Mostafa El-Gashingi


How does Islamic Law view mental illness?


This workshop aims to explore the disconnect between the role of the Muslim psychologist, Islamic Law and contemporary psychological therapy. Modern fatawa (legal opinions) appear to have lumped mental illness into the categorisation of insanity. A cursory view through online fatwa databases such as islamqa1, show clear mental health illiteracy and a struggle to position the relevant fiqh as a tool to understand how a believer with mental illness should engage in particular rites and rituals. This view is not just limited to fatawa, with various research conducted showing the views held by Muslims in certain countries also lacking. Incredible work and efforts have been made by contemporary Muslim psychologists such as the late Prof. Malik Badri, and those who follow him such as the psychologists attached to al-Khalil Centre and Cambridge Muslim College, with reconnecting mental illness with the Islamic traditions of shifa and the spiritual sciences of Sufism. Little work however is done on understanding mental illness through a fiqhi (legal) framework. And it is here where this workshop hopes to create conversation, further research and ultimately provide sufferers with relief from a legal perspective.




Mostafa graduated from a B. Psychology in 2010 and is a currently a registered psychologist with over 10 years experience working in various capacities as a psychologist. Mostafa also has a Grad. Diploma of Islamic Studies and is currently undertaking a PhD in Islamic Studies – the focus of his research being Islamic Law and mental health. He has also undertaken traditional Islamic study at the hands of scholars from around the world with a specific focus on Shafi’i fiqh and Ash’ari theology (which he also possesses an ijaza in). He is an EMDR practitioner, trained in Schema Therapy and also a Board-Approved Supervisor.


1) Understanding the determinants of taklif (legal responsibility) and junun (insanity)
2) Learning the legal rulings of the Shari’a
3) Understanding the foundations of the Islamic legal tradition