Psychological Wisdom in the Holy Quran Part 2

(This article of mine was originally published on the Quran Academy Blog, www.quranacademy.io)

In Part 1, we learned about the psychological wisdom in the Holy Quran related to optimism, purpose, and rationality. Part 2 discusses Quranic verses about responsibility, realism, confidence, patience, gentleness, compassion, and forgiveness.

RESPONSIBILITY

Psychologically healthy people take responsibility for their actions and lives. Allah (swt) teaches that:

1. We need to change ourselves in order to see positive change in our lives:

“Surely Allah does not change the conditions in which a people are in until they change that which is in themselves” (13:11).

2. We should not make excuses for our misdeeds:

“Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves – [the angels] will say, “In what [condition] were you?” They will say, “We were oppressed in the land.” The angels will say, “Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?”(4:97)

3. We should help and defend ourselves if we are oppressed:

“[Remember that] whatever you are given [now] is nothing but a provision for the transitory life of this world. Better and more enduring is the reward that God has for those who…when they are oppressed, help and defend themselves” (42:36-39).

REALISM

Psychologically healthy people practice realism: the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly. Allah (swt) encourages realism in the Holy Quran by teaching us to accept the facts that:

1. We will be tested and life is not always easy:

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil, then you will surely triumph” (3:186).
“Do you think that you will enter paradise without such trials as came to those who passed away before you? They experienced suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Prophet and the faithful who were with him cried, “When will Allah’s help come?” Ah, verily the help of Allah is near” (2:214).

2. We are only human and we can’t be perfect, so we should focus on avoiding the major sins:

“Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, only (falling into) small faults, verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness” (53:32).

“And those who avoid the greater sins and indecencies, and when they are angry, they forgive…” (42:37).

CONFIDENCE

Allah (swt) inspires confidence in our Muslim identity by teaching that:

1. We are the best of communities raised up for humankind:

“You are the best of peoples, raised up for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah…” (3:110).

“Who is better in speech than the one who summons people unto God, and performed a good deed and says, ‘Truly I am of the believers.’”–41:33.

2. The true religion of Allah is Islam:

“Verily the only acceptable religion to Allah is Islam” (3:19).

“This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (5:3).

3. People who may shake our faith actually have no real faith within themselves:

“So patiently persevere: for verily the promise of Allah is true: nor let those shake your firmness, who have (themselves) no certainty of faith” (30:60).

PATIENCE

The Holy Quran encourages the virtue of patience, which is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious” (Google dictionary). Patience is necessary for good mental health because it enables us to face life’s hardships with calmness and maturity.

Allah is with those who are patient during adversity:

“Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is everlasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do” (16:96).
“O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for Allah is with those who patiently persevere” (2:153).

GENTLENESS

The Holy Quran encourages us to be gentle with one another. Gentleness promotes peaceful human relationships. The following verses encourage gentleness:

“Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you…” (3:159).

“A kind word and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury…” (2:263).
“And obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel, for then you will be weak in hearts and your power will depart…” (8:46).

COMPASSION

Allah (swt) encourages us to show care and concern for the wellbeing of others. Compassion allows us to feel connected with the human family and to not be self-absorbed. Allah encourages compassion in the following verses:

“Worship and serve God alone and make no gods beside Him; and do good to your parents, the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the neighbor who is a relative, the neighbor who is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and to those you rightfully possess; for God loves not the proud and boastful, those who are miserly and urge others to be miserly” (4:36-7).

“And what is the uphill road? It is to free a slave, or to feed in a day of hunger–an orphan near of kin, or some poor in misery..Then to be those who believe and exhort one another to patience and to compassion” (90:12-17).

FORGIVENESS

Forgiving others is a gift that you give to yourself. Forgiveness does not mean to condone what others have done, it is simply to let go of the pain and hurt in your heart, and to recognize that we all make mistakes. These Quranic verses encourage forgiveness:

“Keep to forgiveness, and enjoin what is right, and turn away from the ignorant” 7:199.

“…Forgive and pardon…” (2:109–middle of verse).

“…Overlook with a gracious forgiveness” (15:85–end of verse).

“The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto; but if a person forgives and makes peace, his reward rests with God…” (42:40).

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