Kamis, 06 Desember 2012



A lecturer at STAIN Zawiyah Cot Kala Langsa

Tulisan ini adalah untuk menganalisis konsep psikologi barat yang telah mendominasi ratusan tahun terakhir oleh tiga paradigma utama dalam psikologi:
psikoanalisis, behaviorisme dan humanisme yang tidak mengarah pada pemahaman yang lebih baik dari sifat manusia. Gagasan paradigma ummatic psikologi mencoba untuk mengembalikan unsur-unsur spiritual dengan dasar materialistik, ateistik dan sekularisme pendidikan dengan mempertimbangkan Ruh atau jiwa dalam seluruh aspek sistem pendidikan dengan referensi khusus kepada Al-Quran.

                   Keywords  : Ummatic, psychology, education


             Psychology is the study of human behavior in its observable and unobservable dimensions.[1] Nevertheless, when we define the word ‘psychology’ based on the Greek  word psyche,  meaning “soul” or “spirit”, therefore, psychology means study of the soul. However it is now anything but, and indeed the idea of a soul or spiritual nature are not even acknowledged in mainstream psychology. The attitude of rejecting the spiritual can be traced to the implicit assumptions of Western psychology rooted in secularism. In order to gain a deeper understanding of human nature, Western psychological theories have tended to focus only on one aspect of the self, e.g. psychoanalysis focuses  on the unconscious, humanism focuses on the values and self-actualization, and behaviorism focuses on stimulus situation and overt response, No doubt, important insights have been gained, yet no model is truly comprehensive in itself.
This is why, it is very important that Muslims define and develop Islamic psychology based on the Qur’an , which Muslims regard as the most reliable source of knowledge possible, as it is from Allah who created us and therefore He knows absolutely everything about us.
            Thus, the main concern of this paper is to restore the spiritual element to the present materialistic, atheistic, and secular basis of education, (with special reference to psychology) or to foster the consideration of the Ruh or soul in understanding human behavior. It was found that for psychology, the starting point would be a comparison between the conceptions of human nature in western psychology represented by three main
system, i.e., psychoanalysis, behaviorism and humanistic psychology on one hand and the Islamic conception  of human nature on the other. The main difference is that in Islamic perspective of psychology the spirit (ruh) is very fundamental, and for some other it is completely ignored.

Defenition of Ummatic Psychology

The term Ummatic, derived from the Arabic word Ummah, exclusively refer to Muslim community or Islamic society. Allah said:
And There may spring from you a community (ummah) who invite to goodness, and enjoin good conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful”[2]
“ Ye are The best Community (ummah) that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah.  And if the People of the Scripture had believed it had been better for them. Some of them are believers; but most of them are evil-livers”[3]
            According to Al-Faruqi as cited in Hasan[4] the term “ummah” is not translatable and must be taken in its original Islamic Arabic from. The “ummah”  is a universal society whose membership includes the widest possible variety of ethnicities or communities, but whose commitment to Islam binds them to a specific social order. It's territory is not only the whole earth, but all of creation. Its trans-racial and regard all humanity as its actual or potential members.
            The ummah is the social order of Islam, and the movement that seeks to actualize its goals is called ummmatism. The ummatization and ummaticness of psychology is to make it relevant to the soul of the ummah. The social order of Islam, therefore, is universal, enveloping the whole of mankind without exception. The ummah is meant to serve as a witness to the concretization of the Divine Message as expounded in the Qur’an or, in particular, the operationalization of both worship and amanah.
The ummah, therefore, is the uniting force among the diverse paradigms and communities within the Muslim community. Since humanity’s vicegerency is necessarily social, the sciences that study it should properly be called ummatic. By ummatic psychology we mean the social order of Islam, the term can be used instead of Islamic psychology. This ummatic model provides for resolving disputes among scientific communities (such as psychologist) within the ummah. The ummatic psychologist should be able to understand both the great tradition of the past and the present dynamic modern thought, and consider all of the process and evolution between them so as to make the past living, active, and effective.[5]

Secularization of  Psychology 

            The reason for this actually lies in the Renaissance period of Western history many centuries ago, when the church was seen to be an obstacle to scientific ad advancement. The ideas of philosophers and scientists which were considered contradictory to Christian teaching were banned from publication and discussion by the church. Some of them were labeled a heretic by the church and placed under house arrest.
            But ultimately, science was victorious over the church because the evidence of its rational observation and experimentation just become too compelling. As a consequence, all religion became associated with being backward, superstitious, and regressive, and so secularism-which was a rejection of religion-became associated with being rational, liberated and progressive. Even hundreds of years after the conflict between church and science, the effect on the Western psyche is still very apparent.[6]
            It is important to give this historical perspective as it helps us to understand why it is so difficult to find any religious or spiritual elements in western psychology nowadays (i,e., psychoanalysis, behaviorism and humanistic psychology). As we can see, these three paradigms are product of Western materialistic, atheistic and secularist way of conceptualizing human being.

Psychoanalysis Model of Human Nature

            The psychoanalysis school of psychology was the first school that established itself in the West. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was the founding father of psychoanalysis. This school of psychology was dominant in the west before behaviorism and humanistic psychology came as a challenge to it.[7]
Freud’s assumption on human nature may be summarized in the following five points:
v  Human actions are caused by mental states;
v  The most important mental determents of individual action are unconscious;
v  Human personality consists of three domains: id, ego, and superego;
v  Human behavior can be explained by referring to a few basic motives, most notably, the life instinct (eros), the death instinct (thanatos), and the pleasure instinct (libido);
v  The experiences of infancy and early childhood are very crucial in the process of character formation.[8]           
Freud’s idea on human nature is a very pessimistic and deterministic one. According to him man is no more than an animal enslaved to his sexual impulses. His pessimistic view on human nature is based on his assumption that man is evil and selfish by nature. He also believed that the concept of human is a deterministic based on his assumption that every human being is chained to the psycho-sexual developments of  live. As such he believed that man has no freedom to get away from the shackles of his psycho-sexual development.[9] According to Freud, the many individual instincts can all grouped under two major motives/drives: the life, instinct, generally called Eros or sex, and the death instinct, sometimes known as thanatos. The life instincts represent all that is essential for man's survival on earth, like hunger, thirsts and sex. All these instincts function themselves by using a form of energy called libido. This term basically means sexual energy. The death instincts are related to aggression and destruction. The aggression tendency is present in everyone and is the explanation for wars, atrocities, religious persecution, and murder, as well as malicious gossip, sarcasm, and humiliation.[10]
            In explaining the level of mental life, Freud divided it into three level: the unconscious, preconscious and conscious. The unconscious level of mind contains all those drive, urges, or instincts that are beyond our awareness, but that nevertheless motivate most of our words, feelings and action. Although we may be conscious of our overt behaviors, we often are not aware of the mental processes that lie behind them. For example, a woman may know that she is attracted to a man but not fully understand all the reasons for the attraction, some of which may even seem irrational. To Freud the unconscious is the explanation for the meaning behind dreams, slips of the tongue, hypnosis and neurotic symptoms.[11]
            The preconscious level of mind is a level where man can bring to his awareness when he desires things and event that happened some time ago. And the conscious level of mind is a state of man’s awareness of the things and events that are happening around him.[12]
            Freud felt that the thing that people were aware (conscious) were just a small part of personality. Most of personality is hidden in unconscious. Then during the 1920s, Freud’s explanation of personality says that there are actually three separate parts to personality: the id, ego, and superego. Each one plays a different role in determining people’s behavior.[13]
It tries to reduce immediately any tension that might arise in people. However, Freud suggested that another part of the personality helps to restrain the id. He called it the Ego.

Behaviorism model of Human Nature.

            The behaviorist school of psychology came to exist in the West at the same time as the emergence of psychoanalysis. Among the great figures in this school of psychology were Ivan Pavlov, J.B. Waston and B.F. Skinner.
            Behaviorisms or Skinner’s conception of human nature can be summarized as follows:
v  Human behavior is determined by external conditions, hence, identical human conditions produce identical patterns behavior;
v  Mental structures, such as invention or will, are insignificant to understanding human behavior;
v  Therefore, the empirical study of human behavior is the only scientific method for making inferences about human psychology.[14]

The behaviorism does not believe in the innate knowledge possessed by man. According to them, man is nothing more than a mechanical object that can be conditioned and programmed to do any task. With the general assumption that behaviors of animals and man are basically to outcome of learning experiences, they put great emphasizes on the classical and operant-conditioning in producing any desired behavioral change. They believe that any human behavior can be studied by taking man to the laboratory for observation and experimentation, and they also presumed and generalized results obtained from that experiments and studies on animals to be similar on human being. Moreover the behaviorists believe that all human behaviors can merely be explained in terms of stimulus-response reactions. In behaviorism, man’s entire stimulus comes from the environment and nothing comes from man’s inner self. Thus, environmental (external) factors are the dominant factors that produce the different types of human personalities. Behaviorism also believed that only science can enable man to understand the truth about nature and also on human nature. By giving science the priority, they advocated that the empirical study of human behavior will be the most appropriate way to arrive at the theory of human nature.[15]

Humanism Model of Human Nature

            Humanistic psychology which came after psychoanalysis and behaviorism has often been called the ‘Third Force’ in psychology. This school of psychology which developed by Carl Rogers and Abraham H. Maslow, came into existence as a movement was not happy with Freud’s concept of human nature that depicted man as an animal full of sexual and aggressive energy. The humanism also disagrees with idea of behaviorism which said that man is merely a mechanical being that reacts to the stimulus that comes from the environment. On the contrary, humanism presents a very optimistic and positive concept of human nature. They believe that man is good intrinsically and can guide, regulate and control himself towards a fully-functioning person and also towards self-actualization.
            Humanism conception of human nature can be summarized as follows;
v  Man is distinctly different from any other creature. Man has abilities which animals do not have. He is capable to plan for his life. This process of planning is a conscious intellectual process based on his ability to remember what has taken place in the past, to perceive what happens at the present, and hope for what is going to happen in the future. Another unique characteristic of man which is not present in animals is that, he is capable of creating, developing and also of recording and transmitting cultural heritage from one generation to the other.
v  Man , by nature is free. His freedom demands from his responsibility of the choice that he made.
v  Human beings grow and progress in life. Man continuously grows and advances in life for better progress and improvements in life to attain self-actualization.
v  All psychological data pertaining to the study of man’s behavior, personality, motivation, ect. should be collected from people who are psychologically well and also from those who experience life in a happy and pleasant way, and not from people who suffer from psycho-pathological illness.[16]

Even every school of psychology has a different conception of human nature, as we can see these three paradigms (psychoanalytic, behaviorist, and humanistic) have a similarity, that is they are product of western materialistic, atheistic, and secularistic way of conceptualizing human being. They can never furnish us with the complete system of psychological ideas that can be meaningful. Each paradigm does not hold on the totally of human beings but focuses only on certain dimension of mankind. Each of them also neglects the spiritual relationship with the God, thus they refuse to recognize the needs of man towards the God.
            It is for this reason that the development of an Islamic psychology or what we called in this paper “Ummatic Psychology” becomes imperative. The emergence of the Ummatic Psychology in the modern psychology which we hope will resolve the problem of the separation of mind and body as a basis for the conceptualization of human nature. But how do we develop an alternative? Where should we start? Naturally, our point of departure should be an examination of the conception of the human nature according to the guidance of al-Qur’an and al-Sunnah.

Human Nature from an Ummatic Psychology Perspective

            Amongst Allah’s creations, only human being stand on the highest position and are considered as special beings because of their individual uniqueness. Allah creates them in the most beautiful and excellent manner, and breathes in spirit to enable them to perform their duties as vicegerent of Allah.
Allah says:
            “Surely We created man of the best stature”[17]                                   

            “We have  honored the sons of Adam, provided them transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of our creation”[18]                        

            “So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My spirit, do ye fall down, prostarting yourselves unto him”[19]                            

            According to Abbas.[20] any account of the nature of human nature, the mould in which humans are created, cannot be fully appreciated without an understanding of the purpose of creation and meaning of the present life. Allah SWT states in the Holy Qur’an:
            “I have only created jinns and men that they may serve Me.[21]          
            “And when thy Lord said unto the angels:Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth….” [22]                               
According to Islamic doctrine, the purpose of man being created is to worship of Allah. Worship is not confined to ritual prayers, but more than that. God endowed man with some potentialities with reference to some of His Divine Qualities, which are described in the Qur’an “the Most Beautiful Names / al-Asma’ al-Husna” , such as; the Merciful (al-Rahman), the Compassionate (al-Rahim), the Knower (al-‘Alim) and the Creator (al-Khaliq). Worship, in its most general sense, means the development and exercice of these qualities in man in accordance with God’ commandments and guidance. The Divine Qualities can only be manifested in man in a limited and relative manner and are to be held as a trust (amanah), that is, at most only by someone who is a vicegerent on earth. In other word, man has the Divane Qualities but they are manifested in a limited way because they are amanah, and he can only function as a vicegerent on earth.[23]
            However, man is also prone to forgetfulness (nisyan) which is the cause of disobedience to God and injustice to himself and others. But God, having equipped people with the faculty to distinguish right from wrong, has made man accountable to Him. Moreover by virtue of God’s bounty and mercy, He has provided humanity with Prophets and divine revelation to warm man of forgetfulness and to remind him of the right  path.[24] Thus, humans ware fashioned in the best of molds possible to suit the purpose of their creation.
            God also has endowed human beings with the faculties of Self (Nafs), Spirit (Ruh), Heart (Qalb), and Mind (Aql) by means of which they may be able to understand  divine revelation or recognize the Creator.

1)      The Nature of the Spirit (Ruh)

The word al-Ruh with all its different meaning has been stated in 25 places in the whole Qur’an. According to Shaikh Fadhalla Haeri as cited in Moh Abbas[25] the al-Ruh means spirit, and what it generally implies is the breath of life, or the origin of life. It is derived from the root ’rāha’, which means to animate or revive, to inhale or breathe, also to leave or to go away. The Qur’anic verses that are explaining its meaning as the life giving entity with its relationship with the human body and soul are;
            They ask thee concerning the Spirit (of inspiration. Say: ‘The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: Of knowladge it is only a little is communicated to you, (Omen!”)
            “Behold! Thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to create man, from sounding clay from mud molded into shape; “When I have fashioned him                                (in due proportion)and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him” [26]

            Hasan Langgulung[27] explained the nature of the Ruh from theological philosophy perspective. He classified the Ruh into non-material (mujarrad) beings. The non-material beings are free from matter, movement, change and alteration. The complete domain of non-material is called ”Alam-‘Amr”  (The World of Command). In the World of Command every being assumes existence spontaneously on exercise of  Divine will or command, without need of preparation of any material, temporal or spatial ground.

As God said in Surah Yasin:
            “His Command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it, ‘Be’ and it is”.[28]
On the other hand, Hasan classified human body into material (maddi) beings. The material beings are subject to motion, change and alteration. They are bound by time and space. The complete domain of material is called “Alam al-Khalq” (The World of Creation). In this world, the existence of material beings, in addition to its essential possibility, depends on its possibility of preparedness. That means its materialization can take place only under the presence of favorable conditions and readiness of ground. We can see this process in the case of the development of sperm into human being which happened in sequence or through stages, using psychological jargon. As Allah mentioned in Surah al-Mu’minin;
“Then we made sperm into a clot of congealed blood;then of that clot We made a (fetus)lump; then We made out of the lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be God, the best to Create” [29]

2)      The Nature of Self (Nafs)

