Contemplation An Islamic Psychospiritual Study by Malik B. Badri. (London: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2000. 136 pages.)

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Amber Haque



The book under review is a translated version of Badri's Arabic edition, Al
Tafakkur min al-Mushahadah ila al Shuhud, first published in Cairo in
1991. This English text is intended for general readers as well as specialists,
in the hopes of discussing and developing the author's ideas on Islamic
contemplation. The book is divided into nine chapters with a section of
notes at the end of the book, bibliography, index of Qur'anic citations, and
a general index.
Chapter I deals with contemplation from a modern psychological perspective.
It differentiates between Islamic contemplation and the meditation
procedures offered by secular psychology. While meditation is primarily
derived from eastern religions and aims at altering states of consciousness,
Islamic contemplation is derived from Qur'anic injunctions and aims
to seek insightful knowledge of God as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
Different schools of psychology are discussed in their inability to
successfully deal with inner cognitive thought and feelings. This, the author
contends, is a logical outcome of psychology's constant attempt to claim
itself as "science" and its neglect of people's consciousness, mental
processes, soul, and their spiritual essence. Although cognitive processes
are now studied in psychology, modern psychology falls short of the spiritual
vision of humankind and is obsessed with the "scientific" model, while
ignoring the spiritual component, despite mounting evidence of its role in
human lives.
Chapter 2 summarizes the works of certain early Muslim scholars and
attempts to give a rationale for contemplation based b oth on recent ...

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