Integrative Approach to Treating Anxiety among Muslims: Incorporating Quran, Hadith, Scholarly Insights and Western Perspectives

by Abubakar Haruna


Anxiety disorders represent one of the most prevalent mental health challenges worldwide, affecting individuals across diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the intricate interplay between anxiety and cultural factors, including religious beliefs and practices. Among the various religious frameworks, Islam offers a unique perspective on anxiety, encompassing spiritual, psychological, and social dimensions.

Anxiety, defined as a persistent feeling of fear, worry, or unease, can manifest in various forms, including Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), panic disorder, and specific phobias. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety disorders are estimated to affect over 260 million people globally, making them a significant public health concern.

       In Islamic tradition, anxiety is acknowledged as a natural facet of human experience, with references to its recognition and management found in the Quran, the holy book of Islam, and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Quran emphasises reliance on God (Tawakkul) and patience (Sabr) as foundational principles in coping with life’s challenges, including anxiety-inducing situations.

Furthermore, Islamic psychology offers insights into the holistic approach to mental well-being, emphasising the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. Concepts such as mindfulness (Tafakkur), self-awareness (Muraqabah), and seeking refuge in prayer (Salah) are integral to managing anxiety within an Islamic framework.

Despite the rich resources within Islamic tradition for understanding and addressing anxiety, there remains a need for greater awareness and culturally sensitive approaches to mental health care within Muslim communities. Stigma, misconceptions, and lack of access to appropriate services often impede individuals from seeking help for anxiety-related concerns.

       Anxiety is a natural stress response, characterised by feelings of unease, worry, or fear. It can manifest as physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, sweating, or trembling, as well as cognitive symptoms such as racing thoughts or difficulty concentrating. Anxiety becomes a concern when it significantly interferes with daily life or functioning.

In Islamic psychology, anxiety is often understood as a state of distress caused by excessive worry or fear about the future or perceived threats. It is seen as a natural emotion that can arise from various sources, including uncertainty, spiritual concerns, or personal struggles. Islamic teachings emphasised seeking comfort and guidance through prayer, reliance on faith, and seeking support from both spiritual and professional sources to alleviate anxiety.

Integrative Approach to Treating Anxiety among Muslims: Incorporating Quran, Hadith, Scholarly Insights and Western Perspectives

In addressing anxiety among Muslims necessitates an integrative approach that draws upon Islamic teachings, insights from scholars, and evidence-based practices from Western psychology. By integrating these diverse perspectives, individuals can receive comprehensive care that honours their faith while utilising effective therapeutic strategies.

Islamic Teachings and Practices:

Quranic Guidance: Verses from the Quran emphasised concepts such as trust in God (Tawakkul), patience (Sabr), and seeking refuge in prayer (Salah) as means to alleviate anxiety (Quran 3:159; 20:130; 94:5-6).

Hadith: The sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) provide practical guidance for managing anxiety, such as reciting supplications for seeking protection and comfort during times of distress (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 75, Hadith 397).

Scholarly Insights:

Islamic scholars offer interpretations of religious texts and practical applications for addressing mental health concerns. Their views provide valuable guidance on integrating Islamic principles into therapeutic interventions (Baig & Iqbal, 2013).

For example, scholars may emphasise the importance of maintaining a strong connection with God through remembrance (Dhikr) and cultivating gratitude (Shukr) as antidotes to anxiety.

Western Psychological Approaches:

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is an evidence-based approach used to challenge negative thought patterns and behaviours contributing to anxiety (Hofmann et al., 2012).

Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Practices such as mindfulness meditation promote present-moment awareness and acceptance, aligning with Islamic concepts of mindfulness (Tafakkur) and self-awareness (Muraqabah) (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).

Integration of Perspectives:

Culturally Sensitive Therapy: Therapists can provide care that acknowledges the religious and cultural beliefs of Muslim clients, integrating Islamic teachings into treatment plans (Khan, 2010).

Collaborative Care: Collaboration between mental health professionals, religious leaders, and community members fosters a supportive environment for addressing anxiety within Muslim communities (Nasir et al., 2018).


Treating anxiety among Muslims requires a multifaceted approach that synthesises Quranic guidance, Hadith, scholarly insights, and Western psychological approaches. By integrating these perspectives, individuals can receive holistic care that respects their religious beliefs while addressing their mental health needs.


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Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427–440.

Hossain, M. D., Ahmed, H. U., Chowdhury, W. A., Niessen, L. W., & Alam, D. S. (2014). Mental disorders in Bangladesh: A systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 14, 216.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144–156.

Khan, A. N. (2010). Islamic approach to counseling: A model. Journal of Religion and Health, 49(2), 218–230.

Nasir, S., Zehra, A., Faiq, A., Rahman, F., Riaz, S., Gul, A., & Qidwai, W. (2018). Integration of spiritual beliefs in psychotherapy and its impact on quality of life: A study on anxiety disorder patients in Karachi. Journal of Religion and Health, 57(4), 1355–1370.

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One thought on “Integrative Approach to Treating Anxiety among Muslims: Incorporating Quran, Hadith, Scholarly Insights and Western Perspectives

  1. Lizzie Slowe says:

    This is really interesting, and I agree that integrating information from the Quran, Hadith and religious and cultural Islamic practises are vital. However along with western approaches such as CBT, personally I would add investigation the root of the anxiety in the individual – as anxiety covers a vast spectrum of different emotions, originating in varied places. A psychodynamic approach in consort with approaches mentioned above might be useful?

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