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Available online at Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 5 (2010) 1525–1530 WCPCG-2010 Couple

Available online at

Available online at Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 5 (2010) 1525–1530 WCPCG-2010 Couple

Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 5 (2010) 1525–1530

Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 5 (2010) 1525–1530 WCPCG-2010 Couple therapy: forgiveness as an Islamic


Couple therapy: forgiveness as an Islamic approach in counselling

Farideh Hamidi a F*F, Zeinab Abbasi Makwand b , Zeinab Mohamad Hosseini c

a Assistant Professor of Psychology, Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Department of Education, b P.O. Bo x 167855-163- Tehran-Iran, c MA in Counselling

Received January 5, 2010; revised February 2, 2010; accepted March 22, 2010


Forgiveness is a core value within Islam and many other religions, but it is unclear whether valuing forgiveness results in individuals being more forgiving .Forgiveness is proposed to be an important pathway through which the effects of religion on health are mediated. Forgiveness is a powerful way to amend wounds of couples when they have an uncomfortable and difficult trade. Researches are showing that people will arrive to different profits (physical health, psychological, mental) by forgiveness. Islamic psychology is considered forgiveness of people in three parts: people to themselves, people to others, God to people. Studies conducted in the country by Islamic perspective on forgiveness that worked with the couples it were showing the positive correlation between satisfaction and forgiveness.

© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license.

Keywords : Forgiveness, Islamic Approach, Counselling , Couple Therapy Interpersonal

1. Introduction

Family is a unique social system the membership of which is influenced by different biological, legal, emotional, geographical and historical factors. Unlike other social systems, becoming a member of the family system is by marriage, birth or adopting as one’s child and just by one’s death his membership in the family system comes to an end (Carr, 2006). Islam has paid great attention to the family, as the most important social system. And it has emphasized on certain principles in relationships, especially, between the couple. For example, the Holy Scripture says: And one of his signs is this: He created for you helpmates from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love, and mercy. (Al Room .21)

* corresponding author. Tel.: +989123271519; fax: +982122970035 E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license.


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In this study, Islamic approach, the importance of forgiveness and its effects on couple therapy from psychological perspective are taken up. Marriage is an important stage in the life cycle. Healthy relationships between couples brings about healthy family system and leads to society health. So it is important to find ways to help couples in different circumstances of life, for example, sincerity, trust, support and forgiveness which play a critical role in the growth of healthy couples.) Our goal in couple therapy is the promotion of relationships.

2. Types of forgiveness

Islam speaks about two aspects of forgiveness: a) Allah’s forgiveness; b) Human forgiveness )other &oneself). We need both forgiveness, because human are fallibility. Forgiveness of oneself is much harder than forgiveness of others. And it is quite complicated, because one is not aware of his thoughts, and he does not receive practical forgiving feedbacks and he faces pressure and always feels guilty. Forgiveness of others is not forgetting, thinking someone is exempted, ignoring somebody‘s faults or letting the guilty person continue to commit his faults without any punishment. Forgiveness is achieved when one receives internal peace ( Worthington, 2007). According to Imam Ali (peace be upon him) forgiveness is to serve and pardon. God’s forgiveness brings about hopefulness. God says, in the holy Quran: “ let them forgive and show indulgence . Yearn ye not that Allah may forgive you? Allah is forgiving, Merciful" (Al Noor, 22). The most important revelations of special Holy Qur'an about forgiveness verses 22 to 24 of Sura Noor is the interpretation that this chapter of the Sunni and Shia have been some individuals to one wife’s prophet in the trip with the prophet had a scandal went them these ignominy banned, but the Koran verses that refer to forgive (which refers to people who work for ugly people were obvious). One of the issues raised in the relations between the couples involved are external factors that caused your marriage to be dispute and command of God to forgive people and strict chastity wife seer, indicate the importance of communication and trust their spouses one another. To forgo is nearer to piety. And forget not kindness among yourselves.” (Al Baqarah, 237). And also says:” And he is who accepted repentance from his bondmen, and pardon the evil deeds, and know what you do.”(Al Shoura,


The greatest messenger (peace be upon him): Pardon and forgiveness does not increase anything but glory of people, so forgive each other , so that God makes you cherished. (Beharolanvar, Volume 71, page 41) In fact, forgiveness is the conclusion of basic changes in one’s attitude about those who have offended him. A review of the experimental and clinical examinations shows that pardoning and overlooking faults plays a great role in decreasing stress, depression, anger, emotional –behavioral disorders and increasing self-confidence, educational progress and efficiencies in job (Fitner & Gibonz, 1986/Hosinni, 2003). Forgiveness is an effective factor in developing excellence in human beings, physical and mental health and improving in couple relationships. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) says: The best forgiveness happens when you are powerful and strong (Ghorarolhekam, volume2, page 393). The beauty of Yusuf, the prophet, is that he forgives his brothers when he is powerful. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) says: Pardoning and forgiveness lead to God’s blessing (Ghorarolhekam, volume2, page435).

