The Quran’s Concept Of Self Integration: The Motive-Valance For Learning, Slamming New Intrusions, Old Obsessions (Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque)

The study examines the viability of human intellect through which the man has made many an awe-inspiring success and con­cludes that the inherent weakness underlying his ideals or his way of life has undermined his constructive genius and has brought a disastrous end to his efforts. The main reason attributed to his phenomenon is that the human intellect helps little because it is not aware of any source of knowledge other than itself. The man has been endeavouring to understand the nature of human self and to devise strategies for the development of human personality but has encountered numerous enigmas, threats and challenges. The Quran’s concept of NAFS has been identi­fied as human self. This not only solves the human riddle but also regulates it as a motive-valence for learning with (i) inbuilt operative laws shunning new intrusions and old obsessions; (ii) varied potentialities – Angelic and satanic; (iii) implications by un­locking the doors of human problems and unraveling all mys­teries of life; (iv) operational injunctions; and (v) the establishment of an epitome of the Quranic Social Order. This is all for living peacefully on this biosphere not on the doctrine of balance of power but on the mutual respect, for disciplining life within the boundary walls of permanent values embodied in the Qur’an, for the development of human self. That is the Quran’s Concept of self-integration, which has profusely been elaborated through this paper.


The history of mankind stands as a living testimony to the fact that man has shown a remarkable constructive genius, having attained many an awe-inspiring success, now and then, despite occasional setbacks and natur­al catastrophes. But his constructive genius was always undermined by some inherent weakness underlying his ideals or his way of life, which ulti­mately brought about a disastrous end to his efforts. This paradox leads all thoughtful minds inescapably to the conclusion arrived at by Einstein: By painful experience we’ve learnt that rational thinking doesn’t suffice to solve the problems of our social life. Penetrating research and keen scientific work have often tragic implications for mankind, producing, on the one hand, inven­tions which liberated man from exhaustingly physical labour, making his life easier and richer; but on the other hand, introducing a grave restlessness into his life, making him a slave to his technological environment, and – most cata­strophic of all – creating the means for his own mass destruction. This, in­deed, is a tragedy of overwhelming poignancy. (Albert Einstein: Out of My Later Years, P. 152)

Human intellect helps little in this matter, because it isn’t aware of any source of knowledge other than itself, so it holds materialistic concept of life according to which a human being consists of body alone. He is born, brought up, eats, sleeps, and falls sick, procreates and then dies. This, in fact, is animal life (47:12, The Qur’an) for which he needs no divine guidance and, therefore, feels no necessity in having faith in life after death (45:34. The Qur’an). But the Qur’an holds that man isn’t merely a phy­sical being, he is composed of something else besides his body. It is human self, human personality, which isn’t inherited by man in a fully developed state, it exists in a latent form and its development is the ultimate goal of human life.

The growth of an individual’s physical existence is governed by cer­tain physical laws, but the development of his personality is subject to a different set of laws which have been given to mankind from time to time through Divine Revelation, and are now fully embodied in the Holly Qur’an.


What is the nature of human self? In the ancient and mediaeval philo­sophy, the self was synonymous with the soul, and the soul was believed to be an indestructible substance which existed before its temporary conjunc­tion with the material body and which survives the dissolution of the body. The notion of the soul was taken over from primitive thought and was re­fined and elaborated by philosophers. Aristotle was the only great philoso­pher who rejected this view and propounded a theory more in consonance with natural science. He regarded the soul as the entelechy of the body, and as it was the form of the body, it was also inseparable from it. The soul was thus placed squarely in the system of natural phenomena. How­ever for centuries after Aristotle, both scientists and philo­sophers unquestionably accepted the older view of an independent and supernatural soul. It was challenged only when modem science was well under way.

In the eighteenth century, the term, «Self», came into vogue. It had ad­vantage of being closer to nature than the term soul, which had a super-naturalistic flavour. The self was regarded as the subject of experience. It was regarded as free and not subject to natural laws. Hume delivered the coup de grace to the popular belief in an independent self and replaced it with empirical self as merely a succession of ideas, which are related to each other externally by virtue of existing in the same or successive states of con­sciousness. In the modern psychology the concept of personality has sup­planted the older concept of self.

