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Commonly-held Muslim beliefs around mental health

Dr Yusuf outlines the effects of religious beliefs around the ‘unseen world’ (spiritual influences) that affect Muslim mental health.

In this video, Dr Yusuf, outlines the effects of religious beliefs around the ‘unseen world’ (spiritual influences) that affect Muslim mental health.

Practitioners who have experience of providing support for Muslims with mental health problems are likely to have come across some of these terms but may not have a comprehensive understanding of what they mean, and how they are experienced.

Dr Yusuf carefully explains religious beliefs can have both positive and impacts on mental health, by comparing four ‘malign’ (or negative) religious beliefs with four that are ‘benign’ (positive or neutral). Importantly, there is a basis for these beliefs in Islam and therefore they are part of the Muslim worldview.

The power of God, that encompasses all things, ultimately benevolent and all-powerful

Malign spiritual influences Benign spiritual influences
Evil eye (nazr) The beneficial gaze
Black magic (jaadu) Supplication on behalf of another (dua)
Negative spiritual beings (jinn) Angelic and saintly forces
Envy and malicious intent (hasad) Positive intent and mercy (rahma)

Dr Yusuf suggests that the most important consideration for practitioners is to open up the space for conversation, allowing Muslims to talk about what they feel is impacting on them.

Practitioners may find it helpful to know that for every negative factor in the Muslim religious worldview, there are positive factors to balance them out. While Muslims with mental health problems may focus on negative influences, it can be helpful to remind them of the positive influences.

Over to you

Dr Yusuf described four malign and four benign spiritual influences that might impact the mental health of Muslims in this video.

Practice explaining one malign influence and its benign counterbalance to a colleague or friend. You can post your explanation below to help other learners or let us know how the conversation went.

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Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

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