Is It Possible to Determine the Level of Spiritual Well-Being by Measuring Heart Rate Variability During the Reading of Heavenly Books?

  • Maysam Mashhadimalek
  • Nader Jafarnia DabanlooEmail author
  • Shahriar Gharibzadeh


A previous study stated that reading holy books can make a meaningful change in heart rate variability (HRV). The purpose of this study was to test the effect of reading the Quran, the heavenly religious book of the Muslim people in the Arabic language, on the Farsi (Persian)-speaking Muslims with various levels of spiritual well-being (SWB). In addition, novel to this study was the assessment of whether or not it is possible to use HRV features to distinguish individuals with high SWB from those with medium SWB. First, a questionnaire was completed by 31 volunteers to measure their SWB. Baseline ECG measurements were recorded during the resting stage. The volunteers were then asked to read the Quran for 5 min while ECG was recorded again. HRV indexes were calculated and four features were extracted and analyzed based on their correlation with the different levels of SWB. Independent t-tests were conducted and the results established a significant difference in these four features between high SWB and medium SWB groups, during the reading stage. Subsequently, with the use of these four HRV features, an artificial neural network and a decision tree were designed to classify the levels of SWB in volunteers. The outcome of this study demonstrated that it is possible to evaluate the level of SWB in individuals while they are reading the Quran.


Spiritual well-being (SWB) The Holy Quran Autonomic nervous system (ANS) Heart rate variability (HRV) Decision tree Artificial neural network (ANN) 



No external funding was provided. The authors funded this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all the individuals who participated in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maysam Mashhadimalek
    • 1
  • Nader Jafarnia Dabanloo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shahriar Gharibzadeh
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Research BranchIslamic Azad UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Institude for Cognitive and Brain SciencesShahid Beheshti UniversityTehranIran
  3. 3.Basir Eye Research CenterTehranIran

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