The psychologist now studies the origin of personality and the process of its development as well as the process of its disintegration in abnormal cases. Personality is conceived not as an entity but as the form or pattern which the raw material of mind assumes when it was organized. The orga­nization of the instinctive urges, tendencies and capacities constitutes the biological equipment of the individual during the formative years of life.

According to this view two factors, the physiological and the social, de­termine the farther course of personality development. The physiologists hold that the hormones secreted by the endocrine glands play a decisive role in the growth and normal functioning of personality. The social psy­chologists tend to attach greater importance to the social milieu in which the human child grows up. Personality emerges through the process of socialization. The child internalizes the group code and the social norms which immediately begin to regulate this instinctive urges and motives. The group also assigns to him a particular role, and the child develops the capa­cities and gives free scope to the tendencies, which he meets for playing the role successfully.

According to this point of view, the individual plays a negligible role in his own development. He remains passive while society moulds him into the form that happens to enjoy social approval at the moment. The in­adequacy of this view is obvious: two children, brought up in the same so­cial environment, develop different types of personality.

According to psychologists’ view, personality develops as the result of the reactions of the individual itself. The important thing for personality isn’t the social influence to which the individual is exposed but the way, the process, in which he reacts to it. Man, therefore, doesn’t passively receive but actively acquires personality. The biological factor operating in man is of crucial importance for personality development. However, it will not act to disregard the social factor altogether. Man has, perforce, to accommo­date himself to the demands of the group on which he is dependent and which provides him with security and necessities of life. According to psy­chological theory, personality is the product of the interaction between the heredity constitution of man and his social milieu (Blum: Theories of Personality, 1961). The psychologists first analyze personality into traits and then dis­cover that each trait had a certain dimension. The combined result of these traits was termed as an overall picture of personality or personality profile (King: Reading for an Introduction to Psychology, 1961).


The rich harvest of these results has little bearing on the question: what is it in man which impels him to embark, on the perilous and see­mingly desperate enterprise? From psychologists’ point of view, personality is the integration of the individual’s characteristics and motivational under­currents. This process begins in early childhood and proceeds, at first slowly, and then at an accelerated pace during adolescent until the emer­gence of the personality of the adult. Thereafter, too, personality continues to undergo at least some changes, though slight throughout the life of the individual. With senility, or through disease or traumatic experi­ence, a process in the reverse direction may set it. The process of disintegra­tion may lead to the splitting or even fragmentation of personality. Cases of dual and multiple personality have been observed and intensively studied by psychiatrists; therapeutic techniques have also been devised for reinte­grating the split personality. This all indicates that there is nothing substan­tial about personality as conceived by the psychologists who work from the surface of the mind downwards and often fail to plumb the depths of the human mind. What has been grasped so far is a mere shadow.

The modern man lives at a superficial level. He pursues petty and self­ish ends. Douglas Hurd, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, cautioning the UN General Assembly on the limitations of International peacekeeping has re­grettably said: «It is empty to imagine we can impose peace with justice on every disorder or dispute outside our borders» (Time, October 11, 1993, P. 8).

No wonder that the modern man is discontented and unhappy. His deepest cravings are left unsatisfied. Thus he is in conflict both with himself and with his fellow beings. In this connection, Iqbal’s remarks deserve to be quoted in full: « . . . wholly overshadowed by the results of his intellectual activity, the modem man has ceased to live soulfully i.e. from within. In the domain of thought he is living in open conflict with himself; and in the domain of economic and political life he is living in open conflict with others. He finds himself unable to control his ruthless egoism and his infinite gold hunger, which is gradually lulling all higher strivings in him and bringing him but life-weariness. Absorbed in the ‘Fact’ that is to say, the optically present source of sensation, he is entirely cut off from the unplumbed depths of his own beings» (Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, P. 177). Its result is that the biosphere, today, is fraught with threats like:

  1. American Movies;
  2. Farm Exports often termed as American ukase;
  3. Currency speculations;
  4. Third World immigrants;
  5. Europeans Community’s increasing suspect as black pessimism rooting fears;
  6. Hard adjustment to a world in which encroachments of moderniza­tion and competition threaten the traditional way of life;
  7. Political clout and political chicanery;
  8. Cultural identity being at stake;
  9. Arrogance and boastfulness derived from military and material superiority; power and prowess based on scientific and technological pro­gress;
  10. Tyrannical exploitation of the weak, physically and economically; and
  11. Dividing the weak into opposing groups – infusing, infighting and domestic conflicts in Third World countries.

