KC 6: The Intersection of Islamic Jurisprudence and Mental Health: A Collaborative Care Model for Islamic Clergy and Mental Health Professionals
This is the sixth session in the 6-session Khalil Center Educational Series.
Mental competency in Islam is an essential precondition for the validity of ritual worship, including ritual prayer, charity, and pilgrimage, and additionally plays an important role in a variety of ethical and social relational issues. Therefore, Islamic jurisprudence encompasses not only the permissions, limitations, and sanctions of the state, society, and civil conduct of the members of that society, but even the personal religious conduct of its adherents. Given that the global Muslim community turns to Islamic jurisprudence for ethical guidance on informing daily decisions, lifestyle choices, personal and interpersonal conduct, the implications of mental status can have wide reaching implications. Thus, the scope for Islamic forensic psychological practice can extend beyond the court or even hospital, and more commonly include issues regarding personal religious duties brought to community clergy or unofficial legal authorities (muftīs). Such enquiries commonly include questions about ritual purification and bathing, disability accommodations (rukhaṣ) in ritual prayer or for the month-long fast in Ramadan, the obligation to perform the pilgrimage (ḥajj), marriage status when a spouse is mentally incapacitated, and ethical grounds for seeking a divorce when dealing with a mentally ill partner, permissibility of abortion, permissibility of medications among others. In order to ensure sensitive care to patients, it is crucial for mental health practitioners to work with religious clergy who are well-grounded in Islamic law and preferably possess a working knowledge of the behavioral sciences to address the case specific consequences of mental illness upon the religious life of patients.
Establishing a collaborative care framework with religious clergy and mental health practitioners is critical to providing services that can supply disability accommodations when justified and avoiding ill-informed or insensitive recommendations (Keshavarzi & Ali, 2020). This presentation will walk through an interdisciplinary framework to help provide a common language and delineate the scopes of practice between clergy and mental health professionals in addressing psychological issues that are implicated by Islamic jurisprudence. There will be references to specific case illustrations as examples of how to effectively address the common ethical dilemmas or patient concerns surrounding the implications of their mental status upon personal religious practice. A survey of some of the most common mental health conditions and the types of disability accommodations made available to Muslims with mental illness will be provided.