Introduction to Islamic Psychology
The field of psychology has long been criticized for being a science rooted in a (secular) worldview that not many people espouse. This has raised questions about its relevance, especially for people of faith, indigenous peoples, those in non-Western cultures, and more. This has given rise to movements such as the decolonization of psychology, multicultural and cross-cultural psychology, and religious and spiritual psychologies. Such movements seek to provide frameworks of psychology that are rooted in the various worldviews in which they are positioned.
It is within this broader climate, the contemporary push for diversity and inclusion, as well as the vast Islamic tradition that one can locate Islamic psychology today. Although defined and conceptualized in a variety of ways and in an attempt to not “other” it, one could argue that Islamic psychology (IP) is simply psychology – but rooted in the philosophical, metaphysical, cosmological, theological, ontological, and epistemological worldview of the Islamic tradition.
The purpose of this program is to introduce students to these foundational “roots” of the field as well as some of its emerging branches – areas of application in which IP is already benefiting society and improving lives.
Having begin in 2021, this is the first and currently only Islamic psychology program in the United States. It is a graduate level program designed for a broad audience including students, professionals, or scholars from related fields and backgrounds. Its pedagogical approach is rooted in an Islamic view that education is holistic: informing the intellect and transforming the soul. As such, the program is comprised of theory-based lectures with class discussion, an experiential, practice-based Islamic meditation/muraqaba component lead by an expert in Islamic spirituality, an original final project that the student will do that will contribute to advancing the field of Islamic psychology, and a volunteer component for personal development. The following is a brief overview of the program and other relevant information.
Module 1: Introduction to Islamic Psychology
This module provides necessary intellectual infrastructure for the program as a whole. It begins with a general overview of the emerging field of Islamic psychology including how it is defined and conceptualized, examples of current scholarship and the landscape today. How religion, spirituality, and other issues of diversity are dealt with in psychology will also be examined.
Module 2: Islam: Religion, Culture, and Science
This course introduces students to Islam by exploring the structure and landscape of Islamic sciences and schools of thought, Muslim contributions to philosophy of science as well as what we today call psychology including topics like human ontology, theories of personality, and more.
Module 3: Islamic Spirituality
This module examines Islam’s version of psychology, namely Islamic spirituality, also known by other terms such as the science of Ihsan, the science of the self, and ilm al-nafs. Specific topics to be explored include various approaches or schools of thought to this science, virtue and character development and spiritual diseases of the heart.
Module 4: Islamically Integrated Psychotherapy, Counseling, and Mental Health
This module explores Islamic psychology and mental health, various approaches to Islamically integrated psychotherapy, relevant clinical topics such as suicide, addiction, co-dependency, family systems, and more.
Module 5: Islamically Integrated Healing and Medicine
The field of Islamic healing is vast and includes prophetic medicine (al-Tibb al-Nabawi), Sufism (tasawwuf), spiritual modalities such as dhikr, duaa, ruqya, concepts and practices such as muraqaba and muhasaba, and what is today called mind-body or complementary and alternative medicine. This module explores this area of Islamic healing as well as ways to bring Islamic philosophy, frameworks, and practices into clinical encounters, regardless of the patient’s faith background.
Module 6: Islamic Psychology Special Topics
This module will cover select IP topics including ethics, peace psychology, the psychology of art and poetry, and the development of psychometrics.
Module 7: Advancing IP – Student Presentations
In this module students will present their original research topics as final presentations and papers and will have an opportunity for feedback on potential publication.
How is the program administered? The program is live and completely online. It begins September 26th, 2023 and finishes in mid-June, 2024. Lectures are on Tuesday from 11am – 1pm EST. The experiential, meditation component, is the 3rd Saturday of the month. A full list of class dates and timings will be provided in the syllabus to registered students.
How do I register for the program? Send an email with “register” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org. The content of the email should include your full name, location, as well as one sentence about your background (are you a student? If so, where and in which subject? Are you a scholar or professional? If so, in which field etc.). NOTE: THIS IS A GRADUATE LEVEL CLASS AND AS A PREREQUISITE, YOU MUST HAVE COMPLETED A BACHELORS DEGREE. Your email to us will generate an invoice that will be emailed back to you. PLEASE ALLOW 3-4 DAYS FOR PROCESSING TIME. Once you receive the invoice and pay the tuition, you will be enrolled in the program. The syllabus will be provided on the first day of class. Access to our online classroom on Moodle will also be provided.
Who is this course designed for? This is a graduate-level course designed for anyone wanting to know more about the academic field of Islamic psychology including students, clinicians, scholars, professionals, and more. This is not a course that focuses on the mental health needs of Muslims, as important of a topic as that may be. Rather, the program focuses on the development of frameworks of psychology that are rooted in the Islamic theological and philosophical traditions and positioned within a modern psychology context.
Is this course accredited? There is currently no regulatory body that accredits Islamic psychology courses. This is a public course and attendees will receive a certificate of completion issued by the Alkaram Institute at the end. This course does not prepare or train attendees for clinical practice. However, for attendees who are already licensed clinicians, it will inform your practice by giving you frameworks in which you can Islamically ground your work. For attendees who are currently enrolled in a graduate program elsewhere and are interested in doing their MA thesis or doctoral dissertation on an IP topic, consider applying to our Islamic Psychology Research Fellowship program. For more information, see our website.
Are there assignments or exams for the course? There will be a good amount of assigned reading, a final project, a volunteer component, and an experiential exercise. The final paper consists of doing a 10-page research paper and presenting it to the class at the end of the year. Depending on the work, students might have a possible publication opportunity when completed.
How many credit hours is the program and what is the cost of tuition? For 2023 – TBA
For other questions not answered here, please reach out to email@example.com