Artwork for podcast The Hikmah Project
Spiritual Healing and Transformation in the Islamic Tradition with Dr Abdallah Rothman
11th August 2021 • The Hikmah Project • Saqib Safdar
00:00:00 01:35:14

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Leader in the field of Islamic psychology, Dr Abdallah Rothman shares his journey into Islam and what it means to heal the heart and psyche from an Islamic perspective; the way to relieve the suffering that is a part of the human condition, as taught by two prominent and influential Sufi figures in the Shādhulli ṭarīqa, and experientially understood.

Despite world travel to explore spiritual communities in search for truth; it wasn’t until his encounter with saintly Sufi teacher Sidi Shaykh Muḥammad Saʿīd al-Jamāl ar-Rifaʿi that his life’s trajectory changed. Captivated by the science of the soul from the Islamic tradition and drawn to this notion of healing and spiritual development, Dr Rothman experienced first-hand the incomparable healing power of love.

He later studied with Shaykh Nooruddeen Durkee in effort to quench his thirst for knowledge. Virtues of wisdom, humility, patience, and diligence were given space to grow under Shaykh Nooruddeen’s care, guidance and ‘tarbiya’. A disciple-teacher relationship integral to the heart and soul’s processing, purification and healing.

Dr Rothman further explains that both secular mindfulness and non-secular spiritual modalities appear, at surface level, similar in reward and benefits to the Islamic approach of going inward and cultivating presence. Consistent, diligent inner-work and practice will improve emotional well-being, energy, and tranquility. And yet, intention makes all the difference—seeking the annihilation of the self to then be unified with the One, with Allāh; to realize, actualize, and embody being.

The Islamic tradition honours Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ as an exemplar: the epitome of high moral standing, good character and being. To emulate and take on the Prophet’s traits and conduct as one’s own is to strive and draw closer to Allāh; the heart of spiritual training, tarbiya, in one sense; and, the connection of a purified heart to wisdom and witnessing Truth.

To bring home the message of Islamic spirituality, Dr Abdallah Rothman draws upon key aspects in the Prophet’s life, ʿalayhī as-ṣallātu wa-salām, highlighting the significance in certain acts of worship, linked to the objective and actualization of Oneness, tawhīd. Distinctly, the retreats to Cave of Ḥira and the daily practices of night vigil, qiyām al-layl. 

Relatable to every wayfarer, this podcast connects spiritual training ethos, the role of the heart in personal and emotional well-being, and purification to honing presence and witnessing the One. Concepts of islām (surrender), amāna (trust), tawakkul (reliance), and baraka (blessing) remind us that we are not responsible for the outcome of events, but rather, our responsibility lies in intent and action and ultimately, our alignment and submission to serving the Divine Will.


Dr. Abdallah Rothman is the Principal of Cambridge Muslim College, founder of Shifaa Integrative Counseling, co-founder and Executive Director of the International Association of Islamic Psychology, and visiting professor of psychology at Zaim University Istanbul, International Islamic University Islamabad, and Al-Neelain University Khartoum. He holds an MA and a PhD in psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Board Certified Registered Art Therapist (ATR-BC), licensed in the United States and currently living in the UK.