Islamic Psychology Research Fellowship

The Islamic Psychology Research Fellowship (online) advances the Islamic Psychology body of knowledge by supporting graduate students anywhere in the world doing their masters thesis or doctoral dissertation on Islamic Psychology but whose home university does not have faculty with the requisite expertise. We provide mentorship and help the student through all phases of their project, including guidance on publishing the work when done. This Fellowship is also open to (early-career) professionals wanting to advance an area of IP scholarship but who need support in doing so. If you are interested in becoming a Fellow, send an email with “Fellowship” in the subject line to info@alkaraminstitute.org that contains the following information: Your name, current university or institution, country the institution is located in, what degree you are pursuing, and an abstract of your proposed project. See below for FAQ on the Fellowship as well as some of our Fellows’ work.

Note: Given the large number of inquiries we get, we are not able to respond to all applicants. If you do not hear from us within 45 days, it means we are not able to offer you a Fellowship. Please also note, Fellowships are UNPAID.

OUR FELLOWS

Venus Mahmoodi, PhD

Columbia University

Transition to Motherhood: An Islamically Integrated Approach to Matrescence

Matrescence refers to the transition from pre-parenthood to motherhood, a development experience similar to adolescence, where a child moves into adulthood. There is a natural push-pull that occurs during these developmental transitions that can incur a range of experiences, including identity shifts, discomfort, excitement, and even vulnerability to significant distress (depression and anxiety). This transition can be influenced by a number of factors, including religious, cultural, and societal expectations, support network, and history of mental health struggles.

For many Muslim women, their spiritual and religious connections to God influence their experiences of motherhood and their conceptualization of a “good mother”. The Quran and Sunnah provides guidelines about the role, importance, and treatment of mothers. Furthermore, these scriptures provide countless exemplars of mothers who are patient, pious, and selfless. Although these are guidelines for motherhood in Islam, many Muslim women engage with these exemplars and guidelines as rigid rules that can influence their expectations of a “good mother”. When these expectations are not met, what are the consequences for these women?

The focus of this research is:

  1. To identify the Islamic rulings, guidelines, and requirements outlined in the Quran and Sunnah around motherhood and the role of the mother using primary sources under the guidance of religious scholars.
  2. To elucidate the process of matrescence as it relates to Muslim women and the factors (religious, personal, country of origin, etc.) that contribute to their transition to motherhood.
  3. To understand the role of expectations, religious and cultural, in Muslim women’s distress around the perinatal period (during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum) and to determine if some Muslim women are more vulnerable to distress if expectations are not met.
  4. To develop interventions rooted in Islamic Psychology to alleviate the range of emotional struggles Muslim women might experience around their transition to motherhood, from discomfort to significant mental health diagnoses
  5. To explore how Islamic notions of matrescence might have relevance to non-Muslims as well as how it might inform non-Islamic understandings of this concept.

 

Khalid Elzamzamy, MD

Hamad bin Khalifa University – Qatar.

Suicide: An Islamically Integrated Approach to Prevention and Care (MA thesis)

Suicide is a multi-faceted global phenomenon that is frequently viewed as a manifestation of the interaction of many factors including mental illness, social injustice, and weakness of faith. Suicide is also a public mental health challenge. This project focuses on how suicide and life-threatening behaviors are conceptualized and approached in mental health practice vis-à-vis the Islamic religious discourse and practice. Through a critical discourse and analysis of Islamic religious texts and fatwas (verdicts), the project aims at navigating the theological, legal and ethical dimensions, principles, and arguments put forth by Muslim religious scholars when dealing with individuals with life-threatening behaviors and suicide-related questions and rulings. The project also aims to propose potential reconciliatory approaches that attempt to combine both psychological and religious perspectives into care models that can be utilized by mental health professionals and religious scholars alike when dealing with cases of suicide and life-threatening behavior.

 

Isha Hammad

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

MA thesis

Educational Psychology is a discipline that studies how children learn and retain information. Many researchers in the field are focused on identifying the different ways we learn by applying various theories of human development. Educational Psychology will be viewed  through the lens of an Islamic Framework to make connections to current theories of ways that children and adolescents learn and expand on the aspects of learning to include beneficial ways of understanding emotional, social, as well as spiritual aspects of learning.
 

Maneeza Dawood

Columbia University

Psychological science has often prioritized research on the individual- how individual minds think and develop a sense of self. Social psychology emerged in response to this research, emphasizing that even individual psychological processes require engagement, and exist within our social, ecological and cultural contexts (e.g., see Adams, Kurtiş, Salter & Anderson, 2012; Markus & Hamedani, 2007). Religion, in particular, continues to be a powerful context of social behavior for the majority of the world. The aim of this proposed project, therefore, is to develop a framework for Islamic social psychology- exploring how Islam integrates individual, collective, societal, and institutional contexts to predict key psychological outcomes, including- daily interactions, development of moral and character values, decision-making, and civic engagement.