This all has resulted into numerous consequences. The most predomi­nant are:

  1. An upsurge of anti-Americanism with inbuilt ambivalent feelings about America;
  2. Overwhelming Choice of American images of modernity being foisted;
  3. Tons of tasteless ultra-products in agricultural factories throwing farmers out of work in other countries, destabilizing the society of those countries;
  4. Inclination to follow those powerful lobbies that potentate way­wardness and perversion setting barricades to the doctrines of permanent values embodied in the Qur’an. A Gallup poll conducted by CNN re­vealed that, in the sole surviving superpower, a little more than 22% men have declared themselves ‘gay’ and a little more than 7% women ‘lesbian’, the greater tragedy being that none of them has a sense of shame and that they’ve been openly agitating for the same respect and the same opportu­nities as are enjoyed by other normal citizens (Wafa: Lesson From Past Civilizations, Dawn, Karachi, October 15,1993).
  5. Economic collapse usually called the limping economy;
  6. Political chicanery;
  7. Guerilla style insurgency;
  8. Ethnic Rebellion termed Explosive Ethnic conflicts;
  9. Treat of force by the Superpower;
  10. Enforcement of Peace or Facilitation of Peace;
  11. New International Structure; and
  12. Human-embryo Cloning.

Very right did Mason put the remarks forth: «We began our era of scientific efficiency confidant that materialistic triumphs would solve life’s pro­blems. We are finding we were wrong. Life isn’t as simple as that» (Creative Freedom, P. 183-4). The graveyards of glorious old civilizations induce a thoughtful mood in sensitive spectators and caution them to pause for a while and reflect over this warning of the Qur’an: «Mind! Be ye not like the old woman who laboured hard to spin her yarn and then pulled it to pieces». (16:98, The Qur’an). But neither ancient civilizations nor the present ones are the work of thoughtless men. In fact, all the great civilizations are the manifestations of a highly developed crea­tive mind. But the potential drawback is that «For the scientist, there is only “being”, but not wishing, no valuing, no good, no evil, no goal». (Einstein: Out of My Later Years, P.I14). In his book, The Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault has brought out the root cause of the trouble clearly into focus when he said: «No system of human civilization that is false in its very principals, in its very foundation, can solve itself by any amount of cleverness and efficiency in the means by which that falsehood is carried out and maintained, by any amount of superfi­cial adjustment and tinkering» (P.159). That is why the Universal Declara­tion of Human Rights, Article 26(20) proclaims: «Education should be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strength­ening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedom» (P: 17).

Whether education in the world, in the 21st century, is actually being directed towards these goals? is the real question of the day.


The term «self» is in closer correspondence with the Qur’anic term, «nafs» than any of the terms which have come into vogue so far. The Qur’an has used this word 255 times – NAFSUN 61 times and in other forms like ANFUSKUM 49 times, NAFSENE 40 times and NAFASUN 14 times. It has numerous meanings. Tajul Uroos writes that this word is used normally to denote the total personality of a person. It also means in­tellect, knowledge and mind. (Taj: Ibn-i-Faris). It is used for a person as well. It is further used to express greatness, superiority, courage, resolution, and punishment. It also means close relative, brotherly (Taj and Lis’anul Arab). It is also used in the meaning of blood, ‘NIF’ASN’ which pours out after the birth of a child (Taj). NAFASUN also means, ‘breath’ and its plural is AN-FASUN, Ibn-i-Faris says that its basic meanings are light and soft air. It also means a nice thing, which attracts a person.

