The Ruh Story

Omar Khan
April 28, 2024
Omar Khan
Co-Founder & CEO, Ruh
Omar Khan
Clinically Reviewed
The Ruh Story

Introducing Ruh

In our Muslim communities, mental health struggles often feel hidden away. Talking about mental well-being can be awkward, and there's a big stigma around getting help. Or, it may be that the support that we intend to seek doesn’t align with our faith. It's time to create a space for open conversation and support aligned with our Islamic principles. 

And this is exactly what we are here to change.

We're here to address the quiet struggles that so many Muslims face. We're building a future where mental well-being is embraced, and not ignored by ourselves and the people around us. 

So, Who Are We? 

Ruh is a Muslim-led mental wellness brand that aims to help improve the mental and spiritual well-being of the world. We accompany our clients on their path to mental well-being and our goal is to break down the stigma around seeking help and empower everyone in our community to prioritize their mental health.

We offer three resources to support your mental health journey:

  • Ruh Care Online Therapy Platform: An online therapy platform offering accessible, culturally, and faith-responsive mental health care.
  • Ruh Care Directory: The largest global directory of Muslim therapists, aiming to help clients find therapists nearby who share their values.
  • Ruh Mindfulness App: An Islamic mindfulness & contemplation app that integrates psychology and Islam, designed to improve your mental and spiritual well-being.

Our Story

The journey with Ruh started in response to a challenge that affected many of us, including myself personally, during the COVID-19 lockdown. The social isolation and the resulting emotional distress affected the well-being of millions. When researching online resources and apps, I found the existing solutions often leaned towards Buddhist or secular practices, which didn't resonate with me, as I always felt the Islamic element was missing. After speaking to several community members, I realized many people felt the same way and some in fact excluded themselves from accessing current mental health solutions because they associated being mindful with their faith and didn’t find a solution that connected the two. This experience sparked the idea for a different approach – a mental health platform built specifically with the Muslim lived experience in mind.

At a time when privacy concerns were rampant with Muslim prayer apps, we developed with the belief that, with all the resources and technical knowledge we possessed, we could develop solutions and serve our community ourselves, rather than other communities taking advantage of us and our data. This inspired us to create an app that addresses Muslim mental health needs based on our Islamic principles. Fast forward to 2021, and the Ruh mindfulness app was launched. 

The Beginning: Ruh Mindfulness App

We saw that existing mental health options weren't enough. Local clinics and helplines were a good start, but they didn't address the specific needs of Muslims. Academic research was progressing significantly in Muslim Mental Health and Islamic Psychology, but there weren't many easy-to-use tools available at scale to the general public. So, we used technology to design a solution that addressed the unique mental health needs and preferences of Muslims.

The Ruh Mindfulness app was our first effort to make mental health care accessible to all. Here's what one of our users had to say about their experience:

"I enjoy the Islam aspect of it tied into meditation and I really feel a renewed purpose after doing a couple of sessions." - Farhan, a Ruh Mindfulness App User

“Every time i listen to the content here I feel at ease, I feel reassured and I feel closer to my rabb.” - a Ruh Mindfulness App User

Ruh Mindfulness App offers a variety of features to help you on your mental health journey:

  • Contemplation Exercises: Guided mindfulness sessions rooted in mental health and Islamic perspectives for deep contemplation and spiritual connection.
  • Breathing Exercises: Techniques designed to navigate stress and restore balance to your mental well-being.
  • Nature Soundscapes: Calming ambient nature sounds to create a serene backdrop for work, study, or a tranquil ambiance for restful sleep.
  • Sleep Stories: Crafted narratives for both adults and kids, seamlessly blending entertainment with relaxation to help you transition into a restful sleep.
  • Calming Quran: Soothing Quranic recitations provide a therapeutic backdrop for work, study, or winding down before sleep.

With over 19,000 downloads worldwide, the Ruh Mindfulness app has touched the lives of countless Muslims, guiding them and allowing them to experience the transformative power of mindfulness in their lives. What made us even happier was when we heard the feedback of non-Muslims who also tried the app and appreciated its inclusive approach and the spiritual depth it offers.

The Next Phase: Ruh Care Directory

As we heard from our amazing app users, their stories and feedback really touched us. While many found peace in the app's features, others requested more personalized mental health support beyond mindfulness. It became clear that the app was a great start, but there was a gap in access to Muslim therapists for our community.

