Shrines, Drugs, and Mental Health in South Asian Culture: A Case Study of Rahman Baba Shrine, Peshawar Pakistan
Keywords:Drug Use, Mystical Substance, Shrines, Rehman Baba, Marijuana, Pakhtun
This phenomenological study explores the traits of substance-induced mysticism at the Rehman Baba shrine in Pakistan. The shrine of Rehman Babais frequently visited by many. Some of the Malang(monks) use marijuana to induce a mystic experience. It has become a socially acceptable practice at this shrine. It uses non-participant observation of the substance users and exploratory interviews along with focused group discussion at Rahman Baba shrine. The findings indicate that only marijuana is used at the shrine as a holy drug. They view substance use as a source of love for humanity, relaxation from social stresses, and harmony among the users. It is further used to escape from the challenges of social life. Merton’s ‘individual’s modes of adaptation’ has been used to explain the data.
Abbas, S., (2011). Shrines become centers of illegal activities. Retrieved from November 11, 2016, from
Afridi, S K., Minas, H, Afridi, N. K. Fatima, S., and Chopra, P. (2010). Community Mental Health in Peshawar, the Need to Reform. Journal of Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad: 22(4)
Asghar, V. (2016). ‘Drug’ use: The misunderstood herb. The Express Tribune, Pakistan (June).
Basharat, M. (2008, May 29). Unchecked drug use at Bari Imam. The Nation. Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/29-May-2008/Unchecked-drug-use-at-Bari-Imam
Bergin, A.E. (1983). Religiosity and mental health: A critical reevaluation and meta-analysis. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 14(2), 170-184.
Charcot, J.M. (1882). Leçond’ouverture. ProgrèsMédical, 10:336.
Chaudhry, H.R. (2008). PSYCHIATric care in Asia: Spirituality and religious connotations.
D’Souza R. (2002). Do patients expect psychiatrists to be interested in spiritual issues? Australas Psychiatry,10, 44-47.
David, D.B., Malik, M.H. (2000). Stress and psychiatric disorder in Urban Rawalpindi, community survey. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2000; 177, 557–62.
Dein, S. (2010, January 10). Religion, Spirituality, and Mental Health. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/religion-spirituality-and-mental-health/page/0/3
Francis Group: London.
Freud, S. (1927). Future of an illusion. Strachey J, trans-ed. Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Richmond, UK: Hogarth Press
Fuller, Robert R. (2000). Stairways to Heaven. Westview Press. ISBN 0813366127
Gadit, AAMA. (2005). Disaster, mental health and rescuing medical professionals. Journal Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad. 2005; 17(4):), 1–2.
Gadit, AAM. (2007). Mental Health Model: comparison between a developed and a developing country. Journal of Medicine [serial online] 2007; 1(1). Retrieved January 10, 2017, from [cited 2011 Aug 16]. Available from:http://www.scientificjournals.org/journals2007/articles/1047.htm.
Gadit, A. (2007). Psychiatry in Pakistan: 1947-2006: A new balance sheet. J Pak Med Assoc, 57: 453-63
Gadit, A., and AM, Vahidy, A. (1999). Mental health morbidity pattern in Pakistan. Journal of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan. ,1999;9:, 362–65.
Government of Pakistan. (1998). Report of the Subcommittee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse./ (1998). Ninth Five-year Plan (1998–2003). )/ Prospective plan 2003–2013. Islamabad, Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan.
Henkel, D. (2011). “Unemployment and substance use: a review of the literature (1990-2010).”Curr Drug Abuse Rev, 4(1): 4-27.
Hinnells, J., (2005). The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. London: Routledge Taylor and
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/12/24/uncategorized/shrines-become-centre-of-illegal-activities/. Dated 20-11-2016 at 7:00 pm.
Hussain, S., Naqvi, H. A. (2007). Drug Addiction in Pakistan: A Neglected Agenda. Journal of Pakistan Psychiatric Society. , July-December 2007 Volume 4(2).
International Review of Psychiatry.,Volume20, . Pages: 477-483. Retrieve November 20, 2016 from fromhttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540260802397602. Dated 20-11-2016
Interview with Ayub, Senior Drug Advisor for Pakistan, The Colombo Plan, Asia and Pacific / (28-12-2016).
Irfan, M. (2013). Integration of mental health in primary care in Pakistan. J Postgrad Med Inst., 27(4):),349-51.
James, W. (1902). The Variety of Religious Experience. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from http://csp.org/experience/james-varieties/james-varieties.html
Jane-LIopis, and E., and Matytsina, I. (2006). Mental health and alcohol, drugs and tobacco: a review of the comorbidity between mental disorders and the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Review, Vol. 25, Iss (. 6),:515 – 536
Javidi, H., and Yadollahie, M. (2012). “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.”Int J Occup Environ Med,3(1): ), 2-9.
Khalily, M.T. (2010). Developing an integrated approach to the mental health issues in Pakistan. Journal of Interprofessional Care. ,2010; 24(2):),168–72.
Khalily, M.T. (2011). Mental health problems in Pakistani society as a consequence of violence and trauma: a case for better integration of care. Int J Integr Care. ,2011 Oct-Dec; 11:e128. PMCID: PMC3225239
Khalily, TM.T., Fooley, S., Hussain, I., and Bano, M. . (2011). Violence, psychological trauma and possible acute post-traumatic interventions in Pakistani society. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, 2011; 1: 1–9.
King, R., (2005). Mysticism and Spirituality. London: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group: London. P. 307.
Merton, R.K. (1957). Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: The Free Press
Mian, A. (2016, Oct 9). The News. (Oct 9, 2016). ‘50 million people with mental disorders in Pakistan’.The News International. by Dr. AyshaMian, Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Agha University Karachi, Pakistan.
O'Shaugnessy, W.B. (1842). On the preparations of the Indian Hemp, or Gunjah. Transactions of the Medical and Physical Society of Bombay, 8: 421-61.
Rank, O. (n.d.). Mystic Quote. In Brainy Quotes. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/ottorank195619.html?src=t_mysticism
Reich, W. (1949). Ether, God and devil: cosmic superimposition. Farrar Straus & Giroux Publishers.
Retrieved through: January 10, 2017, from http://ayubmed.edu.pk/JAMC/PAST/22-4/Afridi.pdf. Date 10-01-2017
Salsman, J.M., and Carlson, C.R. (2005). Religious Orientation, Mature Faith, and Psychological Distress: Elements of Positive and Negative Associations. Journal for Scientific Study of Religion, 44(2), 201-209
Seybold, K.S., and Hill, P.C. (2001). The Role of Religion and Spirituality in Mental and Physical Health. Current Directions in Psychology, 10(1), 21-24.
Sparkc. (n.d). Spiritual Use of Cannabis. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from fromhttp://www.sparcsf.org. Tue, 04/19/2016
Tepper L, Rogers SA, Coleman EM, et al. (2001). The prevalence of religious coping among persons with persistent mental illness. Psychiatr Serv., 52, 660-665.
World Health Organization. (2001). World health report: global burden of disease. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2001.
World Health Organization. (2005). Mental Health Atlas 2005 (revised edition). Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2005.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Shakeel Ahmed, Imran Ahmad Sajid , Samia Shakeel
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.