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Milk asked in Society & CultureHolidaysRamadan · 9 years ago

What is the theological understanding(s) of jinns as the cause of mental illness in Islam?

I have posted this question before and got some excellent answers (thanks especially to Sarah Bint Jihad). I am re-posting on it on principal (it should not have been deleted) and because one of the respondents sent me a link to an excellent You-Tube video on the topic that I simply cannot seem to find.

My question is this:

Islam has historically shown compassion and kindness to the mentally ill (see and also see in this regard). In medieval times, when the mentally ill were cruelly persecuted in Christian Europe, Muslim physicians posited that mental illness was the product of chemical imbalances etc and not personal fault. Even Mohammed (PBUH) said that three categories of people should be spared judgement, "the child, until he reaches puberty, the sleeping until he wakes, and the insane until he becomes sane."

This notwithstanding, I was watching a documentary on Al Jazeera World News this afternoon about mental illness in Pakistan, and about the immense stigma attached to it. The documentary did not touch on the issue of jinns, but, as can be expected (and as is the case in non-Muslim countries too) highlighted the fact that people were not educated about mental illness etc, which obviously lends way to greater stigma. Upon further research I found that many people believe mental illness is the result (exclusively) of possession by jinns.

What would a more educated, and soundly theological view on this issue be? Can jinns cause mental illness? Does this negate the influence of chemical imbalances etc? How do you know if someone is biologically mentally ill as opposed to possessed by a jinn? What is your view on this issue?

Thanks to all who answer.


@Rosy Pearl - Sorry to sound ignorant, but what is Athan and/ or Dhikr?

Update 2:

@Sub-Poof- What are pirs?

Update 3:

@Cool - I appreciate your concern, but I am interested in garnering a variety of opinions on the issue - And Sub-Poofy did state he was offering an opinion. I think that both your responses are very interesting and would like to thank you both for answering. Unfortunately I lost the link to the You-Tube video when my question got deleted! Hopefully someone will re-post it! :)

3 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I can't answer the questions, because I don't know much about this. But I will tell you what I heard:

    1) Many people are actually just mentally ill and they need periodical medication. In countries like Pakistan, these people are thought to be possessed and they are actually beaten by illiterate fake "Pirs" who are trying to drive out the Jinn from their bodies. Many cases like this have been filed, where the person just needed medication for say schizophrenia but the local villagers were too foolish to know.

    2) Many people actually "act out" that they are possessed. I'm not even joking about this one, I saw a documentary about this happening in Pakistan, where people act mad and react strangely to certain things when they are actually sane.

    3) I've never actually seen a real possession, but I've heard about them. I'm just not sure about the matter right now, but what I do know is that I hear more "stories" coming from Pakistan than where I live, in the United States. Most cases here are of mental illness, and it's the opposite in Pakistan.


    A pir is basically a mystical saint.

    This comes from the "Sufism" (mystical) branch of Islam. Be warned though, many Muslims don't believe in Sufism and think that it is wrong. But in Pakistan the majority believes that Sufism is a legitimate, mystical branch of Islam.

    There used to be many great Pirs who did great things, but nowadays there's a lot of fake ones. All you need is a beard and dirty clothes, it makes you look like you are a humble trustworthy person. They do it for quick cash basically - perform exorcism on a girl (basically beat the crap out of her), take your cash and run.

    EDIT #2

    This whole question is structured on opinion, and since I don't have any first hand experience in this matter I would obviously rely on hearsay. It's not like Cool Fundamentalist himself has any front-up evidence. I'm not refuting any hadith or sound sources, I am telling you about the situation and of the stories that I've heard in my birth country of Pakistan. Whether sufism is part of Islam or not is up to you to decide, I didn't even choose a position in the matter and he rather assumes that I am somehow advocating Sufism.

    Source(s): love your question btw. Sounds like you're doing a real case study!
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I hope you read this book titled:

    The jinn and human sickness (it contains all answers to the questions you posted above).

    do consult this one link for more information on jinns:

    Encyclopedian on jinns


    don't be confused by sub poofys response.

    he is ignorant and speaking without knowledge.

    Learn that 'sufism' is NOT islam.

    Sufism was not known in the time of the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) or his Companions, nor was it well known in the first three generations after them. It first appeared in Basrah in Iraq, where some people went to extremes in worship and in avoiding the worldly life, something which is admonished in the Quran:

    "The Monasticism which they invented for themselves; We did not prescribe it for them." Qur'an 57:27

    read more about sufism from this link:

    I'd further advise you to learn islam from AUTHENTIC sources and certified scholars.

    Not from 'hearsays' or what 'people think'.

    For Islam is not based upon any persons priorthoughts, intellect or knowledge.

    Source(s): please duly share the articles and videos you watched earlier. hope u don't mind this sincere request.
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Athan = muslim call to prayer

    Dhikr = remembrance of Allah

    Allah = Arabic term for God

    Source(s): check out links by cool funda
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