Daily Archives: August 6, 2014

The Effects of Reading the Qur’an

The Effects of Reading the Holy Qur’an on Muslim Students’ Heart Rate, Blood pressure and Perceived Stress Levels

The present study consisted of two studies which investigated the effects of reading the Holy Qur’an on Muslim psychology students’ blood pressure, heart rate and perceived stress levels. Perceived stress level is the degree to which situations in a person’s life are appraised as stressful.

The study was conducted because little research has examined the effects of reading the Holy Qur’an, and research that has been conducted is of low quality. For example, Vander Hoven (nd) a researcher from Netherlands hasn’t reported the findings from his research clearly. He briefly stated that “Muslims who can read Arabic and who read the Holy Qur’an regularly can protect themselves from psychological diseases”, but he gives no specific details of the evidence leading to this conclusion or the exact nature of the effects.

Also another researcher, Yucel Salih (2007) has reported contradictory findings from his research; therefore it is unclear exactly what was found. For example, the researcher stated that “there are statistical changes in body temperature and respiratory rate, but they are not significant enough to support the positive effects of prayer on physical well-being”. But in the summary the researcher stated that “the current study found statistically significant changes of physiological conditions, and the study supports the hypothesis that prayer does have positive effects on physiology”.

The sample consisted of 30 Muslim Psychology undergraduates from the University of Salford. There were 15 males and females. The sampling method used was convenience sampling. A two factor (2×2) repeated measures design was used.

In the first study participants’ took part in an experiment which was divided into two conditions. In one condition participants’ heart rate, blood pressure and perceived stress levels were measured before and after reading Surah Alam Nashrah and Surah Al Rahman from the Holy Qur’an. In the other condition participants heart rate, blood pressure, and perceived stress levels were measured before and after reading a non-religious material which was written in Arabic. The order of taking part in the two conditions was counter balanced. So half of the participants read took part in the non-religious material condition first and then the Surah condition. And the other half took part in the Surah condition first and then the non-religious material condition.

Data was analysed using two factor Anova and post hoc t-tests. It was found that participants’ heart rate, blood pressure, (systolic and diastolic) and perceived stress levels decreased after reading Surah Alam Nashrah Surah Al Rahman from the Holy Qur’an. In contrast no significant effects were seen from reading the non-religious Arabic material.

In the second study the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews to study participants’ subjective experience of reading the Qur’an. 10 Muslim psychology undergraduates were interviewed. A content analysis conducted on participants’ responses to questions found that the most mentioned benefit of reading the Qur’an was that it educates and guides the reader to living a good life. It reminds the reader of their faith and it relaxes them.

The researcher concluded that recitation of the Holy Qur’an appears to be psychologically and physiologically beneficial. It appears to reduce the readers perceived stress levels, heart rate and blood pressure. This effect cannot be found with the recitation of a non-religious material that is written in the same language as the Holy Qur’an.

Abdullah, R., 2009. The Effects of Reading the Holy Qur’an on Muslim Students’ Heart rate, Blood Pressure and Perceived Stress Levels. Dissertation Abstract: University of Salford.

Prophet Ibrahim (2)

As you may recall, most of the people at the time of Ibrahim (alayhis salam) were idol worshippers. There were very few people who heeded the words of Ibrahim (alayhis salam). One of the people who did follow in the way of Allah was his wife, Sarah. She and Ibrahim (alayhis salam) had been married for many years but did not have any children. As they became more elderly, it seemed apparent that they would never have a family. Sarah therefore gave Ibrahim (alayhis salam) her slavewoman, Hajra, as a wife, in the hopes that she would be able to bear a child for him. Ibrahim (alayhis salam) prayed for a righteous son and his prayer was answered. To him and Hajra was born the son Ismail (alayhis salam).

Ismail (alayhis salam) grew up strong in the belief of Allah. When he had become old enough to have become helpful, Ibrahim (alayhis salam) saw in a vision from Allah that he was to sacrifice his son. You can imagine how heavy-hearted he was at the thought of giving up that long-awaited son. But he never thought to go against the command of Allah. He went to his son and told him of the vision and asked him what he thought of it. Now Ismail (alayhis salam), although very young, never hesitated. If it was Allah’s will, he said, he would go along with it.

Ibrahim (alayhis salam) and Ismail (alayhis salam) prepared for the sacrifice and just as Ibrahim (alayhis salam) was about to perform it, Allah intervened. Allah provided a ram for sacrifice in place of Ismail (alayhis salam), for Ibrahim (alayhis salam) and Ismail (alayhis salam) had passed the test of faith which Allah had set for them.

Some time later, the angels who were being sent to Lut (alayhis salam) stopped at Ibrahim’s (alayhis salam) home. When he saw the two strangers, he roasted a calf in order to entertain them. When he saw that they did not eat, he mistrusted and feared them. But they told him not to be afraid. Sarah was there and she laughed when they told her she would have a son. She couldn’t believe it. She was an old woman and her husband an old man. They told her not to wonder at Allah’s decree, for he can do all things.

Ibrahim (alayhis salam), too, couldn’t believe his ears when they told him that he would father another son endowed with wisdom. He asked the messengers how they could say such a thing when he was such an old man. But they assured him that they were telling the truth.

Just as the angels had foretold, a son was born to Sarah and Ibrahim (alayhis salam). He was named Ishaaq (alayhis salam) and he later became the father of Yaqub (alayhis salam). It is from Ishaaq (alayhis salam) that the children of Israel trace their roots.

It is from Ismail (alayhis salam), Ibrahim’s (alayhis salam) first-born son, that the people of Arabia trace their lineage. Thus can two peoples, the Jews and the Arabs, trace their beginnings back to a single ancestor, Ibrahim (alayhis salam), the father of Ismail (alayhis salam) and Ishaaq (alayhis salam).

You can read about Ibrahim (alayhis salam) and his sons in the following surat of the Qur’an 11:69-76, 15:51-56, and 37: 99-111.