Two Minutes w/Dr. Yahya: Ikhwan al Safa Psychology

Two Minutes w/Dr. Yahya: Ikhwan al Safa Psychology

Arab American Encyclopedia-Hasan Yahya

The Book Cover
The Book Cover

Excerpt from: Rasa’il Ikhwan al Safa by Omar Farrukh, Managing Editor: Hasan Yahya-P.39-41

The Publisher’s Introduction

THE development of Islamic philosophy may started early in history. Two Muslim intellectual schools, al Mu’tazilah group and Ikhwan al Safa. were known of first school in Islamic philosophy called al Kalam school.

Ibn Rushd (Averroes) noticed that that Aristotle seemed to hesitate between the view that the prime constituent of the good life is intellectual thought and the alternative, based upon a broader collection of virtues. These two alternatives have very different implications, especially within the context of a religious philosophy.

Ikhwan al‑Safa a group of libres penseum, adapted these two alternatives. They cultivated science and philosophy not for the sake of science and philosophy, but in the hope of forming a kind of an ethico‑spiritual community may find a refuge from the struggle that was raging among religious congregations, national societies, and Muslim sects themselves.

The Ikhwan al‑Safa were a secret group holding meetings which were held once every two weeks. These meetings were restricted to the members and followers of the group, subjects of metaphysical and esoteric nature were discussed.

The Ikhwan al‑Safa were Muslims. But they had a special interpretation of religion in general, and of Islam in particular. The Shi`ite coloring helped them to play cleverly upon the emotions of the masses. But historically, Ikhwan al‑Safa did not belong to any sect. They, in fact, sought with the aid of Islam and Greek philosophy, to work out a spiritual doctrine without insulting any one.

Ikhwan al‑Safa produced numerous works known as Rasa’il Ikhwan al‑Safa (Epistles of the Ikhwan al‑Safa). The compilation of their work must have dragged over a long period, but by 373H/983A.D, the “Epistles” were already completed.

Politically speaking, as an intellectual sect Ikhwan al‑Safa were prophecizing the coming of daulatu ahl al‑khairi; (state of Charity people) if “the time when the adherents to their group would form the bulk of the nation.” A notion similar in our modern times to the Muslim Brothers call for establishing a Muslim State, when they got the top leadership of the nation as the case in Egypt.

Ikhwan al Safa in their encyclopedic work covers too many aspects of knowledge. This book, however, covers only nine:  Classification of the Sciences, Theory of Knowledge; Metaphysics; Nature and the Sciences;  Psychology;  Politics;  Ethics; Education and finally  Religion.

Managing and Publisher

This book was selected as part of Ihyaa al Turath al Arabi fil Mahjar; (Revival of Arab Heritage in Diaspora) project to disseminate knowledge among new Arab generations in Diaspora. The project was sponsored by the Arab American Encyclopedia-AAE,.  Both projects are originally initiated and supported materially  and spiritually by the Arab Palestinian scholar, writer, and scientist, professor Hasan Yahya, the publisher of this work.

May this work satisfy those who need more information about early Islamic philosophy in general and Ikhwan al Safa in particular.

Hasan A. Yahya,Ph.Ds

Managing Editor and Publisher

Michigan – USA

March 2013

Ikhwan al Safa and Psychology

 (1) The Soul ‑The soul has three major faculties or powers, every one of which is called equally a soul.

(i) The vegetative or nutritive soul common to all living beings: plants, beast, and man alike. It is subdivided into three powers: that of nutritive proper, that of growth, and that of reproduction. [105]

(ii) The animal, beastly, or sensitive soul belongs to beasts and men only. It is subdivided into two powers: locomotion and sensation. Sensation falls in turn in two categories: perception (sight, touch, etc.) and emotion. Emotion is either primitive (laughter, anger, etc.) or evolved (good food, social and political prestige, etc.). [106]

(iii) The human (rational, thinking, or talkative) soul is restricted to man.

