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Psychology
Psychology from the Islamic perspective. PDF Print E-mail

By Aisha Utz. Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House, 2011, pp. 351. ISBN: 978-603501-108-2 (Paperback).

Reviewer: Abdul Latif Abdul Razak, Department of General Studies, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge, International Islamic University Malaysia. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Psychology from the Islamic Perspective is a long awaited book that helps in satisfying the long quest endured by Muslim psychologists. Quite often, materials in this field are written from secular perspective. The author begins her book by clearly stating its objectives namely, to describe and detail Islamic perspectives on psychology, mental health and well-being, to present a number of contemporary scientific evidences that verify the miracles of the Qur’ān and to further remind readers of the potential for self-transformation that Islam offers. In line with these objectives, the author adopts an analytical and descriptive methodology.

This book contains nineteen chapters with a total of 351 pages. For this review, these chapters will be reclassified as some of them share similar themes. In the introductory chapter, the author initially defines psychology from both Western and Islamic perspectives. Without denying the contributions of modern psychology, she highlights its greatest weaknesses, especially when its major schools disregard the reality (ḥaqīqat) of human being; specifically the soul (rūḥ), rendering man as nothing more than his physical body, emotion, thought and behaviour (p. 29). She then suggests a comprehensive Islamic definition of psychology, consisting of “the study of the soul; the ensuing behavioural, emotional, and mental processes; and both the seen and unseen aspects that influence these elements (p. 34).”…full text in PDF

 
Book review: Psychology from the Islamic perspective PDF Print E-mail

Psychology from the Islamic Perspective is a long awaited book that helps in satisfying the long quest endured by Muslim psychologists. Quite often, materials in this field are written from secular perspective. The author begins her book by clearly stating its objectives namely, to describe and detail Islamic perspectives on psychology, mental health and well-being, to present a number of contemporary scientific evidences that verify the miracles of the Qur’ān and to further remind readers of the potential for self-transformation that Islam offers. In line with these objectives, the author adopts an analytical and descriptive methodology. This book contains nineteen chapters with a total of 351 pages. For this review, these chapters will be reclassified as some of them share similar themes. In the introductory chapter, the author initially defines psychology from both Western and Islamic perspectives. Without denying the contributions of modern psychology, she highlights its greatest weaknesses, especially when its major schools disregard the reality (ḥaqīqat) of human being; specifically the soul (rūḥ), rendering man as nothing more than his physical body, emotion, thought and behaviour (p. 29). She then suggests a comprehensive Islamic definition of psychology, consisting of “the study of the soul; the ensuing behavioural, emotional, and mental processes; and both the seen and unseen aspects that influence these elements (p. 34).” Human nature, which is discussed in the second chapter, is a very essential topic in Psychology.  Full text in PDF

 
Muslim Teens: Today’s Worry, Tomorrow’s Hope PDF Print E-mail

Ekram and Mohamed R. Beshir, Beltsville MD: Amana Publications, 2001. 253 pages.

This is the second book on parenting by the husband-and-wife team of Dr. Ekram and Mohamed R. Beshir. Muslim Teens addresses an issue of deep concern to all Muslim parents: how to keep one’s children on the “straight path” when they reach the turbulent years of adolescence. The authors are professionals who have raised four daughters in Canada. Their daughters, now adults, have contributed to the book with insights from a teen’s point of view, based upon their own experiences of growing up Muslim in North America.

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Islaamic Rulings for Incarcerated Muslims: Volume One: A Compilation of Verdicts and Rulings PDF Print E-mail

 

Dallas: Tarbiyyah Bookstore Publishing, 2007. 96 pages.

Even in an age of digital research, printed books that can be held in one’s hands and read are far from being relics of the past. This is doubly true in the restricted environment of an American prison, where access to the Internet is out of bounds but books may be obtained through mail order or prison libraries. This publication seeks to overcome this Internet access gap by printing questions from an online Prison Q &A Forum as a slim booklet. It represents the new challenge posed by the fatwa-on-line phenomena, its influence in diverse settings, and the complexities of conflicting notions of religious authority. Eighty questions, purportedly from incarcerated Muslims in American prisons, are answered by thirteen shaykhs and published by a bookstore, self-described as “revolutionizing authentic salafee publishing” (back cover).
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Death and Dying in the Qur’an PDF Print E-mail

 Walid Saleh

Modern medicine whispers to us something we prefer not to admit that we like hearing. Softly it soothes our fears by implying that death is unnatural. Death as unnatural has become a truism in our culture that does not need a proof. It does not fit with our image of our worth, and thus is a tragedy at best, a travesty at worst. To conquer death is part of modern medicine’s mission, although no one would admit to this. Of course it is ironic that in the age of biology, where death is understood as part of the life cycle, we secretly, or unconsciously, believe in an immortality not to be attained in an afterlife or a different bodily form, but rather in this life, with our own bodies that we already possess. Like the character in Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” we hold that a lived life, no matter how badly it is lived, is better than any death. This “kneaded knot,” as the human flesh is called, should not cease to be the beauty that it is.

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Al-Ghazali’s Unspeakable Doctrine of the Soul: Unveiling the Esoteric Psychology and Eschatology of the Ihya’ PDF Print E-mail

Timothy Gianotti, Leiden: Brill, 2001. 205 pages.

Gianotti’s purpose behind this monograph is to draw out Ghazali’s position on the vexed question of the true nature of the soul and its state in the afterlife. Ghazali’s actual views on this question have been a point of serious debate in both the Muslim intellectual tradition and Ghazali scholarship in the West. At the heart of this debate lies the question of his true allegiance: Was the man, widely held to be the mujaddid (renewer of religion) of the fifth Islamic century, a full-fledged Asharite, as tradition has made him out to be, or was he, as others have suggested, a closet Avicennian? Or was he, to complicate matters even further, neither? The source of the problem rests on the apparently conflicting doctrines he articulated in various places concerning the soul in various places in his vast and multi-layered literary oeuvre. These seeming inconsistencies led Averroes, in the thirteenth century, to accuse Ghazali of adhering “to no one doctrine in his books,” and of being a Sufi with Sufis, an Asharite theologian with the Asharites, and a philosopher with the philosophers (p. 19).
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Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs PDF Print E-mail

Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner, Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2002. 256 pages.

Many books have been written on Muslims and Islam since 9/11. A majority of them have tried to show Islam’s negative side in an attempt to prove that Islam teaches violence and that Muslims love to engage in jihad to become martyrs. Such contentions are generally made by anti-Muslim interest groups, certain religious organizations, and politicians under the influence of such extremists. These people stir up anti-Muslim sentiments to influence public opinion and bend government policies in favor of such groups. This book is a similar attempt to gain popularity for the authors and arouse anti-Muslim sentiment at a time that is trying for most Americans. The authors, Ergun Caner and Emir Caner, are brothers. The senior author is professor of theology at Criswell College, Dallas, Texas, and the second author teaches at the Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

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Leaving Islam: A Preliminary Study of Conversion out of Islam PDF Print E-mail

M.H Khalil and M. Bilici

It is frequently stated that Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion, in part due to conversion. And while conversion to Islam has been the subject of extensive discussion, our goal is to investigate the processes through and conditions under which people exit Islam. Therefore, we aim to critically explore the contemporary dimensions of this conversion process from Islam and discern recurring themes that figure prominently in testimonies made by former Muslims.
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