Thu 17 Jm2 1435 - 17 April 2014
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Ruling on taking performance-enhancing drugs in sports

What is the ruling on buying and selling, and taking, performance-enhancing drugs in sports? Some people told me that they are not haraam because they are not (street) drugs, and so long as they do not cause harm there is nothing wrong with taking them either. In fact a doctor told me: There is nothing wrong with taking them, because they do not cause any harm to the body, so long as the dose is no greater than 20 ml. What is the Islamic view on that?.

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: 

Harm caused by performance-enhancing drugs in sports. 

Performance-enhancing drugs are banned in the world of sports; that includes using any substance that could enhance the performance of any athlete in an abnormal manner and give him an unfair advantage in competition. The phrase ‘performance-enhancing drugs’ includes both manufactured medicines and natural substances that may be taken in unusual quantity or in the usual manner that may contribute to an abnormal rise in physical agility. However in most cases, these drugs are like other (harmful) drugs. 

The Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee has divided banned performance-enhancing drugs used in sports into a number of categories, as follows: 

1.     Stimulants affecting the nervous system

2.     Depressants affecting the nervous system

3.     Metabolic hormones

4.     Vasoactive drugs (affecting the circulatory system)

5.     Diuretics

6.     Growth hormone

7.     Cortisone 

Medical research has proven that taking performance-enhancing drugs leads to psychological illnesses such as mood swings, depression, aggressiveness, mental illness and insanity. It also leads to physical illnesses such as heart attack that may cause death, kidney disease, tumours in the prostate, impotence leading to sterility, and hormonal imbalance. 

It is possible to clarify the physical harm that is confirmed by medical research, which proves that taking performance-enhancing drugs causes the following: 

1.     Addiction

2.     Depression

3.     Hepatitis

4.     Gastritis leading to stomach ulcers

5.     Various mental illnesses

6.     Insomnia and hallucinations

7.     Diarrhoea and nausea

8.     Balance disorders

9.     Lung and heart disease

10. Loss of appetite

11. Muscular atrophy

12. Increased production of tears and nasal mucus

13. Skin rashes

14. Slowed breathing rate leading to death

15. Kidney disease

16. Tumours in the prostate

17. Development of male physical characteristics in females

18. Impotence or sterility as a result of using testosterone (male hormone) 

Secondly: 

The ruling on taking performance-enhancing drugs 

It is possible to find out the ruling on taking performance-enhancing drugs by noting the physical harm that they cause to the athlete himself. 

It is clear from the above list of illnesses that stem from taking performance-enhancing drugs, and from what specialists have said about the extent of harm that result from taking these drugs, in either the short term or the long term, that using performance-enhancing drugs is not permissible, because of what it leads to of harm that may cause death. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you”

[an-Nisa’ 4:29] 

“and do not throw yourselves into destruction”

[al-Baqarah 2:195]

And the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There should be neither harm nor reciprocating of harm.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah with a hasan isnaad. 

Islam forbids the Muslim to cause his own death or kill himself; it also forbids him to harm himself in any manner. 

Adapted from a Master’s thesis entitled an-Nawaazil fi’l-Ashribah (New issues concerning drinks), p. 229-234, by Shaykh Zayn al-‘Aabideen, son of Shaykh Ibn Azween, supervised by Shaykh Sa‘d ibn Turki al-Khathlaan 

For information on the ruling on saying “What is the opinion of sharee‘ah?” please see the answer to question no. 72841 

And Allah knows best.

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