And most of them follow nothing but conjecture. Surely, conjecture avails nothing against truth. Indeed, Allah is well aware of what they do. (Al Quran 10:37)
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
Demonic possession is not recognized as a psychiatric or medical diagnosis by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioral disorders.
There are many human conditions thought by many to be demonic possession but classed by psychiatry as psychological ailments, particularly dissociative identity disorder. In cases of dissociative identity disorder in which the altered personality is questioned as to its identity, 29% are reported to identify themselves as demons, but psychiatrists see this as a mental disease called demonomania or demonopathy, a monomania in which the patient believes that he or she is possessed by one or more demons.
Some Catholics, contrary to psychiatry, recognize that “those human conditions which psychiatry has given names to under ‘psychiatric disorders’ are manifestations of demonic activity in those human beings, demonic activity which the human being has no participation of will.”
I do not know, how common are demonic possessions as the field of Psychiatry does not recognize them, but, we do have precise incidence and prevalence statistics of psychological illnesses, like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. According to a recent BBC survey, more than a billion people in the world suffer from anxiety and depression. The prevalence of more serious problems, like schizophrenia and bipolar depression are much lower.
The Prevalance Rate for schizophrenia is approximately 1.1% of the population over the age of 18 (source: NIMH) or, in other words, at any one time as many as 51 million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia, including:
6 to 12 million people in China (a rough estimate based on the population)
4.3 to 8.7 million people in India (a rough estimate based on the population)
2.2 million people in USA
285,000 people in Australia
Over 280,000 people in Canada
Over 250,000 diagnosed cases in Britain
Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycles of depression and mania, a euphoric, high-energy state that can result in heightened levels of creativity or output as well as erratic or risky behavior. People with bipolar disorder are at high risk of substance abuse and suicide, and treatment includes psychiatric care and medication.
About 2.4% of people around the world have had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to the first comprehensive international figures on the topic.
The United States has the highest lifetime rate of bipolar disorder at 4.4%, and India the lowest, with 0.1%.
Ideas about Jinns and demons contribute to these illnesses to a small or a large degree. In the Christian societies the blame perhaps lies with the Bible, as the New Testament has countless mentions of demons and narrates several events, when Jesus, may peace be on him, took out demons out of others. For details, please read, Exorcism: Is the Bible to Blame?
In Muslim societies, the blame lies with the “religious scholars,” who in this day and age of information and scientific discovery, have not enlightened themselves with better paradigms and insist on interpreting some of the verses of the Holy Quran, in medieval ways.
For a better understanding of those Quranic verses, please read, Jinns and Demons: A Rational Islamic Perspective.
Now I link some of the videos by the better known Muslim scholars, who have perpetuated this suffering, by demonic possessions, by refusing to understand the Quran in new light and in their insistence of interpreting it in medieval ways and tip toeing with the commentators from centuries ago.
Dr. Zakir Naik
Dr. Yasir Qadhi
Dr. Tahir ul Qadri
Additional Reading and viewing