Efficacy of Surah Al-Rehman in Managing Depression in Muslim Women

J Relig Health. 2019 Apr;58(2):516-526. doi: 10.1007/s10943-017-0492-z.


The study empirically investigated the idea that Quranic verses (Surah Al-Rehman) can help manage depression. Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (radiAllahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, "Everything has an adornment, and the adornment of the Qur'an is Surah Al-Rehman." Surah Al-Rehman is the most rhythmic surah of the Quran, so it was used for our experimental study. The idea of the study was drawn from the premise that music therapy helps reduce depression. The objective of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of Surah Al-Rehman for managing depression in Muslim women admitted for treatment of major depressive disorder in a psychiatry ward of a government hospital. It was hypothesized that women diagnosed with severe depression in the treatment group will have reduced level of depression as compared to control group at post-assessment level. It was further hypothesized that the amount of decrease in depression in treatment group at the post-assessment level will be greater as compared to the control group. A purposive sample of 12 female patients diagnosed with depression was randomly assigned to the treatment group (n = 6) and control group (n = 6). Assessment was done at pre- and post-level by using Beck Depression Inventory-II. Both groups did not significantly differ on pre-assessment depression scores. Twelve structured group sessions of 22 min, two times a day, were conducted for a period of 4 weeks with the groups. Treatment group was made to listen to Surah Al-Rehman recited by Qari Abdul Basit, and control group was exposed to music used for relaxation and treatment of depression. Wilcoxon signed ranks test was used to find the within-group differences between pre- and post-assessment scores. Both groups had decreased level of depression at post-assessment level, so it was important to assess if there was any difference in level of decrease. Mann-Whitney U test for comparison of groups on level of decrease at the post-assessment level endorsed that treatment group had significantly greater decrease than control group on depression. Our study highlights the efficacy of Surah Al-Rehman as a remedy to reduce depression. The Holy Quran intones, "This sacred book is 'shifa' for its followers." Hence, we recommend that researchers should focus on finding remedies for other psychological and physical diseases from Quranic verses. An exploration of possible mechanism (such as activated cognitions or associated emotions while listening to Quran) through which effects of recitation are reached, can also be subject of investigation for forthcoming studies.

Keywords: Depression; Efficacy; Experimental research; Music therapy; Surah Al-Rehman.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Depression
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islam
  • Music*
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Religion*