What is Islamic Counselling Psychology ? Part 1

Muslim Psychology is a growing field today that helps people in a number of areas. You can learn to live with others better, learn to cope with yourself, and the daily activities that happen in your life. Psychology is not a simple matter that you can do by yourself; an expert in the field is needed for it to be effective. It is a very powerful and transformational discipline that helps people find their purpose and helps them celebrate life, as well as be grateful of what they have. Islam and Psychology are almost related with one another since their ultimate goal is for people to attain personal well-being.

History of Islamic Psychology

It was during the Golden Age of Islam when Islamic scholars have took a keen interest in the concept of psychology and its connection to mental health. It was then at that time in which mental disorders were carried out and treated in hospitals. Even though psychiatric hospitals were already constructed in Baghdad in 705, as well as in Cairo in 805, it wasn’t until Bakar Muhammad Zakaria Al-Razi, a Muslim physician, first introduced the concept of psyhcotherpay  in 925 CE that the Islamic scholars and the entire Islamic community started understanding mental health in a different light.  It was Islamic scholars who started equating mental illness with physical ailments and that the mind and body shared a tangible link. Bakar Muhammad Zakaria Al-Razi bravely tackled the definition, misconceptions, and symptoms of mental health.

Although psychotherapy was popularly developed by Westerners, it was actually a part of treating mental disorders even before the Western Society had introduced the notion. In the early 20th century, the Islamic psychotherapy was not only making headway in Muslim countries but as well as in Western perspectives. This led to the many advances in the study of the mind, setting up more psychiatric hospitals, and the recognition of Islamic physicians in a wide range of mental ailments.

Overview of Islamic Psychology

Islamic Psychology, or commonly known with Muslims as Ilm al-Nafs, is both a medical and philosophical study of the nafs [self or psyche] from an Islamic point of view. It was written in the scripture (Sura 4:5 of the Qur’an) that the mentally ill must be cared for, must be treated humanely, and be told good words by a custodian or the state itself. It was also learned that mental illness is associated with physical sickness; thus, the study of Psychology flourished in the Islamic culture.

Islamic Psychology is fascinating to learn as you learn about yourself and learn to feel good and trust Allah at the same time, you can earn His love (Surah Al-Imran 3:160). As you also learn about behavior modification, you can learn to motivate yourself to give up bad acts, forgive those who caused you harm, control your irritation, rage and anger, and live more happily and peacefully (Surah al-Anfal 8:53). The most important part is you becoming a better person and nurturing your relationship with Allah. The clinician may use in clinical practice both psychological interventions and religious and spiritual exercises to aid therapy.

Islamic Psychology Today

However, today it was becoming evident that there is little to no consideration about the use of Psychology on the variety of mental and emotional turmoil and instability experienced by a number of Muslims. Contemporary Psychology has been neglected and religious rituals like prayers and fasting are given focused to achieve healing and peace. If you examine Muslims today, a number of them are experiencing a number of psychological problems that need to be addressed. Islam and Psychology, although these have a number of similarities, they must still function mutually to achieve remarkable results. One must not be chosen to be superior or effective over the other. Medication and therapy should be done to re-balance the body which religious rituals and practices alone might fail to achieve. Islam is offering preventive measures as it integrates mental and physical aspects to balance human dimension, but if you need curative procedures, making use of Psychology really helps the individual.

The problems of the mind and body must be dealt with properly. It is believed that if the body is sick, the psych fails to reach its maximum potential and vice versa. Achieving this balance between the mind and body will benefit many aspects of your life especially the spiritual aspect. Here are some ways that healing your mind and body has great effects for you:


  1. You will become happier. As you improve your mood, you can enhance your relationships with other people especially with your loved ones.
  2. You will become more accepting with your own and other people’s flaws, thus making you less judgmental.
  3. You will become more tolerant and respectful of others even those with varying beliefs and principles as yours.
  4. You become more compassionate, sympathetic and forgiving.
  5. You begin to feel more peaceful and serene; difficulties will become more manageable and controllable.


Empowering yourself with the knowledge of Islamic Psychology will give you more opportunities for introspection and understanding your own emotions which in turn will produce heart warming and satisfying relationships. Learning Psychology in the light of Qur’an helps you improve your life in general. Islamic Psychology must be encouraged in Islam and the work of a therapist or counsellor must be appreciated and seen as very beneficial to the whole Muslim society.