Student Services Overview

DATE: Monday, August 13, 2012
TIME: 12:30 p.m.
PLACE: South Hall, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Jalaledin Ebrahim
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Towards an Integral Psychology of Islam: From Al-Fatiha, The Opening, to the Gardens of Paradise"
CHAIR: Dr. Mary Watkins
READER: Dr. Zaman Stanizai
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Robert Frager

Ebrahim, J. (2012). Towards an Integral Psychology of Islam: From Al-Fatiha, The Opening, to the Gardens of Paradise (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012)  


Emerging in the 7th century, Islam inspired the dominant global empire and ascendant world civilization for over 800 years. It is now at the epicenter of world turbulence and turmoil. It has been the source of political terrorism and extremism, gender discrimination, attitudes of religious and cultural supremacy as well as movements for social justice and personal spiritual transformation. It has served as a model for an ideal society and state based on Prophet Muhammad’s governance of the nascent Muslim community. Today, as a worldview or weltanschauung, Islam inspires profound levels of devotion and mysticism, as well as Islamophobia, sectarian strife and religious bigotry. Islam is clearly a faith in crisis.

This hermeneutic study explores the shadow of Islam’s trajectory from its conception to the Arab Spring, within the context of its complex history and cultural diversity. It critically examines the opening chapter of the Qur’an, considered by Muslims to be a direct revelation of the Divine Will. Comprised of seven verses known as al-Fatiha, The Opening, it is thought to contain the quintessence of the entire Qur’an. Muslims recite al-Fatiha multiple times in daily canonical prayers, guiding and inspiring the psyche of 1.65 billion adherents of Islam.

Using the eco-archetypal image of the Gardens of Paradise, the soul’s ultimate destination, the hermeneutic methodology engages alchemical, imaginal and ecological dialogues to approach the sacred text from various perspectives of the depth and transpersonal psychological tradition. It explores the psychological contents of al-Fatiha in order to formulate an Integral Psychology of Islam, inspired by Ken Wilber’s four quadrant model of psychology. The Qur’anic Gardens of Paradise, al-Janna, are fed by the four rivers of water, milk, honey and wine. At its center is a fountain named Salsabil. This study uncovers the psychological implications of al-Fatiha within the context of the four rivers of self psychology, social and political psychology, cultural psychology, transpersonal psychology and the fountain of feminine psychology, in pursuit of a future of peace and equilibrium through an enlightened Islam


Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.