It is the concept that involves the ability, capacity and skill to manage the emotion of one self and to enhance thought. In the past traditional definitions of intelligence emphasised cognitive aspects such as memory and problem solving. Later on researchers began including aspects such as social intelligence in it.
As Psychologists continued with doing research, Howard Gardner introduced the theory of Multiple Intelligence (frames of mind: The theory of Multiple Intelligence). From his and other researches it was found that the traditional definitions of Intelligence lacked the ability to explain performance outcomes.
It was perhaps Wayne Payne in his thesis: A study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence, who introduced the term Emotional Intelligence. Later on interest in this field of research increased.
Exactly what is Emotional Intelligence, Researchers have not yet been able to give a clear definition. It was believed to be, "the ability to monitor one's own and others' feeling and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and reactions. (Emotional Intelligence; P.Salovy and J.D.Mayer). At present there are three main models of Emotional Intelligence. These models are:
• Mixed, and
Ability based model:
This model can be defined as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment. This model has four types, viz.
Perceiving: It is the basic of emotional intelligence, and has the ability to detect and decipher things.
Using emotions to facilitate thought. The ability to harness emotion to think and solve problems.
Understanding: the ability to comprehend emotion language.
Managing: the ability to regulate emotions in ourselves and in others.
Mixed model: The term "mixed model" stems from the fact that the model mix together the core idea of emotional intelligence and other personality traits.
Trait model: There are several reasons why emotional intelligence is connected to personality. It is part of the human personality which influences internal experience and social interaction.
There are differences among the Psychologists regarding the definition of each model and the way of measuring them.
Emotional Intelligence is composed of five dimensions:
Self awareness: how a person feels,
Self management: control on one's emotions,
Self motivation: determination to continue in spite of setbacks,
Empathy: being sensitive to others' feelings
Social skills: the capability to control the emotions of others.
Emotional Intelligence improves an individual's social effectiveness, as some people with high EI can accomplish certain tasks very easily while it may not be the same with others who have a lower EI. People who are high in EI are good in establishing positive social relationship with others, avoiding conflicts and other social altercations; such people can help others to live in harmony in a group; as EI is part of the personality and can influence thought.
According to Islamic teachings, the heart plays a major role in regulating emotions, and has a direct connection to EI. It affects the amygdale portion of the brain that plays the most important role in person's emotion.
The heart is the source of intuitive feeling. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal wrote about it the following:
The heart has a kind of inner intuition or insight which, in the beautiful words of Rumi, feeds on the rays of the sun and brings us into contact with aspects of Reality, other that those open to sense perception. It is, according to the Qur'an, something which sees, and its reports, if properly interpreted, are never false. (Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam).
Islam being the Perfect way of Life has the prescription for the development of every aspect of human life. It enjoins upon the Muslims to pursue the path of moderation thereby creating a balanced personality. It does not prohibit or inhibit the development of the different aspects of the personality but guide the believers in avoiding dealings that can result in harmful consequences, individually and socially. One such dimension is the Emotion. Some of the areas mentioned in the Qur'an are:
Intellect pursuit: Allah encourages the believers to develop their intellect by pondering on the creation in nature, by studying about the mysteries of the body and by trying to know about the wisdom contained in the verses of the Qur'an. Some of the references are:
• Pondering on the creation in nature:
Behold, in the creation of the skies and the earth; and the alternation of Night and Day, there are signs for men of understanding; men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides; and contemplate on (the wonders) of the creation in skies and the earth. (3:190-191)
• Studying about the mysteries of the body:
Soon will We show them Our Signs in the (furthest) regions of the earth, and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. (41:53)
• Trying to know some of the wisdom contained in the verses of the Qur'an:
Do then not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur'an, or are their heats locked up by them. (47:24)
Make sober decisions: In times of stress, etc. one should not be carried away with emotions, and must consider carefully what is to be done. For example, one should not contemplate committing suicide. Allah says:
(O you who believe), do not kill (or destroy) yourselves; verily, Allah has been most Merciful unto you. (4:29)
And do thou be patient, for thy patience is but from Allah, nor grieve over them; and distress not thyself, because of their plots. For Allah is with those who restrain themselves; and those who do good. (16:127-8)
Emotional upset: A person should try to remain calm, and if something is disturbing or has disturbed him, that person should not let it weigh down heavy on him. Allah says:
Those who have done something wrong to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins, and who can forgive sins except Allah? And (those) who are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in the wrong they have done. (3:155)
Emotionally disturbed: When some one has done wrong and is worried about it, that person can take counsel from the fact that if he turns sincerely to Allah and repent, Allah will forgive. Allah says:
Ask forgiveness from your Lord, and turn unto Him in repentance, for my Lord is indeed full of mercy and loving kindness. (11:90)
Lo, good deeds annul ill deeds. (11:114)
Say, O My servants who have transgressed against their souls; despair not on the Mercy of Allah; for Allah forgive all sins. (39:53)
Controlling anger: Islam teaches that a person should control his anger. Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said that a best drink is to control ones anger. Allah says:
Those who spend, whether in prosperity or in adversity; who restrain anger and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves all those who do good. (3:154)
Display Compassion: A person should try, at all times to show compassion. Allah says:
"… and to be of those who believe and exhort one another to perseverance and exhort one another to compassionate kindness. (90:17)
Establish restraint: A believer is supposed to restrain himself and do not be carried away with emotions. Allah says, regarding one of the purposes of fasting that it helps a person to establish restraint. He says;
O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you, as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (practice) self-restraint. (2:183)
Islam wants that all the organs associated with the emotional dimension of a person should remain functioning normally; as a result, anything that disturbs anyone of them is not permitted. This is one of the reasons why intoxicants are prohibited.
One of the best ways prescribed by Islam for controlling and developing EI is found in the Command given by Allah in the following verse:
Do good (to others) as Allah has been good to you; and do not make mischief in the land, for Allah does not love those who make mischief. (28:77)