7 Principles of Transformation

7 Principles of Life Change for Sharing and Maintaining Muslim Mental Health in Recovery[1]

Islamic counseling has its foundations in a sacred text the Quran, and the canonical legal (Ahadith, Sahih Sitta) Sunnah traditions. Therefore, as Abdullah (2008) informs us Islamic counseling has its roots embedded in the psychosocial discourses and behaviors as practiced by the Prophet and his Asahabah (Companions). But this researcher would point to a proposed framework for Islamic counseling which is extracted from the heart of this matter, the Holy Quran. The surah (or chapter) essential to the Islamic view of life’s spiritual psychosocial purpose, i.e., serving Allah, or worship, is Surah Al Asr, which is the minhaj (or methodology) and central learning system of Islamic living (Q:1031-3). K.A.S.M learning theory is based upon the four tenets found in Al-Asr (Q:103).

The Islamic Proofs for KASM Therapy

The proof for this framework springs from the spiritual light inherent in the chapter of the Quran titled Al Asr, the Declining Day (Surah, 103). In Al Asr, Allah (s) has sent a four step formula so important Muslims believe unless they live according to these systematic four tenets, as Allah says, “All mankind will fail…”

The Quranic Evidence Is as Follows:

By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), Verily all Man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy (q. 103). Knowledge (iman) action good works (Islam) sharing & development through teaching (tawassaw bil haqi) maintenance by enjoining perseverance (tawassaw bis sabri) From the work of the eminent Shaykh of Islam Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaymeen, titled “Sharh Thalaathatul Usool”, Explanation of the Three Fundamentals, we extract that there are four tenets contained in the above verses: 1. Knowledge, 2. Acting on that Knowledge, 3. Calling to that knowledge and 4. Patient Perseverance in this activity. And so correlative to Al Asr, is the hermeneutic transformation called K.A.S.M (or KASM) theory which is as follows:

1. Knowledge, 2. Action, 3. Sharing, and 4. Maintenance. By comparison it should be apparent that KASM theory is a direct extraction from the divine verses contained in Al-Asr, without interpolation or change in meaning. It serves as a therapeutic explanation of the verses contained in Al Asr, which fundamentally describes the elements of all life activity, using methodology and explaining the negative consequences of failing to adopt its schema in the explanation of cognitive and behavioral outcomes.

The Struggle Against Oneself – Jihad an Nafs

The Eminent Shaykh of Islam, Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyah, has related that the four stages contained in Al Asr constitutes a struggle against the self, and its desires. This struggle is one of enjoining right and forbidding wrong, and is the rectification of the individual to the Islamic life style or Deen. It is the pursuit of knowledge, acting and calling to it and perseverance in these pursuits. The need for the adoption of KASM theory as a framework for Muslim mental health is urged and will provide a needed common starting point or touchstone in the investigation and development of Islamic related practice theories. Muslims like everyone, are threatened by the fact that alcoholism, substance abuse and gambling are scourges of our society, and regrettably many Muslims like everyone else are adversely affected by medicine resistant chronic severe mental illnesses. Competent evidenced based approaches in the treatment of Muslims facing mental health challenges is scant and needed.

A stratagem of success is to study what made others who have come before us successful. We have a model of success in the age of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his companions may Allah be pleased with them. They were a successful generation, and a blessed one. The majority maybe as high as 95% abstained from substance abuse and leave a legacy of abstinence as a marker guiding to righteousness, and truth. KASM is based in the divine life coping strategies that our Lord gave to mankind.

As Muslim therapists we should value our critical understandings of Islam as cultural currency which can be used to accomplish therapeutic objectives. Al-Thani, (2012) relates that, “Al-Owasi (2001) underscores the importance of associating spirituality and counseling because the Holy Quran encourages Muslims to feel security, safety, peace, relaxation, tranquility, comfort, connection, sympathy, contentment, and reliance on Allah (SWT) and plants in the individual optimism and confidence in the Creator as also in the self, and the sense to avoid everything that is not beneficial to the self. The above views highlight the importance of Islamic traditions and values and the roles of the Muslim counselor and client. “

