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Islam and Mental Health

Hadiyah Muhammad

Hadiyah Muhammad is a first-year Health Behavior Health Education student at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on mental health issues in U.S. Muslim communities and identifying the intervention efforts and instructional programs best suited for mosques and Islamic centers of learning.

My parents converted to Islam as young adults in the late 1970s. Choosing to become Muslim changed my parents’ health behaviors immediately. I was born to two people who, in love with their new way of life, no longer consumed pork, alcohol, and tobacco, preferred men and women separated at gatherings, fasted during the month of Ramadan, and joined a community of like-minded converts to sustain their practice and grow religiously. Islam does not separate day-to-day action from belief; therefore the behaviors that my parents immediately accepted as a common daily practice were not simply rituals performed during certain times of the year. My parents’ conversion to Islam was their attempt to create a new and better life for themselves and my family. Interestingly, while the physical health behaviors of my parents changed almost immediately, the mental health challenges remained the same among my uniquely Muslim nuclear family and my non-Muslim extended family.

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Middle East

Interview with Sufi Scholar, Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Inside Islam’s Colin Christopher recently sat down with Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies at The George Washington University. Born in Iran in 1933, Dr. Nasr studied metaphysics, geology, and philosophy at MIT and received his doctoral degree from Harvard University in the history of science and learning. A polyglot and author of over 50 books, Dr. Nasr is considered by some to be a Renaissance man. Primarily interested in Perennial thought and Sufism, Dr. Nasr explains his views on Islam, Sufism, and universalism.

Q: Some say that one can be a Sufi and not Muslim. What do you say to non-Muslims that embrace Sufism as non-Muslims? Continue reading