Descending with angels

Islamic exorcism and psychiatry: a film monograph

By Christian Suhr

Descending with angels


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4033-3
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.00 (incl. VAT)
  • Published Date: July 2019
  • BIC Category: MEDICAL / Psychiatry / General, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Islamic Studies, Psychology, Islamic Worship, Rites & Ceremonies, Medical Anthropology, Society & social sciences / Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography
  • Series: Anthropology, Creative Practice and Ethnography


Over several years, Christian Suhr followed Muslim patients being treated for jinn possession and psychosis in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital. Through rich filmic and textual case studies, he shows how the bodies and souls of Muslim patients become a battlefield between the moral demands of Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states.

The book reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work to produce relief from pain, and also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain. Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera, both text and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, which allows patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.


Christian Suhr is a filmmaker, Associate Professor and the Coordinator of the Eye & Mind MSc Programme in Visual Anthropology at Aarhus University


List of figures
List of film scenes
A guide to the book and film
Note on translation, transliteration and informed consent
1 Invisibility and Islamic healing in the Wild West
2 How to take jinn possession seriously
3 Jinn exorcisms on YouTube
4 How to become a patient
5 Healing through sacrifice
6 Ruqya, psychotropics and montage
7 No healing here

To purchase as an ebook, please visit your preferred ebook supplier

Apple Kobo

Sign up to our newsletter
and receive 30% off all future book orders


Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout