You may have heard of Islamic Counselling? It is a recent movement in Psychology and Counselling that’s acknowledges Islamic teachings alongside Western based Counselling/Psychology approaches or adapts them for use with Muslim clients. In the West it is still in early development with emerging academic research is supporting its growth.
If we were to ask if there is a stand alone Islamic Counselling model purely based on Islamic teachings then we would be required to refer to the holy book the Qu’ran. Muslim counsellors as well as all Muslims, should look to the example of our beloved Prophet swws and the great characteristics of a truly empathic human being. He (swws) would counsel his companions and community and raise generations to be people of the book (Rabbaniyuun). This unique Godly Raising (Tarbiyah) uses the Quran as a method for both spiritual and mental Tazkiyah (purification) and recognises the context of revelation in relation to their/our own spiritual journey.
“Indeed he succeeds who purifies his own self…”
The Prophet swws is related as saying that:
..’there is an organ in the body that if it is ill the entire body is ill, and that is the heart’.
Some may understand this to be a physically conditioned heart, which may be true, but in this case the Prophet (S) was talking about a higher and healthy spiritual state of the heart – the Qalb.
The spiritual heart (Qalb) is the vehicle to know yourself in in turn we may realise the knowing of Allah (S). There are stages, degrees of knowledge of the self (Nafs). To develop this awareness we must learn, practise and teach to achieve such high spiritual station (makam). In Surah Alaq, the 1st revealed ayat (1-5) revealed to the Prophet swws ‘Iqra’ which begins with the command to facilitate the process of tazkiyah (spiritual purification); ‘Iqra..’ (96:1) which translated means; ‘Read, or recite’ refers to reading, through the lens of Allah swt, reflecting upon the Creators creation, noticing you, noticing others, using your intellect, humbling to the truth, contemplation of existence, building emaan (faith). This knowing thus forms part of the practice of purification and facilitates the education and raising of the spiritual self in which Allah directs us to a law and a method;
‘…..To each of you We prescribed a law and a method….’ (5:48)
The law is set out in the Quran (prescribed acts and prohibitions) and a method to apply them, the method of the Prophet swws. Ask yourself what comes first? what is the order of this method? where shall we look?
let us start with you first.
Author; Georgina Cardo 2017
Disclaimer – ‘I write this as a student on the path of knowledge, not as a scholar or expert. Some of what I relate has come from sheikhs, scholars and teachers, some from experience, but I am aware that other researchers, practitioners and scholars may differ in definition of what Islamic counselling and Tazkiyah is. I am no way defining it as an exact understanding. I am a researcher and as I learn I’m sure my understating will fine tune or be corrected, but for now this is my brief understanding of Tazkiyah.’