Creative Thinking & Problem Solving (RKGS 2010) Notes.

What is Creativity?

  • Ability: An ability to imagine or to invent something new.
  • An attitude: The ability to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities.
  • A process:  Creative people work hard and continually improve their ideas and solutions by making gradual alterations or refinements to their works.

Criteria of Creative People:

  • Curious
  • Optimism or positive thinking
  • Flexible Imagination
  • Seeing hurdles as leading to improvements and solutions
  • Enjoy Challenges
  • Seeing problem as interesting and acceptable
  • Do not give up easily
  • Constructive discontent

According to Edward De Bono, Creativity is searching for alternatives (many ways in problem solving)

8 Intelligences of Creativity:

1.       Linguistic: Creativity in the used for spoken / written language (writers, speakers).

2.       Musical: Creativity in musical notes / rhythm (musicians, dancers, singers).

3.       Bodily / Kinesthetic: Creativity in body coordination and movements (acrobats).

4.       Interpersonal: Creativity in dealing with people (salespersons, leaders).

5.       Logical / Mathematical: Creativity in logical or analytical thinking ( accountants, scientist).

6.       Visual: Creativity with space, colors and designs (architects, designers).

7.       Intrapersonal: Creativity to understand ourselves.

8.       Naturalist: Creativity in understanding and relating to nature (naturalists, gardeners).

Encouragement to Islamic Thinking:

Terms used in Qur’an:

1.       To consider (Nazar).

2.       Insight (Tabassur).

3.       Pondering (Tadabbur).

4.       To fully understand, to grasp, to comprehend and apprehend (Tafaqquh).

5.       To bear in mind or to take to heart  (tadhakkur).

6.       To learn, derive or take a lesson from the history of other nations and the experiences of others and not to repeat their faults (I’tibar).

7.       To use one’s mind in the right way (ta’aqqul).

8.       To contemplate or reflect (tawassum).

The status of Tafakkur in Islam:

Tafakkur is considered as “Ibadah” or a form of worshiping Allah, which is rewarded, provided, it is done with sincerity “Ikhlas” and good intention and for a good purpose.

All of these terms ask human to think and it shows the importance of thinking in our lives.

Classification of Intellect:

1.       Aql Rushd ( Guided mind) :

  • Conceives of truth, distinguish between, paradox, seek insight and reflects of ponder.
  • Guide human to better life.

2.       Aql Idrak ( Conceiving mind) :

  • Does not lead to guidance but remains in the same stage.
  • Rigid, misleading and arrogant.

Definition of Tafakkur:

1.       Arabic term for thinking (Al fikr – Afkar (Plural) )

2.       Ibnu Manzur:

  • Tafakkur is the noun of tafkir.
  • Quotes al Jauhari who defines tafakkur as pondering and contemplating.
  • Tafkir is an abstract notion.
  • Tafkir and Tafakkur is a deliberate, systematic process of reflective discourse.

3.       Fairuz Abadi (Early Muslim linguist):

  • Al fikr (thought) is reflecting upon something.
  • Fikr and Tafakkur are synonyms.

4.       Prof Malik Badri (Muslim psychologist ):

  • Tafakkur is deeper and broader than tafkir.
  • Tafakkur bridges the perception and conception from this life and the hereafter.
  • It creates link between the creation and their creator this bridging is known as “Ibrah”.
  • Tafkir might be confined to solve problems where emotions may not be involved.
  • Tafakkur motivates all the external and internal activities of the believers.
  • Tafakkur goes through and interrelated stages:

a)      Information that come through conception via the senses of imagination at abstract intellectual information.

b)      Paying closer and greater attention to that information, which in turns lead to amazement and appreciation.

c)       Moving to think about the great Creator, which lead to stronger faith and better knowledge of his attributes.

Abbas al Aqad (contemporary thinker): tafkir or thinking is obligatory for us.

Doctor Bakkar gives 3 examples for the purpose of the illustration:

1. Syuro or mutual consultation.

Life becomes more complicated so we need to improve the ways of implementing syuro and to crystallize this great value in newly organized forms in order to insure relevance to contemporary issues.

