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Islamic Perspective of Emotional Intelligence and Significance of Its


Saima Afzal
Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Islamabad, Pakistan,
Ahmed Ali Qureshi
Foundation University Institute of Mangement and Computer Sciences, Pakistan,


Emotional Intelligence ( EI ) is one of the emerging socio-psychological sciences that is

gaining popularity and importance in almost all the fields. It is the study of the emotions
from their arousal to the decision taken during that particular state.

The above mentioned study is the first of its kind in the world. Islam has given us a
complete code of balanced life from all angles and under all circumstances. EI tells us how
to take intelligent decision during the emotional state.

The above mentioned study is a historical research. It reveals that the researches that the
west is doing in the 20th century, Islam has taught us since the advent of the humanity. It is
the study of the blend of EI and Islamic teachings with special reference to the components
of EI.

Emotional Intelligence, Islamic Perspective, the Holy Quran, Quality.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) as it has been discussed by various writers and researchers after the
introduction of EI, it will be compared it with the Islamic teachings.

Salovey and Mayer says “Emotional Intelligence involves the ability to perceive accurately, appraise
and express emotion; the ability to access and/o generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the
ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; ability to regulate emotions to promote
emotional and intelligence growth”. (Salovey, 1999)
Steve Hein defines emotional intelligence as “The combination of innate emotional sensitivity with
learned emotional management skills which together lead to long term happiness and survival”. (Hein,

Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence “Abilities which include self control, zeal and
persistence and the ability to motivate oneself. (Goleman, 1998)

According to Bellack, Janis P. “Emotional intelligence encompasses both personal competence (i.e.
the ability to manage oneself) and social competence (i.e. the capacity for relating to others). Personal
competence involves self-awareness, self-regulations, and motivation, it is reflected in such
characteristics as self-confidence; knowing one’s own strength and limits self-control of emotions;
trustworthiness; flexibility; being comfortable with new ideas change; initiative; drive; commitment;
optimism; accountability for one’s own performance; and dong one’s personal best.

Social competence includes the capacity for empathy and effective social skills. It is evident in such
qualities as showing active interest in and concern for others; reorganization and responding to
customers needs; valuing diversity; political awareness; effective listening and communication,
influencing and inspiring others, managing change; resolving conflict; and cooperating and
collaborating with others towards shared goals”, (Bellack, 1999)

Salovey expands the EI into five domains:

1. Knowing one’s emotions: it means self awareness and recognizing a feeling as it happens. It
is the keystones of EI.
2. Managing emotions: Handling feeling so they are appropriate in an ability that builds on self
awareness. People who are poor in this ability are constantly battling feeling of distress, while
those who excel in it can bounce back are more quickly from life’s set back and upsets.
3. Motivate one self: Marshaling emotions in the service of a goal is essential for paying
attentions, for self motivation, and mastery and for creativity. Emotional self controlled
people, have this skill and tend to be more highly productive and effective in whatever they
4. Recognizing emotions in others: it is fundamental “People skill” (social skill). People with
this ability come to know what other need or want. This skill made them better in caring
profession like teaching, sales and management.
5. Handling relationships: the art of relationships is, in large part, skill in management emotions,
in others. This is the skill that under gird popularity, leadership, and interpersonal
effectiveness, people who excel in these skills do well at anything that relies on interacting
smoothly with others they are social starts. (Goleman, 198)

According to Stevel Hein, the important component of EI are:

• Self-awareness, knowing how you feel in “real time”.

• Being able to label emotions precisely. Being able to talk about feelings with others.

• Empathy and compassion. The ability to feel and understand the emotions of others.

• Balance being able to make decisions using a healthy balance of emotions and reasons.

• Responsibility. Taking primary responsibility for your own emotions and happiness. Not
saying that others made your feeling the way you feel. (Salovey, 1999)
EI is attracting the psychologists the world over. It has been convincingly established that EI matters
twice as much as cognitive abilities. It has often been observed that people of high IQ do not do as
well, as those of modest IQ, who surprisingly excel because of EI, which means self awareness, self
discipline and capacity to gauge, understand and read the inner most feelings of others.

It is our every day experience that our decisions and actions are influenced more by our feelings than
our thought. But unfortunately, of late, we have been over emphasizing the importance of purely
rational thinking in human life. Intelligence alone is of no consequence, when emotions sway.

It is emotional and not the rational mind that arouses a person for action. Emotions guide us in facing
a situation and compel us to undertake tasks which are emotionally too important to be left to intellect
alone. We take risk even to the peril of our life. History is replete with such examples where men have
performed wonderful deeds under the influence of emotions.

Here I would like to refer to the example of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS), who jumped into fire on the order of
Allah (SWT) and the fire did not hurt him at al. at another occasion Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) presented
himself for life sacrifice when his father conveyed him the message of Allah (SWT) to sacrifice the
dearest thing for Him. Again an animal (the historians and religious scholars have different opinion
about the animal) came and Allah(SWT) saved him on both the occasions he could have given some
thoughts but the blind of intelligence with emotions brought him to this right decision only rational
thought could have diverted him to some other decision.

