17 July 2013

Preparatory Notes

This is the rough draft/outline of the project I will be focusing on. The notes are still haphazardly arranged and many topics are yet to be added. It's something which seems to be very difficult to do, but since my student days, I've been conceiving the idea of being able to write something about psychology based from the Islamic Perspective.

Although secular/western psychology remains as the main resource when it comes to scientific research and actual practice, I do think that Islamic psychology has a lot more to offer and is more comprehensive especially if it is purely based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. I hope that the Islamic perspective will be fully explored and recognized by practitioners on the field, because it is based on actual textual evidence and many verses of the Qur'an and the Hadith had been proven to be scientifically valid. 

Although from the past few years, I appreciated the fact that western psychology had influenced a lot of my understanding and thinking with regards to human nature and behavior, particularly the theory of psychoanalysis and its offshoots, and cognitive psychology, lately, when I started to study Islam on a more in-depth level, I began to question the validity and influence some of these theories. In Islam, however, all quests of knowledge and inquiry are centered in the knowledge of God.

The foundation of knowledge is knowledge of Allah, not empirical knowledge. For Allah is the First, Who created all that exists, and the Last, to Whom all of creation will return. He is the all-encompassing principle; knowledge of Him is the basis of all knowledge, remembrance of Him is the basis of all remembrance, and striving for His sake is the basis of all effort. From the knowledge of Allah stem all other kinds of knowledge. From the worship of Him and seeking Him alone stem all kinds of good objectives. By worshipping Him and seeking His help, the heart is protected, for it has taken refuge in trustworthy support and is clinging to guidance and certain proof. For learning by the help of Allah is the greatest means of learning about Allah and about life and other things, and about the human psyche.

- Al Ashqar
Umar S., Belief in Allah In the Light of the Qur'an and Sunnah 

In Islam, everything is balanced and every aspect is discussed and taken into consideration. In seeking to understand man, one has to go to the main sources: the Qur'an - which is the revealed book of God, and the Sunnah - the sayings of the Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. Islam encourages man to seek knowledge and to develop himself. It guides him to exercise his freedom and challenges him to reflect and ponder as to why he exists, and what he has to accomplish upon his being granted existence. 

"...so that their hearts (and minds) may thus use reason…" (22:46)
To reconcile science and psychology with the Qur'an and the Sunnah is a very delicate balancing act. Nevertheless, anyone who deeply studies Islam can have a deep insight on the aspects of human nature. Islam touches every aspect of the life of a human being: from his thinking, his intentions and motives, his actions, his conscience, how he interacts with others, how to deal with the various aspects of his self, how to exercise freedom of thinking, choice and will, and how to be responsible and accountable for his thoughts and the consequences and impact of his actions towards himself and others.