The Roots of Islamic Psychology …..”Ilm al nafs”
Why do so many so-called “religious people” see mental illness as incongruous or contrary to faith? This is a question that must be addressed. These assumptions can be rooted in unjustified stigma and ignorance. Mental illness has existed in all times amongst all people. Psychology, the medical and philosophical study of the psych, soul or self, was recorded as early as 1550 BCE when depression was noted in the Ebers Papyrus.
One of the earliest noted contributors was a Persian named Muhammad ibn Zakariya al Razi who was a physician, scientist and philosopher. He was noted for writing about mental illness and psychotherapy. His major works called El Mansuri and Al Hawi described many conditions as well as treatment options. He eventually became the first director of a mental health ward in a hospital. The first bimaristans or hospitals were built in Baghdad in the 9th century.
Another Persian writer, Abu-Ali al Husayn ibn Abdalah Ibn Sina, more commonly known as Avicenna was a forerunner in the field of psychosomatic medicine. He demonstrated the link between changes in the mental state and changes in the body.
Ali ibn Sahl Rabban Al Tabari wrote a work emphasizing the need for psychotherapy. In the 10th century, Ahmed ibn Sahl Al Bakhi stressed the link between spiritual and mental well being. By the 13th century separate wards were made available in the bimaristans for those suffering with mental disorders. These were a few of the pioneers in Islamic psychology that intersected with information of Greek origin within the learning center of Baghdad during the “Golden Age of Islam” from the 8th to the 14th centuries CE. The rest of the world was experiencing what was termed “The Dark Ages” or the “Middle Ages” which began after the decline of the Roman Empire. This was a period of cultural and economic deterioration that occurred in Western Europe.
A group of scholars from China, India, Arabia and Ancient Greece exchanging mathematical, astronomical, philosophical, medical information in the learning center of Baghdad. Baghdad, which was centrally located between Europe and Asia, was a major trading spot where ideas were spread for the enhancement of civilization.
1. Wikipedia contributors, “Timeline of psychology,” In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Oct. 2020. Web 2 December 2, 2020
2. Wikipedia contributors, ‘Psychology in medieval Islam’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 November 2020. Web 2 December 2020
3. Ayad, Dr. Amira, Healing Body and Soul, 2013, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Ameedah Diaab Abdullah
Ameedah has been a mental health consumer for several years and has dedicated her lifework to improving mental health outcomes for others dealing with challenges. She has experience working directly with clients connecting them to services and teaching basic activities of daily living in New Jersey prior to moving to Atlanta.
Bread and Butter Farms was officially established in 2013. As a family, we have been growing both
collectively as well as on an individual basis throughout our lives. We are both science researchers by
trade and at heart, so we treat farming as a science as well. We operate in ways that go against the
norm for some people. For example, we plant in a bio-intensive manner which basically means we plant
really close together, we make our own chemical-free pest control and offer prepared meals with our
produce/meats. It is our passion and we share this with our children by exposing them to the humbling
experience of farming. It is important to us to show them that the world of agriculture has many aspects
that are not limited to growing. We have a strong respect for the land that we have been blessed to
steward. Homeschooling allows us to pass this passion on, educate them in entrepreneurship, and
exposes them to the multifaceted options available in the form of value-added products. These are
products that you make from produce or animals you have on your farm (i.e. infused oil/vinegar,
canning and preserving, goat milk soap, bread from grains, etc.). We offer a variety of products outside
of produce available on our website, www.breadandbutterfarms.com. This enables us to provide our
customers with a wide range of options and to reduce food waste. At its core Bread and Butter Farms is
a family farm that is passionate about education, the environment, and serving our community. Come
grow with us!
Musa and Micole Hasan
Musa and Micole Hasan operation Bread and Butter Farms located in Monroe, GA. They run the
Cupping is an ancient remedy dating back to 1550 BC. The oldest medical book in the world The Ebers Papyrus describes the Egyptians’ use of hijamah (cupping). In China, the earliest description of horn method (using animal horn) was in book Fifty Two Diseases from Han dynasty (202 BC). Over 2000 years, Cupping has been part of Chinese medical practice, among which are acupuncture, Qigong, herbal and dietary therapy. Cupping helps all diseases through balancing Yin Yang and energy flow. From modern medical perspective, cupping increases blood circulation. This relieves muscle tension and promotes tissue repair.
Cupping is made of bamboo, glass, ceramic, silicon and plastic. There are two main categories of practice today. Dry cupping is a suction-only method. Wet cupping involves both suction and controlled medicinal bleeding.
Recent years, people are enthusiastic about cupping due to famous athletes and celebrities’ engagement. However, like any therapy, it should be careful if you have skin irritation, on blood thinner, pregnant or with some medical conditions. Side effects include dizziness, nausea, skin bruise and blister. Wet cupping leads to hepatitis and HIV if the cups are not sterilized. Please check the practitioner’s training before cupping therapy.
