Hypnosis: A Muslim Perspective

By Mubashar Latif

“Does anyone know the position of hypnosis in Islam?”

“I did ask and was told it was haram….the reason being that it was likened to a state of intoxication, in that you have voluntarily given up your control over your mental faculties….And Allah(swt) knows best”.

This was the reply to the above question I received on a Muslim community group mailing list by one of its members.

Hypnosis is defined as a state of deep relaxation; just short of deep sleep. A popular misconception is that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleep. However, contemporary research suggests that hypnotic subjects are fully awake and whilst focusing attention, have a corresponding decrease in their peripheral awareness. Subjects also show an increased response to suggestions. In one of the first books on the subject, Neurypnology in 1843, Dr James Braid described “hypnotism” as a state of physical relaxation accompanied and induced by mental concentration. It is a state of well-being and the client is fully in control. This means that EVERY single one of us can be and has been in a state of hypnosis; on a daily basis. For example, when we’re waking up and put our alarm on snooze and half-awake: this is a state of hypnosis. When we are sometimes watching TV and don’t hear the other person; this is a state of hypnosis also. Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation but short of being asleep. The methods of Hypnosis being referred to here are those that allow the client to be in full control of the suggestions and imaginations that they are given; at which they are in a state to accept or reject them.

A quick research into the history of Hypnosis can show that this was common in Egyptian and Indian sleep temples. Hypnosis was even practiced by ancient Greeks. Furthermore, in his Book titled Kitab Al-Shifa (The book of Healing), the Persian physician Avicenna (Ibn Sina 980-1037) wrote about Hypnosis and referred to it as Al-Wahm Al-Amil. He was seen as the first physician to make the distinction between sleep and hypnosis. He stated that one would be able to create conditions in other people so they can accept the reality of this process of Hypnosis.

If we look at one of the Fathers of modern Hypnosis, Dr Milton Erickson (1901-1980), one who is known widely by any training organisation of Hypnosis; much of his language patterns are those that are already in the Quran. Yes! This not an extreme comment and nor is it anything taken out of context. How many of us knew this?

Ericksonian hypnosis combines metaphorical stories which start and don’t finish at the same time. They sometimes finish at the end of the sessions or sometimes a few sessions later. This is like in the Quran of many stories of the Prophets (Peace Be Upon Them all); which clearly continue throughout. Amongst many language patterns used; Ericksonian hypnosis also refers to many things with much vagueness. Another aspect clearly found in the Quran. The benefit of vagueness is that it can and does relate to any and every point in time – the less specific, the more it can relate to wider audiences with no limits or lesser limits of time, place and situation.

These are just some of the methods and language patterns that will be used. None of it goes against Islam; and is not ‘haraam’ (forbidden); a word used much freely and yet only appears in the Quran a few times.

Hypnosis does NOT give the effects similar to that of ‘intoxicants’. Intoxicants are physical substances in the form of gas, liquid or solid (powder and tablets, for example). They are man-made substances or natural substances which are processed in a manner to produce these harmful substances. They effect the body, mind and the soul. They block out some neurons and cause imbalance and effect the neurology. Hence they result in effecting the complete body in this manner and clearly don’t allow the individual to be in control of one’s senses. Regardless of what they are; the purpose of them is to fulfil the individuals need for ‘more’ for a fulfilment they aren’t getting from another area of life. Hence; widely resulting in addiction. They also cause one to say and do things they wouldn’t in their own right mind or in their daily normal lives when not using these substances.

Islam may also not have allowed Hypnosis on the basis that it maybe the works of a Soothsayer (fortune-teller) and/or working with Jinns (spirits). This may have been true or maybe true today still in some parts of the world as some people have the ability to communicate with spirits. However, the hypnosis being referred to and applied here has NO link or connection with spirits or fortune-telling. Working with spirits is seen as contrary to Islam on the basis that it’s seen as ascribing power to those other than God. Where-as the primary foundation of Islamic belief is upon the conviction that There is Only One God and all power is with Him. This refers to that we mortals have no knowledge except that which God has allowed us to have. Having belief in spirits and making use of them to intervene between the Hypnotherapists and the client is completely contradictory to Islam and definitely to the modern Hypnosis being referred to here.

