Islam and Psychology

· Health, Psychology
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.
It is hoped that reading of the articles linked in this post will help readers understand themselves better.  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)

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)
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