A Tribute to the Father of Modern Islamic Psychology
By Safiyyah Sabreen Syeed

Dr Malik Badri

Published in: Self, Science
Date: 24 / 03 / 21

"Verily, Allah does not withhold knowledge by snatching it away from his servants, but rather He withholds knowledge by taking away the souls of scholars"

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

(Sahih Bukhari 100)

This is a tribute to a great Muslim intellectual, Dr Malik Badri who left behind an unforgettable legacy.

Literacy, education and insight. These three words were traditionally understood to be interrelated and products of one another. Literacy led to education which gave rise to deep insight. It was a characteristic of pre-industrial revolution education system that people of knowledge, for the most part were people of great insight and vision. But today these three terms are poles apart in the intellectual sphere. After the industrial revolution and the Colonial period, education was converted into a commercial commodity to be 'sold' to people who can afford it. Today we see that to be educated is really not a big deal if you can afford it. But to possess insight is increasingly becoming a rare phenomenon. Insight, from the perspective of Islam is a product of deliberate thought, reflection, wisdom and a sincere truth seeking heart, which is then given access to knowledge coming directly from Allah, the Omniscient. All pre-modern cultures unanimously believed in this form of knowledge and considered it the ultimate road to felicity.

In a world of fast food, fast cars and fast internet, where is the time for deliberation, thought and reflection? And centuries of gross secularization of knowledge is the primary reason that today we find many academics, intellectuals and Phd holders but very few people of insight who are characterized by original and creative thought.

In Islam the heart is as much a part of the process of education as is the mind. And thus true knowledge is often described as a 'light' that Allah Most High being the All Knowing puts forth in the heart of the seeker. This is not something that you get from books and at the culmination of a degree program. This is the knowledge which connects the dots, harmonizes the chaos and everything falls into place perfectly.

People of insight are often characterized by a sense of calm and composure in their personality. This is a result of the calm that exists in their mind and soul. Their insight imparts coherence to their perception of the world .There are no contradictions and compartmentalizations in their vision of reality. For them different fields of knowledge like history, science, politics, economics, fiqh, tafsir and usool are not separate but branches of the same tree of unity or Tawhid. Their educaton does not veil them with compound ignorance from reality [1]. It opens for them the doors and with the Noor (light) of Allah they deconstuct the world before them. The books and literature they write is not the culmination or perfection of their knowledge. Rather, those are starting points for their ascent in the pursuit of true knowledge
Their state is best defined by the hadith:

"Beware of the firasa of the believer. For verily he sees with the Light of Allah"

(Jami Tirmidhi 3127)

I have always been intrigued by this hadith that why does the Prophet ﷺ ask us to 'beware' of the farasa (insight) of the believer? Why doesn't he ﷺ ask us to seek it? Because it is not something which can be sought, it is given. And many a times the gifts of Allah entail heavy responsibilities. A person who views the world from the 'Noor' of Allah recognizes that appearance and reality may not always be the same. Thus, they see things as 'they truly are', not as they 'appear to be'. And the reality they see is usually not a pleasant one especially as we head further and further into the Last Age and its tribulations. What's more difficult is that when they relate their understanding to their peers, they are usually met with great criticism. Nevertheless, they are relentless in their pursuit.

There are two people in my opinion among the many others that I can personally identify with these traits who have influenced great many students to seek the path of insight by means of their education. The first is the one for whom I am writing this tribute - Dr Malik Badri, the father of modern Islamic Psychology, and the second being Shaykh Imran Hosein, who fortunately became a guide and teacher for me almost a decade ago and who introduced me to the brilliant work of Dr Malik Badri. I am very grateful to Maulana Imran for opening this door for me.

Who was Dr Malik Badri?

He was a Sudanese author and professor of psychology. He was the founder of the modern Islamic Psychology and published influential books as The Dilemma of Muslim Psychologists, The AIDS crisis: A Natural Product of Modernity’s Sexual Revolution, Contemplation: An Islamic Psychospiritual Study, Abu Zayd al-Balkhi’s Sustenance of the Soul: The Cognitive Behavior Therapy of a Ninth Century Physician, Islam and AIDS: Between scorn, pity and justice.