This became even more real at our events, where we met people from all backgrounds - Muslim and non-Muslim. Many attendees loved the app's mindfulness side, but a common concern kept coming up: how to find Muslim therapists who understand their cultural and religious needs.

The constant question, "Can the app connect us with Muslim therapists?" stuck with us. We knew we needed a complete solution, something that nourished the soul while also providing culturally responsive therapy. So, in October 2022, the Ruh Care Directory was launched to bridge this gap.

We established several partnerships and heavily invested in reaching out to Muslim therapists worldwide to join. By January 2023, the Ruh Care Directory became the world's largest directory of Muslim therapists with over 670 listed therapists from 18 different countries. This wasn't just a milestone for us, it was a lifeline for many seeking support. Therapists had a platform with free, unlimited client referrals, helping them reach more people. And clients had a simple way to find therapists who understood their culture and beliefs, making therapy feel more accessible and in tune with their lived experiences as Muslims.

The Innovation Chapter: Ruh Care Online Therapy Platform

The success of our therapist directory was incredible, but we knew our journey wasn't over. Our community's feedback was loud and clear that there were still several barriers to accessing care. Simple things such as booking therapy sessions felt like a hurdle.

We realized there was a crucial link missing in making support accessible, from prevention to finding and connecting with the right therapist. That's why we built the Ruh Care Online Therapy Platform, a HIPAA-compliant platform with a vision to deliver exceptional care, aligned with our Islamic values, accessible all in one platform.

We then hired our own dedicated team of (over 14 and growing!) therapists and launched in August 2023. We offer individual therapy, couples counseling, child & teen therapy (from 3+ years old), and support for families. Our team of licensed Muslim therapists come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and are available to support through text, voice, or video across Canada, the UK, and Australia. We also offer support in 11 languages: English, Arabic, French, Hindi, Urdu, Somali, German, Harari, Punjabi, Creole, and American Sign Language (ASL).

Through the Ruh Care Platform, our promise is also elevated to help you connect with a Muslim therapist who practices in line with our Islamic values. A trusted resource for seeking therapy for our community.

With an award-winning technology and clinician-led team, at Ruh, we believe miracles happen when you combine powerful technology with amazing people. We were driven further when we asked our clients a question in our therapy matching form, and from over 1,940+ responses:

53% admitted they would not seek support if a Muslim therapist wasn't available.

It showcases how much our community values having someone who truly understands them. And for that every one in two people, we are working even harder to fill the gap through the Ruh Care Platform.

From scheduling appointments to video chats, the Ruh Care Platform offers everything a client would need in one user-friendly interface. The process to get started is in three simple steps:

  1. Fill out a matching form: Share your preferences to help us find the perfect therapist match for you and your needs.
  2. Get a personalized match instantly: Easily book a free 15-minute intro call directly in your therapist’s calendar when matched. 
  3. Start therapy: Connect with your therapist however you feel comfortable - via chat, phone, or video on your mobile or desktop.

"I wish I knew therapists like you existed during my past struggles with depression." - Samira

Hearing from those who've walked the path of healing can be incredibly powerful. Samira's journey highlights a sentiment many of us feel deeply – the longing for understanding and connection during our toughest times. At Ruh Care, we aim to be the support you wish you always had, offering a space where healing begins with deep resonance and understanding.

With our trio of essential services - the app, directory, and online therapy platform, we're here to support you every step of the way because we understand that mental well-being is a journey, not a destination. There will be ups and downs, but you don't have to walk this path alone.

We invite you to become a part of creating a future where mental well-being is embraced. Because a healthier Ummah is a stronger Ummah!

Omar Khan
Omar Khan
Co-Founder & CEO, Ruh
Omar Khan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ruh. Previously, he served as an Advisory Product Manager at IBM and is currently a Master of Divinity candidate at The Islamic Seminary of America. He holds an MBA from the University of Toronto and a B.Eng in Computer Systems from Carleton University, Canada.

Connect with a therapist aligned with your values

"I wish I knew therapists like you existed during my past struggles with depression."

At Ruh Care, we aim to be the support you wish you always had, offering a space where healing begins with deep resonance and understanding.