Muslims — Understand Yourself With Psychology

How can a knowledge of psychology be beneficial to followers of the Islamic faith? Haleh Banani, MA writes from her extensive experience. Now’s the time to step up! Where are you in the quest for yourself? –


Learning psychology can help you to understand yourself on a whole new level.  It’s absolutely fascinating to learn how your psyche works – what makes you tick, what motivates you, how to overcome fears and phobias.  Once you know how your mind works, you can start programming yourself for success. You no longer have to stumble upon  success  – you can aspire, plan and achieve while putting your complete trust in Allah. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust in Him (Surah Al-Imran 3:160). You will no longer be at the  mercy of other peoples’ approval or validation because you can learn to accept yourself and in accepting yourself you can accept others.  In learning about behavior modification, you can learn how to motivate yourself and others to make that oh so necessary change; like shedding 20 pounds, giving up bad habits, forgiving others, controlling your anger and getting organized.  Allah will never change the state of the people until they change themselves (Surah Al-Anfal 8:53).

If it’s not motivation you are lacking, you can learn to cope better with all of life’s challenges. Learning coping skills can be a matter of life or death. Thousands of people die due to heart attacks and strokes because they never learned to cope with the daily stresses. Your outlook on life can become optimistic by becoming aware of your internal conversation which is called self-talk and you can even reinvent yourself by vigilantly avoiding negative thoughts the way you would avoid a poisonous snake. The pursuit of happiness has to begin within.  If you don’t like yourself, you can’t expect others to make you happy.  Once you like yourself, you will be able to embrace the people around you and focus on giving to them on a deep, emotional level.  Each one of these concepts I have mentioned require [an indepth article]!

When you start becoming happier with yourself, the first people who will notice the change will be your friends and family.  Your relationships with them will improve significantly because you will no longer be consumed with your inadequacies.  Learning to accept yourself with all your shortcomings and imperfections will make you less judgmental of others.  You will be able to be more tolerant and respectful of people even if they are not your ideological clones.  …

Having a strong and stable relationship with your spouse should be a prerequisite to having children because of the impact it has on their personalities and their lives.  Not only do people lack the skills or role models in having an efficacious relationship, they also believe they can just improvise on parenting without any prior training or knowledge.  Ask people of knowledge if you do not know (Surah Nahl 16:43). It’s disheartening  to know that a person is required to take courses and seek training from experts in order to drive or hunt, but when it comes to becoming a parent and raising the future generation there are absolutely no criteria.  Seeking knowledge within psychology regarding effective parenting and applying the beautiful example of our beloved Prophet (peace and salam upon him) will enable us to have a map which will guide us in the rugged and unpredictable terrains of parenting.

Empowered with the knowledge of psychology within the Islamic framework will have you parenting with ease and deliberateness, while reaping the rewards of gratifying relationships. You will introspect and understand your emotions, which will enable you to be more accepting of yourself and others.  Aspirations will be achieved with simple guidelines when accompanied with perseverance and trust in Allah.  It is my hope that this article has wet your appetite for learning more about psychology in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah, insha’Allah.

Ms. Haleh Banani has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston, and over 10 years experience in diagnosing mental and emotional disorders and administrating programs of treatment.  She has given inspiring lectures in the U.S., Dubai, Jordan and Egypt. Read more of her biography here

Reprinted with permission from the author.

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