The Qur’an has also used this word for a specific thing called, “Human Personality” or «Self». It has been used as a special term in the Qur’anic concept of Life which, in fact, is the base of Deen-ul-Islam. It doesn’t extinct with the body’s death. If it is developed, it can flourish in this life and survive even after death. Therefore, it needs to be nourished to enable it to develop according to the evolutionary process. This nourish­ment has to be according to the laws given from time to time by Allah to mankind through His Anbiya and now are fully contained in the Qur’an. It, therefore, is clear, that if one believes in «SELF» and its growth, one has to believe in Allah, His revelation «WAHI», the NUBU-WAT and life after death. The following characteristics of the self found in the Qur’an enable to form an adequate idea of the self, a just estimate of its capabilities and a constructive motive-valence for the process of learning:

  1. The self partakes of Reality and consequently enjoys permanence and stability. It retains its identity throughout its career. The trials, which it undergoes and the influences to which it is exposed, change it with­out transforming it into something different from itself. It starts its ca­reer in an undeveloped form but equipped with immense potentialities. It may or may not actualize these potentialities but it never ceases to be itself. It isn’t a passive material, which is moulded by external for­ces; it is essentially active & dynamic. Its typical activity is «DINI» ac­tivity in the highest sense of the term, viz., the development and actualizing of its basic characteristics, & thereby «drawing closer» to the Most Perfect Self, God, Whose attributes serve as an objective stan­dard for the human self, and thus tasting the joy of proximity of Him. Death doesn’t terminate the activity of the self; it is but an episode in its career.
  2. The self, as conceived in the Qur’an, is free. Freedom is an in­alienable property of the self. Although it operates in the sphere of nature, its activity flows from its own nature and isn’t determined by natural causes. Dr. Rhine, in his book, New World of the Mind, corroborates this view with the remarks: «There is something operative in the man that transcends the laws of matter.»

It is because the self is free that it functions as a moral agent. Duties and obligations have no meaning for a being, which is completely deter­mined. If the self were not free, it would be insensitive to the demands of “ought” and would respond only to the demands of «must». Its sense of re­sponsibility springs from its sense of freedom; it is capable of leading a moral life only because it is free. The view implies that the self has a real choice of freedom. It can choose any one of the alternative courses of ac­tion open to it, and responsibility for its choice rests squarely on it.

Of course, the self doesn’t enjoy absolute and unlimited freedom. Its freedom is circumscribed by the conditions under which it lives. The world of fact checks & restrains its activities in various ways and in various de­grees. The self chafes under these restraints. It flourishes only in an atmo­sphere of freedom. In a highly regimented society, its sphere of action may be subjected to increasing shrinkage. Such a society discourages all kinds of self-expression and curbs liberty of action. Under these conditions, the self begins to languish. It can regain its vitality only by regaining its freedom. The self burgeons, blossoms and fructifies in lofty thoughts and noble ac­tions only in an atmosphere of freedom. Freedom is the essence of the self and cannot be extinguished under external compulsion. The self, however, feels cramped and frustrated in a regimented and totalitarian society, or an «other-directed conformism». The state, whose power has increased enor­mously in recent times, poses a serious threat to the integrity of the self. It has been sturdily and relentlessly encroaching on the domain of self. The individual’s freedom has been seriously curtailed by the modern state, armed as it is with scientific techniques of suggestion, propaganda and brainwashing. The government can now influence the individual’s mind to a degree, which was undreamed of in the past. It can control not only man’s overt ac­tions but his inner thoughts as well.

  1. The self, as viewed by the Qur’an isn’t static. It possesses infi­nite capacity for development. With its own efforts based on the line of permanent values, it rises to higher and higher plans of existence. The Qur’an says: «Verily We will raise you to higher and higher levels.» (84-19). The self fulfils itself by developing and actualizing its potentialities. With death, man doesn’t cease to exist but passes onto a higher plan of existence. The Qur’an has prescribed «din», or the way of life, which enables man to achieve the higher level. When man is elevated to the higher level, he feels as if the gate of Heaven has been thrown open to him. On the other hand when he falls to a lower level he feels that he has been flung into Hell.

The Qur’an opens a vast vista of development to man. No term has been set to his progress. Man’s destiny is marked out of him in sym­bols. To understand the symbols, true insight is needed. When a glimpse of higher level is caught, the symbol, which represents it, becomes intelligible. It is futile to discuss a symbol when we’ve no inkling of the stage to which it refers. The Qur’an, when studied intelligently, provides us with the insight to understand the true meanings of these symbols.

