What Is Riya (Ostentation)?

How Do I Deal With a Person With Schizophrenia Who Claims to Be Muslim?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I work as a support assistant, with adults with Schizophrenia. I have one individual that I support who claims to be a Muslim, but he says things like “I am God”. Also, I have seen him praying to Hindu gods. I still treated him like a Muslim, i.e. I asked him whether the meat he was eating halal. How should I deal with him?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Thank you for your question.

As a care-giver, your role is to support and assist the person with diligence and ihsan, regardless of their faith. If the patient is Muslim in origin, or has said he is Muslim during his sane state, then you should treat him as a Muslim and ignore his words during his schizophrenic episodes.

There does not seem to be any need in your capacity of work to ascertain the patient’s faith, and one should not make takfir of anyone, especially if they are mentally unwell. However, if your role includes choosing what food the patient eats by buying or preparing the patient’s food yourself, then you should choose halal meat for him.

If there are other religious considerations, then I advise you consult his family and discuss his background and history.

May Allah make your work easy and cure our hearts and minds.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.