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Relationship between Religion and Health: Muslim Views

Info: 2113 words (8 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 1st Jun 2020

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Tagged: religion

Muslims views on Healthcare and health

The Islam religion varies from what most Americans are used too. “For Muslims, health is a state of physical, psychological, spiritual, and social well-being and is considered the greatest blessing God has given humankind”(Attum, 2019). Muslims respond to illness with prayer and patience. In any hardship or illness, Muslims are taught to pray through anything. “Muslim patients believe illness, suffering, pain, and dying as a test from God, and perceive illness as a trial by which one’s sins are removed” (Attum, 2019). Many Muslims see cancer or any illness as fate. Cancer or illness can be seen as a test, or a result of sin. Some Muslims think that God is the answer and will leave many diseases untreated. Islam emphasizes the importance of good health and they think health is considered a religious duty.

What is the Muslim culture?

To relate to the unfamiliarity of Islam related to health, it is important to understand Islam. Islam is the name of the religion that Muslims follow. People who follow Christianity are called Christians. Most people think that most Arabs are Muslims, but that is false. Arab is a race and not a religion. Arabs make up only around thirteen percent of Muslim people. Muslim people believe that God or “Allah” is the creator of the universe. Muslim people prefer to call God a different name called “Allah”. Allah cannot be made plural and lack a gender. Islams believe in angels and the angels must follow Allah. “Different angels have different tasks. For example, the angel Gabriel was responsible for communicating the message of God to human Prophets and Messengers. The Angel, Michael was responsible for rain” (“What is Islam and Who are Muslims?”, 2019). Angels help Muslim people in times of trouble. “A Muslim is required to believe in Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Joseph, Jesus, and Muhammad peace be upon all of them” (“What is Islam and Who are Muslims?”, 2019). Islam is based on the Quran like Christianity is based on the Bible. The Quran function as “Allah’s final message to everyone. Muslims also believe in an afterlife. They believe there will be a judgment day and whoever did right in the world will be sent to Paradise (“What is Islam and Who are Muslims?”, 2019). If you did evil, you will be punished or forgiven in hell. Your actions will determine your fate. Allah is all-knowing but gives everyone a choice in what they do. Allah stated where everyone was born and when they will die. If a person believes these principles then you are considered Muslim. Muslim people are not perfect the believe most of these basic beliefs. Muslims can account for one-fourth of the world. Muslim people have different beliefs in healthcare then what most Americans are used too. This paper should explain the different health decisions compared to what Americans are used too.

Islamic Diet

The Quran emphasizes the importance of eating healthy. Muslim people have a different diet than most Americans have. The Quran emphasizes the importance of eating healthy and treating the body with respect.”O mankind: Eat of what is lawful and good on earth” (Quran 2: 168) (Athar, et al., 2016). A good diet is also important in Islam. “Healthy eating not only satisfies hunger but also affects how well we worship”. If people are obsessed with food, then it distracts people from serving God. Muslims must also not be so focused on worshiping that they do not care about their health. This poor nutrition could cause Muslims to be sick and then the Muslims could not worship. There are things that Muslims cannot eat or drink. Muslims cannot drink alcohol or eat pork. Alcohol proves to be only destructive and not beneficial. Alcohol hurts numerous human lives and causes terrible pain to a countless amount of people throughout the world. Alcohol can be tied to several problems and issues in the world. Some strict Muslims will not drink Vanilla abstract or soy sauce because it contains alcohol. “They cannot be proscribed from taking medicines that contain alcohol or pork byproducts unless they are life-saving drugs and no substitute is available. Porcine heparin, for example, contains gelatin from pork products, and is the only heparin universally used”. Some ice cream is not allowed because it contains gelatin, which is a pork-based substance (Taheri, 2008). Muslims cannot eat animals that are improperly slaughtered or dead before killing. “Eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest my wrath should justly descend on you, and those on whom descends my wrath do perish indeed” (Quran 20:81) (Athar, et al., 2016). These are the main things that Muslim people cannot eat and this affects their health. Diet is emphasized greatly in Islamic culture.


Another difference in health regarding Muslims is fasting. In the ninth month, on the Islamic lunar calendar, Muslims must fast. This lasts between twenty-nine and thirty days. Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. This month is called Ramadan. If you are a healthy adult, then you are required to fast. If a Muslim is pregnant, ill, or traveling, then fasting is not required. Fasting may be continued once healthy again. Alms can be paid or meals can be given to the poor alternatively if fasting is missed also (Attum, 2019). Muslims see illness as a test or a punishment, so fasting is important to them to get spiritual healing. Muslims refrain from using food, drinks, participating in sinful behavior, tobacco products, and sexual relations. During this time, Muslims are supposed to pray and strive for purity. Muslims are supposed to be so hungry and thirsty that they feel for the poor and become more compassionate. Most Muslims wake up before dawn and eat and drink as much as they can. They should eat carbohydrates because they release energy slowly. Then Muslims have to wait about fifteen hours before they can eat again. They have to wait till after sunset to eat. This could be a health concern too. “Patients must be taught the importance of stopping the fast if blood glucose levels fall to dangerous levels and there is a risk of severe hypoglycemia” (Attum, 2019). Muslim patients are all in the fast and might not realize health issues with fasting. Especially Muslims with diabetes need to be aware of the complications that can occur with Ramadan. This is a huge difference in health compared to what most Americans are used too. This month is a factor in health because for the whole month Muslims can eat normally. They cannot even take pills with water because they are not supposed to have liquids.

Muslims and Healthcare

Muslims women have a different approach to healthcare than what American women are used too. Non-muslim healthcare providers need to be aware of all the issues to provide care in a culturally sensitive manner. Muslims might be at risk for multiple diseases because of their limitations in healthcare. “These limitations may include gender preference of healthcare providers, modesty, and misconception about what causes certain illness” (Attum 2019). Muslims women have a different dress code and prefer to have other women doctors and nurses. They prefer women doctors and nurses because they do not want to break their rules of modesty. “In many circumstances, a female patient may avoid eye contact or shaking hands with male healthcare professionals. This should not be interpreted as lack of trust or a sign of rejection, as in Muslim’s this is a sign of modesty” (Attum 2019). Islamic rituals have women cover their heads and body with covering. Men and women are going to be hesitant to undress or show skin for a medical examination because their culture is to show modesty. Touching is prohibited between opposite genders, so touching for a medical examination should be handled with caution. Touching off the opposite gender can lead to adultery, so it is prohibited. Male healthcare providers might have to communicate through the spouse if the patient is female (Attum 2019). Healthcare workers must ask Muslim women to uncover their covering for injections or any other medical issues. If a Muslim woman would have to undress, it should be done by another female to make the patient feel more comfortable. “In men, beards are religiously symbolic, and most men will avoid shaving unless it is essential. When this needs to happen for a medical purpose, another male should shave the area” (Attum 2019). Healthcare providers need to be aware of the impact the Islamic faith has on the patient. “It is helpful to have a sign on female Muslim patients’ door asking the staff to knock first before entering. This will provide them a few seconds to put on their Hijab. Additionally, it is helpful to provide a sign requesting that medical staff return in a few minutes to give female patients enough time and privacy to perform their daily prayers” (Attum 2019).

Other Cultural factors

Other cultural factors can affect Muslim patients. Another factor that can affect women in healthcare is sex education. Sex education is not discussed often in Muslim culture (Hammoud et al., 2005). Many Muslims get offended when asked about sexually transmitted diseases because that assumes that they have committed adultery. Sex outside of marriage is prohibited and adultery is also prohibited. If a Muslim woman has a sexually transmitted disease, that is assuming that they are sex outside of marriage. Another factor that can affect is mental health. This topic is another topic that most Muslim women do not want to discuss. Mental illnesses considered taboo because it is believed that Muslims cannot be depressed if they correctly follow the tenets of Islam (Hammoud et al., 2005). Mental illness is not accepted in the Muslims culture because they think mental illness is ultimately a test from God. Public stigma often prevents many Muslims from getting treatment. “In a study on perceptions of and attitudes toward mental illness among both medical students and the general public in Oman, Al-Adawi and colleagues found that groups believed that mental illness is caused by spirits and rejected genetics as a significant factor” (Ciftci, Jones, & Corrigan, 2013). Many Muslim people consider Mental health as shameful.


Muslim people think different about healthcare than most Americans. They believe prayer, meditation, and patience will get them through any kind of sickness. They believe that if you are sick, that is a punishment from God. Many Americans will go to the doctor when they are sick, but Muslims are not as eager to go to the hospital. Muslims people base their religion on the Qur’an and the Quran states many guidelines about health. “Everything good that happens to you (O Man) is from God, everything bad that happens to you is from your own actions”. (Quran 4:79) (Athar, et al., 2016). This paper should summarize the differences in health in what most of us are utilized too.


  • Athar, Shahid, et al. Health Guidelines from Quran and Sunnah. 8 June 2016, https://www.soundvision.com/comment/10543. Accessed 7 Oct. 2019.
  • Attum, Basem. Cultural Competence in the Care of Muslim Patients and Their Families. 15 June 2019, https://knowledge.statpearls.com/chapter/0/40656?cv=1&utm_source=pubmed. Accessed 7 Oct. 2019.
  • Attum, Basem. Cultural Competence in the Care of Muslim Patients and Their Families. 15 June 2019, https://knowledge.statpearls.com/chapter/0/40656?cv=1&utm_source=pubmed.
  • Ciftci, Ayse, et al. “Mental Health Stigma in the Muslim Community.” Journal of Muslim Mental Health, vol. 7, no. 1, 2013, https://allianceforclas.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/mental-health-stigma-in-the-muslim-community.pdf. Accessed 8 Oct. 2019.
  • Taheri, Nayer. Health Care in Islamic History and Experience. 1 May 2008, https://ethnomed.org/cross-cultural-health/religion/health-care-in-islamic-history-and-experience. Accessed 8 Oct. 2019.
  • What Is Islam and Who Are Muslims? 2019, https://isogs.org/faqs/. Accessed 7 Oct. 2019.


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