Al-Nafs  means the powers of anger and lust in a human being. This is usage mostly found among the Sufis, who take nafs as the comprehensive word for all the evil attributes of a person. That is why they say: one must certainly do battle with nafs and break it, as is referred to in the hadith:
            “You worst enemy is your nafs which lies between your flanks”        (Narrated by Moslem)
            Al-Nafs also means the spirit, the human being in reality,  his self and his person. However, it is described differently according to its different states; “al-nafs al-ammara bi al-su’ “,”al-nafs al-lawwama”,and”al-nafs al-mutma’innah. Al-nafs al-ammara bi al-su’ inclines toward sensual pleasure, passion, impulsive gratification, anger, envy, greed and conceit. This nafs pulls an individual from the true guidance of Allah towards perversion and transgression in life. The nature and evil inclination of this Nafs has been mentioned in the Qur’an in order that mankind can protect and avert its evilness. Allah says;
            I do not exculpate myself. Lo! The (human) soul enjoined unto evil, save that whereon my Lord hath mercy. Lo! My Loard is Forgiving, Merciful”.[30]
Al-nafs al-lawwamah is the nafs that comes in between al-nafs al-ammarah and al-nafs al-mutma’innah. This nafs can be best described as the self-blaming  Allah says;
“I do call to witness the Resurrection Day: And I do call to witness the self-reproaching spirit”.[31]                                      
It has been said that this kind of nafs is the one which cannot rest in any one state. It often changes and alters, remembers and forgets, submits and evades, loves and hates, rejoices and becomes sad, accepts and rejects, obeys and rebels. Al-hasan al-Basri said: “You always see the believer reproaching himself and saying things like: ‘Did I want this? Why did do that? Was this better than that?”
            Hasan[32] futher explains the nature and characteristic of the nafs al-lawwamah as “a state of constant awareness. It indicates Nafs in a state of change and flux, always conscious and vigilant, costantly examining and scrutinizing its actions, fighting against the baser desires, never heedless and sordid. This constant contention is the first stage of  al-nafs al-mutma’innah”.
Al-nafs al-mutma’innah is the end of the psycho-spiritual journey or development of an individual. This nafs portrays the image of those who are at peace with their salves, Allah the Almighty, nature and also with humanity at large.[33] Allah says;

            “O (thou) soul, in complete rest and satisfaction ! Come back thou to thy Lord-well pleased thy (self), and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter thou, then among My Devotees! Yea, enter thou My Heaven!”[34]                                                                 
According to Al Gazali  Al-nafs al-mutma’innah is “the soul of the believer, made calm by what Allah has promised. Its owner is at complete rest and content with his knowledge of Allah’s Name’s and Attributes, and with what He has said about Himself and His Massenger (SAW), and with what He said about what awaits the soul after death-about the departure of the soul, the life in the barzakh, and the events of the Day of Resurrection which will follow-so much so that a believer such as this can almost see them with his own eyes. So he submits to the will of Allah and surrenders to Him contentedly, never dissatisfied or complaining, and with his faith never wavering. He does not rejoice at his gains, nor do his afflictions make him despair, for he knows that they were decreed long before they happened to him, even before he was created”[35]

3)      The Nature of Heart (Qalb

The Qalb is refered to the subtle spiritual light that is contained within the cone shaped structure of the human heart. The physical human heart can be considered as the point of interaction between the body and the Qalb as a spiritual entity (Mohd Abas, 1997:111).
Thus, the condition of the individual’s Qalb affects his potential and goodness. As mentioned in the hadith, narrated by Imam al-Bukhari;
Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed)the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart”.

Zafar Afaq Ansari[36] as cited in Manzurul Haq views that Qalb represent the faculty or capacity of human personality which enables the person to know and understand the reality of things, make evaluative judgments, and sift the right from the wrong. The functions of the qalb are described quite frequently in the Qur’an along with the sensory capacities of human beings, indicating that what the qalb does is an extension and superior function of what is being done at the lower level by the sensory organs like eyes and ears. However, if the functions of the qalb are blocked the sensory organs lose their utility.
Consequently, man can loses his honored position of being the best creation to a level below to animal in his nature. This downfall of man is caused by the spiritual blindness of the Qalb (subdued by the Nafs Ammarah) that affects man’s sensory organs, emotion, affections, cognition and personality. This condition has been mentioned by the Qur’an;
Many are the Jinns and men We have made for Hell: They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes, wherewith they see not, and ears, wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle-nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning).[37]

4.The Nature of Intellect (Al-‘Aql)

According to Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri as Quoted by Abbas[38] the word al-‘Aql is derived from the root ‘aqala, which means to be endowed with reason, to possess intelligence, to comprehend, to understand. The intellect, in its highest sense, is a sublime power which receives the unveilings of pure light. In its lowest sense, it is the power of ordinary reasoning.
            However, according to Prof. Hasan Langgulung[39] that the Sufis argued that the ‘Aql is lower in rank compared to the compared to the Qalb for the reason; it is only capable of conceiving knowledge that comes through man’s sense perceptions, such as; touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing, where as the Qalb has the capacity to receive the divine knowledge (Ladunni) inspired by Allah.
Nature Versus Nurture

            In order to understand human nature, it is also commonly known as the nature or nurture debate and is widely acknowledged as the longest war in the history of psychology. Psychoanalysts strongly support a naturalistic stance, while the behaviorists emphasize the role of nurture. The humanists believe that man is naturally good. In other words, they seem to focus on material and physical goodness.
            However, regarding to al-Ghazali as cited in Abbas[40] that the essence of man is spiritual goodness. In the same time, the environment is equally important in preserving or spoiling the purity of the human soul. Therefore, Islam put great emphasis on the role of parents and society in the formation of the personality of man. A hadisth tell us that “no one is born except on innate character. His parents turn him into a Jew, a Christian or a Magian.”[41]

