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Islam and NLP

Part of a series of short articles focusing on NLP's relevance to each of the major world religions.

NLP's Practical Applications

NLP is accepted in the broad Islamic world community as an aid to business, health, teaching and best practices in communication.

For example, Muslimah Shamsudin has used NLP to strengthen her daily practice of prayer while traveling:

"NLP is how you make sense of your world and most importantly how to make it what you want it to be. ...Basically, in using NLP, you need to focus on the good things you want to happen. Then, you need to figure out how to achieve these goals, and finally, you follow the steps to achieve them.

"... I wanted to be able to pray at the right time wherever I was [while I was traveling], so [using NLP] I identified the steps I needed to follow. My first step was to pray to Allah (the All Mighty God) so that my requirement could be performed anywhere and that the people I was making a request of would meet my need. Only after such prayers would I request a praying place.

"I used NLP to achieve my training too. Before starting, I envisioned myself going through a good training and completing it successfully. I planned the things and steps I needed to take. So although I encountered some problems, I managed to get through."

Muslimah Shamsudin, Manager, Quality Secretariat of Human Resource Department at KTMB (Malaysian Railways). She has a Diploma in Transport from the University of Wales and was an East Japan Railway Culture Foundation trainee in 1997, studying human resources management. – Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 16 (pp.46–47)

Many Muslims use NLP for business in ways that do not interfere with their spiritual practice, such as Shaikh Isam Rajab, Imam of The Islamic Center of New Mexico.

"(He) was twice licensed for memorizing the entire quran. He has a certificate in NLP 'Neuro Linguistic Programming' [as a 'business interest'], and judged quranic competitions in Kuwait 3 times."

Texas Dawah Annual Convention IV, "The Muslim Future - Challenges and Promises"

NLP is increasingly becoming a part of a liberal education for Muslims who are interested in the fields of education and counseling.

"Manal Soliman attended the American University in Cairo where she majored in Mass Communication and minored in Economics. After her graduation in 1987, she went on to complete a TESOL certificate from Trinity College UK, a counseling course at Aberdeen College, Scotland, obtained a Facilitator of Parenting Groups certificate from Parentline Plus UK and obtained lately a NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) diploma from the International NLP Training Association.

"An active member of the community, both at home and abroad, Manal was responsible for coordinating and running the Arab Women Religious Education Circle, Spital Mosque, Aberdeen, Scotland from Jan 2001 to June 2003.

"She has delivered many talks to non-Arab Muslims and converts on various topics in Islam, as well as sessions in a program for Muslim girls in Aberdeen, Scotland on various issues that concern Muslim teenagers living in the west. She also took part in the organization of many women and children Muslim activities and parties in Aberdeen as well as Cairo."

IslamOnline.net, "Live Dialog"

NLP's health benefits are increasingly recognized around the world:

[Bahrain]: "TWENTY-ONE girls suffering from hereditary blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia, Glucose 6 Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) and beta thalassaemia say a new scheme launched earlier this year has made a vast improvement to their lives.

"The one-year scheme got underway in January and is being spearheaded by the Bahrain Women's Society (BWS)....

"'We have gradually brought their girls closer together. Now whenever any of them gets sick they all go to visit. This created stronger bonds between them.'

"Activities are conducted by a number of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) trainers, psychiatrists and nutritionists, who have volunteered to co-operate on the project. The hope is that mothers and children on the scheme will now pass on their new knowledge to the rest of the community.

"...Mrs Al Saleh [the mother of a 12-year old girl enrolled in the programme] has attended a number of workshops and seminars organised under the new project.

"The last of those was a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) workshop, Six Step Life Re-framing, by NLP trainer Mohammed Al Hamad.

"Thirty women, including society officials and guests, attended the event that specifically targeted mothers. It taught them ways of "re-programming" the way they think when dealing with their children.

"'The aim is to help them acquire a more positive attitude in dealing with their children's disease,' said Mr Al Hamad."

The Gulf Daily News, Vol XXVIII NO. 181 Saturday 17 September 2005

Muslims from around the world are well represented among the students attending internationally oriented NLP Practitioner trainings for a wide range of purposes, among which are to learn and teach the skills of NLP for business, parenting and education.

Sufism and NLP

Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam. It originated in the 8th Century and focuses on “Fath Rabani" (Divine Awakening).

"In contrast to the legal-minded approach to Islam, Sufis emphasized spirituality as a way of knowing God."

– Ahmad S. Dallal

"O Lord, I, a beggar, ask of Thee more than a thousand kings may ask of Thee. Each one has something he needs to ask of Thee; I have come to ask Thee to give me Thyself."

– Abdullah Ansari of Herat (1006-1089)

Sufism was initially declared to be heretical by orthodox Islamic authorities but was eventually tolerated more widely so long as its adherents abided by Islamic laws.

In the words of Sufi teacher, Philippe de Vos, Sufism embraces approaches which "help to ease the pains of the heart and put us more in touch with the reality of our essence... Our disorders themselves are the raw material of our recovery."

In much the same way that NLP is compatible with other spiritual traditions, NLP can be useful in removing obstacles on the path to a greater spiritual connection. NLP facilitates self-discovery and aids focus during prayer or meditation. Fundamentally, NLP shares with many mystical traditions the observation that our internal processes have a great deal to do with our experience of the "outside" world and our interpretation of events in our lives.

"Whatever we perceive in the world around us tends to reflect who we are and what we care about most deeply, as in the old saying, 'When a thief sees a saint, all he sees are his pockets.'"

Robert Frager, Heart, Self & Soul, The Sufi Psychology of Growth, Balance and Harmony

I hope you have found these few quotes and comments helpful in considering NLP in the Islamic context.

Please feel welcome to call me and discuss how NLP training, coaching and therapy can help you.

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