KCS Session 2: A Glimpse into the Living Islamic Tradition: Reading Abū Zayd al-Balkhī and Imām al-Ghazalī in light of Modern Psychology

KCS Session 2: A Glimpse into the Living Islamic Tradition: Reading Abū Zayd al-Balkhī and Imām al-Ghazalī in light of Modern Psychology

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This is the second session in the 6-session Khalil Center Educational Series

Presented by Recep Şentürk and Asim Yusuf

This program, when attended in its entirety, offers 1.5 APA CEs for Psychologists and other professionals, and 1.5 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSWs, and LMFTs

Workshop Description

This presentation will provide attendees with an exposure to the richness of the Islamic intellectual heritage as it pertains to human psychology, pathology and its treatment. The Islamic intellectual heritage is a long-standing living tradition whose scholarly works have been underexplored within contemporary psychology. The scholarly works, and in some cases scholarly exchanges between Muslim scholars contributed to the diversity of Islamic intellectual discourse in addressing the physical, metaphysical and rational branches of knowledge. These conversations demonstrated the intersection between theology, law, philosophy, medicine and spirituality contributing to the abundance of literature related to human cognition, behavior, emotions and spirituality despite the absence of a distinct field of psychology.

With a growing modern interest in Eastern philosophies and medicine, the Islamic tradition in this presentation is presented as an illustration of diverse perspectives that can enhance the field of modern psychology. A reading of two very notable Islamic scholars’ contributions to human psychology, ontology of the human psyche and its treatment by drawing directly from their treatises will be discussed.

Firstly, Abu Zayd al-Balkhi, a 9th century polymath will be used as a sample of a medically oriented treatise that discusses preventative behavioral medicine and cognitive techniques as interventions for the treatment of mood disorders and Obsessive-compulsive disorders. In fact, the seminal publication of Sustenance of the Soul by the polymath al-Balkhī is one of the earliest documented manuscripts specific to mental and spiritual health (al-Balkhi,2013). Awaad and Ali’s (2016) comparative analysis yielded a complete convergence between the current symptomology for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) and Abu Zayd’s original manuscript. A comparative analysis will be provided with regard to the applicability and utility of his proposed theories of human psychological treatment as well as cognitive interventions in light of modern empirical evidence.

Secondly, a presentation of the psychology of the 12th century polymath, Imam Al-Ghazalī, will be provided as a sample of a more theologically and Sufi oriented treatise on psycho-spiritual reformation. Al-Ghazalī’s ontology of the human psyche and principles of change presented in his ‘revival of the religious sciences’ will be outlined. Al-Ghazalī’s discussion of the mind-body relationship will also be extracted from his writings as a proposed integrative working model of how to faithfully harmonize and integrate cognitive neuroscience with metaphysics. Additionally, Imam Al-Ghazalī’s principles of change and interventional mechanisms will be highlighted as proposed psychospiritual strategies for mental heath treatment.

Learning Objectives:

After attending this introductory-level workshop, participants will be able to:

– Demonstrate a stronger understanding of Muslim culture and the Islamic faith and be able to utilize this knowledge to provide more culturally competent psychotherapy.

– Assess the applicability of certain therapeutic interventions or modalities in their suitability for Muslim populations

– Integrate Islamic spiritual concepts into psychotherapy.

– Provide psychotherapy to Muslim patients within an Islamic context

– Describe Islamic concepts, culture and Islamic scholarly contributions to human psychology

Professional Bio of Recep Şentürk , Ph.D., President & Professor at Ibn Haldun University

Prof. Dr. Recep Şentürk completed his undergraduate education in the Faculty of Theology at Marmara University (1986). Then he did his postgraduate degree in Sociology in the Faculty of Letters at Istanbul University (1988) and became an assistant in the same department (1988-1989). He pursued his PhD in Sociology at Columbia University, New York (1998). Between 1998 and 2007 he was researcher at the Center for Islamic Studies (İSAM). He has been the director of the Alliance of Civilizations Institute (ACI) since it was founded. In addition, he has been the general coordinator of the Istanbul Research and Education Association (İSAR) in Istanbul for seven years (2009-2016). Currently, he is the president of Ibn Khaldun University (IHU) in Istanbul.

He did research on human rights as a visiting scholar in the Faculty of Law at Emory University, Atlanta (2002-2003). He continued his research on human rights as a guest of the British Academy in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Oxford Brookes University, and he lectured on the same topic in various universities in the UK (2005). He is married with four children and speaks English, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, French, and German.

He published articles and books in various languages, among which Turkish, English, and Arabic. Some of the titles of his published works are Civilization and Values (ed. 2013), the Mehmet Akif Ersoy Quran Translation (ed. with Cüneyt Köksal, 2012), Open Civilization: Towards a Multicivilizational Society and World (2010), Consumption and Values (ed. 2010), Economic Development and Values (ed. 2009), Ibn Khaldun: Contemporary Readings (ed. 2009), The Sociology of Turkish Thought: From Islamic Law to Social Sciences (2008), Islam and Human Rights: Sociological and Islamic Approaches (2007), Malcolm X: A Struggle for Human Rights (2006), Malcom X: Al-Sīra al-Dhātiyya li Qā’id al-Muslimīn al-Sūd fī Amrīkā (Arabic translation, 2006), Narrative Social Structure: Hadith Transmission Network 610-1505 (California: Standford University Press, 2005), Introduccion a la Ciencia del Hadiz (Spanish translation, 2008), New Sociologies of Religion (2004), Modernization and Social Science: The Example of Turkey and Egypt (Istanbul, 1996).

Professional Bio of Asim Yusuf, M.D, Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a practicing psychiatrist

Dr. Asim Yusuf, MD is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a practicing clinician with a special interest in Mental Health and Spirituality. He is acknowledged as one of the leading figures in Islamic psychological studies in the UK. He received twenty years of rigorous theological training, and has been granted ijazat (formal religious authorizations) to instruct students in the art and science of Islamic thought by over thirty scholars from four continents. He is an authorised Shaykh of the Chishti and Qadiri spiritual orders, and has been teaching traditional Islam for nearly two decades, including an ongoing complete read-through of the Ihya Ulum al-Din of Imam Ghazali.