Hypnosis does none of that as there is no two-way conversation; just suggestions. Also, the client does not do or say anything which they wouldn’t in their right mind. Clearly this is a misconception within the Muslim community. It highlights that a judgement has been made on something without looking into it. As we, the Muslim community, constantly do this; truly we are denying ourselves the means for progression in all areas of education, employment and further advances in any area. If or as long as we continue to think in this much limited manner then so will be the fruits of our labour have the same effect.

There are many Muslims; who are practising and trained hypnotherapists. If anything, they’ve come closer to their faith rather than further from away it. I even know a Muslim colleague on my training who came from Saudi Arabia to learn Hypnosis. He is a practising Muslim, works in a corporate environment in change-management and has been there for over 10yrs. He states himself; that in Saudi Arabia there is much withdrawal from anything they don’t understand. If certain things aren’t understood; they are dismissed. I’m not saying this is the case for every aspect in every area of discipline. It is however, in reference to those he has met in his company who are mostly practising Muslims. This is an indication of what is much a problem in our communities and hence gets ‘blamed’ on religion. This is something much terrible of an example for those looking from outside, into this amazing faith.

This opinion is respected (“That Hypnosis is haraam in Islam as it gives effects of intoxicants”) but it’s not one that I will accept for myself. As stated before, it is something of highly much benefit to the community. There has been much of a response as some individuals have seen the value of this and how it can manifest in their lives and those around them.

You are requested and urged to look into this as to what it’s benefits are, it’s methodologies and purpose; whether you are Muslim or not: regardless. It can be verified by medical doctors that Hypnosis is perfectly safe and accepted by the medical profession as a means of curing some illnesses; whether they are of the body, mind or soul. Medical science will not accept something that includes working with spirits and fortune-telling. Furthermore, hypnosis does certainly NOT give effects of intoxicants; as can also be verified medically. By definition of Hypnosis, The Quran certainly brings about a deep relaxation through reciting or listening to it. Hence, The Quran itself brings about a state of Hypnosis. It was known that even people would fall into trance through speech and conversation with Dr Milton Erickson. Such was the effect of The Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be Upon Him) who would talk to people in such a relaxing manner that they felt his warmth; bringing about greater relaxation within them; with an intention of reaching out for the goodness.

Hypnosis is a tool necessary for the Muslim community to allow the recipients to bring out more of their amazing uniqueness that every individual is special and is born with such amazing gifts. Regardless of what area of life you are at; we can always achieve more as we dream in the night; then the days are to fulfil those dreams. It can be used to work with clients to achieve their goals, relieve stress and even improve their health whilst curing some illnesses. It is beneficial and necessary for individuals as well as the Muslim community in order to concentrate and focus deeper upon their daily and personal goals.

Anything that the mind can conceive, perceive, and achieve; the body can physically easily achieve.

Author profile:

I’m a Muslim Master Practitioner and therapist; working work with clients to INCREASE VALUE in their life, increase MOTIVATION, SELF-ESTEEM, CONFIDENCE whilst….REMOVING any EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE they’ve been carrying for many years. Trusting that you find this of BENEFIT; please SHARE this with anyone you may know who would like to benefit from this. This therapy uses techniques of NLP, NLP Coaching, Hypnosis and TimeLine Therapy – in ways that comply with Islam and the Quran. I’m based in London, UK. Please contact for more details.

Mubashar Latif: I’m a certified Master Practitioner in NLP, NLP Coaching, TimeLine Therapy and Hypnosis. I’m based in East London and have my own therapy, coaching, NLP and Hypnosis organisation: “Tripod Training”; working with a target-market of Asians/Muslims between 28-40year olds; whilst open to clients of all backgrounds and ages: as are some of my clients.
Tripod Training – “Changing Lives; for life!”

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