Towards a systematic Qura'nic theory of personality

Hisham Abu-Raiya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based on hermeneutic interpretation of the Holy Qura'n and the theoretical suggestions of the eminent Muslim thinker Al-Ghazali, a Qura'nic theory of personality is articulated. Eight main interrelated concepts have been identified in the present analysis and serve as the building blocks of a Qura'nic theory of personality: nafs (psyche), nafs ammarah besoa' (evil-commanding psyche), alnafs al-lawammah (the reproachful psyche), roh (spirit), a'ql (intellect), qalb (heart), al-nafs al-mutmainnah (the serene psyche) and al-nafs al-marid'a (the sick psyche). The Qura'nic theory of personality is psychospiritual, structural, dynamic, topographic, holistic, and holds a largely negative view of human nature. The implications of this theory for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-233
Number of pages17
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Al-Ghazali
  • Holy Qura'n
  • a'ql
  • nafs
  • personality theory
  • qalb
  • roh


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