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An Introduction to Sufi Psychology:

The Spirit from the Perspective of "Emerald Hills of the Heart"

Course Date: August 10 – September 28, 2021

Course Description

Sufism pertains to Islamic spirituality; and one can argue that the aim of all religions is to develop human beings spiritually. Sufism has established not only an authentic culture but also a technique through which one can nourish spirituality. In “An Introduction to Sufi Psychology: The Spirit” we will explore the Sufi understanding of the spirit in detail based on the book Emerald Hills of the Heart.

Human psychology as a whole is related with the spirit or the soul rather than the body. Unfortunately, modern psychology heavily focuses on aspects of the physical body rather than the spiritual dimensions of human beings.

In this course, we will examine the spirit from philosophical, theological and Sufi perspectives. First, we will survey the notion of spirit in Ancient Greek Philosophy based on the ideas of Plato and Aristotle. Furthermore, we will investigate the notion of the spirit in modern philosophy through the thinking of Henry Bergson. We also focus on the Islamic thinkers’ thoughts on the spirit including Ibn Sina and al-Ghazali. And finally, we will pay special attention the Said Nursi’s perspective on the matter of human spirit. Through this intellectual journey, this course aims to present not only the Sufi vision of human souls, but also a Sufi methodology through which one might be able to nourish their spirit.

Objectives of Course

The primary objective of this course is to develop a fresh understanding of the idea of the spirit. It also aims to develop a new perspective for human psychology related with ideas concerning the spirit, or the soul. Through this new perspective, it purposes to claim that human psychology relies heavily on the spiritual aspects rather than the body, which is contrary to the ideals of modern psychology. Furthermore, this course also hopes to highlight the need for spirituality not only for the betterment and wellbeing of the individuals but also for the societies.

Student Learning Outcomes

To make familiar to the conceptual understanding of the Spirit

To make the students aware of their own spirituality.

To be able to attain a new dimension of personality through understanding of the Sufi notion of spirituality.

To introduce the sufficient sources for a deep religiosity.

Rediscovering self in Sufi psychology and to communicate the realized qualities with others

August 10 - September 28, 2021

Every Tuesday
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM (EST)

Tuition Fee:

Course Schedule

1st Week

August 10

Introduction to Sufism and Presentation of the course content

2nd Week

August 17

Introduction to the Spirit

Gülen, “Emerald Hills of the Heart” Vol III, pp. 134-140.

3rd Week

August 24

The Spirit in the Ancient Greek and Modern Philosophy

Gülen, “Emerald Hills of the Heart” Vol III, pp. 140-151.

4th Week

August 31

Approaches from Muslim World and Ibn Sina

Gülen, “Emerald Hills of the Heart” Vol III, pp. 151-158.

5th Week

September 7

Imam al-Ghazali and Fakhru’d-Din ar-Razi

Gülen, “Emerald Hills of the Heart” Vol III, pp 158-165.

6th Week

September 14

Some scholars and Said Nursi

Gülen, “Emerald Hills of the Heart” Vol III, pp. 165-172.

7th Week

September 21

Sufis and the Spirit I

Gülen, “Emerald Hills of the Heart” Vol III, pp. 172 -180.

8th Week

September 28

Sufis and the Spirit II

Gülen, “Emerald Hills of the Heart” Vol II, pp. 180-187

About Instructor

Professor Dr. Adnan Aslan

He was born in Turkey, educated in Turkey and England. Received MA degree at Kings College London in 1990 and PhD degree at Lancaster University in England in 1995. He has published scholarly articles and books both in English and Turkish. His main interest includes the issue of religious pluralism, inter-religious dialogue, İslam and modernity and perennial philosophy. He worked in various universities in Turkey. He was the dean of faculty of humanities and social sciences at Süleyman Şah University in Istanbul. He was an adjunct professor at the department of philosophy at Notre Dame University and a faculty associate at Indiana University of South Bend.