Social support plays a crucial role in human life and well-being. There is also a strong emphasis on it in Islamic psychology, aligning with the teachings of the Quran, the Hadith and Islamic scholars’ opinions.
Social support in Islamic psychology is defined as helping or assisting an individual with any means to improve his or her spiritual life.
Some examples of social support include: supporting needs, taking care of orphans to school, to eat, building Islamiyya, building mosques, taking care of people to pay hospital bills, building places for people to fetch water easily, building homes for destitute and other supports that help and ease hardship among the Muslims communities.
A socially supported Muslim will behave well in society and do things that will lead him to be close to Allah and follow his commands, unlike an unsocially supported Muslim whose life will cause dangers and discomfort to Muslim communities.
Social support has important backing both in Qur’an and Hadith. Not only in the Qur’an and Hadith but also Islamic and modern researchers have talked about the pivotal importance of social support in Islamic psychology.
In the Quran, (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:261) Allah says, “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies His reward for whom He wills.”
In the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasised the concept of the “Ummah,” a community that supports and cares for each other. The well-known Hadith that explained this states that:
“The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy, and compassion, are like one body; if one part is afflicted, the entire body feels it; in sleeplessness and fever.”(Sahih al-Bukhari)
The views of Islamic scholars like Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya have further expounded on the significance of social support. In his book “Al-Wabil al-Sayyib,” by elaborating upon the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) opinions, he emphasises the role of companionship in improving mental well-being and the need to surround oneself with positive influences. Being close to people helps us improve our emotional balance and influences the social well-being of those in our circles.
Modern researchers in Islamic psychology have also highlighted the importance of social support in Islamic communities. Mahmoud Khatami and Parvaneh Mohammadkhani, in their paper “Religious Coping, Social Support and Mental Health in Adolescence: A Study in Iranian Context,” underscore the positive impact of religious social support on mental health among Muslim adolescents. Some of examples of social support include: giving good advice, having good friends, socializing with anybody that will help to increase your iman, and having good neighbors. All these help to maintain the mental health of an individual.
Finally, social support holds a pivotal place in Islamic psychology, as guided by Quranic teachings, Hadith, and scholarly insights. It not only aligns with religious principles but also contributes significantly to the well-being of individuals and the community. The communities need to promote good social support among their members of the communities.