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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

American Muslims—from clinicians to imams and grandmothers—carry a long tradition of “Islamic medicine.” They combine complementary and alternative health and medical practices and rely on rituals, scripture, prophetic tradition, and shari’ah principles. This article examines the healing practices, beliefs, and concerns of American Muslims. It first looks at contemporary Muslim contributions to international biomedicine before turning to the hadith and the Qur’an as the basis of Muslim health and medicine. It then discusses the American Muslims’ emphasis on prevention and purity as the foundation of health maintenance and healing practices, as well as interactions with health-care personnel and facilities. It also considers fasting, eating, and medicinals among American Muslims and the link between Islamic behavioral norms and individual health. Furthermore, the article explores how Islam views mental health and mental illness, analyzes the attitude of Muslim patients toward American biomedicine, and focuses on Muslim biomedical providers/professionals in the United States. Finally, it probes the local and supralocal significance of Muslim complementary and alternative medicine use.

Keywords: American Muslims, medicine, healing practices, biomedicine, hadith, Qur’an, health, mental health, alternative medicine, Islam

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