He was born in Sudan in 1932. He held the Distinguished Chair of Ibn Khaldun at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He was the former Professor of Psychology at the Ahfad University, Sudan. Professor Badri was awarded the Fellowship and the Chartered Psychology status (F.B.Ps. S. & C.Psychol.) of the British Psychological Society and was selected to be the President of the International Association of Muslim Psychologists.

He received his college degree on General Science in 1956 with distinction from the American University of Beirut and got his masters degree from the same university in 1958 on Psychology and Education. He was awarded his doctorate on the "Concept formation from diagrams" from the University of Leicester in 1961. In 1966, he received his postdoc degree from the Department of Psychiatry of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School at University College London. He was elected Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 1977 and was awarded the title of Chartered Psychologist from there. For his contributions, he was awarded the medal of Shahid Zubair by the President of Sudan in April 2003, the highest award for academic excellence.

He was chosen to be an expert in Bahir Dar by UNESCO. He was appointed a few times by the World Health Organization as a member of a committee on traditional medicinal practice. He founded The International Association of Islamic Psychology (IAIP) in 2017 to "expand Islam's role in advancing health and human understanding and increasing recognition of Islamic psychology as a theoretical orientation to understanding the human being and approaches to clinical psychology".

He died on 8 February 2021, aged 88 leaving behind a great legacy in Islamic thought and a brilliant path ahead for Muslim intellectuals to take.

In the sections below we will discuss his great pioneering work in the revival of Islamic Psychology and the unapologetic and critical analysis of the AIDS epidemic from an Islamic perspective.

Development of Psychology in the Muslim world

Psychology as a quantitative science emerged in the Islamic world with the great pioneering research of Al Balkhi, Ibn Sina and Razi, Al Kindi, Al Miskhawaih, Al Farabi and others.

Early Muslim scholars wrote extensively in the area of human psychology, although, the term "psychology" did not exist at that time and such endeavors were mostly a part of philosophical writings. This discipline came to be called I'lm al Nafs (The Science of the self). In the writings of Muslim scholars, the term nafs (self) was used to denote individual personality and the term fitrah for human nature.

The written accounts on the description of self and human nature given by early Muslim scholars can be found from as early as 800 AD.

Abu Zaid al-Balkhi is probably the first cognitive and medical psychologist who was able to clearly differentiate between neurosis and psychosis, to classify neurotic disorders, and to show in detail how rational and spiritual cognitive therapies can be used to treat each one of his classified disorders. Al Balkhi classified neurosis into four emotional disorders: fear and anxiety, anger and aggression, sadness and depression, and obsessions. He also compares physical with psychological disorders and showed their interaction in causing psychosomatic disorders. He suggested that just as a healthy person keeps some drugs and first aid medicines nearby for unexpected medical emergencies, he should also keep healthy thoughts and feelings in his mind to deal with unexpected emotional outbursts. Dr Badri wrote a book on the pioneering work of Al Balkhi named Al Balkhi's Sustainance of the Soul where he elaborates on his insights on human psychopathology, diagnoses of psychological ailments including stress, depression, fear and anxiety, phobic and obsessive-compulsive disorders, together with their treatment by cognitive behavior therapy. Dr Badri discusses how the ideas of Al Balkhi relate to us in every way even today and are in sync with modern psychology. Importantly, he emphasizes how this study of psychology incorporates the greater dimension that includes the soul and the worship of God, something which is best suited for Muslims.

Al-Razi, another important figure in the Islamic medical tradition wrote much on psychology and mental health. One of his unique ideas was that he believed an unexpected high emotional outburst has a quick curative effect on psychological, psychosomatic and organic disorders. He was a master of prognosis and psychosomatic medicine and also anatomy. Al-Razi wrote a treatise on how to measure intelligence. His Kitab al-Hawi or al Hawi fit-Tibb is the longest work ever written in Islamic medicine and he was recognized as a medical authority in the West up to the 18th century.