2. The unity of the Muslimah.

We should think about suitable frames of unity which fit the complicated conditions that we are facing today. We need to explore the relationship between freedom, unity and the means through which we can fulfill both values.

3. Helping the needy.

This is one of the great Islamic values, which is encouraged by the Quran and Sunnah. Because of the desire to get reward this value has lasted in practice in Muslim society. Thinking is the keyword.

According to doctor Bakar, Quranic verses which encourage thinking could be classified into 5 groups:

1.       In the field of Tawhid and to direct man’s attention to the creator.

Those who remember Allah while they are standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and think about the creation of heavens and the earth, (saying: our lord! You have not created all this without purpose, glory be to you! Save us from the formant to the fire. Al-Imran : 191).

2.       To reflect upon the verses to the Quran.

This is a book (Quran) which we have sent down to you, full of blessings that may ponder over its verses, and those men of understanding may engage in remembrance. (Sa’ad : 29).

3.       Allah tells us that the objective of so many stories which have been mentioned in various surahs is to motivate mankind to think and reflect in order to get lessons and to seek wisdom.

“Narrate to them the stories, so that they may be reflected.” (Al-A’raf : 176).

4.       Allah commands us to reflect about something carefully, so one may not jump to conclusions without a critical insight.

“Say (o Muhammad): travel in the land and see how He originated creation” (Al-Ankabut : 20).

5.       Allah directs the attention of people to think by saying: “Say to them (O Muhammad): I exhort you on one thing only-that you stand up for Allah’s sake in pairs and singly and reflect.”( Saba’ : 46).

Barriers that hinder Tafakkur.

1.       Ignorance and not being aware of the truth (al-Jahlu):

“And even if we had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken unto them, and we had gathered together all things before their very eyes, they would not have believed, unless Allah willed, but Most of them behave ignorantly.” (Al-An’am: 111)

2.       Turning away from the truth (al-I’radh):

“So when they turned away (from the Path of Allah), Allah turned their hearts away (from the Right Path). And Allah guides not the people who are Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” (As-Shaf: 5)

3.       Traditionalism and blind following (ta’ashub and taqlid):

“When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah hath revealed:” They say: “Nay! We shall follow the ways of our fathers.” What! Even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance?” (Al-Baqarah: 170).

4.       Lusts and desires (Hawa).

How should yet not eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned, when He hath explained unto you that which is forbidden unto you unless ye are compelled thereto. But lo! Many are led astray by their own lusts through ignorance. Lo! Thy Lord, He is best aware of the transgressors (al-An’ am: 119).

5.       Arrogance (Takabbur).

6.       I shall turn away from my revelations those who magnify themselves wrongfully in the earth, and if they see each token believe it not, and if they see the way of righteousness choose it nor for (their) way, and if they see the way of error choose if for (their) way. That is because they deny our revelations and are used to disregard them. (Al A’raf: 146)

7.       Hypocrisy (Nifaq).

“They are the ones who say: “Spend not on those who are with Allah’s Messenger, until they desert him.” and to Allah belong the treasures of the heavens and the earth, but the hypocrites comprehend not.” (Al-Munafiqun: 7).

8.       Reliance on conjectures.

9.       Giving the lie to the messages of God (Takdzib).

The six thinking hats


  • Invented by Dr. Edward De bono.
  • Medical and Psychology.
  • The thinker can put on or put off one to off one this hat to indicate the type of thinking being used.
  • Something was written on a flight to KL at 1985.
  • Something also known as parallel thinking.
  • People can look at the information and judging someone else’s ideas at the same time.


  • Attention directing.
  • Separate ego from performance.
  • Establishing the rules of the games.
  • Role playing.
  • Safe time in decision making.

Hawa: but, behold many people lead others astray by their own errant views, without (having any real) knowledge (al-An’ am: 119).

1. White hat:

  • Focus on the objective and neutral side.
  • Separate facts from speculation and emotions.
  • Explain about facts, figures, data, proofs and evidence.
  • It is always good to start with white hat.

