The present study investigated the impact of a purposefully designed Islamic religion-based intervention on reducing depression and anxiety disorders among Muslim patients using a randomised controlled trial design. A total of 62 Muslim patients (30 women and 32 men) were divided by gender into two groups, with each group assigned randomly to either treatment or control groups. The participants who received the Islamic-based intervention were compared to participants who received the control intervention.

The Islamic-Based Intervention that was applied to the two experimental groups (i.e. one male, one female) has several components. These components were based on moral and religious concepts and methods, including moral confession, repentance, insight, learning, supplication, seeking Allah’s mercy, seeking forgiveness, remembrance of Allah, patience, trust in Allah, self-consciousness, piety, spiritual values, and moral principles. The techniques implemented in the intervention included the art of asking questions, clarifying, listening, interacting, summarising, persuading, feedback, empathy, training practice, reflecting feelings, discussion, and dialogue, lecturing, brainstorming, reinforcement, modeling, positive self-talk, evaluation, homework, practical applications, activation games (play through activities), emotional venting, stories, presentation, correction of thoughts, and relaxation. The two control groups (i.e. one male, one female) received the energy path program provided by the Al-Nour Centre. This program aimed to enhance self-confidence and modify people’s behavior with anxiety disorders, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Both interventions comprised 30 sessions over 30 h; two sessions were conducted per week, and each session lasted for 60 min (one hour). The duration of the intervention was 15 weeks.

Taylor’s manifest anxiety scale and Steer and Beck’s depression scale were used for examining the effects on depression and anxiety levels. The results revealed that the Islamic intervention significantly reduced anxiety levels in women and depression levels in men compared to the typical care control groups.

The authors concluded that religious intervention played a vital role in lowering the patients’ level of anxiety among women and depression among men. In general, religious practices prevent individuals from becoming subject to mental disorders, i.e. anxiety and depression.

The authors comment that the Islamic religion-based intervention (RSAFI) significantly reduced the levels of depression and anxiety among the participants. Also, there was a substantial improvement in the patients’ general health after the intervention. They were satisfied and believed that everything happening to them was destined by Allah. These results could be attributed to the different intervention practices that relied on the guidance of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. For instance, Saged et al. () confirmed that the Holy Quran significantly impacts healing patients who suffer from physical, psychological, and mental disorders. In this respect, Moodley et al. () concluded that having faith in Allah offers a relatively quick approach to healing patients suffering from heartache and depression. This goes hand in hand because the recitation of the Quran and remembrance of Allah help patients feel relaxed and peaceful. Muslims believe that the Quran is the word of Allah and that Allah’s words exert a significant impact on the healing of mental health patients, as, ultimately, Almighty Allah is the one who cures illnesses.

When discussing the limitations of their study, the authors state that the sample of this study was limited to the patients with anxiety and depression disorders at the Al-Nour Centre in Kuala Lumpur, so the results cannot be generalized to other samples. Furthermore, the treatment of anxiety was restricted to females, whereas the treatment of depression was restricted to males. Additionally, the selection of females and males as samples for the study was based on their pre-measurement of anxiety and depression, which serve as self-report measures.

The authors seem to be unconcerned about the fact that the 2 interventions (verum and control) were clearly distinguishable and their patients thus were not blinded (and neither were the evaluators). This obviously means that the observed effect might have nothing at all to do with the Islamic-Based Intervention but could be entirely due to expectation and persuasion.

Why might the authors not even bother to discuss such an obvious possibility?

A look at their affiliations might provide the answer:

  • 1Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [email protected].
  • 2Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • 3Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia.
  • 4Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • 5Islamic Banking and Finance, International Islamic University Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia.
  • 6Department of Hadith and Associated Sciences, Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


7 Responses to The ‘WORST PAPER OF 2022’ COMPETITION. Entry No 3: Effects of an Islamic-Based Intervention on Depression and Anxiety

  • You are brave with this one, kudos. Non-believers are usually put in a bad place when talking about the Quran. Progressives usually stay away from this, really amazed you wrote against this study.

    • Having read about Islam for the past 17 years, people have to understand Islam is a bizarre, deadly, and controlling cult. Every aspect of life is controlled by the Quran, Hadith, and Sunnah, including toileting because devils and Shatan occupy dunnies apparently.

      The crime of ridiculing Islam, Allah, or the “profit” is punishable by death. Sadly, the UK now has many citizens who are likely to be offended and carry out the prescribed punishment.

      Edzard, please staysafe.

      • I did not insult any belief system. I merely criticized a study testing one.
        I will be safe, thanks Frank.

      • Frank,

        I don’t know specifically about how toilets are treated by Islam, but Christians subscribe to the notion that God is everywhere, which must presumably mean that He is present in the dunny, and there is a special blessing that Jews are supposed to recite after using the loo and before washing their hands. What I am getting at is that many religions have something to say about every aspect of how people should live their lives and Islam is certainly not unique in that respect. The fact that a few Muslims are particularly rigid in the way that they interpret the rules by which they have chosen to live does not mean that all of them feel the same way, and if you want to find people prepared to kill others on the basis of their religious beliefs you don’t need to look very far from home, as anybody who remembers the Troubles in Northern Ireland will know.

        • Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, we will also take Edzard here when it gets real bad. I hope that doesn’t happen but it could because Edzard has made himself a pretty important person in scientific research known through-out world. Many Muslims will not care, the very little number of what you just posted will.

  • Definitely a strong contender. I can actually see the treatments having an effect but this is not going to prove it.

    When discussing the limitations of their study, the authors state that the sample of this study was limited to the patients with anxiety and depression disorders at the Al-Nour Centre in Kuala Lumpur, so the results cannot be generalized to other samples.

    Well, I give them credit for this.

  • Good reads below for those interested to know more about treating mental illness, and believe that EBM is the only valid source for all that ills the mind.
    (revealing if you go down to the tweets, and scroll through the tweets from the CEP-UK)

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