IIUM Repository

The restorative effects of mosques: current knowledge, conceptual framework, and implications for environmental psychology

Mohd Mahudin, Nor Diana (2021) The restorative effects of mosques: current knowledge, conceptual framework, and implications for environmental psychology. In: Contextualising Islam in Psychological Research: Theoretical Foundation, Current Initiatives and Way Forward. IIUM Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, pp. 70-86. ISBN 9789674910525

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (5MB) | Request a copy


The concept of restorative experiences, although originating from early theories of attention and neurological studies of mental functioning, has long been a central part of environmental psychology studies (Kaplan, 1995; Packer, 2014). In general, the concept argues that exposure to a restorative environment helps restore attention capacity, recover from mental fatigue, improve mood, and reduce stress (Hartig, 2004; Hartig, Kaiser, & Bowler, 2001). All of which are necessary psychological resources to sustain homeostatic balance, health, and well-being. Restorative experiences, thus, are regarded as important means of reducing mental fatigue, helping to balance competing demands of everyday life (Kaplan 1992), and contributing to the well-being and satisfaction of those who engage in them (Packer, 2014). While restorative experience studies in the general literature of environmental psychology are extensive (for a recent review, see Berto, 2014), attention to investigating such experiences within the spiritual and religious contexts is still lacking. Many discussions on the relationship between religion and environment (Islam included) either tend to emphasise on the distinctive perspectives about the environment propagated by each religion or imply or explicitly state that some are closer to nature and more environmental-friendly than others. While these emphases reflect certain aspects of environmental issues and concerns, they also tend to displace attention away from other substantive issues such as positive values and impact of the environment, spirituality and religiosity, as well as healing and restoration. Only recently has a movement started to incorporate religious and spiritual aspects of the environment in its operational goals. However, it is unclear how much this movement, which is known as ʻspiritual ecologyʼ (Sponsel, 2014), can help to accelerate or maximise the impact of research, development, and public attitudes on environmental issues and their respective behaviours. This lack of attention to spiritual and religious exploration extends to the Islamic studies literature, which has shown a tendency to argue the relationship and responsibility between humans and the environment without producing specific examples of empirical research that best represent specific topics. As such, empirical evidence linking spirituality or religious factors to the environment is restricted and this is particularly more so in the restorative experience literature. Acknowledging the lack of evidence in the current knowledge and empirical studies, some researchers (e.g., Hasbullah et al., 2013; Nor Rahim et al., 2013) have called for more research of this nature. One area of particular interest is related to the restorative experiences that can be induced by going to the mosques or masjid. In principle, a mosque’s role should transcend beyond merely prayer-related activities. This is because mosques have been and are continuing to become potential sites for civic participation, community empowerment, group consciousness, and even political engagement (Jamal, 2005; Omer, 2004). Therefore, actions should be taken to expand the scope of activities or programmes offered and promote better facilities to the mosque goers (Maqsood, 2005). Studies of restorative experiences within the Islamic environmental context, such as the masjid, is therefore highly relevant in the general environmental psychology literature, and more importantly, they reach out to address the subtleties in the process of Islamisation, integration, and relevantisation of research in psychology. The study reported in this chapter attempts to address this call for research by investigating the potential restorative effects of mosques or masjid on the psychological restoration of their goers. To facilitate a more focused discussion, the current chapter is organised into six sections. The first reviews current knowledge on the nature and effects of restorative experiences, with a particular emphasis on those related to houses of worship, such as churches, monasteries, and mosques. In the next section, the position of Islam regarding restorative environments is discussed. Here, the potential knowledge and research gaps in the restorative effects of houses of worship literature and how research in this area can help relevantise Islamic studies and integrate psychology and Islamic studies are highlighted. The subsequent sections present the method and findings of a study on the restorative effects of three mosques. In the final section, implications of the findings and challenges faced in Islamising, relevantising, and integrating Islamic perspectives with that of psychology are elaborated. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the future direction for work in this area.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: Environmental Psychology; Mosque; Nature; Restorative Effects; Spiritual Ecology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF636 Applied psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc > BP190.5 Islamization of Knowledge
BPL Islamic education
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences
Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences > Department of Psychology
Depositing User: Nor Diana Mohd Mahudin
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2021 08:24
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2021 08:24
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/90880

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year