Diversity of Muslim Culture

Diversity of Muslim Culture

In the video case study titled Cultural and Religious Beliefs, Nadira Ansari, a middle-aged Muslim woman has a post-operation visit with Dr. Smyth, 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. 

Cultural Background

The Muslim culture can be termed as a diverse cultural group originating from varying linguistic and cultural backgrounds and has different levels of religious belief. It accepts a similar religious or cultural aspect as Christianity including the Day of Judgment, all Prophets from Adam to Muhammad without discriminating, the Holy Scriptures, and belief in the Oneness of God. Nonetheless, Islam presents with a unique faith that is contrary to many beliefs on women’s rights. Islamic beliefs prohibit risky behaviors such as intake of harmful drugs, overeating, and drinking alcohol under the sharia (law) (Hammoud, White, and Fetters, 2005). Although it may be argued that the Muslim religion is not an oppressive religion, it is evident that many Muslim men apply 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 tolerating attitude towards preventive mechanisms to silent diseases like hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes. Females from Muslim culture prefer females as their health care providers while their male counterparts prefer males to deliver care. The Muslim use the Quran as a guide towards healthcare providers and health beliefs and protection against disease

Perception of Illness

According to Padela, Gunter, Killawi, and Heisler (2012), Muslims believe in the preventive aspect of disease as a process to receive healing from Allah. They believe in prevention of disease in the 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 illustrate a form of empowerment towards the Muslim culture as they follow the teachings of Quran, which illustrates some of the rights of women towards making decision concerning health (Padela et al, 2012). Another identified issue is that Muslims believe in 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 include 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 man repeatedly answered the questions directed to the wife and it was hard to get information from the woman. I then saw the need to educate the couple about 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. 


Islam is a diverse culture and is typical of women who do not have a right to make healthcare decision. In addition, Muslim women, in their attempts to access healthcare while not breaking laws of their religion, prefer to have a female health care provider. They believe that Allah has healing powers 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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