Positive psychology from Islamic perspective


1 Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Faculty of Psychology and Education, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: The aim of the current study was to investigate positive thinking in Islamic spirituality and to develop a theoretical model based on Islamic view.Methods: The research method in this study was based on qualitative approach. The study used a content analysis design with a hermeneutic approach to collect and analyze the data. In order to do so, sacred texts especially holy texts (i.e. Quran and Ahl al-Bayt's performance and oral tradition) were reviewed through hermeneutic understanding.Results: Findings demonstrated that positive psychology in Islamic spirituality mostly centers on the following topics: Islamic positive view of human, believing in Divine benevolence, gratitude, Tawakkul, and universal man. Also, based on the attachment theory, positive thinking was interpreted and its applications were explained for individual's thinking about past events, interpretations of present events, and future expectations. Positive thinking in this paradigm was discussed in a way that included individual's relationship with transcendental beings, others, nature, and self.Conclusion: The Islamic approach is very optimistic about human nature and its capacity for growth. It is also optimistic about the relation of human beings with God. The fourfold relational paradigm of positive thinking in Islamic spirituality has been accepted as a base for all relations. Approaching this paradigm and orienting thoughts, feelings, and actions towards this view may be achieved through an ontological gnostic worldview. Keywords: Attachment, Fitrah, Islam, Positive Thinking, Model

  1. Seligman MEP. Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Free Press; 2002.
  2. Gable S, Haidt J. What (and why) is positive psychology? Review of General psychology 2005; 9: 103-110.
  3. Sin NL, Lyubomirsky S. Enhancing well-being and alleviation depressive symptoms with positive psychology Interventions: A practice- friendly meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology 2009; 65: 467-487.
  4. Joseph S, Linley AP. Positive psychological approaches to therapy. Counseling and Psychotherapy Research 2005; 5: 5–10.
  5. Khodayarifard M. Application of positive thinking in psychotherapy with an emphasis on Islamic perspective (in Persian). Journal of psychology and education 2000; 3: 12-20.
  6. Kordmirza S, Nikouzadeh A. Comparing the effectiveness of intervention plan based on positive psychology with Adlerian group therapy in enhancing tolerance of individuals that are dependent to drug (In Persian). Quarterly of the counseling and psychotherapy culture 2011; 2: 30-57.
  7. Parcham A, Mohaqeqian Z. A comparative study of the ways of creating and increasing hope from positive psychology perspective and holy Koran (in Persian). Marefat monthly 2011; 164: 99-113.
  8. Seligman MEP. Learned optimism. New York: Knopf; 1991.
  9. Scheier MF, Carver CS. Optimism, coping, and health: Assessment and implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health Psychology 1985; 4: 219-247.
  10. Snyder CR. Handbook of hope: Theory, measures, and applications. San Diego, CA: Academic Press; 2000.
  11. Scheier MF, Carver, CS. A model of behavioral self-regulation: Translating intention into action. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology. San Diego, CA: Academic Press; 1988. p. 303-346.
  12. Peterson C, Seligman MEP. Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Washington DC: American Psychological Association and Oxford University Press; 2004.
  13. Abramson LY, Seligman MEP, Teasdale JD. Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 1978; 87: 49-74.
  14. Bryant FB, Cvengros JA. Distinguishing hope and optimism: Two sides of a coin or two separate coins? Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 2004; 23: 273-302.
  15. Snyder CR, Shorey HS, Cheavens J, Mann-Pulvers KM, Adams VH, Wiklund C. Hope and academic success in college. Journal of Educational Psychology 2002, 94: 820-826.
  16. Snyder CR, Lopez SG. Positive Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press; 2007.
  17. Magaletta PR, Oliver JM. The hope construct, will and ways: Their relative relations with self-efficacy, optimism, and general well-being. Journal of Clinical Psychology 1999; 55: 539-551.
  18. Bruininks P, Malle BF. Distinguishing Hope from Optimism and Related Affective States. Motivation and Emotion 2005; 29: 327-355.