The above views highlight the importance of Islamic traditions and values and the roles of the Muslim counselor and client. “ Consequently, Inayat (2001) underlines the significance of applying Islamic principles and traditions in aggregation with the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s (s) spiritual teachings. Al-Malki (2004) considers spiritual counseling in Islam works as a platform and foundation for facilitating supportive client change in accordance with values they already are familiar with and hold in high esteem (Al-Thani, 2012). Altareb (1996) states that when non-Muslim psychotherapists are at work with Muslim consumers the client should feel free to share their spiritual issues in an environment of acceptance. Saleh (1987) put emphasis on the need for Muslim clients to be encouraged to support themselves resolution and transformation of their own difficulties within an Islamic framework. Family values and mores are critical in attempting to join therapeutic relationships, and mediate familial conflicts (Moracco, 1978). Researchers have cautioned that practitioners should be competent in the fundamentals of Islam, that is the Quran and Sunnah which form the cannons of Islamic reality (Al-Thani, 2012; Johansen 2005 p.182).

Non-Muslims or counselors unfamiliar with Al-Islam needs to be aware of the Muslim clients’ spiritual experience before considering provision of such services (Williams, 2005).

The Prophetic Approach in Muslim Mental Health

“O Allah I seek refuge with you from cowardice and I seek refuge with you from being placed in a mentally deficient state!”

As narrated in Sahih Muslim (4293/1081) the Prophet (upon whom be peace) was approached by a mentally ill woman who wanted solace from the Prophet and someone to speak to. The Prophet (upon whom be peace) said to her, “O mother of so n’ so, I am at your service, just choose where you’d like to talk,” and then he proceeded with her to the side of the path where they would not be overheard and he stayed with her until she was satisfied and left.

And indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have the perfect example.” (Qur’an 33:21)

The empathy and concern in this hadith hints that we too should have compassion as a guiding principle when dealing with mental illness.

Fadalah bin 'Ubaid (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: When Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) led Salat, some people would fall down from their standing posture out of extreme hunger. They were of the people of As-Suffah. The nomad Arabs would say that they were insane. After concluding Salat, Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would turn to them and say, "If you were to know what is in store for you with Allah, the Exalted, you would wish to augment your starvation and lack of provisions." [At-Tirmidhi]. Arabic/English book reference : Book 1, Hadith 515

Abu Sa'id and abu Huraira reported that they heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Never a believer is stricken with discomfort, hardship or illness, grief or even with mental worry that his sins are not expiated for him.حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، وَأَبُو كُرَيْبٍ قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أُسَامَةَ، عَنِ الْوَلِيدِ بْنِ، كَثِيرٍ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ عَطَاءٍ، عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ، وَأَبِي، هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّهُمَا سَمِعَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ " مَا يُصِيبُ الْمُؤْمِنَ مِنْ وَصَبٍ وَلاَ نَصَبٍ وَلاَ سَقَمٍ وَلاَ حَزَنٍ حَتَّى الْهَمِّ يُهَمُّهُ إِلاَّ كُفِّرَ بِهِ مِنْ سَيِّئَاتِهِ " . Sahih Muslim 2573 In-book reference: Book 45, Hadith 66USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 32, Hadith 6242

The counselor should be able to fulfill the provision of services competently in a manner that respects and benefits families, especially in the Marriage and Family Therapeutic (MFT) context of service delivery. this is part of the Islamic family counseling process. Therefore, to improve the quality of their service, counselors should collaborate and get help from Islamic religious leaders, organizations or individuals to gain a deeper understanding of particular issues from the Islamic standpoint. Moreover, non-Muslim counselors should be conscious of their own perceptions, stereotypes and beliefs about Islam and Muslims. We have then goal of decreasing mental illness and the development of Islamic wellness. Here is a guide that counselors can use to motivate change and transformation. These 7 principles super charge counselors and clients toward change and re-dedication to universal truth and contentedness.

The 7 Principles of Change

1. Sincere Intention – (Niyah) is always necessary before any action since it prepares consumers and motivates, all actions are by intentions. Ultimately this journey is one of honesty and conviction.

2. Cessation – (Imsak) a contract is formed by the consumer to stop using and whatever harms should be removed to not activate triggers. Here we use avoidance and separate from people, places and things that harmed us.

3. Atonement – (Tauba) helps in making amends and removing anxiety, guilt, and stinking thinking that leads to distorted thinking and delusional behavior.

4. Purification – (Taharah) means we not only remove forbidden toxic substances, but also distorted thinking, acting, and avoid fatal and toxic situations, and events. The spiritual cleansing effect of good deeds (salah and dhikr) is unrivaled.

