Islam and Psychology: A Collection of Articles

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

sunrise and flowers

A famous, almost legendary mystic poet from Punjab Pakistan, Bullah Shah wrote:

پڑھ پڑھ علم تے فاضل ھوییں
تے کدے اپنے آپ نوں پڑھیا نھیں
بھج بھج وڑناں اے مندر مسیتی
تے کدے من اپنے وچ وڑیا نھیں

He says that you have read scores of books to become a scholar but have never read yourself.  You run to the temple and the mosque daily but have never entered your own soul!

To listen to this couplet and another one by him, stressing the need of self analysis, in Punjabi: Bullhay Shah – Self analysis.

hope_womens_drug_rehab

An estimated 1 million people worldwide take their lives by suicide every year. It is estimated that global annual suicide fatalities could rise to 1.5 million by 2020. Worldwide, suicide ranks among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15–44 years. Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides.[1]

Many adults see mental disorders as a rare affliction and something that would never happen to them, yet this is far from the truth. Mental disorders are extremely common and affect approximately 54 million Americans each year.

It is hoped that reading of the articles linked in this post will help readers understand themselves better and resources at their disposal.  The need for better and sturdy foundation for our thoughts and beliefs is highlighted very well by the following verse of the Holy Quran:

The case of those who take helpers besides Allah is like unto the case of the spider, who makes for herself a house; and surely the frailest of all houses is the house of the spider, if they but knew!  (Al Quran 29:42)

The case of those who take helpers besides Allah is like unto the case of the spider, who makes for herself a house; and surely the frailest of all houses is the house of the spider, if they but knew! (Al Quran 29:42)

The case of those who take helpers besides Allah is like unto the case of the spider, who makes for herself a house; and surely the frailest of all houses is the house of the spider, if they but knew! (Al Quran 29:42)

Sigmund Freud remembered all his life the disgust and bitter disappointment he felt as a boy of ten years when hearing that his father refused to defend himself against the anti-Semite bullies who pushed him off the side walk of his home town, suggesting that a Jew should not walk on the side walks and leave it for the self righteous Nazis. This framed his spiritual struggle for the whole of his life that can be considered as a conflict between his Jewish identity possibly his faith and the anti-Semite Christian majority of the time.

His journey in psychoanalysis can be framed and understood by reviewing achievements and academic career of Jean-Martin Charcot. “Diseases can be caused by ideas” said Charcot and it heralded a new era in human understanding. This laid the foundation of Psychology, an identity separate from Neurology which was rooted in physical causes. Charcot, a French neurologist was the founder (with Guillaume Duchenne) of modern neurology and one of France’s greatest medical teachers and clinicians. He became a professor at the University of Paris (1860–93), where he began a lifelong association with the Salpêtrière Hospital; there, in 1882, he opened what was to become the greatest neurological clinic of the time in Europe. A teacher of extraordinary competence, he attracted students from all parts of the world. In 1885 one of his students was Sigmund Freud, and it was Charcot’s employment of hypnosis in an attempt to discover basis for hysteria that stimulated Freud’s interest in the psychological origins of neurosis. Charcot was the “foremost neurologist of late nineteenth-century France” and has been called “the Napoleon of the neuroses.” For the rest of the story read an article titled, Freudian conflicts and slips.

Allah says:
‘Those who believe, and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Aye! it is in the remembrance of Allah that hearts can find comfort; ‘Those who believe and do good works — happiness shall be theirs, and an excellent place of return.’ (Al Quran 13:29-30)

Now, I present a speech by Maulana Azhar Haneef, Vice President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA.  The speech was delivered in 2012 on 29th June, at the time of annual gathering of the community to an audience of 12,000:

Before I suggest some reading materials related to religion and Islam, let me suggest a book, by the legendary writer Dale Carnegie, who is famous for his book, How to win friends and influence people.  His book for anxiety issues is, How to stop worrying and start living, it describes many of the secular counterparts of what we find in many if not all religious literature.

Hope-and-Beauty1-e1425474411602

A collection of articles for insight into Islam and Psychology

1.

In Matt. 17 Jesus, on whom be peace, gives recipe for casting out the demons: When they came to the crowd, a man approache…
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Edited: Mar 22, 2011 8:52 AMAccepted: Oct 14, 2011 5:24 AM

References

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology_of_suicide

Categories: Health, Highlight, Psychology

9 replies

  1. Jazakallah Dr Shah. I’m especially drawn towards your last comment about Transpersonal Psychology which I understand to be, from the little I’ve read, at the frontier of Psychology and Religion. Not being professionally in this field however, perhaps could you and others further enlighten us about this.

    I raised this up before, noting that a new category has been introduced in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders entitled ‘Religious and Spiritual Problems’ since 1994. Dr David Lukoff gives more details about this here: http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/ . He also speaks of THE DIAGNOSIS OF MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES WITH PSYCHOTIC FEATURES and about Psychotic Disorders with Mystical Features here: http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/se/dxtx/diagnosticcriteria-mystical.html which is a subject which is of particular interest to me.

    I’ve also viewed and been drawn towards some videos where Dr Lukoff has spoken about Transpersonal Psychology and would be interested to gain a better understanding of the islamic and medical perspective around this. Would be grateful to be further enlightened on this subject. Jazakallah

  2. Subject: Islam and Psychology
    For a successful happy victory life. Mankind need NO:1 BIG LORD’s help/suppot by practicing/executing good vs bad actions. . In my opinion self help analysis based on self help control and self help control based on good and bad ideas. Good and bad ideas in practice becomes good and bad actions. And Good and bad actions have good and bad results. The good and bad results is awarded by NO.1 BIG LORD Allah. So self help control is important for a happy life. Issue of Islam and Psychology is a issue from NO:1 BIG LORD ALLAH. May NO:1 BIG LORD ALLAH bless mankind a happy, healthy and wealthy long life. Request you to review and know more about good and bad results of good and bad actions of Nafsi Mutma’innah and Imarah as described in the Holy Quran and explained by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:

    http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf

  3. @ Munawar Ahmad Bajwa: I will try to review the book inshallah. I was also curious to know what you mean by self help analysis and self help control because I was also interested in the concept of self-improvement as part of personality development. There is also the concept of self help groups, sometimes referred to as support groups as well. Perhaps could you and others further elaborate about this self help concept and how it can practically be implemented, whether at individual levels or at group levels. Looking forward to further hearing about this inshallah. Jazakallah

  4. Quranic description of human vulnerability and psychology

    Allah says in the Holy Quran:

    When danger threatens you in the sea you call upon Him (Allah), and forget all others upon whom you call. But when He brings you safe to land, you turn aside. Man is ever ungrateful. Do you then feel secure against His causing you to be swallowed up by the earth or His sending a sandstorm to cover you up, when you would find no one to rescue you? Or, do you feel secure against His sending you back therein once more and raising a fierce gale against you and drowning you because of your ingratitude, when you would find no one to help you against Us? We have indeed honoured the children of Adam, and provided for them means of transportation in land and sea, and given them wholesome food and exalted them high above the greater part of Our creation. (Al Quran 17:67-71)

    Quote of the Day: If depressed, you are living in past; if anxious, you are in the future, if peaceful, you are living in the present!

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