  1. The self has the capacity for value- experience. It is sensitive to the higher qualities of its experience and appreciates their value. Value-ex­perience is non-existent at the sub-human level. It becomes possible only when the self has emerged. Value-experience may be of a lower or higher order. The higher in the scale an experience is, the more satisfying it is found to be. When the self is fit to rise to a higher plan, it craves for a value-experience higher than that with which it had been content hitherto. An experience of high value enriches and elevates the self.
  2. The self develops mainly through its own efforts. It rises or falls through its moral or immoral actions. The Qur’an says: «The self (NAFS) owns only that which it earns» (74:38), and it changes: through what it assimilates, good or bad. The self is subject to the law of requital. It’s a’mal-ul-hasalah enhance its worth and a’mal-us sayyi’ah degrade it. God never does wrong to the self. The Qur’an is explicit on this point. If the self is degraded, it is its own doing. External forces cannot touch the self and God never deals with it unjustly. So the self is affected by nothing except the results of its own actions. Suffering is the fruit of a’mal-us-sayyi’ah.
  3. The self partakes of Reality and mirrors the Divine attributes, «I breathed My Rouh-Divine Energy – into him (man), say the Qur’an (15:29) The Nabi said: “Cultivate in yourselves those qualities that reflect the Divine attributes”. By cultivating those qualities, the self develops and draws, so to say, closer to God. Throuh a’mal-us sayyi’ah, it gets further away from God and Reality. A’mal-ul-hasanah strenghen the self and a’mal-us-sayyi’ah weaken it. The distance between God & human self is increased by the latter and is decreased by the former, which cultivate Divine qualities. This is the teaching of the Qur’an. The self becomes more and more real as it develops into itself the attributes of God, and more and more unreal as it does re­cede from Him. The Divine attributes serve as an objective model after which man can strive to fashion himself (Perwez: Islam: A Challenge to Religion, pp. 71-74).


The operative law in SELF is The Law of Requital. An action performed deliberately for a set purpose, or with a high degree of ego-involvement, changes self for better or for worse. It strengthens or weakens the moral fibre. This is governed by the Law of Requital. Ac­cording to this Law:

  1. Every human action (a) affects his ‘self’ (6:164, The Qur’an), and (b) is being recorded every second by Mal’aika – heavenly forces (Raghib) – and the record is kept up-to-date. (82:10-12, The Qur’an).
  2. The self is even effected by hidden and/or unfulfilled desires or inten­tions (40:19, The Qur’an), Allah’s Law of Requital is aware, (even of what is harboured within you (5:7, The Qur’an).
  3. Only Allah Almighty knows how much credit or discredit is to be gi­ven to a particular act. (53:32, The Qur’an).
  4. On the Day of Judgement all the actions performed deliberately would be weighed. Those whose balance of good and constructive deeds tilts in their favour (is heavier) are successful ones, but those whose bal­ance goes against them (is lighter), are the ones who have harmed themselves by their willful rejection of the Allah’s message. (7:8-9, The Qur’an).
  5. No one would be able to help the other, nor any intercession allowed. (2:123, The Qur’an).
  6. No action would go unrewarded or unpunished. (3:25, The Holy Qar’an).
  7. Everyone would get the reward or punishment of his own deeds. (7; 17; 37:39; 45:28; and 52:16, The Qur’an).
  8. Absolute and full justice would be done, no one would be dealt with unjustly (16:111; 39:70; and 40:17, The Qur’an).
  9. No one would be able to transfer his good or bad deeds to others – he would himself get the reward or the punishment as the case may be (2:286; 6:105; 10:108; 17:7; 17:15; 27:40; 27:92; 29:6; 31:12; 35:18; 39:41; and 45:15, The Qur’an).
  10. There is no exception to this Law, even the Rasool-Allah (Peace be upon him), the most perfect of all the human beings, was asked to proclaim – «say, surely I fear, if I disobey my Rabb – the chastisement of a grievous day» (6:15; 10:15; and 39:13, The Qur’an).

