Islamic Counselling is taking psychology profession by a storm. We observe the growing awareness of the mental health in Muslim Community as well as find more platforms to vocalise the demand for faith- based interventions. Clients, in my practice, explicitly express their relief in finding a counselling space open enough to embrace variables of their cultural background as well as religious practices and spiritual understanding. It might also be a fact, that for the first time a Muslim client find himself understood and not reprimanded or judged. Islamic Counselling truly offers the unconditional acceptance for who you are at that very particular moment in your life. Power of acceptance, the quality of the relationship with the counsellor and comfort of being among ‘ your own’ are also found in the spiritual counselling’s research to be the most effective factors in a face of clinical results.
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتَّىٰ نَعْلَمَ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَنَبْلُوَ أَخْبَارَكُمْ
“And surely We will test you until We make evident those who strive among you and the patient ones, and We will test your affairs” (Q 47:31)
What is so different about Islamic Counselling is that it shares different light on the psychology and religious education. Muslim client is no longer affected by condescending attitudes but rather tries to make psycho-spiritual sense out of his worldly experience. In the face of havoc, Muslim community often find itself giving Nasiah – advice on subjects such as Sabr – patience and Tawba – repentance. In Arabic a word for a tribulation, mess, chaos or life-pain means Ibtila, however in popular culture is often interpreted as a clear punishment from God. Muslims, therefore advice one another to purification in the forms of Sadaka – charity and Salah – prayers. Reliance on God however never meant to be understood for a bargaining or a tick for tag. Islamic Counsellors are able to refrain this misconception for a client and give them perspective which is compatible with their emotional and spiritual experiences.
Weltschmerz in fact is unavoidable, and is presented in Islam as a God’s promise. Ibtila had always been prescribed for people, and it’s evidence are found in the Seera – Biography of the prophet saws and other prophets before him. Accordingly, to scholars, the highest rank you achieve in this world – the tougher tests (of your character) you will encounter. During Islamic Counselling, therefore clients learn new skill, change their habits and broaden their paradigms. In general practice of a new habits hopefully will lead to perfection in any aspects of live experiences, however in the matters of psycho-spiritual interventions it is important to put things into perspective. Accordingly, to Quran we are all tested for the main and the only true purpose – to revisit our alliance with God. The difficulties in life will take on a different shape: financial hitches, relationships heartaches, chronic diseases and of course mental and emotional health implications such as anxieties or depression.
‘Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so treat yourselves medically, but use nothing unlawful.” (Abu Dawud)
Islamic counselling incorporates pivotal aspect of faith and therapeutic paradigm – a self-responsibility for own health. Clients are not only welcomed to self-expression but for most applauded for taking conscious control over their own affairs and state of mind. Islamic Counselling tend to be the first step towards the practice of self-accountability for emotional and mental experiences towards one self, other and for most God. The perspective of infinity of life and a promise of liability for our actions serves as a motivation and a hope for a ‘better times’. The state of consciousness, when client understand that everything happening to them for the best of reasons such as building own character, equipping oneself in life skills, creates perhaps a degree of anticipation on the journey of becoming the best version of themselves.
How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and that does not apply for anyone except the believer. If something good happens to him he gives thanks, and that is good for him; if something bad happens to him he bears it with patience, and that is good for him.