CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne


Mental Health in the Holy Quran

Dr. Morteza Khorrami - Islamic Azad University - Ghaemshahr Branch
A paper intended for presentation at the CESNUR 2010 conference in Torino.© Morteza Khorrami, 2010. Please do not quote or reproduce without the consent of the author


In this article entitled "Mental Health in the Holy Quran", the author tries to extract the main ideas about mental health bases from the Holy Quran. A descriptive method has been exploited in this study. Some of the most important factors causing mental crises and their treatments in several categories will be discussed. Some of these categories are: social treatments such as encouraging to knowledge and justice and campaigning against ignorance and oppression, call to peace and keeping away war and rudeness, ethical treatments such as keeping away fear and cheering to bravery, avoiding pride and voluptuousness, insight treatments such as preventing despair and believing to a target for the world, and etc.

Key Words:

Holy Quran, Mental Health, mental crises, mental treatments.


Stress is named the illness of new civilization and some of the psychologists call this era as agitation era. Therefore, finding the collation ways with stress and providing of mental health is very important.

Despite all manner of differences in methodology in the nature and conditions of the studied population or in the researcher’s zeal and attitude, the fact still remains that mental health problems in both industrialized and developing countries are generally immense and widely distributed [1–8].

In spite of all the efforts made by countries for the prevention of mental health problems, the data available indicate that in 100 population anywhere in the world, industrialized or developing, there are on average 6–8 people who suffer from mental or neurological disorders or who depend on alcohol or misuse of drugs. Several more suffer from somatic problems due to psychological causes or are the victims of deviant behavior.

In recent years, the challenge of mental health has become even more acute in the face of emerging multi-dimensional epidemics of modern times, notably drug-related problems, crimes of all sorts and the psychosocial and medical problems of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) [9].

Significantly, even in countries with advanced health care services, approximately one-third of the patients in general practice with psychiatric illness may not have their mental health problems identified and hence they may not be appropriately treated.

It is clear therefore that the challenge of mental health problems is immense and complex. Hence, the search continues for the development of more effective alternative treatment modalities, with a move away from the limited psychoanalytical technique to the behaviouristic, to the humanistic and recently to the transpersonal and more holistic approaches. An example of the latter is the development of the multifaceted model of psycho syntheses [10]. Besides the personal and social factors, great emphasis has been given in this model to the religious quest.

Jung, in his famous book Modern man in search of a soul, emphasized the importance of religion in attaining psychological health and enjoying a normal state of mental well-being [11]. He described that people from all civilized countries of the earth had consulted him and that among all his patients in the second half of life, there was not one whose problem was not that of finding a religious outlook in life. He rightly concluded that it was high time for the clergymen and psychotherapists to join forces to meet this great spiritual task.

The roots of mental health are visible in the Holy Quran and traditions of Prophet Mohammad (PUHM) and Imam Ali. Also, the mental health was considered by Muslims since centuries ago.

In this paper, an attempt will be made to describe rather briefly the Islamic quest, the related religious principles, and outline examples of the therapeutic implications with due emphasis on the Quran's verses.

The mental health

Mental health is a term used to describe either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Mental health is the capacity to express our emotions and adapt to a range of demands.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". It was previously stated that there was no one "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined.

In the mid-19th century, William Sweetzer was the first to clearly define the term "mental hygiene", which can be seen as the precursor to contemporary approaches to work on promoting positive mental health.Isaac Ray, one of thirteen founders of the American Psychiatric Association, further defined mental hygiene as an art to preserve the mind against incidents and influences which would inhibit or destroy its energy, quality or development.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Clifford Beers founded the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and opened the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States.

The health-giving Quran

In many of verses, Quran is called a remedy: "O men, now there has come to you an admonition from your Lord, and a healing for what is in the breasts, and a guidance, and a mercy to the believers." (Sura 10, Verse 57);

"Say: To the believers it is guidance, and a healing." (Sura 41, Verse 44); "And We send down, of the Quran, that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers." (Sura 17, Verse 82)

So, the first thing that is done for humans by the Holy Quran, is the purge him from mental, ethical and social illnesses. "Ask healing from the Quran and request help from it, because the treatment of major pains – that are blasphemy and hypocrisy and aberration - is in it." Imam Ali said.

The Holy Quran is the Heaven book that introduces many of illnesses and treatments of them. These illnesses can be classified into several categories:

  1. opinion illnesses:
    1. To be faithful to one's promise and hold in trust



10. Hardy J. A psychology with a soul. London, Routledge, 1987.