Diversity of Muslim Culture

Think Cultural Health. Think Cultural Health Case Study: Cultural and religious beliefs [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/resources/videos/cultural-and-religious-beliefs

In the video of cultural and religious belief, Nadira Ansari, a middle-aged Muslim woman has a post-operation visit with Dr Smyth, a lady to evaluate the healing process from a head operation. Dr. Smyth has an emergency out of the office and Dr Calley is forced by circumstances to check on Nadira. However, Dr Calley cannot access Nadira’s surgery wound as her culture prohibits her to remove a hijab and expose her head in front of another man who is not her husband. Nonetheless, this irritates Dr Calley as he is insensitive to such a cultural belief. This video illustrates that Muslim women have special perceptions, attitudes and beliefs that may have a direct impact to their health seeking behavior particular in a more diverse culture which does not share the sensitivities of the Islamic culture. 

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Cultural Background

Muslim culture can be termed as a diverse cultural group originating from varying linguistic and cultural background and has different levels of religious beliefs. The Muslim culture accepts a similar religious or cultural aspect including the Day of Judgment, all Prophets from Adam to Muhammad without   discriminating, the Holy Scriptures, and believe in the Oneness of God. Nonetheless, the Muslim presents with a unique faith that is contrary to many beliefs on women rights. The Islamic beliefs prohibits risky behaviors such as intake of harmful drugs, overeating and drinking alcohol under the sharia (law) in Islam Hammoud, Maya and Fetters (2005). Although it may be argued that the Muslim religion is not an oppressive religion, it is evident that majority of Muslim men applies religion to justify violence against women.

Perception of Health

One perception of Muslims towards health is absence of invisible disease where they have non-attentive and toleration attitude towards preventive mechanisms to silent diseases like hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes. Females from Muslim culture prefer females as their health care provider while their male counterparts prefers males to deliver care. The Muslims beliefs in the Quran as a guide towards to healthcare providers and health beliefs and protection against disease

Perception of Illness

According to Ypinazar et al (2006), the Muslim beliefs that the preventive aspect of disease as a process to receive healing from Allah. The Muslims beliefs in prevention of disease in form of amulets, dietary restrictions, and herbal medicines in Muslim culture. The Muslim culture also believes that fasting one day in a month from dawn to dusk helps the body to rest.

Issue Presented

The hijab and the Niqab illustrates a form of empowerment towards the Muslim culture as they follow the teachings of Quaran which illustrates some of the rights of women towards making decision in regard to health (Padela et al, 2012). Another identified issue is that Muslims beliefs on the healing power of Allah and may disregard preventive measures towards illness. 

Ways to Overcome the Issue

According to Campinha-Bacote (2002), while serving individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, it is imperative that health professionals includes cultural competency into physical therapy education and practice. Due to their strong spiritual belief, health professionals may employ a holistic approach to care. In this model, the aspect of spirituality would be addressed in the treatment model (Spector, 2002).

Cultural Barrier in My Nursing Practice

During my nursing practice, I encountered with a husband and a wife where the wife had type 2 diabetes. During the assessment, the male was answering the questions directed to the wife and it was hard to get information from the woman. This led me to educate the couple towards type diabetes and the significance of receiving all the relevant information which was best provided by the patient. In the end, the wife spoke although at low tone and without confidence and it was an illustration of the dominating nature of men in Muslim culture. 


Muslim is a diverse culture and particularly the women who do not have a right to make healthcare decision. In addition, Muslims in their attempts to access health prefer to have a female health care provider. They believe that Allah has healing aspects and will recite their prayers to receive healing from Allah. Therefore, the rich culture requires cultural competency particularly in addressing the perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of Muslims.


Campinha-Bacote, J. (2002). The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services: A Model of Care. Journal of Transcultural Nursing13(3), 181-184.

Hammoud, M. M., White, C. B., & Fetters, M. D. (2005). Opening cultural doors: Providing culturally sensitive healthcare to Arab American and American Muslim patients. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology193(4), 1307-1311.

Padela, A. I., Gunter, K., Killawi, A., & Heisler, M. (2012). Religious values and healthcare accommodations: voices from the American Muslim community. Journal of general internal medicine27(6), 708-715.

Spector, R. (2002). Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness. JOURNAL OF TRANSCULTURAL NURSING, 197-200.Think Cultural Health. Think Cultural Health Case Study: Cultural and religious beliefs[Video]. Retrieved from https://www.thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/resources/videos/cultural-and-religious-beliefs

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