(95:4) Surah Tin (The Fig), The Noble Quran
Ahsan: beautiful on the outside and inside.
Taqweem: A Perfect Balance.
Humans are the only ones who walk completely straight, physically, as well as ethically, an ideal poise for body and soul. Allah tells us that the human is made in the best form, but with the power of the best form comes responsibility. Our self desires a balance between worldly nourishment and spiritual nourishment.
Before the Modern times, there were 3 main issues which prevailed in the world.
– the human Soul.
Japanese, Indonesian, Christian (Europe), Islam (Middle East), Hinduism (India)… Etc. All these concepts were discussed around the world. In the Modern Secular Era, a war started against religion. Even though people believed in God, but God was not really significant. This was the juncture at which reliance on materialism actually began. People shifted their center of attention from afterlife to the quality enhancement of this life. Generally, the focus was reallocated to body from the soul.
And when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.” [15:28] Surah Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract), The Noble Quran.
Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul (created by Allah for that person) [32:9] Surah As-Sajdah (The Prostration), The Noble Quran.
The thing which Allah honored the human body with is the soul and an intellect (‘aql).
Unfortunately, we are at a point in life when all we know about ourselves is primarily about the body and least we know is about the soul which was privileged.
Drawing parallels with psychology, we can see that psychology comes from the Greek word ology-study and psych-soul. When psychology first began, it had its focus on the well-being of the soul. Ancient philosophers, physicists and the fore fathers of psychology were more concerned about the functions and stages of the soul than brain chemistry. Psyche further meant breath, life and soul. But the definition of psychology has drastically changed today. The American Heritage Dictionary for instance defines psychology as a science that deals with mental processes and human behavior. One of the greatest trickery of modernism is that there is no solid link between the external realm of matter and the realm of psyche.
Back in ancient times, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and other renowned philosophers talked about virtues that the soul consisted of rather than the body systems or organic imbalances. The foundations of the modernism movement were laid by Galton, who convinced his cousin Darwin of the magnanimity of the solid concept of heredity which led to the modern belief of survival of the fittest. Darwin reduced man’s existence to that of an ape, completely ignoring the distinction man has from animals based on spirit and intellect. Freud, Marx, Nietzche and Mandeivelle pushed the study of soul to the edge. Freud for instance heavily relied on man’s lower instincts and Nietzche was not at all appreciative of the noble instincts any man could have. He mocked the innate goodness concept. Freud in one way gave the concept of superego, but that too was limited to the rules and notions posed by the society. All of these influential personalities did not talk about the sanctity of the soul. Furthermore, Nietzche did not show any interest in even morality. He said, “”Get rid of the conscience, compassion, forgiveness – those inner human tyrants. Oppress the weak, climb over their corpses…”. Man was unfortunately reduced to a product of biological make up, body, cells, neurons, carnal desires and heredity. However, Jung believed
Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart throughout the world.
Carl Jung, “New Paths in Psychology”.
The medical practitioner including a psychologist to this day emphasizes on the body, genes, chemistry and neurons. Western Psychology is perhaps denying the roots of its own existence, the soul, as it is invisible. The modern psychologist tends to focus on the visible, observable, measurable, touchable or in a nutshell scientific aspects of a human being. The foundation of psychology as a science was the soul instead. The spiritual dimension has long been undermined in mainstream psychology.
A human being today does see himself beyond a body; the essence, the soul of the human existence that was actually honored has been long lost. Psychology now merely operates in the nature nurture equation i.e. the dis-ease in a man is a consequence of either his situation or his genes or rather both. The perfect balance that each human being was created in is hardly sought. This is one of the reasons psychologists don’t have the answers to the root causes of all major disorders today, rather the psychology community is progressing just on symptomatic treatment.
The psychologists, in order to find absolute answers have to delve into the roots again i.e. psyche– soul, breath or life. The community at large should work towards achieving a balance.The decline of the humanistic school of thought has been largely seen. Carl Jung tried to examine the imbalance in psychology itself by considering the morals and spiritual aspects in “Modern Man in search of a Soul” but his work was not integrated further into the field.
Through scientific understanding, our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos. He is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional participation in natural events, which hitherto had a symbolic meaning for him. Thunder is no longer the voice of a god, nor is lightening his avenging missile. No river contains a spirit, no tree means a man’s life, no snake is the embodiment of wisdom, and no mountain still harbors a great demon. Neither do things speak to him nor can he speak to things, like stones, springs, plants, and animals. He no longer has a bush-soul identifying him with a wild animal. His immediate communication with nature is gone forever, and the emotional energy it generated has sunk into the unconscious. (Carl Jung, 1964 Approaching the Unconscious).
Thus, before gauging the causes of psychological imbalance in people, perhaps, psychology has to reconnect to its roots of soul and nature as in The Fig, Ahsan-i-taqweem, the perfect balance and the peak of human excellence highlights!
May Allah reward you for reading and sharing.
The Noble Quran translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Dar-us-Salam Publications.
Transcribed notes form Nouman Ali Khan’s lecture on Surah Tin.
The Decline of the Muslim Ummah, Iqbal Syed Hussain.