Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 1075–1084 | Cite as

Acceptability of Friday Sermons as a Modality for Health Promotion and Education

  • Aasim I. PadelaEmail author
  • Sana Malik
  • Nadia Ahmed
Original Paper


Our objective was to assess the acceptability and feasibility of using sermons for health promotion in American Muslim mosque communities by deploying a tailored sermon in two mosque communities. With input from a community advisory board and resident imams, sermons communicated four health-related themes: (i) good health is a grant from Allah, (ii) one’s body is trust and must be cared for, (iii) trusting in God’s plan does not preclude taking actions to care for oneself, and (iv) community members are caretakers of one another. Self-administered, post-sermon questionnaires asked attendees about the acceptability of the sermon and the sermon-giver, and to identify survey themes. Data analyses involved descriptive statistics and regression modeling to assess variance in acceptability across race/ethnicity and gender. Of the 235 respondents, the majority found the sermon content acceptable and desired to hear health-based sermons more often (72 and 67% respectively). There were no significant differences in acceptability of sermon or sermon-giver by gender or race/ethnicity. Our study demonstrates that theologically-framed health messaging is acceptable within sermons in American Muslim mosque communities. This study underscores the potential utility of mosque sermons for health education programs and for health behavior interventions in American mosques.


Religion and health Health promotion Health education Community intervention Sermons Community-based participatory research 



We are grateful to the research team in implementing the study: Shaheen Nageeb, Hadiyah Muhammad, Milkie Vu, Akila Ally, and Ahamed Milhan. We also thank Drs. Michael Quinn and Monica Peek in for their mentorship in study design, grant writing, and project implementation, and Sang Lee for conducting statistical analyses. Finally, we are immensely grateful for the critical support and advice of our community advisory board, imams, and mosque staff without which the project could not have been accomplished: Fatema Mirza, Nancy Romanchek, Shehla Diba, Anam Eljabali, MahRukh Mian, Kifah Shukair, Masood Iqbal, Luma Mahairi, Lynn Salahi, Beenish Manzoor, Ayesha Sultana, Shaykh Kifah Mustapha, Mufti Nazim Mangera, Kamran Hussain, Amanat Ansari, Ali Tai, Lila Zegar, Rula Zegar, Aisha Rahima, Badie Ali, and Elham Atieh.


This work was supported by the Mentored Research Scholar Grant in Applied and Clinical Research (grant number MRSG-14-032-01-CPPB) from the American Cancer Society supported AIP’s time-effort and provided project funds including those supporting SM and NA.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


  1. 1.
    Ba-Yunus I. Muslims of Illinois, a demographic report. Chicago: East-West University; 1997. p. 9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Muslims American Demographic Facts. [cited 2010 January 19];
  3. 3.
    Smith T. The Muslim population of the United States: the methodology of estimates. Public Opin Q. 2002;66:404–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Muslim Americans. A national portrait—an in-depth analysis of America’s most diverse religious community. The Muslim West Facts Project; 2009.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Padela A, Curlin F. Religion and disparities: considering the influences of islam on the health of American Muslims. J Relig Health. 2012;52:1333–45.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Shah S, et al. Arab American immigrants in New York: health care and cancer knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs. J Immigr Minor Health. 2008;10(5):429–36.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sachedina AA. Islamic biomedical ethics: principles and application. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Shahawy S, Deshpande N, Nour N. Cross-cultural obstetric and gynecologic care of Muslim patients. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;126(5):969–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Winett RA, et al. Church-based health behavior programs: using social cognitive theory to formulate interventions for at-risk populations. Appl Prev Psychol. 1999;8(2):129–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Baig AA, et al. Picture good health: a church-based self-management intervention among Latino adults with diabetes. J Gen Intern Med. 2015;30(10):1481–90.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Williams R, et al. A study of rural church health promotion environments: leaders’ and members’ perspectives. J Relig Health. 2012;51(1):148–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Allen J, et al. A pilot test of a church-based intervention to promote multiple cancer-screening behaviors among Latinas. J Cancer Educ. 2014;29(1):136–43.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Campbell MK, et al. Church-based health promotion interventions: evidence and lessons learned. Annu Rev Public Health. 2007;28:213–34.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Derose KP, et al. An intervention to reduce HIV-related stigma in partnership with African American and Latino churches. AIDS Educ Prev. 2014;26(1):28–42.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Davis DT, et al. The urban church and cancer control: a source of social influence in minority communities. Public Health Rep. 1994;109(4):500–6.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sauaia A, et al. Church-based breast cancer screening education: impact of two approaches on Latinas enrolled in public and private health insurance plans. Prev Chronic Dis. 2007;4(4):A99.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Banerjee AT, et al. Factors facilitating the implementation of church-based heart health promotion programs for older adults: a qualitative study guided by the precede-proceed model. Am J Health Promot. 2015;29(6):365–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Banerjee A, et al. A pilot examination of a moque-based physical activity intervention for South Asian Muslim women in Ontario, Canada. J Immigr Minor Health. 2016; 19:349–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Underwood C, Kamhawi S, Friday sermons, family planning and gender equity attitudes and actions: evidence from Jordon. J Public Health. 2014;37:641–8.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mfaume M, et al. Mosques against malaria. World Health Forum. 1997;18(1):35–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Padela A, et al. The role of imams in American Muslim health: perspectives of Muslim community leaders in Southeast Michigan. J Relig Health. 2011;50(2):359–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hashem M. The Muslim Friday Khutba: veiled and unveiled themes. Dearborn: Institute for Social Policy and Understanding; 2009.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Vu M, et al. Muslim women’s perspectives on designing mosque-based women’s health interventions—an exploratory qualitative study. Women Health. 2017. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2017.1292344 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Padela AI, et al. Religious beliefs and mammography intention: findings from a qualitative study of a diverse group of American Muslim women. Psychooncology. 2016;25(10):1175–82.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Padela, A, et al. The influence of religion upon American Muslim mammography beliefs and practices. In: 36th Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. San Antonio, TX; 2015.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Center, P.R. Muslim Americans: no signs of growth in alienation or support for extremism. Washington, DC: Center, P.R.; 2011. pp. 1–127.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Arriola K, et al. Promoting policy and environmental change in faith-based organizations: description and findings from a mini-grants program. Am J Health Promot. 2016;31:192–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Berkley-Patton J, et al. Assessmet of HIV-related stigma in a US faith-based HIV education and testing intervention. J Int AIDS Soc. 2013; 13(16):18644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Initiative on Islam and Medicine, Program on Medicine and Religion, Department of MedicineThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of MedicineThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Section of Emergency Medicine and General Internal MedicineThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations