Islam students at LUC

Week 6

Posted on: February 28, 2013

I really enjoyed this week’s discussion on the different levels of faith in the Islamic paradigm, starting at Islam and going up to Ihsan. We spent a lot of time looking at examples and trying to determine motivations for action, and I feel like there does not always have to be a selfish motive behind doing something. I’m thinking specifically of the example of the child who has fallen off his tricycle. While some people offered intentions based off prior experience of having fallen off a bike themselves or wanting somebody else to help you if you were in the same situation, I would hope that people would help somebody in need simply because it would be the right thing to do. Maybe that is the idealist in me speaking, but people aren’t always looking out for themselves and doing things to benefit themselves. That being said, I don’t believe that it is possible to be completely selfless, or self-less, for that matter. Although some scenarios will incite an automatic response, like the one mentioned above, I think many others require the actor to at least consider themselves as a player and the upcoming consequences. In the discussion of a person who has reached the level of Ihasn, it still seems impossible to me for a person to reach that state. A person’s point of view and how they see other things is in direct connection with how they view themselves. This contradicts the idea of self-less-ness and that one is never thinking about him or herself. Even if one is in constant communication with God, that person has to at least acknowledge him or herself as being in that situation. I keep thinking of Descrates saying “I think, therefore I am” and so by someone simply being congnizant of brain activity, that person is thinking of him or herself, even if it is just in the content of being a human being.


It’s interesting that you bring your background of psychology into this conversation, especially because we generally don’t think about science and religion intersecting much, if at all. I think the Social Learning theory is really applicable to our discussion. If I had never seen somebody help another person who was struggling, then I probably would not be inclined to help the toddler who has fallen. In terms of the parent acting selflessly for the child, one could argue that beyond a parent doing something for the sake of his or her child, they may be doing so in attempts to avoid the pain he or she will feel if anything would happen to the kid. In that case, it is another example of inherent selfishness.

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