Islamic Beliefs in Healing of Loss and Grief Afghan Refugees/Cross Cultural Counselling By Nooria Mehraby MD Kabul, MM (Pathology) Kabul, M.Counsel UWS Counsellor/Project Officer (Middle Eastern Communities The N.S.W. Service for the Treatment And Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (S.T.A.R.T.T.S)
Afghanistan: MORE THAN 25 YEARS OF WAR 1979 - 1989 RUSSIAN OCCUPATION 1989 - 1992 CIVIL WAR 1992 - 1994 CIVIL WAR (ISLAMIC GOVERNMENT) 1996 Taliban Occupies and destroys KABUL 2001 Taliban rules 85% of the country (Taliban =“Knowledge Seekers”) 2001 US ‘War against Terror’ 26 December 2001 : Interim Government 2 MILLION INTERNALLY DISPLACED MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE KILLED 5 MILLION AFGHAN REFUGEES AROUND THE WORLD
Ethnicity: Pashtun 38% Tajik 25% Uzbek 6% Hazara 19% Minor ethnic groups: (Chahar Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch, and others)
Religion: Islam: - Sunni 84% - Shi'ite 15% Other:1% (Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Zoroastrian and others)
Afghan refugee children playing in the cemetery at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp (Peshawar, Pakistan) Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Afghan refugees and a general view at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Tents at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Mud-brick house at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Repairing a Mud brick house at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Child helping to build her house at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
The Clinic at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Water Supply at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehrabi
Amputee Survivor of the war at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Dying of cancer at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Children helping their relatives to build a mud-brick house at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Child caring for her brother at the “door” of their house at Naser-Bagh Refugee Camp Photo: Nooria Mehraby
Common Psychological Problems • Post traumatic Stress Symptoms • Depression • Generalized Anxiety • Panic disorder • Psychosomatic problems(50%) • Grief and loss • Psychosis
Counselling Afghan Clients • Concept of Counseling • Safety • Exploration • Social reconnection • Practical Assistance • Spiritual Healings
Five Practices: • The “Shahada” that is bearing witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad, p.b.u.h. (Peace be upon him) is the last messenger of Allah, • Establishing regular prayer, (Salat) • Fasting for the whole month of Ramadan • Giving to charity regularly (Zakat), • Pilgrimage to The Holy City of Mecca (Haj) once in a lifetime if one can afford it.
Islamic Burial and Death Customs • Burial • Funeral • Mourning
Type of loss • Babies and children • Still Birth • Miscarriage and abortion • Spouse • Parents
Suicide • The Qur’an says” Do not Commit Suicide ,as God is merciful to you “(Qur’an:Surah 4,verse 29)
Predominant Affects Muslims consider a person who committed suicide, as someone who has turned his/her back on Islam; Shame Guilt Anger Disgrace Stigma Fear
Quotes from Scriptures.. A Hadith states that the actions of a person, acting out of a disturbed mind cannot be held against the person. “If a person has in the heart the goodness to the weight of one atom, and has said, there is no God but Me, he/she shall come out of Hell-fire” Qur’an (21:47)
Divine Decree Muslims believe that Allah creates every soul and life, and that life is a gift from God.
Divine Decree cont… Muslims believe that there is life after death, that Allah appoints a time for each person to pass from this existence into the next and that death is unavoidable and will take place when the time is right.
Trial and Test “Besure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives and the fruits of your toil, but give glad tiding to those who patiently persevere. Who say, when afflicted with calamity: To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return” (Qur’an: 2:155).
Patience Brings Reward “I have no reward other than paradise for my believing servant who is patient when I take away one of his beloved from among his companions of the world” Qur’an: 63 “what ever trouble, illness, anxiety, grief, pain and sorrow afflicts a Muslim, even if it is the pricking of a thorn-Allah removes some of his sins because of it”Hadith
Self Initiative “Surely God does not change the condition in which people are until they change that which is in themselves”Qur’an (13:11).
Positive Thinking • “So the fact is that along with every hardship there is also ease, indeed, with every hardship there is also ease” Qur’an(94:5-6) • “It may well be that Allah brings about ease after hardship” Qur’an(65:7). • “You should know that victory comes with patience, and relief comes after distress, and that with every hardship there is also ease”.Hadith
Devotion to Allah “He guides to Himself those who turn to Him in penitence, those who believe and whose heart has rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in remembrance of Allah, do hearts find rest. (Qur’an 13:27-28).
Mercy and Forgiveness “And I have said: seek forgiveness from your Lord. He was ever forgiving” Qur’an 71:10
Professional Assistance “Seek treatment’s slaves of Allah, for Allah did not create a disease except He created a cure for it”Hadith “Looking after your self is the obligation of each Muslim”. Hadith
Culturally Appropriate Counselling Techniques… • Challenging and reframing distorted thinking • Prayer for God’s mercy and forgiveness • Psycho-spiritual education
Final Note… “Whatever we are given is a gift from Allah. We are not its owner. Everything belongs to Allah and returns To Him.To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return”. Amen