Farabi put forward pioneering ideas on the social influences that determine human traits when he stated that "an isolated individual could not achieve all the perfections by himself, without the aid of other individuals. It is the innate disposition of every man to interact with another human being or other men in the labor he ought to perform. Therefore, to achieve what he can of that perfection, every man needs to stay in the neighborhood of others and associate with them". He also wrote 'On the Cause of Dreams', a treatise on the 'Meanings of the Intellect' and the therapeutic effects of music on the soul.

In the field of psychology, Ibn Sina wrote about mind, its existence, the mind-body relationship, sensation, perception, etc. in his famous book Shifa (Healing). He was a pioneer in the field of psychosomatic medicine, linking changes in mental state to changes in the body. At the most common level, the influence of the mind on the body can be seen in voluntary movements, i.e., whenever the mind wishes to move the body, the body obeys. The second level of the influence of mind on the body is from emotions and the will. Say for instance, if a plank of wood is placed as a bridge over a chasm, one can hardly creep over it without falling because one only pictures oneself in a possible fall so vividly that the 'natural power of limbs accord with it'. But if it were placed on the ground, none of those emotions of fear would be provoked. According to him strong emotions can actually destroy the temperament of the individual and lead to death by influencing phisiological functions.

Western secularization of Psychology and the Muslim Psychologist's Dilemma.

Now lets go to the actual issue at hand.

Just like all other fields of study, Psychology also was secularized. And in a sense the secularization of this scientific field had serious social, political, economic and religious implications.

A secular view on the human psyche, mind and self begins by reducing the human being to a collection of base instincts and random emotions that arise from instinctual needs. Such was the view of William James, Freud and Skinner, influential figures of Western Psychology. All of their work when viewed from an objective and then an Islamic perspective, is just about dehumanizing the human being to such an extent that all that remains are creatures who are driven by base instincts and desires. In such a scheme only societal norms hold an indivisual back from realizing their lowest of low ambitions.

 Thornton (1983) the author of the widely read book, Freud and cocaine: the Freudian fallacy, writes that during the entire period in which Freud wrote his major theories he was miserably addicted to cocaine. Much of the dehumanizing psychology which students worldwide are taught as 'science' is in fact the incoherent ramblings of a disturbed drug addict !  This is the calibre of people who are considered intellectual heroes of the western civilization and who shaped the fate of the civilization by their ideas. Clearly all this is at odds with the values and principles of Islam, both as a religion and a civilization. 

Dr Badri writes,
"In today's quasi-religion of secular humanism the earlier image of man as a chosen creature bestowed with a Godly spirit has been totally reversed. Historically, the extreme atrocities of the Catholic Church with its antagonistic stand against science and scientists, its inquisitions and burning of millions of innocent women as witches have been met with retaliatory extreme animosity towards religion.

Thus the new picture of the modern Western man in the age of science has been transfigured into two seemingly different but really complimentary forms. One conception demotes man to the level of animals, the other bestow on him the attributes of a god. The secular 'message' of denying the soul had its 'prophets' who helped Western modernity to do away with the difference between man and other animals." [2]

This movement in psychology didn't go without influencing great social shifts that had serious consequences for the future of human ethics. When you deny the soul and reduce the human being to a random surge of low desires, what you have is nothing more than an animal. These views influenced the sexual revolution in the west, the import of which we still see today with the desecration of the very fabric of morality all across the world.

Dr Badri elaborates the crisis.

"Modern social sciences have also played an important role in strengthening the new faith of 'animalizing' man. The denial of the soul has naturally led to the denial of three other essential aspects concerning the religious image of man. That he is responsible to God for his moral and religious duties in this world and that accordingly he has to have a free will and that there is life after this life for the final judgement.

Behaviorism and other social sciences have paved the way for secularization by strongly confirming that man's ethical behavior is formulated by his environment and culture. And since there are many different cultures in this world with various ethical standards, the issue of following any ethical code as the true one with a capital "T" has been psychologically rejected, or at least greatly diluted.

