Abstract written for the International Seminar on Counselling and Psychotherapy in an Islamic Perspective held at The International Islamic University,  Kuala Lumpur 15-17 August 1997 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.;  MB ChB, MPH, DrPH (Harvard); Deputy Dean for Research and Post-Graduate Programs, Kulliyah of Medicine International Islamic University, PO Box 70 Jalan Sultan PJ Malaysia 46700 Fax (603) 757 7970


The paper presents 5 main assertions: (a) The human is made up of a material body (jasad)  and nafs; the essence of a human personality is the nafs  (b) Not all humans achieve perfection (kamal), each individual is a spectrum of states of the nafs from the best to the worst; all of these states are within the range of normality of humans (c) Observed human behaviour is a result of a complex interaction of the underlying nafs on one hand and influences from the physical, social, and spiritual environments. Humans are unique among Allah’s creations by having a free-will, albeit limited, by which they can make choices within their human environment. Good choices enhance the good (al khair) in the underlying personality and produce good behaviour. Bad choices enhance the bad (al sharr) and produce bad behaviour (d) Progress of scientific medicine is revealing that many socio-pathic or psycho-pathic behaviours are due to organic disease arising from physical or chemical dis-harmony in the nervous system and can be treated surgically or medically with psycho-therapy playing a supporting role (e) The main field of application of counselling is human behaviour caused by one of the moral diseases of the heart (amradh al qalb). The aim should be to enable the subjects identify the good in them and make correct choices that enhance the good while avoiding those that enhance the bad. It is a pre-condition of counselling that the subject retains some degree of insight otherwise very little can be achieved.


Key words: states of the nafs (maratib al nafs), change of the nafs (taghyiir ma bi al nafs), diseases of the heart (amradh al qalb)

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule August 1997