FORUM ILMIYAH 2017 – How does Psychology relate to Islam?

Assalamu’alaikum and Salaam Ramadhan everyone!

Continuing my recent blogpost on Forum Ilmiyah 2017, below is the speech I’ve written on a piece of paper for BruROSA’s Forum Ilmiyah regarding the relationship between Psychology and Islam that I’ve recently typed out from a piece of paper to (now), this blog.

I doubt that I managed to say all of the words that I’ve stated below in the correct order, considering that I had to maintain consistent eye contact during the forum, so most of the words I’ve said had to be memorized and mastered prior to the event.

This is all based on my opinion, but Alhamdulillah, I’m genuinely SO SO SOOO thankful and happy to be able to deliver this speech last month to the people who came. I’m so overwhelmed and grateful knowing that you all agreed and understood what I was trying to deliver and point out on that day.

So here it is :

I’ll try my best to explain how we can include certain concept of Psychology in an Islamic perspective

To briefly explain –
Psychology is the scientific study of our minds and behaviours.

Personally, I think that with Psychology, it can help you understand yourself. This can give such a huge impact because it can then be very useful in every aspect of your life

Through understanding yourself, you’re much more capable to relate yourself with others easily.

This means that you’ll :

  • Have a better relationship with people
  • Be able to learn to be a better friend, sister, daughter
  • Know how to handle things better (This is because you’ll know what makes you tick, what motivates you, and how to overcome your fears, phobias, anger etc)

Once you’re able to successfully understand yourself and accept yourself, you can easily leave a lot up to Allah SWT, Himself especially when you’re trying to aim for success.

And yes,

Allah loves those who put their trust in Him (Surah Al-Imran 3:160).

With this trust (or Tawakkal), you will no longer seek for people’s approval because you’ve learned to accept yourself.

In Psychology, I learn about a concept called “Behaviour modification”

This is a concept where you can learn how to motivate yourself and to set up some ground rules  AND make certain changes in your behaviour, such as:

  • Giving up bad habits
  • Forgiving others
  • Controlling your anger

Behaviours and actions can actually be changed. Yes, it is possible, but it has to start from you. You have to make the first move. You have to have the intention and effort to begin the change you want to make.

Allah will never change the state of the people until they change themselves (Surah Al-Anfal 8:53)

Again – Change has to come from you.

Furthermore, in Psychology, we also learn about “learning coping skills” .
This could potentially be coping with negativism and also self esteem.

By understanding yourself, you accept yourself even your flaws. This is why I’ve been pointing out the importance of giving yourself the chance to understand yourself better in order to slowly accept yourself as a whole.

If you don’t like yourself, you can’t expect others to make you happy.

When you start becoming happier with yourself,  naturally, your relationships with people will improve significantly. Why? Because you understand your flaws, and you will too understand people and accept their flaws. No one is perfect.

For example, if someone has done something to hurt me, I’d deal with the situation better if I try to understand them and notice they have their own flaws that they are desperately trying to change as well. Automatically, we become more forgiving and softer because we understand rather than becoming one of the people who holds on to grudges.

What else do you gain from understanding people?

Sympathy is one thing, but I personally think that with having empathy, you’ll be twice a better person than you already are.

You can be sympathetic to someone and say “awhh that’s sad.”, but I kid you not, you’d help someone so much more when you actually have empathy and put yourself in their shoes.

Don’t just see the situation and state what is obvious, but put yourself in it. You’ll see yourself becoming less judgemental and preventing yourself from making false assumption as well as putting labels to someone, such as “a liar”or “a troublemaker”.

Having the tendency to be understanding  and having empathy is highly beneficial for social bonds. You will naturally become more softer with your words and even through your eyes, especially when you care and understand someone. So genuinely, you’ll speak with kind words and become more forgiving rather than holding onto numerous never-ending grudges.

As mentioned in the Qur’an:

Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:263).

So you might think, “oh well, it’s all common sense, you just need to have good characteristics in life”

Yes, but my point here is – Whatever that has been stated and taught in the Al-Qur’an, where we are advised to act a certain way and follow Prophet Muhammad’s footsteps such as the way he speaks so generously. In Psychology, it is about modifying our mindset, behaviours and characteristics and turning them into a better and improved version of ourselves.

So what has been stated in the Al-Qur’an, (and with what I learn in Psychology, especially during my degree) is, you learn to become a better version of yourself.

I hope you’ve managed to learn something out of what I’ve attempted to deliver when joining the forum. I honestly enjoyed it more than I’ve expected and I have no regrets saying yes to joining the forum.

Next blog will be based on one of the many questions on overcoming stress and depression from an Islamic perspective.

Have a good day and enjoy the rest of Ramadhan!

Take care, polar bear!