Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Al-Ghaib: The Invisible/Unknowable

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_200245-1

The Arabic word, al-ghaib, is composed of the definitive article al and the root gh-ai-b indicating what is simultaneously absent, unknowable, and invisible. There are extensive orthodox exegeses of al-ghaib made by the “ulama or religious scholars (Shaʻrāwī 1998; al-Jilani 1992) that go beyond the scope of this study which focuses on ordinary Muslims” views and daily lives. For the past 30 years, the concept of al-ghaib has been introduced and discussed within the anthropology of Islam and Middle East by El-Sayed El-Aswad (1987, 1988, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010a, b, 2012, 2015). These inquiries assert that the concept of al-ghaib rises above any specific Muslim sect and is associated with overarching Muslim worldviews. The point of departure here is that his article aims to address the relationship between religion (Islam) and psychology by focusing on the concept of al-ghaib (the invisible and unknowable) as conceived and enacted by Muslims.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bloomfield HillsUSA