Thus the Jannat (the paradise), the state of perfect self-fulfillment (Manzoor: The Qur’anic Model of Education, 1993) in this world and the hereafter is earned as a result of good deeds, not as an alms or gift or on the recommendation of others (7:43; 29:158; 32:17; and 70:38-39, The Qur’an).

This is the Law of Requital.

Confronting the consequences of one’s actions concretely has also been termed as – Liqa-i-Rabb in the Qur’anic terminology. This may have three aspects:

(a)   Confrontation of consequences after death

«Do He (Allah’s Law) hath made the consequences (to be) hypocrisy in their hearts until the Day of Reckoning. This was because they had not kept their promise to Allah and had failed» (9:77, The Qur’an) and on the Day of Reckoning Allah will also ask: «O group of Jinn and Ins! Did the Rusal not arise from amongst you announcing My laws and warning you of the consequences of violating them? They will answer: we bear witness against our own-selves».

(b)   Commitment to the existence of Allah by contemplating on the systems of the universe and the nourishment

«Allah is He who has raised the heavenly spheres aloft without any visible pillars and He has control over the entire universe. He has subjected the sun and moon to function for an appointed period». (31:19, The Qur’an). «He regulates affairs and has given clear signs so that you may be certain of facing (the consequences) before your Nourisher» (13:2, The Qur’an).

This phenomenon develops insight of the nature as well.

(c)    Concrete confrontation with the consequences of ones actions in this world and the life hereafter

«A11 the actions of those who discredit our laws and belittle the idea of the life hereafter, will go waste. Will they earn anything except what they’ve worked for?» (7:147 – The Qur’an). «Who know they will have to face (the consequences) before their Allah, and that unto Him they are returning (for their consequences)» (2:46, The Qur’an). About the fabrications against Allah, the Qur’an clearly brings this stark fact forth that, «Soon they will be confronted with the consequences of such fabrications». (6:139, The Qur’an).

This all impels the man towards the motive-valence for the qualities of learning in life.



The greatest of Adam, as the original human being, the first prophet, or as the archetype human (Rashid: Human Development Theory: Islamic Vs. Western Perspective, P.4) is that he has been bestowed poten­tialities to acquire knowledge of how everything else in the universe func­tions (2:33, The Qur’an). Now it is unto him to utilize these potentialities and conquer/ harness all that lies in the universe.

In this universe, man is the only creature who is given choice and dis­cretion. He may obey the laws of Allah or may not; this discretion isn’t gi­ven to any other creature. Man decides to disobey Allah’s laws when his feelings and emotions overpower him. These emotions instigate him for personal gains as against universal good. He bypasses the laws of Allah and starts following his own emotions. At this stage his intellect manipu­lates him the ways and means to achieve these objects. These emotions or feelings and the intellect which guides such feelings to achieve the objectives are given the name of Iblees by the Qur’an allegorically. Because of this rebellious nature (Taj and Lane), it was said that he was born out of fire (7:12, The Qur’an) and since feelings of human beings remain hid­den, Iblees/Shaitan was also called a Jinn (18:50, The Holy Qnr’an) and Jinn means one who is hidden (Raghib). Along with the feelings or emo­tions, a man is also given the discretion by virtue of which he is capable of disobedience at the time of his birth and these accompany him through his life span (15:36, The Qur’an).

A person who decides to follow the path of disobedience becomes de­prived of the resultant benefits which accrue by virtue of following the laws of Allah: that is why Iblees is termed as the disappointed – the dejected or devoid one. About those who follow Allah’s law, the Qur’an says that they will not suffer any fear or sorrow (2:38) and Iblees will have no hold on them (15:42, The Qur’an).

The Qur’an has termed Iblees and Shaitan as the two faces of the same coin. While narrating the (allegorical) story of Adam, the refusal to bow, then rebellion, disobedience and finally the challenge to mislead mankind, all these are attributed to Iblees; and when it mentions the story of Aadm’s fall, it is attributed to Shaitan (2:36, 7:11-20, 20:116-120). This shows that Iblees is the name of term used for a specific personality trait and the way this trait operates is called Shaitan. Iblees and Shaitan or dis­appointment and rebellion are, in fact, those obstacles that hinder the progress of human self. If self of a person overcomes these obstacles, it shows positive growth in his evolutionary process, but if he fails then his self gets stuck or falls down to the lower lever of (animal) life. Human life is, in fact, the story of this crisis. That is why, with the creation of Adam, the existence of Iblees is necessary. Unless there is opposition, there can’t be a clash, and without clash, there can’t be stability in one’s self; in order words, there is no other test to check the growth and stability of one’s self, except at the time of clash with evil.