In this ungodly milieu of ethical relativism, the secular society is given the authority to decide on its own moral code and to use man-made laws to guarantee that its citizens are socially responsible. Man was thus crowned as the sole owner of his own life and body. He is free to do whatever he wants with them. To marry a person with his own sex, to change his sex and amputate his sex organs, change his God-given features with plastic surgery, kill himself or assist others to end their life. "

Then we see that the other major shift in Psychology was the reduction of the science to the counterpart of neurology.

Is psychology a science or an art? What was concluded was that it was a physical science just like anatomy, physics or chemistry. What led to this shift is again the same secularization of knowledge where human emotions, complex psychological processes, thoughts and abstract acts like willing, understanding and remembering were considered random flux of chemicals inside the brain and the switching on and off of neurons.

Again the human being was considered no different than a computer that takes input from senses, processes information and produces an output. Such a view makes no room for the complex and inexplicable phenomena of love, empathy, insight and moral justice that we experiece throughout our lives. Thus in such a scheme the basis of all cognition which is the first person experience that we all have, becomes an unsolved mystery or as it is called the 'hard problem of consciousness'. If the human being is nothing more than a flux of chemicals, then what makes us different from a table, a tree or a computer? They are also a mix of chemicals like us.

The grand project to Islamize Psychology

It shouldn't be difficult now for us to see that even on the face of it, secular psychology is wraught with philosophical issues. And for us Muslims, such a view of the human being is anti thetical to the moral, rational creature the Quran describes the human being as. The Quran recognizes that the human being has such high spiritual aspirations that none in the creative order can compete with the human being in those. The propensity to do good and evil is inherently programmed into the human being. It is not a construct of society. At best society can influence behavior, it cannot manufacture it. Not all of us are demons when no ones watching.

Since the secularization of psychology in Europe, some Muslim scholars expressed concern over this project. Notable was the scholarly voice of Dr Muhammad Iqbal in this field. But he was a philosopher. As psychology was growing out of the tradition of philosophy, all he could do is raise an alarm bell and mark the serious conflicts a secular psychology had with the Islamic view on the human being. The project had to be undertaken by a professional psychologist who would construct a formal criticism and then go on to construct a modern Islamic model of psychology. This became the great accomplishment of Dr Malik Badri who pioneered the field of modern Islamic Psychology. It was 'Islamic' because it was rooted in Islamic view on the human mind and soul. It was modern as it syntheiszed traditional Islamic ideas of Muslim psychologists like Al Balkhi, Ibn Sina with current scientific developments in the field. This was way ahead of its time and definitely an ambitious and spiritual initiative.

Dr Badri was talking about these ideas when the Muslim world was moving headlong into everything 'western' and 'modern'. These two terms at the time were considered synomymous with progress and development for many Muslims in the last century. He was vehemently criticized for his ideals.

Read the excerpt from his book, Out of the Lizard's hole, where he expresses his struggle:

"Why do we need to islamize modern western psychology? When I first gave my public lecture on the Islamisation of psychology in the main auditorium of the University of Jordan in 1965, I was faced with a barrage of ridiculing questions wondering about the relationship between Islam and psychology. Some mocking questions and comments were:
"Islam is a religion and psychology is a science."
"Do you speak of Islamic physiology, fasiq botany or kafir physics? Then why talk about islamic psychotherapy or secular psychology?"
"Science struggled for many years to reach maturity and to rid itself from the captivity of philosophy and religion; do you want psychological sciences to backslide to ancient religiosity or to antiquated philosophy?"
Some of my friends in the Department of Psychology, which I headed at the time, confided to me with sincerity that if I continued to force Islam into my specialization, I might eventually lose my respect as a scholar."

But suprisingly the opposite happened. He didnt lose respect, he became the face of Islamic Psychology in the world. He held high academic positions in many institutes. This, I think was a reward from Allah Most High for his perseverence, patience and sincereity towards Islam. Allah Most High has reserved rewards for his servants in this life and the best reward is in the life to come, for His servants who sincerely strive for His cause.

Dr Badri realized that the current predicament of the Muslim world is because we have forgotten our rich heritage of science, philosophy, education and spirituality and have blindly adopted ways that will severly fracture our relation with the Divine and bring about great harm to us in the world. This is the insight of the believer who sees with the Noor of Allah. He sees way ahead of his time and then dedicates his life to improve the future.