  19. Bowlby J. Attachment and Loss (Vol. 1). New York: Basic Books; 1969.
  20. Bowlby J. Attachment and Loss (Vol. 2). New York: Basic Books; 1973
  21. Bowlby J. A secure base: Parent-Child attachment and healthy human development. London: Routledge; 1988.
  22. Heinonen K, Raikkonen K, Keltikangas-Jarvinen L, Strandberg T. Adult attachment dimensions and recollections of childhood family context: Associations with dispositional optimism and pessimism. European Journal of Personality 2004; 18: 193-207.
  23. Mikulincer M, Shaver PR. Attachment in adulthood: structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press; 2007.
  24. Koran. Translation of Mohammad Mehdi Fouladvand (in Persian). Qom: Dar al-Koran Karim, office of Islamic education and history.
  25. Makarem Shirazi N, Ashtiani MR, Emami MJ, Hasani AR, Shojaei SH, Abdollahi M, Qara'ati M, Mohamadi M. Tafsir Nemooneh (in Persian), 13th Juz. Tehran: Dar al-Kotob al-Islamiah; 2012.
  26. Dehkhoda AA. Dehkhoda's dictionary (in Persian). Tehran University Publication; 1998.
  27. Majlesi MB. Bihār al-Anwār (In Persian). Tehran: Dar al-Kotob al-Islamiah; 1986.
  28. Koleini MY. OsoleKafi. Translation of Seyyed Hashem Rasouli (in Persian). Tehran: publication office of Ahl al-Bayt; n.d.
  29. Hendi M. Kanz al-‘Ummālfīsunan al-aqwālwa'laf‘āl.Beirut. Maktabat al-terath al-Islami; 1968.
  30. Nouri HMT. Mustadrak al-Wasail wa Mustanbat al-Masail. Qom: Ahl al-bait institution; 1986.
  31. Hor-Ameli MH. Vasayel al-shiahelatahsilmasael al-shariah. Tehran: Maktabat al-Islamiah; 1982.
  32. Naraqi MA. Meraj al-saadat (in Persian). Qom: Nasim-e-Hayat; 2011.
  33. Ghobari Bonab B. Educating Islamic values to children (in Persian). Peyvand 1992; 153: 154,155.
  34. Imam Ali. Nahj al-Balagha. Translation of Seyyed Jafar Shahidi (in Persian). Tehran: Scientific Cultural publication; 2012.
  35. Moein M. Moein's Persian Dictionary (in Persian), Tehran: Farhangnama; 2008.
  36. Ansari K. Manazel al-sayerin (in Persian). Tehran: Mula publication; 2010.
  37. Sadri MR. Study of the effect of trust in God on mental health of 19-23 aged students in Isfahan University in academic year of 2000-2001. Tehran's science and research branch of Islamic Azad University; 2001.
  38. Mirnasab MM. Studying the relationship between trust in God and coping strategies (in Persian), MA thesis, Faculty of Psychology and Education. University of Tehran; 2000.
  39. Ghobari Bonab B. (). "Trust in God" (in Persian). Qabsat Quarterly 1998; 8: 104-117.
  40. Ibn Arabi M. Divine Sayings: Mishkat al-anwar (trans. into English with Arabic text by Stephen Hirtenstein and Martin Notcutt). Oxford: Anqa Publishing; 2004.
  41. Bishop P. Carl Jung. London: Reaktion Books; 2014.
  42. Grine F. Positive Thinking: An Islamic Perspective. Journal of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization 2012; 17: 225-256.
  43. Abdul Azim Z. Al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib. Cairo: Dar al–Fajr li al-Turath; 2000.
  44. Mochouche ST, Benaouda B, Grine F. Positive Thinking: An Islamic Perspective. Al-Shajarah 2012; 17: 225-260.
  45. Yasien M. Human Nature in Islam. A.S. Noordeen; 1998.
  46. Carver CS, Scheier MF, Segerstrom SC. Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review 2010; 30: 879–889.
  47. Ibn Arabi, M. Futuhat al-Makkiyya (ed. O. Yahya). Cairo: Bibliotheca Arabica; 1972.