International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Notion of “Husnu’l Zann” or Positive Thinking in Islam: Medieval Perspective
Dr. Salih Yucel

Although the topic of positive thinking has been of interest to scholars throughout history, public discussion of this topic has increased markedly in the last two decades. From the Islamic perspective, Medieval Muslim scholars also gave attention to this theme, but rarely explored it deeply. Building upon their writings on the subject, this article will discuss the topic through the lens of Medieval sources drawn from Sufi, literary and rational interpretations, the tradition of Prophet Muhammad and stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses in the light of major Qur’anic exegeses. Scholars used this methodology in order to discuss husnu’l zann on religious, psychological and spiritual levels. From the practical point of view, a number of Islamic practices were recommended to aid both in fostering positive thought and abstaining or dealing with negative thoughts.There needs to be a comprehensive approach by modern scholars from related fields to re-examine husnu’l zann and sui zann (negative thinking) in Islamic sources.

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