Main Article Content
Research on happiness and how it can be attained has grown rapidly in the last few years. However, it is noticeable that the western paradigm emanating from the positive psychology movement, as well as the enlightenment worldview has dominated the mainstream theories on happiness and individual wellbeing. Consequently, hedonistic and eudemonistic theories which strictly separate scientific enquiry from religion prevail as the norm in psychological research. This state of affairs led to the dismissal of other non-western views to happiness including Islamic perspectives. This paper aims to shed light on the contribution of some Muslim thinkers to the issue of happiness from a moderate cultural relativist approach. The goal of this effort is to strike a constructive dialogue between Islam and the West by identifying the similarities and differences between the two worldviews in order to establish a dialogue while preserving the richness of both cultural identities. An attempt is made to give a detailed overview of two Islamic accounts of happiness, on one hand the philosophical and the religious perspectives illustrated by Al-Faraabi and Al-Ghazali respectively, and a religio-philosophical view exemplified by Ibn Rush or Averroes as he is known in the West on the other hand. Finally, why the study of happiness should remain an important topic in the Middle East is discussed.