A Symposium on the Intersection of Islamic Studies and Contemporary Psychology: Exploring the Potential Contributions of Classical Scholarly Works in Psychology.
Today, modern psychology literature aims to answer many questions about the nature of human beings. Many similar questions were posed and extensively discussed in the pre-modern period, particularly in philosophical literature. By extension, such questions were also expansively discussed by Islamic theologians, however, the contemporary psychological literature does not contain much of this literature on account of its Eurocentric focus.
With the spread of Islam to various continents and the acceleration of translation activities in the 9th century during the Abbasid period, the medical and philosophical works written by the Ancient Greeks were inherited by Muslims, critically analyzed and later expounded upon. Islamic scholars were able to bridge the philosophical literature they inherited with the core theological sciences providing for a holistic approach that included rational, metaphysical, and empirical aspects of knowledge. These interdisciplinary analyses of human psychology persisted up until the 20th century, and can be found across the fields of Islamic law, discursive theology, Sufism, philosophy and medicine.
This symposium is aimed at unearthing classical Islamic scholarly writings regarding human psychology as potential contributions to the contemporary field of psychology. Such an exploration will enhance the growing interest and literature around the intersection of psychology and spirituality. The Islamic intellectual heritage is a living tradition that contains a rich body of literature dating back 1400 years. Islamic scholars across various historical eras and disciplines have discussed the subject of human psychology. However, this gold mine of scholarly work has not been sufficiently extracted nor explored to inform discourses in modern psychology. The symposium hopes to bring the two traditions into conversation with one another, hoping to help draw parallels, observe potential divergent perspectives, and find ways to bridge between modern and classical traditions in psychology.