One of Dr Badri's Arab colleagues after a presentation stated strongly that he was not ready to Islamize psychology to his students until Islamization receives an international recognition! Here was an Arab professor in 1999 waiting for Western psychologists to recognize Islamization before he can do so. This is the root of the problem that Muslim intellectuals for the most part are not brave enough to challenge the status quo or declare a coup d'etat against the intellectual colonizer.

The issue is that secular scholarship is more true and loyal to their secularism that Muslim intellectuals are to Islam. Many european psychologists expressed their concerns with teaching psychologyto european students that is heavily bound to the american culture. Thus even western academia has come to appreciate the need for adapting psychology to other cultures.

Dr Badri clearly built his point that it is our mental slavery to "Americanized" Western psychology that is perpetuating exploitative traditions of colonialism still throughout the Muslim world. He discusses this in the below excerpt from an essay in the journal of World Psychology titled, "But is it a science? Traditional and alternative approaches to social behaviour", by a psychologist from Georgetown University, USA, Moghaddam, and a second psychologist from Oxford University, England, Harre. They state,

"...the most important factor shaping psychology in the international context continues to be power inequalities between and within nations. The inability of psychology to contribute to Third World development arises in large part from these inequalities... and surely this is an unethical issue. Putative psychological "knowledge" which is of highly questionable reliability and validity even in the Western context is being exported wholesale to Third World societies, as part of a large exchange system ultimately driven by profits.

The United States has established itself as the only psychology Superpower.. Psychology continues to be exported from the U.S. to the rest of the world, with little or no serious attention given to the appropriateness of what is being exported-Similarly, Third World psychologists are trained in the U.S. and in other Western countries, without regard to the question of the appropriateness of their training. Indeed, the continued exportation ... and inappropriately trained personnel from Western to Third World societies strengthens ties of dependency and continues exploitative traditions established through colonialism" 

From what has been said so far it should be clearly appreciated that without some form of adaptation, Western psychology can be harmful or at best it may be of no use to us and to our students.

But if we accept adaptation, does this necessarily mean Islamization? Yes, indeed. Western psychology itself proclaims that human behavior is the result of the interaction of three major components: the biological, the psychological and the socio-cultural. Anyone who cannot see the great influence of Islam as a religion and a way of life in shaping the psychological and socio-cultural aspects of a Muslim is a myopic who suffers from tunnel vision.

In a research by Professor Shiabuddin Moghni conducted during a sabbatical in Harvard University, has shown clearly how Islam as a worldview and way of life has molded the modal personality of the Muslim Ummah into a number of dominant personality traits or attributes which clearly differentiate them from other nations.

The main attribute or trait is the spiritual dimension. Faith in Allah Ta'ala and the belief that He is the Creator and Sustainer of this universe. He knows the secrets in the hearts of men and knows what is beneath the secrets (subconscious). Everything that happens to man must have a hikmah or divine wisdom behind it. There is life after this life and man is accountable for whatever he had done during his brief stay on earth. These beliefs would make it necessary for any psychologist working with Muslim subjects to Islamize his work. Western psychology denies the soul in all its perspectives, whether they are behavioristic, psychoanalytic, humanistic, biological or cognitive.

One of the popular stories that can illustrate this concerns an honest broad-minded European psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Schmidt, who was practicing in Brunei. He read a valuable paper on his innovated techniques of treating drug and alcohol addicts in Brunei. The paper was read in Amman, Jordan, in 1987 in the Third Pan Arab Congress on Psychiatry sponsored by the Association of Arab Psychiatrists.

He took a group of addicts to a camp outside the city and subjected them to a daily rigorous program of physical training and concentrated talks and video programs. The program started at dawn and finished at bed time and was heavily saturated with Islamic activities involving prayers, talks and video shows. After his lecture, one Muslim Arab psychiatrist, asked the European psychiatrist mockingly, "How can you, as a trained scientist, use religious activities in such a therapeutic endeavor? How can you mix religion with science?"

