I was supposed to write up my AS/A2 psychology notes up onto LI this summer. Unfortunately, I got lazy.
Instead, I will present a series of short threads starting with this: Islam and Psychology. It is currently a work in progress and may go through edits. It is not constructed as an essay since I'm doing this at 9 am on a thursday morning.
Disclaimer; this is not for the younger viewers (aged below 13) since it deals with mature subjects, that quite frankly will bore the living daylights out of you or get you confused.
Chapter 1: The Hijab/Niqaab/Covering - modesty
Females generally have several attributes/qualities that are deemed attractive (men also do and I will cover this later). These include; *hair, eyes, nose, mouth/teeth*, breasts, overall body figure. [The attributes surrounded by * * are the same for male.]
Thus, what we deem as ''ugly'' equates to any of the previous attributes being incomplete or damaged, such as balding, wrinkles, bad teeth etc. To give a stronger example: overall body figure; the hourglass figure is seen as most attractive since this is perfect figure for child bearing. It therefore adheres to basic survival instinct.
God is aware of this and to prevent the unlawful gaze of a member of the opposite sex (since this is regarded as sinful in Islam) has told us to, in simplest terms, cover ourselves up. Thus, the Hijab and niqaab is not a matter of oppression, rather it is a matter of protection and modesty for the women. Almost like a shield for both the female AND the male.
There is an article about it here: click me
It goes further into the social aspects of attraction alongside psychological.
With regards to men, a muscular and broad-shoulder physique is seen as attractive. As with women, they are also told to cover up for the same reasons. In general, males have less physical attractive attributes than females. To compensate; personality, humour and generosity are seen as attractive traits. Thus is the reasoning behind the ruling on idle chit-chat with the opposite sex.
Could Islam therefore be trying to prevent us from procreating? Not at all. It is actually trying to promote procreation through the correct means: modesty.
Chapter 2: Prayer and dhikr (constant remembrance of Allah)
Often, I have heard from people what is/are the benefit(s) of prayer. By this, what they mean is how does it benefit you in this life. I will cover a few;
* Exercise - You read that correctly. Now, it's not like a series of star jumps or press-ups or hand stands. But, it does keep your body active. If you take an average time for prayers - let's say 10 minutes per prayer --> 5 daily prayers * 10 mins = 50 mins. We'll round it to an hour for this example. So that equates to an hour of light exercise a day. (note that 5 prayers is obligatory; more, however, can be done as nawafl/extra). So, in fact, Islam actually encourages exercise.
* Helps us remember - during the actual prayer (aka salat) surahs (or parts) of the Quran are read. Psychology has stated that things can be learnt through repetition. Prayer encourages repetition of parts of the Quran, thus enabling us to learn it 'by heart'
* calms you down - Older/younger sibling threw something at you? pizza dude gave you a dime instead of a buck? Whatever the reason, you get angry right? You want to get rid of this, correct? You've probably heard of: take deep breaths or count to ten slowly? Theory behing this is to cool off/calm down. Prayer helps you do that by focusing on what is important and just letting your body cool down.
There are most likely more and I may write them down, If I remember them.
Constant dhikhr, or remembrance of Allah/God - The logic behind this is similar to prayer - remembrance. In this case, it is of God. There are countless arabic Dua's (small prayers) that exist. In this world, one of the benefit comes from remembrance of God. Skeptics would argue that this is brainwashing - to this I reply; ''brainwashing implies negative thoughts - peaceful thoughts are not negative. Try again.''
Chapter 3: Fruedian methodology acknowledges Satan?
Freud stated that there are 3 parts to the human psyche; Id (irrational, insatiable aspect), Ego (self-esteem, pride) and super ego (the referee or the compromise). In Islam Shaytan/satan is described or referred to as being the source of temptation (amongst other things). Thus, it could very well be that the Id part of our psyche is indeed shaytan. Perhaps if Freud were religious, he may have indeed called 'Id' satan instead.