Stigma in Muslim community

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As it is soon mental health awareness week it is necessary to spread the message that it is not shameful to have a mental illness. It can happen to anyone from any background.

Mental health problems are commonly associated with weak people, but the reality is that even strong people can become mentally unwell, for example Tyson fury the two-time heavyweight world champion who suffers from depression.

There is so much stigma towards mental illness in the Muslim community although our faith teaches us that all illness is from Allah whether it is a physical problem or a mental one.

Our Prophet Muhammad (s) was also accused of being a mad man by his enemies because he was saying that he received revelation from Allah the Almighty via the angel Gabriel.

Some of the earliest psychiatric hospitals were established in the Muslim world, the first such hospitals were founded in Baghdad and Damascus.

Ibn Sina, the founder of modern medicine, was of the opinion that mental disorders are physiologically based. From this, the first psychiatric Bimaristan was founded in Baghdad, Iraq in 705 CE by Razi (one of the greatest Islamic physicians). This was the first of its kind.

According to al Razi, mental disorders were considered medical conditions, and were treated by using psychotherapy and drug treatments.

Physicians from Islamic countries during the late Middle Ages enjoyed great respect. Their reputation was well deserved, for the study and practice of medicine was then led by Muslim societies across immense territories, which extended from modern-day Spain to Iran.

Mental illness doesn’t need to be hidden out of shame, it is like a physical illness requiring medication and therapy to get better.

There have been many unwell people who overcame their mental health challenges and have gone onto live whole, fulfilling lives. They hold down jobs, have families and fulfil their duties and responsibilities.

Yes, as Muslims we believe in Jinn and the Evil eye, but not every person with mental health problems is affected by them. We need to learn more about different causes of mental illnesses and their remedy whether it is taking medication or partaking in talking therapies.

Our Prophet (s) said, “Make use of medical treatment, for God has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it.”

Islam teaches Muslims to seek medical help when it is needed and are encouraged to pray and strive at the same time. For instance, if a person has a broken arm, they will see a doctor to make sure the bones heal properly and pray for complete recovery.

Muslims need to be educated about the comprehensive teachings of Islam; it is a vast religion with rulings on every possible scenario a Muslim may face, including what to do if someone faces mental health problems.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Voices do come Frome somewhere. From my own experience with voices, I have found that the people who aren’t very sociable get affected by it more. And also people who ‘change their minds’. Like when once you had little faith, then you start believing and practicing more. So in your mind there is a conflict; one part that doesn’t believe and just wants fun, and the other part that wants to go paradise and doesn’t want this material world.

    To me it is almost like there are jinn who work with this paradox and be the energy behind the voices talking to you and telling you what to do. The evil eye and back biting too plays a role, as the ‘effect’ of these cause problems in your mind, for it is like a curse not letting you do what these people don’t want you to do.

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  2. It is so interesting to learn of the history of Islamic treatment of mental illness. It’s a shame that given this history, you still feel that many Muslims still stigmatize mental disorders. I’d like to hear more about this belief in Jinn and the Evil Eye.

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