Mental Health in the Islamic Golden Era: The Historical Roots of Modern Psychiatry

  • Rania AwaadEmail author
  • Alaa Mohammad
  • Khalid Elzamzamy
  • Soraya Fereydooni
  • Maryam Gamar


“Islam the religion is a system of beliefs and practices initially revealed by Allah to Muhammad, enshrined in the Arabic Koran, supplemented by tradition, and modified through the ages in response to changes in time and place… Islam the culture is a compound of varied elements [and] was mainly formulated by conquered peoples, Arabicized and Islamized, rather than by Arabians. It holds the distinction of having been, from the mid-eighth century to the end of the twelfth century, unmatched in its brilliancy and unsurpassed in its literary, scientific, and philosophical output” (Hitti, Islam, a way of life. Regnery Gateway: Washington, DC, 1987). Islam is considered to be a complete code of life by its followers, one that covers every domain of human life including economic, social, political, ethical, religious, and cultural values. It proposes instructions, etiquettes, and standards, addressing fine details for daily living that range from topics such as relationships and rights to proper hygiene, clean eating, and physical and spiritual detoxification. This helps explain the integral role of religion in the lives of Muslims and why religion is frequently referenced as it promises guidance for those who are in pursuit of happiness and success and who wish to live a well-balanced life. The Quran and Hadith, the recorded sayings of Prophet Muhammad, are the two main sources from which Muslims obtain Islamic guidance. In this chapter, the authors will discuss the significance of mental health in Islam, offering an Islamic outlook on its comprehensive construct, a walk through the historical understanding and classifications of mental and psychological illnesses, including developments from major Muslim scholars and their treatises, and finally a brief exploration of pioneering methods used for treatment and care.


Mental health Islam History of Psychiatry Islamic Golden Era Mental illness Islamic medicine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rania Awaad
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alaa Mohammad
    • 3
  • Khalid Elzamzamy
    • 3
    • 4
  • Soraya Fereydooni
    • 5
  • Maryam Gamar
    • 5
  1. 1.Muslim Mental Health Lab and Wellness Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Khalil CenterUnion CityUSA
  3. 3.The Family & Youth InstituteCantonUSA
  4. 4.Hamad Medical CorporationDohaQatar
  5. 5.Muslim Mental Health Lab and Wellness ProgramStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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