Empathy, a Facility to Reduce Conflict Among Individuals and Societies, and the Qur’ān

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The aim of this study is to clarify whether the content of empathy, which is considered the process that motivates prosocial behaviour and prevents individuals and people doing harm to each other, is in harmony with the Qurʾān or not. If Muslims understand each other and non-Muslims as well, this will help in decreasing the conflicts and contribute to world peace. In this paper, to present the theoretical framework of empathy we will consider the concepts closely related to empathy such as sympathy and altruism etc. After that, we will discuss the verses that appear to be related to empathy in the Qurʾān. During that effort, a risk of exceeding our human level awaits us: To claim that we can empathize with God. Can we put ourselves in His place? I must say from the perspective of the Muslim approach “No!” Nevertheless, considering both classical and modern era Qur’anic commentaries, we can investigate God’s Book sent to the prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) to understand His intention. This is quite normal unless we claim that our level of understanding is absolute. According to preliminary findings, people are encouraged by the Qurʾān to do self-criticism, to keep themselves away from transgression, and not to take revenge. We suggest that, taken together, the logic behind these recommendations is for us to develop a sense of empathy in any situation of conflict.
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Archival date: 2020-02-16
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