Researchers in the field of modern psychology also propounded that frustration and other stresses often lead to anger and aggression. Psycholo­gists use the term frustration as a label for (i) an emotional state that ap­pears whenever an obstacle interferes with the satisfaction of a desire, need, goal, expectation, or action; and (ii) the obstacle itself. (Shaffer and Shoben, The Psychology of Adjustment: Dynamic and Experimental Approach to Personality and Mental Hygien, 1956). A person who is frustrated may be one who is simply blocked in all his attempts to solve a problem, or he may be one who has responded to his failure by anger, worry and anxiety. Here two types or means of coping with frustration need differentiated. If an individual directs his frustration against his own self, he resorts to anger, aggression, helplessness, anxiety, regression, fixation, escape, or withdrawal. Similarly, if the same feeling of frustration is due to an external stimulus or another person, then defence mechanisms come to the foreground: projection, repression, fantasy, denial of reality, rationalization, intellectualization and reaction-formation. All these varieties of adjustive mechanisms have the underlying roots in disap­pointment closely followed by a feeling of rebellion or aggression. Clearly there is a direct and deep-rooted connection between the feelings of rebel­lion and disappointment experienced by a person, which is also exemplified in the relationship of Iblees and Shaitan.

The Qur’an supports the above deliberations that frustration leads to aggressiveness. When a person feels that he cannot achieve what he desires, he gets angry. If he gives vent to his anger against his own self, this results in worry, tension or depression; the last stage of which is suicide. When he uses this anger against anyone else, who in his opinion is responsi­ble for this, it is called revenge, but if he is incapable of taking revenge from the person concerned, then at times he gives vent to his feelings against unconcerned thing – which is madness. One can see the direct and deep contact between disappointment and rebellion and this is the relation­ship of Iblees and Shaitan. In fact these are the psychological feelings of a human being. The Qur’an wants to establish such a social order, where chances of disappointments don’t occur (39:53), as His resources of nourishment are boundless for everything and abundant throughout the Universe (7:156). So in the Qur’anic Social Order,the feelings of Iblisiat cannot overcome anyone; particularly in respect of those who follow His laws (15:43).

The Qur’an has described the results of misdeeds as the torturing fire! As the fire burns everything, so the bad deeds burn the human person­ality and stop its growth. According to the Qur’an, life is a continu­ous process and has to go a long way. If the life is led according to the laws given by its Creator, Allah, then its latent potentialities are developed in such a way that enables it to continue progressing and going from one stage to another, but if the potentialities/capacities are not developed it doesn’t have the strength to travel or grow further and stops at one stage or point. This process of stoppage is called al-jaheem in the Qur’anic con­cept.

Life is like an ever-flowing stream which should continue flowing, the moment it stops, it turns into a pond, then gets stagnant. Out of dust rose Adam, and out of good deeds would rise the man for the world hereafter.



The laws revealed to the Messenger of Allah for the guidance of humanity are immutable. They comprise two different categories: those for the individual and those for the nations. The laws for individuals are re­lated to physical life as well as for the development of human personality. As far as the nations are concerned, although they comprise groups of in­dividuals yet their psychology has got its own individuality and peculiarity. The Qur’an says that nations who lead their lives in consistence with the revealed laws i.e. organize their social order based on such laws, meet success, glory and an exalted position; and those who act against these laws meet failure and ultimate destruction. This is known as, «the collective law of requital», which is as immutable as the law of requital for individuals. According to the Qur’an, history is a record of the collective laws of requital. It tells that so and so a nation, when it organized its social or­der, according to so and so a concept of life, the results produced were spe­cifically peculiar to that concept. It was the Qur’an that gave first of all the concept of the Science of History. The Qur’an attaches such a great importance to it that it relates the history of bygone nations, in order to prove the truth of the Qur’anic fundamental principles:

