Cognitive Statements Modified with Islamic Tenets

Posted on March 25th, 2014

The other week I was researching how to provide better counselling service to Muslim clients. In my research, I found a set of cognitive statements modified to reflect an Islamic understanding of self-control and change. These statements emphasizes a balance among personal agency, personal accountability, and God’s role in the transformation process

Self-control and change

  • Allah (God) gave us free will, including the ability to control our nafs (self).
  • Allah has also given us many opportunities to practice self-control through fasting during Ramadan and weekly sunna (traditional) fasting on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • These are ways, with the help of Allah, we can enhance our self-discipline and change for the better.

Worth in Allah

  • We have worth because we are created by Allah.
  • We are created with strengths and weaknesses.

High frustration tolerance

  • Misfortunes and blessings are from Allah.
  • Misfortunes are not terrible or awful, but rather a test.
  • Although adversities may be unpleasant, we can withstand them.
  • Allah tells us that He will not test us beyond what we can bear.
  • By reminding ourselves of Allah’s goodness, and engaging in regular dua (informal prayer), we can cope with life’s challenges.

Acceptance of others

  • Because people are created with weaknesses, people will make mistakes.
  • Islam tells us not to judge others for their shortcomings, but to accept people with their strengths and weaknesses.


  • Although human approval and accomplishment is beneficial, they are not necessary for a productive life.
  • As it says in the Qur’an, he who relies on Allah, Allah is enough for him.

Needing approval and love

  • Although it is nice to have the favor of others, we do not need the approval of others.
  • True satisfaction and solace is found in our relationship with Allah.
  • Our regular remembrance of Allah helps us to know that He loves us.

Accepting responsibility

  • Although facing difficulties is often challenging, Islam reminds us to persevere through adversity.
  • No one else will bear our burdens for us.
  • Each of us is responsible for our action and the path we choose.

Accepting self-direction

  • Allah has blessed us with His rizq (provisions/resources).
  • Consequently, we are not dependent on others for our needs.
  • Rather, we strive for tawakil (reliance on Allah for all our needs).


  • Allah knows us better than we know ourselves.
  • Allah knows our weaknesses.
  • Allah knows we make mistakes.
  • Consequently, we can take comfort in Allah’s mercy and accept ourselves with our strengths and weaknesses.


Hodge, D. R., & Nadir, A. (2008). Moving toward Culturally Competent Practice with Muslims: Modifying Cognitive Therapy with Islamic Tenets. Social Work, 53(1), 31-41.

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