Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

April 2006
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Living Islam

Islam and Psychology
By A Staff Writer

World over, experts from various fields are approaching the Quran and Sunnah to discover the human behaviour pattern.

How often do you suffer pain? Isn’t human behaviour the most frequent source of pain and sorrow? One of the most difficult tasks is to understand human behaviour. Nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action, even though his language so often camouflages what really motivates him. For if you know these things about a man, you can touch him at the core of his being.

From preachers to management gurus, motivation experts to psychologists, all have pondered since ages to understand human behaviour and methods to influence them. Islam recognises differences among people, whether in physical aspects, psychological aspects, or both. Responsibility about deeds and behaviour in Islam is individual.

We clearly see from the Quran that people were created out of one soul. This is repeated four times in Surah al-Nisa. World over, experts from various fields are approaching the Quran and Sunnah to discover the human behaviour pattern and apply those findings in their day to day practice.

Dr Syeda Ruksheda, a practising psychotherapist, says, “Islam teaches surrender of the ego. Lot of practising professionals identified with this theory”. She is interacting with like-minded people with regard to practice of psychiatry with focus on Islam. Recently, Dr Ruksheda participated in an “International conference on media and mental health” organised by World Psychiatric Association, South Asian Forum on Mental Health and Indo- Pak Punjab Psychiatric Society. She presented a paper on “Islam and Psychology”. With other Muslim psychotherapists, Dr Ruksheda is working on some interesting on-going psychiatric research projects such as Surah Rahman and depression.

The most important dimension of human behaviour is the ‘Spiritual Dimension.’ What is meant by “spiritual” here is the aspect of “faith” that is, the belief in Allah, His angels, messengers, scriptures, the day of judgement and destiny (good or bad). These are the articles of faith which bear no discussion or compromise. But “faith” is higher in degree than “Islam” as it is what is settled in the heart and endorsed by deed. There is no room in Islam of talking about faith that is separate from deeds and behaviour. The Quran reproached the believers for expressing their “belief” and stopping short of action. “O, ye who believe! Why say ye that which ye do not do? Grievously odious is it in the sight of Allah that ye say that which ye do not Do.” (Al-Saff-61, verse 2-3).

Behavioural dimension of man, concerns about his education, development and change. Even the basis of worship in Islam, like salat, fasting, zakat and hajj are all an expression of behaviour which has two sides: internal and external or spiritual and material.

The future is an important dimension in the formation of the personality of the Muslim. This is because the future in Islam is not limited to this world alone, but it extends to the Day of Judgement. Therefore, the future is a significant dimension in the formation of the Muslim personality and directing it to good deeds in the present and the future.

The best summary of the Islamic attitude on this subject may be found in the following verse: “But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee.” (Al-Qasas, 77).

The first step in empowering the community is to help individual Muslims to understand themselves with the help of Quran and Sunnah and then act to eliminate their weaknesses and achieve success in the world and hereafter.

The Harvest of the Tongue
By Uthmaan Dhumayriyyah

Shunning frivolities and idle talk is the gate to success.

These days people’s gatherings are filled with unrestrained conversations that seem to cover every area. If one were to judge these, they could only come to the conclusion that the vast majority of these conversations are comprised of useless or even harmful talk. This is certainly not why Allah has gifted us with tongues and this definitely is not how gifts are appreciated. Let us restrain ourselves while we use this beautiful gift of Allah and use it wisely. Here are few tips.

• Do not involve yourself in conversations that do not concern you, as there is no guarantee that you would not sin therein.

• Do not talk about things that concern you, until you find the proper time, as a person may talk about a matter at the wrong time leading to a negative consequ-ence.

• Do not argue with a wise or a foolish person, as the wise person would desert you and the foolish person would humiliate you.

• Do not talk ill about people behind them. (backbiting)

Loose talk causes one to become heedless. It is a fact that the majority of those who take the lead in vain talk during gatherings talk so much that one who listens to them comes to realise that they themselves are not aware of what they are saying and that there is no thought-process behind their words. Shunning frivolities and idle talk is the gate to success. Kind words are effectual with friends and enemies alike. As for friends, they will maintain the good relationship and prolong the friendships and prevent the traps of Satan.

Don't Be Sad
By Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni

Live life as it should be lived… wholesomely, happily and productively.

Do not expect gratitude from anyone

Many people are shocked at the nature of ingratitude in others, as though they had never come across this verse and others like it:

“ And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying down on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have removed his harm from him, he passes on his way as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him. (Quran, Surah 10, Verse 12).

Hence, do not be in a state of agitation if you give someone a pen as a gift and he uses it to satirize you. So be at peace if you are requited with ungratefulness for the good you have done. Rejoice in your knowledge that you will be rewarded from the One Who has unlimited treasures at His disposal.

Grieve not over unworthy things

There is not a single worry or concern whose significance is not diminished when it is compared to the concerns of the Hereafter. What are the worries of this life? They are status, prestige, fame, income, wealth and mansions. They are all nothing when compared to the accountability before Allah.

If you really cannot do something, leave it

I used to give the Friday sermon in the city of Abha. Most of my sermons dealt with different aspects of the Prophet’s (Pbuh) life and this became something of a speciality with me and was something with which I felt comfortable. Somebody had asked me to give a sermon about the increasing tendency of extravagant dowries. I was loath to comply with his request because I felt more comfortable in speaking about the biography of the Prophet. Nevertheless, I gave an impromptu sermon on the requested topic. I quoted verses from the Quran and sayings of the Messenger of Allah. I was covering the topic in a desultory manner, and as I was speaking, I felt the sweat trickle down my forehead. After my sermon was over, I felt that I had done a very poor job in speaking on the subject and so I resolved to stick to what I excelled at.

Everyone of us should work in a field that he is skilled in. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: “ Indeed Allah loves for each of you, when he works at something, to perfect it.”