5. Counseling- (Nasihah) Motivational consultation is accepted and shared. Providers should really take advantage of the trust level, since consumers realize you are not just a counselor but also a faith based super charged change agent that respects and empathizes with consumer needs and goals.

6. Meditation – (Dhikr) is taught to help consumers’ battle ambivalence assist contemplation of the problem and prepare to functionally analyze past events and situations. In the Islamic treatment of this matter we know that when we wash for prayer there is this intentionality, and then we approach the place of prostration in awe of this auspicious coming moment when we raise our hands (takhbir tarimah) all of our ego is banished and we find in this state of Khoushua (mindfulness) that the ego is abolished and that we are in the Presence of the Creator the Most High who is the only reality and there is no power or movement except the salah he has ordained for this moment in that time and place we are centered and free from the self and the worries and afflictions of the nafs (soul) and all the fears and worries subside, like a Tsunami made calm and still and pure as the essence is purified of the filth and baggage or slavery of this existence, we are only then undistracted, free, and in complete surrender of all volition. It is well known among the Believing muslims that freedom from the was was silkinas, (satanic whisperings and distractions) turns our dua (supplication) and salah (prayers) into spiritual weapons (Shareef, 1994, pp. 10-17).

7. Networking – (Al Jamah) reaching out to link up with, family, friends visiting and belonging to masajid [1], education, employment, vocational, supportive services and groups. These activities are ingrained in the consumer’s regular life cycle as a believer, just like any other he does not have to go toward methods and values sometimes inconsistent with consumer beliefs


Alameen, H. (2009) 7 Steps to sharing KASM Theory in Recovery. Crisis Publications. Kerhonkson, NY. 112446

Abdullah, S. (2008) ‘Islamic Counseling & Psychotherapy Trends in Theory Development’, http://www.crescentlife.com. (Accessed 1/1/2007)

Al-Malki, M. (2002) ‘Attitudes of Qatari Citizens towards Marriage and Family Counseling’, unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Abertay, Dundee, UK.

Al-Thani, A.S. (2012). An Islamic Modification of the Person-Centered Counseling Approach. Published by QScience.com. Tornado Tower, PO Box 5825, Doha, Qatarhttp: Retrieved from: //www.qscience.com/userimages/ContentEditor/13533295...

Al-Owasi, M. A. (2001) Encyclopedia of Modern Psychology. Beirut: Dar El-Rateb.

Al-Uthaymeeen, M.S. (1997). Shaykh of Islam Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaymeeen, titled “Sharh Thalaathatul Usool”, Explanation of the Three Fundamentals

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Inayat, Q. (2001) ‘The Relationship between Integrative and Islamic Counseling, Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 14(4):381- 386.

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Moracco, J. C. (1978) ‘Counseling: A View from the Middle East International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, (1):199-208.

Saleh, M. A. (1987) ‘Guidance and Counseling in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’, International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, (10):277-286.

Williams, V. (2005) ‘Working with Muslims in Counseling: Identifying Sensitive Issues and Conflicting Philosophy’, International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, 27(1): 125-130. [1] Worship center for Muslims.

Shareef, M. A.A. (1994). DAWA’U ‘L-WASWAS The Cure for Satanic Whispering by Shaykh Abdullahi ibn Muhammad Fuduye’ Trans. and Ed by: Shaykh Abu Alfa Umar Muhammad Shareef. Institute of Islamic-African Studies International www.sankore.org / www.siiasi.org. (Russian & English) Retrieved from: https://www.academia.edu/11523157/Dawa_alWaswas_The_Cure_of_Satanic_Whispering_by_Shaykh_Abdullahi_ibn_Fududye_-_arabic_english_russian

[1] See KASM Change paper: the above Islamic model details seven phases, which are seven competing responses to addiction, anger, toxic thinking, and behaviors leading to recovery and habit change. This 7 Phase – Life Change for Sharing and Maintaining KASM in Recovery is consistent and can be interwoven with psychoeducational treatments. For example, it can be easily adapted to desensitization, family therapy, or substance use disorder. like the, Prochaska, Di Clementi Model; thus consumers can take spiritual actions of change and habit reversal along the treatment cycle. These consumers adopted faith activities can even form measures of successful progress helping the clinician in managing the treatment and recovery process, assessment, and clinical care.

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