Yu Kang, LAc, RD, LD, DipOM
Yu first began healing studies with her parents, who are well-known doctors of Oriental Medicine in her hometown Zibo -a mid-sized city in northern China. At the age of 15, she was accepted by Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine as one of the youngest students in school history. After eight-year training in Western and Oriental Medicine, she graduated with a doctoral degree of oriental Medicine. Yu then went to China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine to be further trained in acupuncture and herbal medicine under the most influential doctors of Oriental Medicine in China. Prior to her arrival in the United States, Yu was a neurologist in Xiyuan Hospital, Beijing. Yu’s extensive training also includes a master’s degree in Nutrition from the Pennsylvania State University, and a one-year dietetic internship at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Yu is a licensed acupuncturist, a registered dietitian, and a certified herbalist from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
Greetings of Peace and Prosperity! My name is Bellamy and I am a personal wardrobe
stylist and professional organizer. I will be sharing my insight on a concept of modesty that
is often missed or over looked, in my opinion. First up, understanding what modesty really
means. The dictionary defines modesty as follows:
1. The quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
2. Regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
3. Simplicity; moderation
As a community we are very familiar with the first 2 entries. Many controversies across
the globe stem from how modesty is primarily practiced in the form of hijab by Muslim
women. While the concept of hijab isn’t fully captured by a head-scarf (as most media
platforms have inferred) neither is the concept of modesty fully captured in hijab alone.
These two concepts extend beyond applying to women only; they apply to men as well in
The Beloved Prophet (SAWS) said: “Every religion has a distinctive characteristic
and the characteristic of Islam is modesty.” (Ibn Majah)
While the focus of modesty has primarily been on the outer appearance of women,
the inner characteristics have been mentioned but not nearly as much. We’re instructed to
be modest and to wear hijab but “the how to do that” isn’t discussed in depth as often. Yes,
we are told to wear certain types of clothes that don’t draw attention. Yes we’re told to
speak kind words and to do good deeds. Don’t brag or boast and definitely don’t use
profanity. These are great actions to get started but they do not engage the heart and the
mind. They don’t give us the bigger picture.
As our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) succinctly stated, the characteristic of Islam is modesty.Let that statement marinate with your heart and mind for a moment while I share a brief story.
When I first began practicing Islam, I was super excited and overwhelmed about
implementing Islam as my way of life. Initially, what attracted me to Islam was that it is a
complete way of life. I was tired of trying to figure out if I was living “right”. I was relieved
that all I had to do was follow Islam like everyone else and I could possibly earn paradise. It
was a no brainer. I just dove right in and started praying, covering, fasting and even got
married within my first year. SubhanAllah! I truly underestimated how my choice to practice
Islam would truly impact me (mentally, spiritually, emotionally), my identity, my family (I’m
the only Muslim for now...smile insha’Allah), my friends and my livelihood. Now on top of all
of that, I had the audacity to become a wife and a mother before I really had a real clue
about just being Muslim. I was doing WAY TOO MUCH in a very short period of just 2 years.
Being raised as a Christian I basically had the Cliff’s Notes idea about Islam. Because
of this, I sort of glossed over the 5 pillars like a checklist and assumed that I got this! I mean,
I was already a good hearted and kind person. I strived for excellence and was known for
my character. I didn’t use any forms of intoxicants. I naturally dressed “modestly” so that
wasn’t an issue. I believed in Allah as the one and only G-d, His Angels, His Books and all the
Messengers sent before and including Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). I was like, BOOM! I am
practically a Muslim already! WRONG! As I began to study Islam more I learned that
guidance is deeper than externalities. In my first marriage alone, I learned even more about
myself. How I understood and practiced Islam. I was so overwhelmed by everything, I began
to lose hope and sink into despair. I began to question, if I was really living Islam because I
was so miserable. I knew I must be doing something wrong because this deen is perfect.
A few years later, after reading that quote again. It resonated with me differently.
The characteristic of Islam is MODESTY. It prompted me to look up the word modesty
again. This time I noticed the 3rd entry: Simplicity; Moderation. I was amazed by the clarity
and relief I experienced.
I thought THIS IS IT! This is how I can actually implement Islam in my life without being so overwhelmed.Alhamdulilah! Allah (SWT) is so merciful and so kind.
Islam is truly for all of humanity. There is no part of it that a human being cannot benefit
from. I thought about how the Quran was revealed in stages and how Allah’s (SWT) infinite
wisdom of sharing the foundation of the Shahadah (how to worship Him alone with no
partners) took years before the rules of halal and haram were given. Islam was revealed
simply and in moderation as a progressive path so the companions had time to engage and
internalize the concepts with their hearts and their minds.
If it took years for the best of humanity to implement Islam into their lives, why do
we think we are any different? The characteristic of Islam is Modesty. This means to me
that every aspect of our faith can be implemented simply and with moderation. Even the
concepts of hijab and modesty for men have some relevancy. Looking back on how I began
my journey in Islam, I realize that I didn’t approach it with modesty. Now when I look at
different areas (finances, health, knowledge, relationships, etc.) of my life that I want to
improve, I use modesty as my method of approach. I filter my intentions, actions, desires
and habits by asking myself two initial questions: 1) what is the simplest way to handle or
implement this? 2) How can this be broken down into moderate steps?
The Modesty Method | Simplicity + Moderation = ModestyI sincerely hope this little gem of insight, I was blessed to discover and share with you has
been of some benefit on your life’s journey. It is my hope to continue this dialogue about
how modesty as a method can help us practice and implement Islam in our daily lives,
insha’Allah. Give it a try. I would love to hear about your experience. Share it with me on
social media @iStyleModesty & #LiveLifeModest
L. Jehaan "Bellamy"
Bellamy has a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from Florida State University and over 15 years of fashion experience. NYC is where she cultivated her true talent to curate all things stylish by working with brands such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tommy Hilfiger and IslamicDesignHouse.com. Currently she resides in Atlanta, making motherhood look stylish and teaching her signature online courses Hijabology: Wardrobe As Worship and The Hijab Style Lab at iStyleModesty.Com/Learn
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