«We’ve already sent down to you signs, making things clear and (illus­trations) from the history of people who passed away before you, and an ad­monition for those who believe» (24:34). The Qur’an warns the non-believers: «Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the end of those before them. They were more numerous than these and superior in strength and in the traces (they have left) in the land: yet all that they accom­plished was of no profit to them» (40:82). In the verse (21:12)) it is said, «When they felt Our punishment approaching, they (tried to) flee from it». It means that the destructive effect of wrongful social orders starts building up from the very beginning but they are not felt at the early stage. They grow silently until they appear in palpable form and might require centuries to do so that is why the Qur’an has said that a day of universal laws comprises centuries (22:47; 32:5, The Qur’an).

The Qur’an proclaims: «Because Allah will never change the grace which He has bestowed on a people, until they change what is in their own self. And verily Allah is He Whose power of hearing and knowledge are boundless» (8:53). In this small verse the Qur’an has enclosed the phi­losophy of the rise and fall of nations: The Qur’an says that outer world is true image of the man’s inner self. As long as there is no change in its inner self, there can be no change in its outer world either; and also the change in the outer world is the prototype of the change in the inner world. Bertrand Russel rightly says: «Our present difficulty is that we have con­quered the forces of nature to a considerable extent but have not been able to conquer the forces which lie within ourselves. Self-control has also been the foremost teaching of every teacher of ethics but in every stage a clear concept of it did not exist. However self-control means how to utilize the external for­ces in subservience to the correct values».

The Our’an tells that corruption amongst nations starts in the upper ranks and from their it proliferates and affects the lower ranks: the former indulge in a life of ease, selfishness and luxury and devise plots to keep their hold firm on their wrong system. They are the parasites on the lower ranks, thus it is said: «Thus have We placed leaders in every town, its wicked men to plot (and burrow) their-in (6:12)». «But the wrong doers pur­sued their enjoyment of the good things of life by parasitism and persisted in their life of sin» (11:116). These greedy, selfish exploiters become the leaders of their nation and lead their caravan to a market where there is no buyer of this rotten commodity (14:28-29, The Qur’an). In fact, the power of the leaders lies in their followers. That is why, the Qur’an ordains to use intellect and think before taking to the right path even. Thus it is said: «Those who when they are admonished with the signs of their Rabb, droop not down at them, as if they were deaf and blind». (25:72)

That is why, men and women have equally been given ability to:

  1. 1. submit to the Laws of Allah,
  2. 2. obey the laws mechanically, but be convinced of its truthfulness and its healthy results,
  3. 3. develop their abilities and use them only when they have been told to by the laws of Allah,
  4. 4. justify the agreement they have made with Allah (9:111, The Qur’an),
  5. 5. stay steadfast while facing difficulties,
  6. 6. be always available and willing to serve the mankind,
  7. 7. spend all they have got on the system made to implement God’s Laws,
  8. 8. restrain themselves where-ever Allah’s Laws require them to and ob­serve limitations imposed on them,
  9. 9. protect their chastity and honour (honor),
  10. 10. always remind themselves of the Laws of Allah in all matters.

These are the people who will be protected by Allah’s Law of Requital from destruction in all walks of life and Allah will reward them for their ef­forts and work (3:194, 4:124, The Qur’an).

This all requires the establishment of the Qur’anic Social Order for which the ideological base in the Qur’anic words is: «Order the lives of peo­ple according to what Allah has revealed in His Book and don’t follow the de­sires of those who make you deviate from this course» (5:48). But this Qur’anic Social Order is developed through the Qur’anic Model of Education depict­ing (a) the Qur’anic Basis of Education; (b) Ideological Basis of Curricu­lum, and (c) Economic and Social Foundations of education (Manzoor 1993). That will provide the motive-valence for learning by slamming intrusions and obsessions the world is facing today: not by balance of power but by managing to lead life within the boundary walls of the Permanent Values embodied in the Qur’an. (Manzoor: VALUES EDUCATION PROGRAM AND OPERATIONAL MECHANISM FOR STRATEGIC EDUCATIONISTS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM, website

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