The exact number of Muslims in the US seems to be known only to Allah SWT, but it is likely about 4 million, or 1% of the total population. This number is constantly growing due to immigration, with an additional 25,000 converts per year. Any effort to get more accurate numbers than these would probably take so much time that by the end of it they would be inaccurate.
Compare with England, which manages to fit 56 million people into an area the size of Alabama, about 3 million of whom are Muslim for an approximate 5% share of the population, or slightly less for the whole of the UK. In France, it’s over 3 million, or about 5%. In Germany, it’s about 5.5 million, or roughly less than 7%. But these, too, are small countries compared to the US: Texas is bigger than France, and Germany, in its present form which seems to be holding, is smaller than Montana.
Thus the first problem with conducting ruqyah in the US is simple logistics. Some metro areas in the US have grown sizeable Muslim populations, notably Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Minneapolis, New York, and LA. But whereas in the UK if you are dissatisfied with your options in Birmingham, it’s a 2.5 hour drive to London or 2 hours to Sheffield. If you’re in Dallas, it’s 14 hours of driving to Chicago, which depending on your tolerance could be a 4-day round trip.
There are smaller, concentrated groups in other areas such as the Bosnians of Utah or the Sudanese of Iowa. Unless the scattered and smaller populations have a local raqi, they will inevitably be looking at options outside of their immediate area. This is related to the more chaotic nature of the US population in general; there is some community of just about everyone somewhere. In the UK, while many Muslim origins are represented, Pakistanis are the solid majority. In Germany, most are Turkish. In the US, well, it depends on where you are, and there are very large distances in between.
One issue there is that people from a particular background are sometimes expecting a particular thing when it comes to ruqyah, and only after being unable to find it will they start to branch out, or they might not continue looking at all. Some travel back to their home country just for ruqyah rather than exploring other options within the US. While there are many regional ruqyah practices throughout the Muslim world, the R&D conducted by the International Academy of Ruqyah has been developing strategies for ruqyah that are effective at dispelling spiritual oppression as well as being in accordance with the Sunnah and therefore not objectionable to anyone looking for ruqyah services.
There are basically three possibilities for addressing the logistics problem:
- Conduct ruqyah online
This is done by IAR as well as other practitioners. It is effective but not as desirable. Advanced cases especially are best dealt with in person.
- Travel to meet clients
This is also done by IAR and many raqis. It is a much more feasible option for raqis in Europe. In the US, it would be impossible for a raqi to earn a living by travelling for ruqyah even if it were done full-time. For example, if a raqi made the trip mentioned above and drove from Dallas to Chicago in a car that gets 30 MPG on the highway, at current prices the fuel would cost about $220 round trip, paid by the client. Depending on the schedule, that could take a week and require lodging, also paid by the client, say three nights at a motel costing about $60, for a total so far of $400. Add the cost of the ruqyah and for 3 to 5 days of effort, the raqi has made $60 at our current rate while the client has paid $460. Well, with the rates some people are charging it might be possible, but we are not doing that.
- Establish a regional or national destination for ruqyah at a geographically neutral location.
If located on an interstate highway, this could maximize efficiency. Travel costs would still be borne by the client, but the raqi would gain hours or days of time per client during which he could see other clients as well. This would also save the client money if lodging could be provided at the destination, though prices would likely have to be adjusted in order to maintain the operation. It could be made so that it is still more economical than staying in a hotel.
The first two are basically the current situation for everyone. The third option combined with online ruqyah for those who prefer it is a model that is worth exploring. The biggest challenges to overcome would be selecting the location and the startup cost. The location would be narrowed according to zoning laws, as are common in the US. The cost would be subject to the availability of halal financing. A suitable building would have to be found for both of those things to work in conjunction.
These are the main problems with conducting ruqyah in the US, and a likely solution. While it would be a large and probably lifetime project, this third option is something we are looking into. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas or would like to assist us.