Sameena Iqbal

International Islamic University Islamabad (Doctoral Dissertation)

Sanctification Of Parenting, Nurturing Spiritual And Character Values In Young Children For Managing Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Parents’ religious or spiritual beliefs are the most vital predictors of child’s spiritual and moral development. Parents’ spirituality is interconnected with parenting, parent-child relationship and in turn influences spiritual and character development of a child. Although religious/spiritual beliefs plays major role in the lives of Pakistanis and it gives a socio-cultural context in which they marry and nurture their children, little research has focused on specific ways through which religious and spiritual beliefs may shape parenting and help to raise children to embrace spiritual and character values. Therefore, the current study is designed to assess the role of parents’ religious/spiritual beliefs in parenting, parent-child relationship and nurturing spiritual and character values in children. It will also measure the role of parents’ spirituality, parenting practices,
parent-child relationship and children’s spiritual and character values in the management of Disruptive Behavioral Disorders particularly Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder. Furthermore, it aims to design a therapeutic manual based on Ghazali Children Project and WHO Parent Skills Training Program for children and their parents that aid to manage Disruptive Behavior Disorders, promoting parents’ spirituality, sanctification of parenting, improving parent-child relationship quality and instilling spiritual and character values in children.

Hasnaa Kebouri

Hasnaa is developing an Islamically integrated pre-marriage counselling program. Topics covered in the program include:

  • The historical positioning of marriage and the evolution and transformation of this institution, over the last century along with the impact on society. 
  • The perception of the institution of marriage that youth have and how expectations evolved today. 
  • The pre-marriage strategic alignment: a common vision, objectives, initiatives  
  • Criteria of spouse selection:  Sharia angle, social angle, economic, cultural… 
  • The roles and responsibilities in marriage:  the mandatory roles and the elective roles of men and women.  The birth specificities of each 
  • Key factors of a successful marriage:  respect, communication, agreement of principals and pillars. 
  • Conflict resolution in marriage: how to detect conflict early, who are our references in conflict resolution, the compromise solutions and usual pitfalls. 
  • Children and parenting education guidelines 
  • Sexual Education and awareness 
  • Drafting a family charter 

Shahid Ijaz

International Islamic University Islamabad – Doctoral Dissertation

Shahid is doing his doctoral research on the following Topic: CONFIGURATION OF EVIDENCE-BASED INTERVENTION FOR THE AMELIORATION OF MALADIES OF THE SELF (NAFS).
Maladies of Nafs are the enduring attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors which are prohibited by religion. Reliable and valid measurement; also, evidence based intervention for amelioration of maladies is crucial for the development of healthy personality of Muslims. Maladies of Nafs described in religion lack operationalization, instrumentalization and standardization. This research aims to develop the standard test for measurement of maladies of nafs, also it will develop the evidence-based intervention for amelioration of maladies of nafs. Manualized, evidence-based psychosocial intervention for personality modification & development will be utilized by teachers, psychologists, skill-based programs, rehabilitation centers etc. To bring a tangible, productive and positive change in individuals. It will be a cost-effective training program. This intervention will act at prevention level against characterological Issues, crimes, family conflicts etc.

FAQ

Islamic psychology (IP) is a field that seeks to develop framework of psychology rooted in Islam. The field of Muslim mental health (MMH) is primarily about understanding the mental health needs of Muslims. Although there is overlap (for example, when exploring the utility of an IP framework or intervention on a Muslim population), they are also quite distinct in that IP is primarily about Islam whereas MMH is primarily about Muslims. Although exploring the mental health needs of Muslims is a very worthy and necessary area of scholarship, it is simply not the focus of the kind of work we are advancing in our IP fellowships.

No. Our Fellows come from diverse scholarly backgrounds which naturally reflects the multidisciplinary nature of Islamic psychology. Some are pursuing a degree in psychology, others are in Islamic studies. Potential Fellows could come from other domains as well including history, philosophy, and beyond.  Some are doing an MA thesis, others are doing a doctoral dissertation. What is important to us is the actual project you would like to do and whether or not it fits within the scope of our IP Fellowship program.

Fellowships can begin at any time and vary in duration, depending on what stage the Fellow is at in his or her research project when they join. Some Fellowships could be as little as a year, some could be 2 or 3. There is no strict time-frame.

In order to do a Fellowship and advance the IP field, you must, in the very least, be familiar with the basic IP landscape. As a starting point, you must familiarize yourself with the literature base. For more information see https://alkaraminstitute.org/what-is-islamic-psychology/

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