Title

Belief in prayers and its role in healing among family practice patients visiting a teaching hospital in Karachi, Pakistan

Document Type

Article

Department

Family Medicine

Abstract

Objectives: To document the practice and belief in offering prayers to have a favorable impact on healing among family practice patients at a teaching hospital in Karachi.
Methodology: This study was conducted at Community Health Centre, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan in July 2008. A questionnaire was designed that included the demographic profile of patients comprising age, sex, marital status, religion, religious sect, ethnic group, education & occupation as well as questions in accordance with the study objective. It was administered to 400 patients visiting outpatient department of the hospital against calculated sample size of 385. Participants were explained the study objective, a written consent was taken and full confidentiality was assured.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 34.33 years, majority of the patients were males (65%) with 65.6% having grade XII or more education. The majority of subjects was Urdu-speaking (76.5%) and belonged to Sunni sect (81.3%). The practice of offering prayers for healing was found statistically significant with Sindhi, Katchi, Haro & Kashmiri groups (p-value=<0.001 each); religious sects of Sunni (p-value=0.002) & Ismaili (p-value=<0.001) & with students (p-value=0.005). The number of "Shia" sect participants was small but they all had offered prayers for healing. This practice was not found statistically significant with gender, marital status and education. Prayers for healing is practiced by 96.5% of the participants and 95.8% believe that it does cause healing. Almost ninety three percent of participants believe that religion gives us the concept of healing through prayers. According to 97.5% of the participants medical treatment should be combined along with prayers for healing.
Conclusion: Prayer, its practice and belief in having a favorable impact on healing and recovery from illness is widespread among family practice patients. Modern day clinicians must give due consideration to this practice and belief among their patients.

Publication

Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences