to be dispossessed for ever and ever. For opium fasteneth on the soul, so that the user’s conscience dieth, his mind is blotted away, his perceptions are eroded. It turneth the living into the dead. It quencheth the natural heat. No greater harm can be conceived than that which opium inflicteth. Fortunate are they who never even speak the name of it; then think how wretched is the user.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Wilmette, 1982, pp. 148-149)
“Dealing in heroin or other similar drugs which are forbidden in the Faith should certainly not be undertaken by Bahá’ís except in the context of the legitimate handling of such drugs that doctors and similar professionals may be called upon to undertake in the course of their duties. Furthermore, dealing in narcotics is in many countries a crime and on this basis also would be forbidden to Bahá’ís.”
(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice cited in a compilation on alcohol and drugs sent to an individual believer by the International Teaching Centre, October 17, 1978)
“O ye, God’s loved ones! Experience hath shown how greatly the renouncing of smoking, of intoxicating drink, and of opium, conduceth to health and vigour, to the expansion and keenness of the mind and to bodily strength. There is today a people* who strictly avoid tobacco, intoxicating liquor and opium. This people is far and away superior to the others, for strength and physical courage, for health, beauty and comeliness. A single one of their men can stand up to ten men of another tribe. This hath proved true of the entire people: that is, member for member, each individual of this community is in every respect superior to the individuals of other communities.
“Make ye then a mighty effort, that the purity and sanctity which, above all else, are cherished by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, shall distinguish the people of Bahá; that in every kind of excellence the people of God shall surpass all other human beings; that both outwardly and inwardly they shall prove superior to the rest; that for purity, immaculacy, refinement, and the preservation of health, they shall be leaders in the vanguard of those who know. And that by their freedom from enslavement, their knowledge, their self-control, they shall be first among the pure, the free and the wise.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 150)
*(Possibly ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was referring to the Sikhs