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The Effect of Holy Quran on the Brain

The overall objective of this literature review is to establish the significance of the general field of study and consequently identify a place where new contributions can be made. The bulk of this chapter is on critical evaluation of various studies on the study topic so as to appropriately investigate the research question which is: what are the effects of reciting and meditating on Holy Quran on the brain and the neuro-electric changes that occur during the recitation and meditation of the holy Quran.

Studies show that EEG can be used in showing brain activities. Many functional brain activities and disorders such as neurological disorders, epilepsy, emotions, anxiety, dyslexia, memory, depression among other brain activities have been correlated with specific EEG changes (Alwasiti et al, 2010). Given the pivotal role the brain plays, it is important to establish if the holy Quran has any effect on the brain.

Shekha et al (2013) conducted a study to find out the effects of listening to Quran recitation on electroencephalogram (EEG) brain waves. This study was took place in Egypt and employed an experimental research design. The study population involved 11 healthy students aged between 20-24 years who did not have any special education on music. All study subjects had standard hearing capacity, were right handed and had rhythm in the spontaneous EEG (Shekha et al, 2013). Consent was obtained from all study participants although the study does not indicate if ethic approval was sought before the study was conducted.

During the experiment, 3 lead were used to derive the EEG and the Program Powerlab data question system was utilized. EEG activity was recorded using 2 electrodes when students were listening to music and Quran recitations. The results were analyzed through the GraphPad Prism software and the t-test correlation, descriptive statistics and ANOVA were utilized. According to the results, during periods of listening to Quran recitation, occipital alpha waves were higher as compared to periods of listening to slow and hard music (Shekha et al, 2013). This indicates that reciting Quran generated a significant relaxation in the brain and this can be attributed to the specific effect of Quran on human heart which affects some hormones and chemicals responsible for relaxation. This is line with Ghilan (2013) who explains that listening to Holy Quran recitation stimulates the temporal lobe which houses the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain. Additionally, research has shown that the parietal lobes become deeply engaged when Holy Quran is being memorized and also reciting Quran heavily activates the frontal lobes and the primary motor cortex of the brain (Ghilan, 2013). This activation and stimulation of the brain from the meditation and recitation of the Holy Quran is what produces relaxation effects in the brain. The major limitation of this study is that the sample size was small and hence generalization of the results is difficult.

Abdullah & Omar (2011) conducted a study to investigate the effect of listening to Quran recitation on the human brain by recording electrical activities of the brain using Electroencephalogram (EEG). This study employed an experimental research design. The study population included 14 study subjects. Ag- AgCl
electrodes were used (Abdullah & Omar, 2011). However, this study does not indicate if informed consent was sought from the study participants or if ethical approval was sought before the study was carried out. During the experiment, the study subjects listened to Quran recitation for 3 minutes and the EEG waves detected and recorded. The data was analyzed using SPSS software and the
correlation, descriptive statistics as well as
analysis of
(ANOVA) were used in the analysis. The results showed that the brain generated the higher alpha wave of electrical activity during when study subjects were listening to Quran recitations: this was demonstrated by higher alpha wave magnitude during listening to Quran recitation. The results of this study demonstrated that the listening to recitation of the Holy Quran can relax the brain (Abdullah & Omar, 2011). The results of this study concur with previous studies which established that listening to Holy Quran recitation relaxes the brain and hence can be used in reducing stress, anxiety or any other mental condition. One limitation of this study is that the sample size was small and hence it would be not appropriate to generalize the study results.

Similarly, Alwasiti et al (2010) sought to investigate the neuro-electrical changes that occur during a Muslim prayer and recitation of the holy Quran. The study was conducted in Malaysia. The study was a pilot study that employed an experimental study design. The aim of the pilot study was to identify the EEG changes that occur from reciting a Muslim prayer from the holy Quran. Study subjects included a Muslim man, aged 32 years, right handed and without any previous mental or chronic disease. The study subject recited the Muslim prayer and the EEG changes were recorded simultaneously. EEG changes resulting from attention, concentration and the spiritual factor of reciting the prayer were recorded. The data was analyzed using topographical maps, amplitude asymmetry difference, FFT coherence difference and FFT phase lag difference (Alwasiti et al, 2010). The study results indicated that recitation of the holy Quran and the prayer causes changes in the brain although there was no significant change in the alpha power during prayer and holy Quran recitation (Alwasiti et al, 2010). This study differs with previous studies that show that alpha power increases during meditation or recitation of the holy Quran. The key limitation of this study is that there was only one study subject which limits applicability of the study results.

The above studies show that there are changes in EEG waves and in turn changes in brain activity during meditation and listening to recitation of the Holy Quran. Basically, Electroencephalography (EEG) demonstrates the action of the brain. Therefore, the EEG changes are related to various functional cognitive activities such as brain relaxation, intelligence, memory efficacy and also mental status of the brain. Therefore, it is important to further analyze the effect of the holy Quran in the brain order to find out the potential therapeutic and relaxing effect of the holy Quran some abnormal neural and mental conditions.


Abdullah A & Omar Z, 2011, The Effect of Temporal EEG Signals while Listening to Quran Recitation, Proceeding of the International Conference on Advanced Science, Engineering and Information Technology.

Alwasiti H, Aris A & Jantan A, 2010, EEG activity in Muslim prayer: A pilot study, Maejo Int. J. Sci. Technol, 4(03), 496-511.

Ghilan M, 2013, Brain Research: Quranic Memorization Key to Muslim Scientific Discoveries, The Islamic Post.

Shekha M, Hassan A & Othman S, 2013, Effects of
Waves, Egypt. J. Exp.Biol. (Zool.),
9(1): 119