14 Feb

    A research study in Pakistan could bring therapeutic adult coloring books to Islamic college students for their brain health recovery from stress.  

  The study by lead investigator Bibi Hajra tested the effectiveness of coloring books in reducing depression, anxiety and stress.   

  Hajra used coloring books with Islamic shapes and patterns. Drawings in the books were designed with sensitivity to Islamic customs and practices.    

  Coloring books were “proved to be amazingly restorative and can offer assistance in producing wellness, quietness, mindfulness and the precise same benefits which reflection occurs in the brain,” Hajra states.   

  Islamic art must abide by two requirements set out by the prophet Muhammad. Living creatures cannot be drawn because they reflect Allah, the Creator. Also, inexpensive materials, such as wood or clay, must be used, Hajra writes.   

  For those reasons, Islamic art relies on plants as well as geometric patterns for creative expressions. Calligraphy is used by Muslims for reflection on the Quran as they write scriptural passages in artistic forms.     

  The study, “The Use of Islamic Patterned Art Therapy: Healing of Psychological Problems Among College Students,” was published April 15, 2021 by the Journal of Religion and Health. The article can be found on the Springer Link website.   

  While therapeutic Muslim coloring books might be a new invention, Islamic art therapy has been around for many years.

  For instance, Jasiah Latifi, writing for the Khalil Center, notes that, “The Muslim Community, for generations, has found artistic expressions of their faith to have immense healing properties.”   

   Muslim art therapy has been used to help those with cancer and terminal illness. Art helps with communication when words fail. It also helps people with chronic diseases maintain positive attitudes.   

  Besides offering health benefits, the arts also help with spirituality as well. 

  “Through their art, one can learn to let one’s spirit, which has a capacity for divine intuition, lead,” Latifi writes.   

  Latifi’s article, “Art Therapy in the Muslim Community,” can be found on the Khalil Center’s website. The Khalil Center is an organization offering faith-based mental health services for Muslims in several cities, including Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago and New York City.  

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