Freewill Versus Determinism

            Freewill versus determinism also becomes one of the problematic issue in modern psychology. It has also been discussed in Islamic theology and the various Islamic school if the thought are not in agreement about it. But Muslims have to be satisfied with what the Qur’an clarifies. Muslims have to hold the balance between determinism and freedom. The uniforms succession of events is predetermined, but man’s ikhtiyar/choice is an essential element of his own will. Freedom carries with it, its own consequences and responsibilities, and if man has a choice between faith and disbelief then he has to bear the responsibilities of his choice. If he is free in his behavior, then he mentioned in the Holy Qur’an :
 “Say, the Truth is from Lord. Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it). For the wrongdoers we have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames) like the walls and roof of a tent will hem them in. if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass that will scald their faces. How dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on![42]

Meanwhile, Al-Attas as cited in Abbas[43] argued, ikhtiyar does not simply mean choice, rather, it is bound in meaning with its roots “kh-y-r” which implies good. Thus opting for a bad choice is not ikhtiyar.
            In sum, man’s liberty entails responsibility. And, despite this complete freedom in belief and behavior, the Qur’an tells man very clearly that his abilities are limited, and consequently his freedom is also limited. For example, man cannot choose when to be born. Nor can man choose when or where to die.

Historical Emphasis (Past, Present, or Future)

            Time factor also become problematic issue in modern psychology. Psychoanalysts put much emphasis on early childhood in shaping man’s personality. Freud believes that an individual’s personality is established by the end of the first five or six years of life. Hence, past experience is decisive and final in shaping the way an individual thinks, feels or behaves. However, time factor is not important among behaviorists. They put much emphasis on whether an experience is reinforced or not. Human are capable of learning, unlearning. While, humanists give greater consideration to adult experiences[44]
            Islam pays great attention to the childhood period as it has a vital role in the formation of personality and behavior. Islam views the period of childhood as the time for learning and training. Parent should educate rather than dictate their children. They should use intrinsic methods of reward and punishment only during childhood and strive to punish psychologically rather than physically. Islam also puts emphasis on the source of sustenance itself; whether food was acquired by parents or guardians through lawful means. It is the period when the person is not held answerable until he reaches puberty
            While man is answerable to his past, there is room for repentance to change the consequences of that past if it is marred with sins and bad deeds. In Islam, the future also is an important dimension in the formation of the personality of the Muslim. This is because in Islam is not limited to this world alone, but extends to the Day of Judgment. Allah says;

“But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee.”[45]
There is the wisdom which may express this attitude; “Do for your present world as if you were to live forever, and for your life in the hereafter as if you were to die tomorrow”.[46]

A Comparison between Islamic Assumption about Human Nature and Those of Western Psychology

Ummatic Psychology
Psychoanalytic Psychology
Behaviorist Psychology
Humanistic Psychology
Central Concept
Man is of dual nature
Unconscious experiences
Stimulus – Response unit
Self – actualization
Locus of influences
Spiritual (internal)
Biological (Unconscious)
Environment (external)
Self (internal)
Nature v/s Nurture
Spiritual goodness
Man is evil by nature
Man is good by nature
Freewill v/s Determinism
Predetermined and Freewill
Historical emphasis
Past, present and future (hereafter)
Here and now
                                                                                                         (Cited in Abbas, 1995:61)


Definition of Education

             The meaning of education in its totality in the context of Islam is inherent in the connotations of the terms Tarbiyah, Ta’lim, and Ta’dib taken together. What each of these terms conveys concerning man and his society and environment in relation to God is related to the others, and together they represent the scope of education in Islam, both formal and non-formal[47]
            However, according to al–Attas as cited in Wan Mohd Nor[48]  the concept of ta’dib, if propely understood and competently explicated, is the correct concept for education in Islam, and not ta’lim or tarbiyah which are currently in vogue. He states: “Ta’dib already includes within its conceptual structure the elements of knowledge (‘ilm), instruction (ta’lim), and good breeding (tarbiyah), so that there is no need to refer to the concept of education in Islam as tarbiyah-ta’lim-ta’dib all together. He rejects tarbiyah because it pertains only to the physical aspect in the case of plants, and only to the physical and the emotional aspects of growth and development in the case of animals and man. As for the term ta’lim, it is generally limited to the instructional and cognitive aspects of education. Al-Attas refers to the hadith which recordd the statement of the Holy Prophet:
“My Lord has instilled adab in me (addabani) and so made my education (ta’dibi) most excellent.” He has carefully translated the verb addabani in that hadith as has educated me, and has rendered ta’dib as education, hence: “My Lord has educated me and so made my education most excellent”. Thus, al-Attas defines education as “the instilling and inculcation of adab in man- it is ta’dib.
            Whereas, Khan[49] defines Islamic Education as “the nature of the various gifts and abilities of the individual so that he may attain his full stature, both psychologically and intellectually, as well as the development, by various means, of the capabilities of society, with the similar aim of bringing about a better form of progress and sounder social development in accordance  with the values of Islam”
            Meanwhile, Prof Hasan Langgulung views that education could be seen from two different angles (individual and society). From the individual perspective, education could be seen as the cultivation of potentials. Education is a process through which we manifest what is latent in the child, such as intelligence, personality, and creativity and so forth. From societal perspective, education could be seen as a cultural transmission. It is recognized that man has natural abilities, but it also should be stressed on the ability of man to acquire knowledge by searching them in the man’s environment. Here, the searching is more a process of bringing in something that exists outside the learner rather than bringing them out. In sum, both perspectives cannot operate independently and in isolation of one from the other.

Aims and Objectives of Islamic Education

            The aims and objectives of Muslim education is the creations of the “good and righteous man” who worships Allah in the true sense of the term, builds up the structure of his earthly life according to the Shari’ah and employs it to sub serve his faith.
            The meaning of worship in Islam is both extensive and comprehensive; it is not restricted to the physical performance of religious only but embraces all aspects of activity, such as faith, thought, feeling, and work, in conformity with what Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an:
“I have created the Jinn and man only to worship Me”[50]                  
“Say, O my Lord, my prayers, my sacrifice, my life and my death are for Allah, the Lord of the World Who hath no peer.”[51]                                                                                 
This good man deeply believes that he is the vicegerent of Allah on earth. Allah says:
“And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth….”
            Therefore he always aims at perfection in his deed, personality as well as his behavior, although he is aware that absolute perfection only belongs to Allah.[52]
For this purpose He has sent the guidance of prophets and divine relevation, as mentioned by the Prophet (SAW): “I was only sent to complete the perfection of morality”.
            With a good and righteous man, Islamic education also aims to develop a “good society”. The good society is a society who believes that they have a message for mankind, which is the message of justice, truth and virtue, a message which is permanent and is not bound by time and place[53] (Hasan, 1999:154). Allah says:

“Ye are the best of people, evolved for mankind; Enjoining what is right, Forbidding what is wrong and believing in God”[54]                                                                        

            Meanwhile, according to Wan Mohd Nor[55], the aim of Islamic education include in his definition of ta’dib; “the recognition and acknowledgement, progressively instilled into man, of the proper places if things in the order of creation, such that it leads to the recognition and acknowledgement of God in the order of being and existence”.

The First World Conference on Muslim Education in Mecca has passed the following resolution;
“Education should aim at the balanced growth of the total personality of Man through the training of Man’s spirit, intellect, rational self, feelings and bodily senses. The training imparted to a Muslim must be such that faith is infused into the whole of his personality and creates in him an emotional attachment to Islam and enables him to follow the Qur’an and the sunnah and be governed by the Islamic system of values willingly and joyfully so that he may proceed to the realization of his status as Khalifatullah to whom Allah has promised the authority of the universe”[56]
            Thus, education by precept and example should instill piety and encourage self-purification as a means of penetrating the deep mysteries of the universe and opening the heart to the fear and love of Allah. Education also should promote in man the creative impulse to rule himself and the universe as a true servant of Allah not by opposing and
Coming into confect with Nature but by understanding its laws and harnessing its forces for the growth of a personality that is in harmony with it.
            As a conclusion, we can see that through this recommended aim of education, the spirituals element has been restored and put in consideration. Hopefully, this aim can give form and direction for a number of purposes and objectives of education.
            However, according Hasan[57] the above aims is a general statement which gives form and direction for a number of purpose and objectives. Whereas, there are also teaching objectives, which mean the desired change of behavior of students that can be observed. Thus, in the process of Islamization of teaching objectives, Prof Hasan believes that there is no harm in applying The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives which classifies the educational objectives into the following domains:

            Cognitive Domain
  • Knowledge
  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation

Affective Domain
  • Receiving
  • Responding
  • Valuing
  • Organization
  • Character
Which are categorized as internalization

Psychological Domain
  • Reflex movement
  • Fundamental movement
  • Physical Ability
  • Skill movement
  • Non-discursive communication.

Basic Principle of Islamic Education

            Prof Hasan[58] has listed basic principles of Islamic education which could be used to achieve the ultimate aim of education as follows;
Ø  Comprehensiveness, which means it is concerned with all aspect of man’s physical, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual development.
Ø  Integrated in approach, that is the integration of all dimension of man, as mentioned above, plus the integration of every Muslim society to all other Muslim societies throughout the world. Also the levels of education should be organized in integrated manner.
Ø  Continuity which means that education takes place throughout one’s life from the cradle to the grave. Additionally education should be innovative.
Ø  Originally which mean that Islamic education has to draw its objectives, curriculum, and methods from Islamic heritage. But that does not deny the fact that it is also open to other civilization. The priority should be stressed on spirituality of Islam. Even when sciences and modern art taught it should be kept in mind that Islamic faith must remain at the centre of these objects.
Ø  Scientific, which means that sciences and technology are important component of modern civilization, and learning sciences and technology is a must for Muslim world, otherwise it will be left behind.
Ø  Practical which means that work is the most important component of daily life as well as in the spiritual life in Islam. Work is considered as a worship of God.
Ø  Solidarity which is one of the most important teachings of Islam as it includes cooperation, brotherhood goodwill and integration amongst Muslim. Islamic education, therefore, has to grow and strengthen the spirit of solidarity among individuals and community.
Ø  Openness which means that education ought to open human psyche to universe and its creator, toward life, and its organism, and toward one’s own nations and other cultures. Islam does not recognize fanaticism or color and social difference, because in Islam there is no racialism, no differences among men except on the basis of their piety and faith.