When we are emotionally upset we say “we just can’t think straight”. Continue emotional distress can
create deficit in a child’s intellectual abilities, crippling the capacity to learn. (Salovey, 1999)

EI and Islam:
Islam is a comprehensive religion which covers all aspects of human life: social, political, economical
etc. It teaches us to live a balanced life. It teaches us to live modest life under all circumstances. Islam
forbids each and every act which blocks the intellect of individual. It also forbid to take any decision
during extreme emotions. Suicide is forbidden as the Holy Quran says,

“… and kill not yourself lo! Allah is ever merciful onto you”. {VII: 81.} (Rauf,1988)

Guard yourself against tumul and discord as Allah says in His Holy Book Quran

… and fear tumuled or oppression which effecteth not in particular (only) those
of you who do wrong and know that Allah is strict in punishment. {VIII: 25}

Creating mischieves is forbidden: the Holy Quran says

…and those who break covenant of Allah after ratifying it, and severe that which
Allah hath commanded should be joined, and make mischeives in the Earth: theirs
is the curse and theirs the ill abode. {XIII:25} (Rauf,1988)

Allah has forbidden rebellion

… He forbids all shameful deeds and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that
you may receive adomination. {XVI:90} (Rauf,1988)

Islam instruct to rule with justice without yielding to selfish desires.

“We said: with Dawud, We have made you vicegerent in the land. Rule with
justice among men and do not yield to lust, lest it should turn you away from
Allah’s path”. {XXXVIII:26} (Rauf,1988)

Islam does not keep a person disturbed forever, even if he commits some misdeed and allows a person
to refresh his mind and take new start in life.

The Holy Quran says:

… and ask for forgiveness for their sins; and who can forgive sin except Allah? . ..
and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly (in the wrong) they have done
(III:135) (Rauf,1988)

Islam is a perfect religion with a complete guidance for all human beings. Allah loves who repent and
cleasue, who are fair and just (Interpersonal skill). The Holy Quran says,

“Nay, but (the chosen for Allah is) he who fulfilleth his pledge and wardeth off
(evil; for lo! Allah loveth those who ward off (evil). (III:76) (Rauf,1988)

Allah loves who excel in kindness (Empathy)

… But forgive them and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who
are kind. (V:13) (Rauf,1988)

Allah loves who fulfill their pledge ( Interpersonal skill and empathy )

… So fulfil you engagements with them to the end of their term; for Allah
loveth the righteous. (IX:4) (Rauf,1988)

Allah (SWT) dislikes who are proud and walk in insolence (weak in inter and intra personal skill). As
the Holy Quran says

… And swell not they check (for pride) at men nor walk in insolence through
the earth; For Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster”. (XXXI:18) (Rauf,1988)

Allah dislikes who are wrong doers (No empathy)

… for (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong. (XLII:40) (Rauf,1988)

Who are transgressors (Emotionally and mentally disturb the people). As the Holy Quran says

… but do not transgress limits; For Allah loveth not transgressors (II:190). (Rauf,1988)

Who are prideful boasters (self centered) and the Holy Quran says

… Allah loveth not all prideful boasters: (LVII:23). (Rauf,1988)

All of the above quoted references are from the Holy Quran covers the competencies of EI. There is a
great need to study the Holy Quran which stresses a lot on the quality of the humans. If the human
beings are developed with quality, organizations will automatically become quality organizations and
can certainly bring revolutions from all angles.

Islam has forbidden all those acts which blocks the intellect of a person. Anger and drinking is
forbidden in Islam as it blocks the thinking process.
Islamic history is of full of such examples

A slave girl of Imam Hussain ( My God be pleased with him) breaks a bowl while bringing water for
him. This bowl had immense emotional love for Imam, for it was the bowl used by the Prophet
Muhammad (SAW) for drinking water. Imam’s face turns red with rage. The poor little girl is
terrified. But suddenly, the Imam’s rage disappears, when the girl recites verse form the Holy Quran,

“And those who control their anger” (3:134) (Ali, A.Y.)

Imam says, I have overcome my anger. The girl recites the next verse,

“And those who forgive people”, (3:134) (Ali, A. Y.)

Imam says, ”I have forgiven you”, She then recites the third verse”,

Allah loves those who are benevolent”, (3:134). (Ali, A. Y.)

Imam says, “I have freed you”.

This is a classical example where a rage turns into an extreme act of kindness. Imam, due to divine
guidance, not only controls his emotions, but goes far beyond to treat her with mercy and kindness.
This was possible because Quran is a part of our faith and we are committed to follow its teachings.
We can drive immense advantage from the Holy Quran and the life of the Prophet (SAW). The
relationship between the Muslims and their Prophet is not formal or legalistic. It is a commitment to
live in his shadow, which makes it highly personal and imparts it a spiritual glow. At the same time it
is a pace setter for social behavior and collective action, in influencing human behavior and the life
stream of history, he is peerless. He is a role model not only for the Muslims but for the entire human

The Quran and the Prophet reaches self control respect for the feeling f your fellow beings not to lose
hope even under the worst of circumstance. It teaches perseverance to face the adverse situations.
Quran ordains “Ehsan” i.e. to do more than justice with all human beings. It has delineated the limits
of human action. Rights of the parents, neighbor, travelers and other relations in family life have
clearly been demarcated.

For the development of EI we must benefit from the Quranic teaching and the life of our Prophet
Muhammad (SAW) who set an excellent example of emotional restraint under most tense and trying
conditions. He also set up an extra ordinary example of sympathy and love even for those who
tortured him throughout his life.

Western scholars like Thomas Carlyle, Bernard Shaw and Michael Hart have all recommended
Muhammad (SAW) as a role model for the entire human race to save it from annihilation.


1. Ali, A.Y., The Holy Quran, Darul Arabia Al Tavai wa Nasr o Tauzee’, Bairoot Labnon.

2. Bellack, Janis P. Journal of Nursing Education., V. 38 no. 1 (Jan’99)

3. Daniel Goleman, “Emotional Intelligence” Bantom Book Publishing Co; 1998.

4. Salovey, and Mayer “Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence”, Bantom Books
Publishing Co; NY, 1997.

5. Shaikh Abdul Rauf, “The Vision” Selection from the Holy Quran, Pub: Elite Publisher (Pvt)
Ltd. Karachi Pakistan. 1988.


1. S. Hein: