Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

The Islamic Prayer (Salah/Namaaz) and Yoga Togetherness in Mental Health

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

The Islamic Prayer (Salah/Namaaz) and Yoga Togetherness in Mental Health

Article excerpt

Byline: Shabbir. Sayeed, Anand. Prakash

Religion and its practices have been duly implicated in treating not only problems related to medical health, rather, intervening and preventing such problems as well. In the present article, the authors have reviewed significance of the Islamic prayers (Salah/Namaaz) in healthcare in general and mental health in particular. The nature, procedures, practices and the benefits of Salah have been comprehensively described and discussed. In addition, an attempt to combine yoga and its practices with Salah has been made for intervening and preventing the problems of mental health as an expeditious tool. In upshot, the clinicians in the field of mental health care have been suggested to incorporate these two viewpoints in their intervention program, at least, for the Muslim patients for a more desirable outcome.


In an increasingly stress ridden and emotionally distraught world the need for providing appropriate and adequate counseling and psychotherapy has made the therapists look for novel and integrative approaches to meet the challenge. In the course of the last century, psychotherapy has evolved into a varied source of techniques and therapies to cater to the problems of the new order where rapid progress in science and technology has rendered life more of a materialistic meaning devoid of mental peace and contentment. [sup][1],[2] Attempts to draw from diverse sources such as alternative and complementary treatment modalities, use of spiritual healing processes, yoga, Reiki, etc., have yielded mixed results. Religion at large has always been at hand to lend useful guidance to approach both the physiological illnesses and psychological maladjustments. [sup][3] In this regard, counselors and therapists have looked up to religious texts and acts of worship for help in their practice to address the specific needs of religious minority patients where a spiritual approach was more acceptable to the client. Major religions in the world have contributed enormously to this process and resulting advancements in therapeutic efficacy are widely documented. [sup][4],[5],[6]

That Islam as a major religion followed by well over a billion people has made its impact in this aspect of alleviating physical and mental afflictions among its followers is very obvious. The Indian sub-continent is home for nearly half the world Muslim population. Similarities in the socio-cultural practices and economic status in this population, besides its remarkable religious coherence makes it a really vast segment of the society that deserves to be treated as a unit. Muslims in the sub-continent largely occupy the lower and middle rungs of the social strata and therefore, a fair share of the psychological and health problems as well. Traditionally conservative family and religious values of this community serve as a formidable barrier for openly seeking access to medical help, particularly for the psychological maladjustments. Professional counseling and psychotherapy as a mainstream solution to cognitive disorders in Muslim patients has not been known in Islam as it is recognized in the western context, however, the concept itself is not new. [sup][7] Attempts to integrate indigenous knowledge from religious practices in Islam have resulted in increased awareness about its effectiveness and application value to a wide range of human health problems. One of the most basic and mandatory acts in Islamic tenets is the 5 times daily obligatory prayer. Perhaps this act of worship alone can provide solutions to most psychological and somatic problems in humans. [sup][8],[9]

Daily prayer referred to as Salah in Arabic language is an act of worship specific and unique to Islam both in its form and spirit. While the English word prayer conveys a general meaning of supplication or invocation, Salah is an act of submission to the Supreme Creator Allah and is expressed in a specific and well defined physical act embodying the spirit. …

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