السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
My mother keeps saying that you can’t study psychology and counselling because apparently you can lose your iman! I want a mufti’s opinion on this because a few alimahs have told me it’s not the case.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
At the outset, we commend you on seeking the advice of Shari’ah in taking such an important decision in your life. We also encourage you to seek the opinion of Shari’ah in every aspect of your life.
We understand your mother’s opinion as parents are sensitive to the Islamic values of their daughter and they sacrifice everything to ensure their children maintain their Islamic values and morals.
The challenges that a Muslim youth may face whilst studying in colleges and universities are enough concern for any caring parent today. This is compounded manifold when a female intends to pursue an education in such an environment. Whilst distance learning is a suitable alternative to this, the nature of the course one intends to take is another area of concern.
Generally speaking, psychology affects almost every sphere of human life today. Activities, actions and reactions largely depend on psychological mind-sets of humans. As such, Islam too is not independent of psychology. The efforts of changing for the better, adopting piety and devoutness, obedience to Allah and many other aspects of Islam are largely guided by psychology. The branch of Tasawwuf – which focuses on connecting people closely with Allah, utilises a great deal of psychology in its approach. In fact, there are some literary works on psychology authored by early scholars and academics of Islam.
However, psychology is a two edged sword. Just as it can swing mind-sets to change for the better, it can also destroy mind-sets and mould irreligious ideologies. Since, psychology deals directly with the understanding of human mind-sets, there is a great possibility that the religious and Islamic moral and ethical mind-set of a person changes through engrossment in this field. Let alone the study of psychology, there are numerous examples in our community of religious minded individuals who have had their religious mind-sets moulded to a modern form of Islam in just a few visits to psychologists.
It is evident that whilst psychology plays a great role in certain sectors of Islam and the secular world, the dedicated study of psychology has great potential of taking a Muslim towards adopting unislamic and anti-Islamic ideologies, in the process unconsciously rejecting tenets of Islam on which our faith is based. Hence, whilst the study of psychology may be important to a certain degree, it is not a field for an individual who does not possess a strong level of Imaan and connection with Allah.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Nabeel Valli.
Darul Iftaa Mahmudiyyah