3.Viewpoint of Qur’an

There are many names of Allah given in the Qur’an. Some of these names are related to His mercy and forgiveness. Let me mention some of these names:

AL-Safhu means to turn away from a sin or a misdeed, ignore, etc. Example of usage in the Qur'an are verses 2:109, 15:85 and 43:89. Al-’Afuw: This has another aspect of forgiveness. This name occurs in the Qur’an five times. Literally the word ‘Afw means “to release” “to heal”, “to restore”, “to remit”. Thus in relation to Allah it means “to release us from the burden of punishment due to our sins and mistakes”, “to restore our honor after we

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have dishonoured ourselves by committing sins and making mistakes,, . (Afw means to pardon, to excuse for a fault or an offense or a discourtesy waiver of punishment and amnesty. Examples of usage in the Qur'an are verses 42:40, 2:187 and 5:95”. Sometimes in the Qur’an both names: ‘Afuw and Ghafoor come together. Al-Ghafoor: The most Forgiving. This name occurs in the Qur’an more than seventy times. There are other names from the same root, such as Ghafir and Ghaffar. The meaning of the “ghafara” is to cover, to hide and from it comes the meaning “to excuse”, “to pardon”, “to remit” and “to forgive”. Allah does all these things. In the Qur’an, it is mentioned that Allah does not forgive the Shirk (without repentance) but He may forgive every other sin for whomsoever He wills. (al-Nisa’ 4:116) We must turn to Allah to seek His forgiveness. Qur’an teaches that Allah is a Judge and He also punishes, but Allah is not bound to punish. The justice of Allah, according to Qur’an is that Allah does not and will not inflict undue punishment on any person. He will not ignore the good of any person. But if He wishes to forgive any sinner, He has full freedom to do that. His mercy is unlimited and His love is infinite. )khatib pakestan).

4. Main concept of Forgiveness

• Imam Ali (peace be upon him) considers forgiveness crown of values and recommendation says: Pardoning

and forgiving is crown and beauty of virtues. His of forgiveness and pardon, in letters and addresses shows that his honour considers pardon as a basic factor in interpersonal relations. In the Nahjolbalaghe, letter53, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) says: Forgiveness means being familiar with human limitations, knowing that people face danger, believing that people may make mistakes, and knowing that every offended man sometimes needs to forgive himself . Forgiveness is a good way for treating the discomforts which happen because of sad and hard experiences. When one excuses someone, he achieves different outcomes such as physical, spiritual and mental health (Worthington, 2007) Forgiveness changes negative feelings such as revenge, grudge, and unhappiness to positive feelings such as peace, benevolence, empathy and sympathy toward the person whom one has made sad. This leads one to appreciation, gratitude, modesty and hope (Macaskill, 2005) . Forgiveness changes negative feelings such as revenge, grudge, and unhappiness to positive feelings such as peace, benevolence, empathy and sympathy toward the person whom one has made sad. This leads one to appreciation, gratitude, modesty and hope (Macaskill, 2005). Forgiveness is an invaluable feature which helps people develop their character and makes them adaptable to different stages of life (Sarat and Hussain, 2007).

5 .Literature review

As yet, there is no consensual definition of forgiveness despite the increase in research on the topic (McCullough, Pargament, & Thoresen,2000). The lack of conceptual clarity is a serious weakness that needs to be addressed . One way to do this is by empirical examination of the ways in which the major religions define forgiveness since they have promoted the virtues of forgiveness over thousands of years and have helped to define it culturally. Religions have provided role models of individuals who were able to forgive great injustices, and, in this and other ways, religion has influenced the psychological processes involved in our conceptions of forgiveness and the way in which we define forgiveness (Pargament & Rye, 1998). This research is concerned specifically with Islamic conceptions of forgiveness. Within the Islamic tradition, human forgiveness is considered to be fostered by the experience of Divine forgiveness. A study entitled “forgiveness and happiness in the other world” was done by Janet Ramsey in 2008. It examined the effects of consulting the clergymen on developing forgiveness skills in people. The results of his research show that when disgust and pardon rise in one’s heart, and clinical treatments cannot cure them, forgiveness and happiness are spiritual factors that turn back people to a healthy and good life. Spirituality is a suitable source to help patients to forgive others. Paying attention to religious values (For example, Christ’s words) is effective in making people forgive more easily. 156 couples have been under treatment in which 5 new forgiveness and hope methods with religious (Christian) view have been entailed. The results showed that satisfaction, positive feelings, solving serious conflicts, commitment and love have risen to a high level. Results of this research show that pardon and forgiveness have positive effects in decreasing stress, and depression and increasing hopefulness and curing