Curriculum or Contents of Islamic Education

Education also could be seen as a scientific discipline, as all other disciplines. It has among its components which are considered as a queen of that discipline. Thus, educational sciences considers curriculums the queen among its components.
Curriculum is a combination of a number of educational, cultural, social, sport, and artist experience provided by the school for students in and school for the purpose of helping them develop their behaviors in accordance with the aims and goals of education.[59]
Since the aim of Islamic education is the actualization of our status as a Khalifatullah in a social context, the content or curriculum of Islamic education must necessarily on the one hand contain that type of knowledge, which, when imparted will provide the basis from which we may find the guidance to submit to God’s will and hence come to know ourselves, our place in the universe and relationship to God. There is also a type of knowledge which expressly takes into account the needs and rights of society. This is respectively fard ‘ayn knowledge (the revealed sciences) and fard kifayah  (the acquired sciences). Fard ‘ayn knowledge refers to the knowledge which is acquired through revelation, whereas, the fard kifayah is acquired through observation, research, speculation and rational enquiry. The revealed sciences provide human beings with permanent objective truths which are important for their guidance; the acquired sciences provide the knowledge of sensible date necessary foe daily practical use. The revealed sciences reveal the true relationship between people and their Lord. Without the guidance of this knowledge, the knowledge of the acquired sciences cannot lead to the good life, but will instead sow the seeds of corruption and confusion.

            The Revealed Sciences (Fard ‘Ayn Knowledge)

Imam al-Ghazali and many other classical scholars as cited in Abbas[60] support the distinction between the revealed sciences and the acquired sciences. In his terminology he refers to the revealed sciences as al-Ulum al-Shari’iyyah (religious sciences) and the acquired as al-Ulum al-‘Aqliyyah (rational sciences). Fard ‘ayn knowledge refers to that body of knowledge that Muslim males and females must learn;
            “The seeking of knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim male and female”
Muslim will be receptive to this kind of knowledge because of belief in the Qur’an as the final revealed word of God. Since human nature is to believe and worship God, the core content of Islamic education must therefore of necessity provide knowledge which will guide us to believe and worship God. Since the revealed or God-given sciences are compulsory on every Muslim by virtue of the fact that we are dependent on this knowledge for daily Islamic worship, it is given priority over the acquired sciences. Fard ‘ayn knowledge therefore serves the needs of the soul and prepares us for salvation in the hereafter.

Wan Mohd Nor[61] provides an outline of what revealed knowledge constitutes:
ü  The Quran: its recitation and interpretation.
ü  The Sunnah: the life of the Prophet (pbuh) – the history and the message of the prophets before him, the hadith and its authoritative transmission.
ü  The Shari’ah: jurisprudence and law, the principles and practice of Islam.
ü  Theology (al-tawhid): God, His Essence, Attributes and Names and Acts.
ü  Islamic Metaphysics (al-tasawwuf): psychology, cosmology, ontology, legitimate element of Islamic philosophy including valid cosmological doctrines concerning the hierarchy of being.
ü  Linguistic sciences: Arabic, its grammar, lexicography and literature.

The Acquired Sciences (Fard Kifayah Knowledge)

The second category of knowledge which helps people to fulfill pragmatic ends in the this world is referred to as acquired sciences or fard kifayah knowledge. This knowledge includes the social, natural and technological sciences. It is compulsory on some members of the Muslim society but not all. For example; if some members of the society become doctors to serve the needs of the sick, then the rest of the society is absolved from such a responsibility; if no one becomes a doctor then the society is held responsible.
            Al-Attas as cited in Wan Mohd Nor[62] refers to the fard kifayah knowledge as the rational, intellectual and philosophical sciences. They include:
ü  The human sciences
ü  The natural sciences
ü  The applied sciences
ü  The technological sciences
ü  Comparative religion
ü  Western culture and civilization
ü  Linguistic sciences: Islamic languages, and
ü  Islamic history

According to al-Attas, these sciences must be Islamized and each branch must be imbued with Islamic elements and key concepts after the foreign elements have been isolated from its very branch.
            The priority given to the revealed sciences should not be misconstrued to mean that we are to neglect the acquired sciences. Without the acquired sciences we cannot live a complete life in this world. However, the Qur’an states that the Hereafter is better than the life of the world because it is more abiding and everlasting. This does not mean that the Qur’an derogates this world, or dissuades us from contemplating the wonders and beauties of this world. What the Qur’an rejects is not the world itself but the world (al-dunya) without the Hereafter (al-akhirah), that is, a world without God. The worldly life refers to a way of life, a life which is godless, unguided by divine revelation and prophets.
            Therefore, Islam does not discount the other branches of knowledge such as medicine ,physics, psychology, biology, etc, as unimportant. They certainty have a place in the life of a worshipping being. Every action of a Muslim, in whatever sphere of human endeavor, ought to be with the intention of please God. If the intention is fulfilled in a truly Islamic manner, the action will become an act o worship, although it is worldly in nature.
            The other reason why the revealed sciences are given priority over the acquired sciences is that the revealed sciences themselves become the criteria by which we judge the acquired sciences. The acquired sciences become fard kifayah only after they are perceived from an Islamic perspective.

