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I would like to commend the authors for implementing an interesting
and pertinent educational programme on spirituality. As a primary care
doctor seeing patients in the Middle East, I am aware of the wide range of
complaints Muslim patients will attribute to spirit or 'jinn' possession,
ranging from infertility, to headaches, to depression and so on.
Our approach in dealing with such health beliefs in Muslim pati...
Our approach in dealing with such health beliefs in Muslim patients
must take into account that such beliefs are a core part of Islamic
teachings. Dismissing such concepts as superstition leads to discordance
between the doctor and patient. I am sure this is the type of theme you
cover in your course.
However a further question that wasn't explicitly addressed, is how
far do we go in challenging or sanctioning traditional spiritual
treatments that patients may wish to use? If a patient for example wants
to have the Quran read to him (a common traditional treatment for jinn
possession), is it the physician's job to discourage him from this? Can we
allow him to use such spiritual treatments alongside the medication we
If the answer is yes, on the basis that listening to the Quran will
not have any adverse effects on the patient, what about other treatments?
Cupping (blood letting) is another popular alternative therapy that has
been specifically recommended in Islamic texts. Where do we draw the line?
I would welcome feedback from the authors on this topic, as I feel
this is an important discussion that will have bearing on the practice of
many physicians across the world.