The Western psychiatrist told the Muslim 'scientist' that he had tried all the methods and practices that he had learned in England but they have failed to change these Muslim addicts and that the rate of relapses in those who improved was astounding. "When I introduced the Islamically oriented activities, they healed much more patients and the relapse rate was much less". Then he continued to explain, "I am not a Muslim. I am a Christian but since Islamically oriented therapies work better for Muslims than secular ones, one should use them whether one believes in Islam or not ".

AIDS from an Islamic perspective

While in his remarkable book The Dilemma of the Muslim Psychologists, published in 1978, he warned Muslim psychologists not to fall into the arms of Western secular psychology. He criticized the Muslim attitude of uncritically plunging headlong into any body of knowledge that came out of the West. In his book The AIDS Crisis: An Islamic Sociocultural Perspective, Dr Badri was again ahead of his time in warning us about the futility of adopting secular methods in dealing with the crisis of AIDS.

Personally, I was surprised to find a Muslim scientist who has held such high academic positions and has been given many awards, to openly reject the official story regarding the biological origin of AIDS. Dr Badri fearlessly contends in his book that the HIV virus was first discovered in the homosexual community in San Fransico, US. Then it was transferred to Africa and the 'green monkey' narrative was built around it. While american scientists were desperately trying to prove that AIDS originated outside the United States, Dr Badri demolished all these theories with powerful arguments in which he cited studies and research and said:

"I should like to conclude by saying that to believe that the gene mutation of HIV took place from green monkeys to Africans and from Africans to Haitians, and from Haitians to Americans in order to avoid the obvious fact that the mutation might have taken place in the insulted, germ ridden rectums of San Francisco homosexuals, is indeed an extremely farfetched, racist, and unfair way to ward off stigmatism and ease cognitive dissonance." [3]

I still find it very difficult to come to grips with how someone of that stature can risk everything just to speak the truth and call a spade a spade. Even people who are on a simple payroll, fear consequences of going against the standard narrative on things. And the more one has, the more fear it evokes at the thought of losing it all.

In the case of Dr Badri, he was someone who had built a respectable place for himself in academia, still he did not not let all of this keep him from siding with the truth. I do know that at the time Dr Badri wrote this book, many other non muslim intellectuals expressed their concerns regarding the cover up of the origins of the AIDS virus. There were some prominent newspapers and channels that ran headlines on the relation of the HIV virus with the homosexual community in San Francisco. But the great achievement of Dr Badri is that he courageously put forward a Muslim view on the crisis.

In the following years as many Muslim countries came to be affected with the disease (sometimes naturally and sometimes through biological warfare commited by pharmaceutical companies like Glaxo Klien Smith and Sanofi that imported billions of gallons of HIV infected blood to Muslim countries) [4], what was required was an 'Islamic' approach to deal with the crisis. An Islamic response would be distinctly different from the standard western one that safeguards corporate interests of contraceptive manufacturers and represents western ideas on gender relations (most of which are absolutely at odds with Islamic values).

Dr Badri expressed his concern as "westerners prefer to bury hundreds of thousands of martyrs of the sexual revolution rather than control and restrain their sexual behavior." He believed, and rightly so, that the AIDS issue is much more complicated especially for the hedonistic western culture than just a medical issue, and therefore prevention will be more complex than preventing an infectious disease like tuberculosis.

He cautioned Muslims regarding the misuse of biology and other exact sciences by Western secularization in propagating its ethical message. For example, the Western media created a loud hullabaloo about the discovery that the cells of the hypothalumus in the brains of homosexuals were found to be different from of heterosexuals or that a 'gene for homosexuality' has been found. Unbiased researchers falsified all of these 'discoveries', but the media and some textbooks in our field fail to report the falsification giving the naive readers the wrong impression that science has 'proved' that homosexuality is inherited. This can confuse Muslim young learners. They would wonder how can God punish people for something He has Created in them?

What again is strikingly remarkable is that his science education did not prevent him from seeing this crisis as divine retribution. He viewed it through the lens of the following prophetic tradition:

If fahishah or fornication and all kinds of sinful acts become
rampant and open without inhibition in any group or nation, Allah will
punish them with new epidemics (ta’un) and new diseases that were not
known to their forefathers and earlier generations.

