Mental health and Islamic religion online: An intertextual analysis

  • Najma Al Zidjaly


In this article, the discursive construction of mental health and the role religion plays in its representation are examined using four psychological consultations collected in fall 2016 from, the largest network for Islamic information. Using computer mediated discourse analysis (Herring 2004), intertextuality was identified as a communicative strategy psychologists draw upon to turn mental health consultations into platforms to perpetuate Islamic authoritative discourses (e. g. submission to God, prayer, and collectivity). Mental illnesses were also constructed within the Islamic context as supernatural and cured by religion, rather than as conditions treated through medical and psychological intervention. Intertextually, the authoritative discourses are evoked overtly through direct quotations from the books of Islam and covertly through referencing certain ritualistic discourses (words, themes, and practices) in the opening, main, and closing sections of the consultations. Permeating consultations with religious discourse, and cementing them with the speech acts of warning, scolding, and advice to not think or act otherwise, create religious authority in the context of health online. These actions also maintain Islamic authoritative discourses, and reaffirm Islamic cultural identity, while blurring the lines between medicine and religion online.
Al Zidjaly, N. (2017). Mental health and Islamic religion online: An intertextual analysis. Linguistik Online, 87(8).