Hypnotherapy can be an effective way of coping with stress and anxiety. A hypnotherapist will get his client into a dreamlike state where the patient will be open to new suggestions using verbal repetitions and mental images.
Hypnotherapy has been known to enable clients to quit smoking, or to lose weight. Even more recently, in the US, business leaders have chosen to use hypnotherapy to improve their workplace and business performances.
In Qatar, one man is using hypnotherapy to cure his clients of stress, anxiety, and uncontrolled fear. He has a large following on YouTube, in Arabic, on how to attain relaxation and sleep. His name is Omar Shaath, and hypnotherapy is his side hustle.
We spoke with Omar to find out more about his hypnotherapy side hustle.
But first, let us tackle the basic question in Islam.
Is Hypnotherapy Halal or Haram?
When people hear the word hypnotherapy, they think of hypnosis, where the person under hypnosis is under a trance, and open to suggestions from the hypnotist. Most Muslims believe that this action requires the help of the supernatural (a.k.a. the jinn). However, this is not always the case. Today, psychological behaviors based on scientific research are documented, and we now know more about our behavioral tendencies than ever before.
Hence, hypnotherapy has also entered the realm of science, and even the well-known Mayo Clinic, in the US, has a department teaching and practicing hypnotherapy. Mayo Clinic is an American nonprofit academic medical center focused on integrated patient care, education, and research, where over four thousand doctors and scientists collaborate in their work.
So is hypnotherapy halal or haram? We rely on the fatwa of experts in the field of shari’a and knowledgeable about the topic. We refer to the fatwa on Islamweb that explains the two types of hypnotherapy, and why one is haram while the other method of hypnotherapy is halal.
About Omar Shaath
Omar is based in Qatar and works for the Qatari government in the department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, as a project manager in IT. He started his hypnotherapy work after completing his certification from the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council (GHSC), United Kingdom, and General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR), UK.
Omar delivers his hypnotherapy sessions online and has successfully treated clients living in different countries and continents.
How He First Started
When he first completed his first hypnotherapy course, Omar thought about helping his cousin who had a fear of cats. His cousin’s phobia is so extreme that he can’t be in a room with a cat.
“I had him in mind as the first trial. So I called him up, and asked him, ‘Are you ready? Do you want to do this?’ and he said yes.”
However, before the day came, his cousin would call him up every other day, and asked questions.
According to Omar, the questions were, ‘”Will I get stuck? Are there jinns involved?’. Basically, all the stereotypes about hypnotherapy.”
“Eventually we did the hypnotherapy session. After the session, he said, ‘I want to try’. So I said, ‘let’s go outside’. Because in Qatar there are lots of cats but we couldn’t find one. My other cousin is his neighbor so I said let’s visit our cousin to see if he’s home as he owns two big cats.”
“So we went to our cousin’s house and entered. The cats came out. My cousin who had cat phobia panicked for a second and he didn’t move. And then I started petting the cat, and asked our cousin the cat owner if he can bring some cat food.”
“I then started feeding the cats. While I’m feeding the cats, the cousin [who went through hypnotherapy], started petting the cats.”
“This just blew my mind. From someone who freaks out at the sight of cats to someone who is petting the cat on the same night. This is wow.”
Bringing Hypnotherapy to YouTube
Omar’s YouTube channel is gaining popularity with over a hundred thousand subscribers. According to Omar, “I realized hypnotherapy is a very powerful tool that is almost not known. I wanted to bring awareness to people, so I started contacting celebrities. They either didn’t reply, or they say no, because they didn’t understand hypnotherapy, and so they’re not willing to promote it.”
So Omar decided to do bring awareness himself. “I was doing it on YouTube. My main purpose of going on YouTube is to bring awareness about hypnotherapy. “
“People think hypnosis is about being asleep. Actually, it is about being in a focused state of mind while the body is relaxed. When the body is relaxed, you can concentrate more.”
“So I combined hypnotherapy and Quran in one video. The best mindset to listen to the Quran is this mindset: when you remove all the distractions you just focus on the Quran.”
“I introduce hypnosis [in the video]. At the end of the hypnosis, you can add suggestions, and people accept it and it becomes the truth [for them].”
“Now if you search for the term asleep in Arabic on YouTube, it’s the number one video.”
As a Means of Understanding Yourself
“People think that we act from the outside to inside. Let’s say you see a dog. You runaway because it’s a scary dog.”
“Actually it’s the other way around. From the inside to outside. What happens is what are your thoughts about dogs?”
“You find them scary and that’s why you get scared and run away. What I tell people is that what happens to you depends on your thoughts.”
“What you think is going to evolve into an emotion and then a reaction.”
Key to Success is Your Parents
According to Omar, being a part-time hypnotherapist does not conflict with his day job. Qatari law allows part-time jobs as long as employers have no objection
“If you don’t do hard work, then you’re not gonna get much. However, if you don’t please God, He is not going to please you. And I think this is why we have to take a balance.”
“And I believe the secret is your parents. If you make sure that both of your parents are happy with you, I think a lot of barakah comes from that. I’ve tried it myself. I had a good relationship [with my parents] but it wasn’t good enough. But when I started making sure that they [my parents] are pleased with me, a lot of doors have opened up.”
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.