This paper ‘ Ummatic psychology and Education” has tried to highlight the crisis of education in Muslim world which due to the wrong understanding of the original of Islamic foundation in educational system with special reference to the western paradigm of psychology.
Western psychology was dominated the last hundred years by three major paradigms in psychology (psychoanalytic ,behaviorism and humanism) which did not lead us to better understanding the human nature. As a result, it will affect the whole educational system planning in Muslim world.
Thus, with the idea of Ummatic Paradigm of Psychology and Education, we attempt to restore the spiritual element to the present materialistic, atheistic, and secular basis of education, or to foster the consideration of the Ruh or soul in whole aspects of educational system, such as its aims and objectives, curriculum and methods, etc.


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[1] Zulkifli.L,Psikologi Perkembangan,Cetakan IV,( Bandung: Remaja Rosda Karya,2009),  p.244.
[2]  Al-Qur’an 3;104
[3]  Al-Qur’an 3:110
[4] Langgulung, H. The Ummatic Paradigm on Psychology, ( Kuala Lumpur: Univision  Press,1999),  p. 99-100.

[5] Khaleefa O.H., The Imperialism of Euro-American Psychology in Nonwestern Culture:An Attempt Toward an Ummatic Psychology.(The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences,1,1997), p. 44-69

[6] Salma Yaqoob, Towards Islamic Psychology, Presented paper at International Conference on Muslim Women in Science:A Better Future.( Fez, Morocco,22-24 March 2000),  p. 3
[7]  Zulkifli.L, Psikologi Perkembangan…,  p. 311
[8]Langgulung, H. Ibn Sina as an Educationist. The Islamic Education  Quarterly,Vol.XXXII. Number 2.Second Quarter.1998. p. 120.

[9] Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human Nature:A Comparative Study between Western and Islamic Psychology,   ( unpublished M.ed thesis: Kuala Lumpur,1997),  p. 41

[10] Jess Feist & Gregory J.Feist, Theories of Personality, 4th Edition,( USA: McGraw-Hill Companies.1998),  p. 29-31.
[11] Ibid., p.22-24.
[12] Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human…, p .41-42.
[13]Robert S.Feidman & Joel A.Feinman Who You Are:Personality and its development (USA: A Venture Book Franklin Watts.1992), p. 23-24.
[14] Langgulung, H. Ibn Sina…,  p. 121.
[15]Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human…, p.53-54. See  also James F. Brennan, Sejarah dan system psikologi, edisi 6 (Jakarta: Raja Grafindo Persada, 2006),  p. 343
[16] Langgulung, H.The Ummatic…, p.17-18
[17] Al-Qur’an, 95:4
[18] Ibid 17:70
[19] Ibid 15:29

[20] Abbas H.Ali, The Nature of Human Dispotion: Al-Ghazali’s Contribution to an Islamic Concept of Personality,Intellectual Discourse,(Islamic Education Quoterly Vol.3,No.1, 1995), p. 57

[21] Al-Quran 51:56

[22]  Ibid 2:30
[23] Langgulung, H.The Ummatic…, p.22-23
[24]Langgulung, H. Teori-teori Kesihatan Mental, ( Kajang: Pustaka Huda.1983),  p.14

[25] Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human Nature: A Comparative Study between…………….p.108
[26] Al-Qur’an, 15:28-29
[27] Langgulung, H.The Ummatic Paradigm on Psychology…………….p.147-149

[28] Al-Qur’an, 36-82
[29] Ibid  23:14
[30] Al-Qur’an: 12:53
[31] Ibid  75:1-2
[32] Langgulung, H.The Ummatic Paradigm on Psychology…………….p. 6
[33] Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human Nature:A Comparative Study between…………….p. 126
[34] Al-Qur’an, 89:27-30
[35]Langgulung, H. Ibn Sina…, p.

[36] Manzurul Huq, In Quest of a Meaningful Model of Human Self and Behavior,Intellectual Discourse.Vol.2,No.1,1994.

[37] Al-Quran 7:179
[38] Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human Nature:A Comparative Study between…………….p. 117
[39] Langgulung, H.The Ummatic Paradigm on Psychology…………….p. 26
[40] Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human Nature:A Comparative Study between……………., p. 61

[41] Mustapha Achoui. Human Nature from Comparative Psychological Perspective. ( The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences,1988), p.86

[42] Al-quran 18;29
[43] Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human Nature:A Comparative Study between……………., p. 62

[44] Ibid.,  p. 63

[45] Al-quran 28:77
[46] Mustapha Achoui. Human Nature from Comparative Psychological ……., p. 85
[47] Conference Book, The First World Conference on Muslim Education in Mecca, (Jeddah: King Abdul Aziz University,1977), p. 88
[48] Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud (1998) The Education Philosophy and Practice of Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Altas.( Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC,1988),  p. 133-135
[49] Khan M.Sharif, Meaning, Aims and Objective of Education in Islam, (New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House, 1990),  p. 43

[50] Al-Quran 51:56
[51] Ibid.,  6:162
[52] Langgulung, H.The Ummatic Paradigm on Psychology……………., p. 153
[53] Ibid 154
[54] Al-Quran 3:110
[55] Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud (1998) The Education Philosophy and…… , p. 139
[56] Conference Book, The First World Conference on Muslim…..,  p. 89
[57] Langgulung, H.The Ummatic Paradigm on Psychology……,  p. 24-25
[58] Ibid., p. 157-158
[59] Khan M.Sharif, Meaning, Aims and Objective of Education… , p. 160
[60] Mohd Abas Abdul Razak, Human Nature:A Comparative Study between……………., p. 44

[61] Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud (1998) The Education Philosophy and Practice…. , p. 190
[62] Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud (1998) The Education Philosophy and Practice…. , p. 167
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