These three faculties, together with their powers, work together and are united in man and likened to a tree with three boughs, every bough of which has several branches, and every branch many‑leaves and fruit. Comparison may also be made with a person who is a blacksmith, carpenter, and builder or who can read, write, and teach: [107] he is one man with three faculties.

(2) The Brain, and the Heart ‑ The prevailing belief in ancient times was that the heart constituted the most important organ of the body: the centre of sensation, the seat of intelligence, and the house of life. Aristotle was also of this opinion. The Ikhwan al‑Safa decided in favour of the brain and held that it is the brain where the processes of perception, emotion, and conception develop. [108]

(3) The Process of Thinking ‑ It begins in the five senses and continues in the brain. Fine nerves extend from the sense‑organs to different parts of the mass of the brain, where they form a net similar to a spider’s web. Whenever the senses come in touch with sensible bodies, their temperament undergoes a change which is communicated soon, together with the abstract forms of those sensible bodies, to the imaginative zone in the front part of the brain. Next, the imaginative faculty passes the traces which the abstract forms have left on it to the reflective faculty, in the middle part of the brain, to ponder upon them and verify their indications; then, the indications are transmitted in turn to the retentive faculty (or memory) in the back part of the brain to be stored there until a recollection of them is needed. At the right time the rele­vant data are referred to the expressive or talkative faculty by which they are abstracted, generalized, and given the form expressible by the tongue to be received intelligibly by the ear. [109]


[105] Rasa’il, i, pp. 241f.; ii, pp. 325ff.; Jami’ah, ii, p. 164.

[106] Rasa’il, i, pp. 241f.; ii, pp. 325ff.; Jami’ah, ii, pp. 164f.; cf. pp. 168‑86.

[107] Rasa’il, ii, pp. 325f., 347.

[108] Ibid., ii, p. 162; iii, p. 23 bottom.

[109] Ibid., ii, pp. 324, 328, 341, 347; ii:, pp. 17f., 29, 376ff., 386, 388, 392; Jami’ah, i, pp. 507, 602f., 60,5.

