It has become clear to the majority of specialists in psychology and behavioral experts that emotional intelligence (E.I.), also known as the emotional quotient (E.Q.), is more important than academic intelligence, also known as the intelligence quotient (I.Q.).
This means that people who are in control of their emotions and are able to curb their anger are distinguished in various fields of human life and have greater opportunities to achieve success. Those who cannot control their emotional lives or manage their emotions, experience internal conflicts that undermine their ability to think clearly and concentrate on work.
For this reason, there are numerous training courses that are organized all over the world providing diverse strategies in the development of emotional intelligence. As Muslims, we are blessed to practice a mandatory training course every year in all parts of the Islamic world free of charge in order to sharpen our emotional intelligence in the most powerful way.
Training to delay gratification of the strongest biological urge in human beings (i.e. hunger and thirst), is considered the most significant contribution to enhancing and developing one's emotional intelligence. The importance of this training course lies in preparing the individual to postpone his strongest biological urges. Such self-regulation is required to override the impulse to seek immediate gratification of his desires that require a constant delay since frustration is the main characteristic for most events in this life. Indeed, (man does not attain all that his heart desires, for) the winds do not blow as the ships wish. We cannot imagine that one attains everything he looks forward to. This leads to embracing frustration which may sometimes be at the expense of one's mental health. Therefore, training to cope with frustration (in our lives) helps in building a balanced and cohesive character.
Fasting in Islam is either obligatory or recommended so as to serve as an important factor in self-regulation and self-adaptation. It inhibits pressures and helps cope with frustrations with commendable flexibility and adaptability.
The other aspect of training with regards to fasting is related to acquiring and developing empathy for others. Empathy (i.e. the ability to understand what another goes through), is one of the most important criteria that distinguish a personality from being normal or abnormal. Enduring hunger and thirst helps one to identify himself with all the needy and suffering people and consequently drives him to extend a helping hand to them. These commendable feelings of compassion and empathy towards those who are less fortunate are enough to train an individual to curb and wear down his ego and begin thinking of others instead of thinking merely of himself. This undoubtedly strengthens one's mental health and develops skills of emotional intelligence.
Moreover, we should not overlook other benefits of fasting such as controlling sexual desires and anger management. A fasting person is expected to control his anger and should respond to (what provokes) it by saying, "O Allah, I am fasting". Perhaps there is no psychological skill that is more important than curbing rashness as it is the core of self-control. Obliging oneself to delay gratifications and curb rashness to achieve a desired goal is the essence of emotional self-regulation.
Taking into consideration all that has been mentioned, is there any better training course that can emulate Ramadan in providing training for emotional intelligence?
By: Lama Al-Ghalaayini