(Sunan Ibn Majah Hadith 4019)

This again is so characteristic of traditional Muslim scholarship that possessed what Shaykh Hamza Yusuf calls 'spiritual bifocals'. They could see the haqiqah (higher reality) without denying the sharia (physical reality). The Haqiqah in this case is that it is divine retribution against the rise of immoral conduct.

The universe as if is programmed with ethical and environmental alarms. When unethical or immoral behavior becomes widespread the consequences are seen in the overall deterioration of social structure as well as being followed by a serious health crisis. Similarly 'nature' responds violently to the execesses commited against the evironment as well in the form of the current environmental crisis. This is one lens to view a crisis.

But this was never held as a negation of the other perspective- that it requires a scientific response. We see this in how Muslims traditionally dealt with epidemics. While religiously we know that epidemics are divine punishments, but knowing that did not hinder Muslim medicals experts from developing epidemiology and immunology. This bifocular and dual perspective attitude is unique to Islam.

And Dr Malik Badri was no different from this.

He has passed on the torch to us

The project of Islamization of knowledge as taken up since the last century is a noble project. Dr Badri undoubtedly was an integral part of this project. With great diligence he pioneered the Islamization of one of the most secularized field- psychology. Muslims today need to realize that this is the route and a one way road to a revival in Islamic thought and civilization. It is not a feel-good and culturally gratifying project. We need to realize that this is the need of the hour. We have no other choice. The current secularization of education is the primary reason for the intellectual, spiritual and moral degradation in the world and this is seriously at odds with the Islamic view on education.

I'lm or knowledge and education or Tarbiyyah are both attributes of God. They cannot and must not be severed from the divine. Islamization of all fields of knowledge has been widely discussed by scholars like Naquib al Attas, Osman Bakar and Ismail Faruqi since the last century. The project needs to grow into a movement that encompasses all fields and at all levels. Islamization of knowledge must not be like the bizzare and synthetic phenomenon of Islamic Banking which just sticks a 'halal' label on the system that is reponsible for the impoverishment and misery of millions across the globe, namely the banking system.

Islamization of knowledge needs to be a revolution, an intellectual upheaval and a total recalibration of all current fields of knowledge with the principles of Islam. We see promising developements in the field of physics by Dr Mohamed Haj Yousef and Dr Basil al Taei, in the field of economics by Shaykh Umar Vadillo, in the field of Philosophy by Sayyid Nasr Hosein, Naquib al Attas, Dr Osman Bakar and in the field of international affains and geopolitics, Shaykh Imran Hosein.

All the fields of knowledge that have social, ethical and philosophical implications like science, technology, humanities are most in need of this recalibration and islamization. And of course the project that Dr Badri singlehandedly pioneered needs to reach prefection. I along with my team have tried to highlight the need and the progess so far in this road through our media series The Second Golden Age. 

Lastly, I pray to Allah Most High to bless the soul of Dr Malik Badri and to accept his efforts and grant him the highest paradise and the honorable company of our Lord and His Messenger (saw).

Kindly read Fatihah for the soul of Dr Badri.


[1] Simple ignorance is when one does not know a thing, but one is aware of its ignorance. Compound ignorance is when one doesn't know something, but one does not know that one does not know the thing. One harbors the illusion of knowledge of the issue at hand.

[2] For all of Dr Badri's quotes on Islamization of Psychology download- http://journal.iamphome.org/index.php/IJIP/article/view/15/16

[3] For Dr Badri's view on AIDS download- https://www.ajis.org/index.php/ajiss/article/view/2145/1349

[4] https://khn.org/morning-breakout/dr00043883/

Safiyyah Sabreen Syeed

About the author

Safiyyah Sabreen studied Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursuing her Master's in Philosophy. She is the Content Director for KNOW. Being interested in the field of Islam and Science and Islamic Eschatology, she produced a documentary on the Golden Age of Islam and directs the Second Golden Age series.

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