About Arab American Encyclopedia-USA - Hasan Yahya

HASAN YAHYA was born at a small village called Majdal-YaFa (Majdal Sadiq) in Mandate Palestine (1944). He migrated as a refugee to Mes-ha, a village east of Kufr Qasim, west of Nablus (in the West Bank), then moved with his family to Zarka, 25 km north of Amman – Jordan. He finished the high school at Zarka Secondary School, 1963. He was appointed as a teacher in the same year. Studied Law first at Damascus University, then B.A from Lebanon University in Arabic literature and Eastern Cultures (1975). He moved to Kuwait. Where he got married in 1967. He was working at Kuwait Television, taught at bilingual School, and Kuwait University. In 1982, Hasan left to the United States to continue his education at Michigan State University. He got the Master Degree in 1983, the Ph.D degree in 1988 in Education (Psychology of Administration ). In 1991, He obtained his post degree in Social research, the result was a second Ph.D degree in Comparative sociology-Social Psychology. He was the only Arab student who enrolled ever to pursue two simultaneous Ph.D programs from Michigan State University and fulfill their requirements perfectly. Professor Yahya employment history began as a supervisor of a joint project to rehabilitate Youth (inmates out of prison) by Michigan State University and Intermediate School Districts. Worked also as a Teacher Assistant and lecturer in the same university. He was offered a position at Lansing Community College as well as Jackson Community College where he was assistant professor, then associate professor, then full professor (1991-2006). He taught Sociology, psychology, education, criminology and research methods. He supervised 19 Master and Ph.D candidates on various personal, economic psychological and social development topics. Professor Yahya published Hundreds (1000 Plus on this site) of articles and research reports in local, regional, and international journals. His interest covers local, regional and global conflicts. He also authored, translated, edited and published over 280 plus books in several languages, in almost all fields especial education, sociology and psychology. These books can be found on Amazon and Kindle. He also, was a visiting professor at Eastern Michigan University to give Research Methods and Conflict Management courses. Prof. Yahya accepted an offer to join Zayed University Faculty Team in 1998, then he served as the Head of Education and Psychology Department at Ajman University of Science and Technology 2001-04. Dr. Yahya established several institutes in Diaspora, the Arab American Encyclopedia, Ihyaa al Turath al Arabi Project, (Revival of Arab Heritage in Diaspora.Recently he was nominated for honorary committee member for the Union of Arab and Muslim Writers in America. He was affiliated with sociological associations and was a member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) at USA. Social Activities and Community Participation: Dr. Yahya was a national figure on Diversity and Islamic Issues in the United States, with special attention to Race Relations and Psychology of Assimilation (generations 1,2 &3). He was invited as a public speaker to many TV shows and interviews in many countries. His philosophy includes enhancing knowledge to appreciate the others, and to compromise with others in order to live peacefully with others. This philosophy was the backgrounds of his theory, called “ Theory C. of Conflict Management”. And developed later to a Science of Cultural Normalization under the title: “Crescentology. The results of such theory will lead to world peace depends on a global Knowledge, Understanding, appreciation, and Compromising (KUAC)” Recently Prof. Yahya started "Publish your book FREE Project", to serve young Arab Writers. Dr. Yahya accepted the offer to be the chief editor of the International Humanities Studies Journal -I-H-S-Jerusalem, since July 2014. (Revised Sept. 2014) ولد الدكتور حسن عبدالقادر يحيى في مجدل يابا من أعمال يافا – فلسطين عام 1944. تلقى علومه الابتدائية في مدرسة بديا الأميرية في الضفة الغربية أيام احتوائها ضمن المملكة الأدردنية الهاشمية وتخرج في جامعة بيروت حاملاً الإجازة في اللغة العربية وآدابها، ودبلوم التأهيل التربوي من كلية القديس يوسف بلبنان، ودبلوم الدراسات العليا (الماجستير) ودكتوراة في الإدارة التربوية من جامعة ولاية ميشيغان بالولايات المتحدة عام 1988، وشهادة الدكتوراه في علم الاجتماع المقارن من الجامعة نفسها عام 1991. عمل في التدريس والصحافة الأدبية. أديب وشاعر وقاص ، ,كما عمل في تلفزيون الكويت الرسمي كمعد ومنسق برامج ثم اتجه إلى الكتابة والتأليف في علوم كثيرة تخص علمي النفس والاجتماع والتنمية البشرية ، والتغير الاجتماعي والسكان وألف ونشر العديد من المقالات (1000 +) والكتب باللغتين العربية والإنجليزية (أكثر من 330 كتابا) ، منها ست مجموعات قصصية وست كتب للأطفال ، وأربع دواوين شعرية باللغتين أيضا. وعدد من كتب التراث في الشعر والأدب والأخلاق الإسلامية والتربية والأديان . وهو الآن أستاذ متقاعد في جامعة ولاية ميشيغان. . وكان عضوا سابقا في جمعية العلماء المسلمين في أمريكا . وجمعية علماء الاجتماع الأمريكية - ميشيغان، وهو مؤسس الموسوعة العربية الأمريكية في الولايات المتحدة ضمن مشروع إحياء التراث العربي في بلاد المهجرز كما تم ترشيحه مؤخرا ليكون عضو مجلس التحرير لمجلة الدراسات الإنسانية العالمية. وقد قبل أن يتسلم رئاسة تحريرها اعتبارا من نهاية يونيو 2014 His email: Thank you!
This entry was posted in albahaspace, Arab Affairs, Arab American Encyclopedia, Arab Cluture, Arab flags, Arab Literature, Arab Manifesto, Arab Personalilities, Arab Philosophy, Crescentology, Dryahyatv, Educational Psychology, Ikhwan al Safa, Knowledge Base, psychology, Research Methods, Science and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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