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Epilepsy and the Quran Recitation as a Meditation
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is one of the various approaches intended to improve or maintain human health that are not part of standard medical care, also known as conventional or Western medicine. Meditation, one of the techniques of CAM, is a practice in which an individual uses a technique—such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity—to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. In Islam, there are different meditative techniques such as salah, dhikr, fikr, muraqabah, tafakkur, tadabbur, and whirling. Recently, the use of various CAMs such as meditation, yoga, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, nutritional and herbal supplements, dietary measures, chiropractic care, acupuncture, Reiki, and homeopathy has increased in patients with epilepsy. The Quran is the instructor, true wisdom, guide, and leader of the world of humanity; it is both a book of wisdom and law, a book of prayer and worship, a book of command and summons, and a book of invocation and divine knowledge—it is a book for all spiritual needs, and it is a sacred library offering books appropriate to the ways of all the saints and veracious, the purified and the scholars, whose ways and paths are all different. So, listening, reading, and recitation of the Quran is also a kind of meditation. Herein, we discussed using the Quran as a cure and remedy in patients with epilepsy to emphasize that the Quran recitation is a meditation modality.
Meditation is commonly used in patients with epilepsy. In the series of McConnell et al, overall CAM use was 70%, with the use of prayer/spirituality in 31% and meditation in 19%. Of the patients, 44% reported improved seizure control with CAM. Stress management accounted for perceived seizure reduction in 74%, followed by marijuana (54%), prayer (49%), and yoga (42%). Asadi-Pooya et al found that 72.3% of physicians believed that CAM might be helpful in patients with epilepsy. They also noted that 22.3% of participants used/prescribed CAM to patients with epilepsy; among them, 46.5% of people found CAM to be safer than conventional antiseizure medications. The most common endorsed CAM included meditation (41%), and the ratio of prayers was 15%. Aburahma et al reported that 56% of parents had used CAM for their child's neurological illness (28% of patients had epilepsy). The most common modality (77%) was prayer/reciting the Quran. In another series, the prevalence of CAM usage was 42% among pediatric neurology patients (40% of patients had epilepsy), and the most common (66%) type of CAM was the Quran recitation. Triki et al studied people's knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy, of whom 43.6% had a personal or familial history of epilepsy. The two most popular therapeutic modalities were drug treatment alone (85.3%) and associated with the Quran (35.3%). In a large series, 31.5% of individuals believed that epilepsy could be treated by the recitation of the Quran. Hijazeen et al noted that the most common (71.4%) reported treatment method in epilepsy was the Quran among university students. In another study, 34.6% of medical students thought the Quran as an appropriate treatment for epilepsy.
The Quran included a total of 114 surahs and 6,236 ayats, some of which are directly related to shifa (cure), such as Surah Al-Fatihah and ayat 82 in Surah Al-Isra.  The prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said that Surah Al-Fatihah is a ruqyah. Ruqyah refers to the healing method based on the Quran and hadith through the recitation of the Quran, seeking of refuge, remembrance, and supplication that are used as means of treating sickness and other problems by reading verses of the Quran, the names and attributes of Allah, or by using the prayers in Arabic or in a language the meaning of which is understood. Aside from these, many ayats in the Quran are used as shifa among Islamic medicine practitioners. Based on the interpretation of shifa from mufassirun (interpreters), the outline of shifa concept is as follows: (1) Allah has absolute authority to spread and shifa all diseases to mankind; (2) The Quran is a divine revelation from Allah as shifa for human disease, especially spiritual disease; and (3) Allah had created natural resources as medication for physical disease. The use of the Quran for social, mental, spiritual, and physical disorders is very prominent among many practitioners in Malaysia and Indonesia. They focus on ruqyah practice (reciting verses of the Quran to the patient's limb or reading on the water) and using certain food and herbs. They also noted that some patients improved with ruqyah practice.       The Quran recitation for various diseases, including epilepsy, is widely used in Türkiye. Although some epileptic patients improved with Quran recitation with or without antiepileptic drugs, many patients and their relatives do not say that they use the ruqyah practices because they are hesitant about the physician's reactions. On the other hand, many physicians perceive ruqyah practices as a misconception, negative attitude, or superstition because of limited studies about ruqyah practices in the modern medical literature.
In conclusion, we would like to emphasize that the Quran recitation is one of the meditation modalities and ruqyah practices. We strongly believe that some epileptic patients may benefit from the Quran recitation because the Quran has mentioned about its function as cure and remedy for human disease through the word of “shifa” since 1,440 years ago. Randomized controlled studies, including large series, should be conducted with theologians on ruqyah practices in patients with epilepsy.
H.Ç. conceptualized, designed, wrote the editorial, and did the literature search.
Received: 03 July 2022
Accepted: 05 August 2022
Article published online:
14 September 2022
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