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mental disorders. As a result, psychologists have developed therapy models based on pardon and forgiveness. By teaching people to forgive others, they promote mental health. Fin-jam and Stone (2004) have reported that forgiveness has a positive relation with solving couple’s relations and Diblasio (2000) has examined forgiveness therapy for solving problems and marriage problems and found that this method is effective(Hossini, 2005). Mullet et al. (2003) reported increases in interpersonal forgiveness with age, but this was not replicated. However, the Mullet sample included more participants above retirement age than the current study. The gender balance was very unequal Religious involvement and forgiveness 215 across the groups as most of the clergy were male, and this may have affected the results, although gender differences in forgiveness are not widely reported (Worthington, 2005). Hussaini (2005) has examined the relation between forgiveness and couple satisfaction and has shown that there is a significant relationship between forgiveness and couple satisfaction. Seif and Bahari (2003) have examined the relation between pardon and couple mental health and showed that there is a significant relationship between forgiveness and mental health. Macaskill (2005) reported that for Christians, their trusting relationship with God provides them with an aspirational role model for their interpersonal relationships.Therefore, the prediction is that Christians will display higher levels of trust and thus be more forgiving of others. Khodayarifard , Ghobari Bonab and Faqihi, and Trbaty (2003 ) have studied the forgiveness therapy method from Islamic perspective and concluded that using forgiveness therapy is effective in the correction of thoughts, feelings and behavior of offended people and improve relations . Ghobari Bonab,B(2009)behavior in Nahj, Theoretical Principles and examine its effects and results showed increased pardon reduce anxiety in people is.

6.Discussion and conclusion

The main motivation of human forgiveness as a universal dimension, is forgiveness for giving optimistic relationship between the individual. What is noteworthy that the motive of making Islam look special attention by the infallible and Scripture is an important criteria. In the Qur’an Allah (Family situations)says, "O You who believe! Behold, among your spouses and your

children are enemies unto you: so beware of them! But if you pardon [their faults], and forbear, and forgive- then, behold, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."The Qur'an 64:14. In one Hadith the Prophet -peace be upon him- said that Allah has commanded him about nine things. One of them he mentioned was “that I forgive those who do wrong to me.”


Also Ali (PBUH), stated: "the worst human beings who the slip not happening" (described Ghrralhkm, vol 4, p. 184) and stated: "a little forgiveness and passed, ugly most perfect host and acceleration make for revenge the greatest is sin "(same, p. 505). Every day, we see couples who claim to have been offended by their spouse. It causes anger, disgust, aversion, revenge, backbite, accusation and jealousy, Consequently, they keep distant from each other. One of the ways which Islam offers for solving this problem is forgiveness. In one of the verses, God says to his messenger: “so forgive, O Muhammad, with a gracious forgiveness "(Al Hijr, 85). While dealing with issues related to forgiveness, the couple also began to consider how they could share their spiritual life with each other. In addition to the spiritual focus of their forgiveness work, other means to share their spiritual lives were introduced given that the couple identified this as a means to increase positive interaction in their marriage (Krejci,,M.J,2004). Forgiveness is an internal process which shows positive self-esteem. Furthermore, forgiveness is considered a moral right. The right of avoiding to face pain, trouble and emotional problems which are the results of unfair accidents. Being familiar with the effects of forgiveness and being aware of internal factors which affect interpersonal behaviours lead to raising couple marriage satisfaction(Seif and Bahari, 2001/Hussine,2005).

). One of the intrapersonal factors is recognition question. One of the recognition issues which have attracted the attention of psychologists is forgiveness. Forgiveness is a learnable skill, i.e. the product of learning and training.







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Parent interpretation of forgiveness influences the children’s view. Starting a family and preventing its collapse requires certain abilities that can be traced in family members. Discovering and developing skills such as forgiveness has a big role in saving the family health. Forgiveness is one of the potential abilities of all individuals. But identifying, activating and using that in intervention therapy require scientific findings, so that it becomes possible to pave the way for necessary changes in couples and families (Seif and Bahari, 2004/Hossine, 2005). Murphy is quoted as saying:

People who enjoy high self - esteem can overlook others’ faults. The more they forgive, the higher their esteem and glory would be. They will be enjoying their acts (Hussain and Sarat, 2007). People who are offended by each other can forgive the other person ( the offender person) to decrease their anger or can take revenge on him/her. Although revenge can cause spiritual relief in a short time, it causes regret in the long run. So pardoning and forgiving are competitors of revenge. Research findings have shown the effects of forgiveness in family. It improves sign of disorder and interpersonal relationships. In his letters and lectures, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) has advised rulers (Hareth Hamedani and Malek-e- Ashtar) to pardon and forgive. He says:

"Contain your anger, and overlook when you are powerful, When you are angry try to be patient, when you can do faults, avoid it, so that you are blessed" (Nahjolbalaghe ‘letter 67). Islam emphasizes justice and punishment of the wrong doers, but it equally strongly emphasizes mercy, kindness and love. Justice, law and order are necessary for the maintenance of a social order, but there is also a need for forgiveness to heal the wounds and to restore good relations between the people. We must keep in mind that as much as we need Allah’s forgiveness for our own sins and mistakes, we must also practice forgiveness towards those who do wrong to us) khatib pakestan).


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