Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Towards an Integral Psychology of Islam from Al-Fatiha, The Opening, to the Gardens of Paradise

This is the doctoral dissertation presentation made to my dissertation Committee at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara on August 13, 2012. The Dissertation Committee comprised the Chairperson or Advisor, Dr. Mary Watkins, author of "Toward Psychologies of Liberation"; Dr. Zaman Stanizai, a Fulbright scholar and the internal reader who teaches the mythology of Islam at Pacifica; and Dr. Robert Frager or Sheikh Ragip, author of "Heart, Self & Soul" and "The Wisdom of Islam," and founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now known as Sofia University.
Apologies in advance for the quasi-legibility of the slides. You can watch the slide show here:

You will find the psychological interpretation of Al-Fatiha in the previous post. The following is the abstract for the dissertation. 
Towards an Integral Psychology of Islam:
From Al-Fatiha, The Opening,
to the Gardens of Paradise
Jalaledin Ebrahim
     Emerging in the 7th century, Islam inspired the dominant global empire and ascendant world civilization for over 800 years. It is now at the epicenter of world turbulence and turmoil. It has been the source of political terrorism and extremism, gender discrimination, attitudes of religious and cultural supremacy as well as movements for social justice and personal spiritual transformation. It has served as a model for an ideal society and state based on Prophet Muhammad’s governance of the nascent Muslim community. Today, as a worldview or weltanschauung, Islam inspires profound levels of devotion and mysticism, as well as Islamophobia, sectarian strife and religious bigotry. Islam is clearly a faith in crisis.
     This hermeneutic study explores the shadow of Islam’s trajectory from its conception to the Arab Spring, within the context of its complex history and cultural diversity. It critically examines the opening chapter of the Qur’an, considered by Muslims to be a direct revelation of the Divine Will. Comprised of seven verses known as al-Fatiha, The Opening, it is thought to contain the quintessence of the entire Qur’an. Muslims recite al-Fatiha multiple times in daily canonical prayers, guiding and inspiring the psyche of 1.65 billion adherents of Islam. 
     Using the eco-archetypal image of the Gardens of Paradise, the soul’s ultimate destination, the hermeneutic methodology engages alchemical, imaginal and ecological dialogues to approach the sacred text from various perspectives of the depth and transpersonal psychological tradition. It explores the psychological contents of al-Fatiha in order to formulate an Integral Psychology of Islam, inspired by Ken Wilber’s four quadrant model of psychology. The Qur’anic Gardens of Paradise, al-Janna, are fed by the four rivers of water, milk, honey and wine. At its center is a fountain named Salsabil. This study uncovers the psychological implications of al-Fatiha within the context of the four rivers of self psychology, social and political psychology, cultural psychology, transpersonal psychology and the fountain of feminine psychology, in pursuit of a future of peace and equilibrium through an enlightened Islam.        

Monday, August 20, 2012

A psychological Interpretation of Al-Fatiha


The following is the psychological rendition of Al-Fatiha
which I proposed in my doctoral dissertation titled:

"Towards an Integral Psychology of Islam 
from Al-Fatiha, The Opening, to the Gardens of Paradise."

1:1 bismillâh ir-rahmân ir-rahîm

In the name of Allah, the Infinitely Compassionate, the Infinitely Merciful,

1:2 al-hamdulillâhi rabb il-âlamîn

All praise is due to Allah, the Sustainer of all the worlds, 

1:3 ar-rahmân ir-rahîm

The Infinitely Compassionate, the Infinitely Merciful,

1:4 mâliki yawm id-dîn

The Sovereign of the Day of Resurrection, 

1:5 iyyâka na`budu wa iyyâka nasta`în

Thee alone we worship, and Thee alone we seek for help, 

1:6 ihdinâ s-sirât al-mustaqîm

Guide us to the straight path, 
[of self-cultivation to the Gardens of Paradise] 

1:7 sirât al-ladhîna an`amta `alayhim ghayr il-maghdûbi `alayhim wa la d-dâlîn

the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Blessings, favors and Grace; 
not the path of those who are consciously or unconsciously immersed in Sacred Chaos, 
nor of those who have lost their way.