White hat questions:

a.       How much it will cost?

b.      What color/shape/weight is it?

c.       What resources are available?

d.      What are the requirements?

e.      What info do we need?

f.        How are we going to get the missing information?

2. Red hat:

  • Focus on the emotions and the opinion.
  • Does not require justifying or explaining the reasons for the feelings.
  • Can be used after a decision has been made.
  • Gives full permission to express feelings, hunches, intuitions and emotions.
  • Can be used as part of the thinking that leads to a decision.

Red hat questions:

a.       What are my feelings right now?

b.      What does my intuition tell me?

3. Black hat:

  • Focus in the pessimistic and negative side.
  • Points out weaknesses and difficulties in our thinking.
  • May sometimes offer information that also appears under white hat.
  • Logical negative view.
  • Helps us make good decisions.
  • Explores why something may not work.
  • Must give logical reasons for concerns.
  • It is powerful assessment tool when used after the yellow hat.

Black hat questions:

a.       What could be the possible problems?

b.      What are the risks?

4. Yellow hat:

  • Focus on the optimistic and positive side.
  • Require the deliberate effort.
  • Must give reasons why the idea is valuable or might work.
  • Looks for benefits and value.
  • Reinforces creative idea and new directions.
  • It is powerful assessment tool when used with the black hat.

Yellow hat questions:

a.       What are the benefits?

b.      What are the positives?

c.       What are the values?

d.      What is the good news?

e.      What is the best potential result?

5. Green hat:

  • Focus on the creativity and alternative.
  • Encourage to search new ideas.
  • Seeks to modify and remove faults in existing ideas.
  • Makes time and space for the creative efforts.

Green hat questions:

a.       How can we do that?

b.      Are there any ways to do it?

c.       What else could we do here?

d.      What will overcome our difficulties?

e.      What are the possibilities?

6. Blue hat:

  • This is the overview or process control hat.
  • It looks at the subject itself but at the thinking about the subject.
  • Handles requests for certain types of thinking.
  • Makes the calls for the group to make decision.
  • Usually the role of the facilitator.
  • In psychological term, the blue hat is concerned with meta-cognition (thinking about thinking).
  • Points out inappropriate comments.
  • Asks for a summary to the thinking.

Blue hat questions:

a.       What is our agenda?

b.      What is our next step?

c.       Which hats are we using now?

d.      How can we summarize the discussion so far?

e.      What is our decision?

Simple summaries of six thinking hats.

1.       White hat: information available and needed.

2.       Black hat: cautions.

3.       Green hat: alternatives and creative ideas.

4.       Red hat: intuitions and feelings.

5.       Yellow hat: benefits.

6.       Blue hat: managing the thinking process.

Barriers of thinking from western perspective:

1. Perceptual block:

  • Seeing what you expect to see (stereotyping).
  • Inability to see the problems from various view points.
  • Failure to utilize all the sensory inputs.
  • Difficulty in isolating the problem.
  • Tendency to delimit the problem area too closely.
  • Saturations.

2. Emotional block:

  • Fear of taking risk.
  • The preference for judging rather than generating ideas.
  • Reality and fantasy (inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy).
  • No appetite for chaos.
  • Inability to incubate.
  • Lake of challenge versus excessive zeal.

3. Cultural block:

  • Fantasy and reflection are a waste of time, lazy and even crazy.
  • Problem solving is serious businesses and humor is out of place.
  • Tradition is not preferable to change.
  • Playfulness is for children only.
  • Reason, logic, number, utility and practicality are good, feeling, intuition, qualitative judgments and pleasures are bad.
  • Any problems can be solved by scientific thinking and lots of money.


Literal thinking:

  • Is a form of thinking which seeks new and unusual ways of approaching and problem solving.
  • Think about something outside of the box.
  • It does not merely proceed by logical steps from starting point of what is known or believed.


  • Mental operation.
  • Must write the indicator which is PO (provocative operation).
  • To be temporarily made for 30 seconds but still under control.

Ways of provocation:


  • Spell out something or take for granted in normal situation.
  • Delete normal things.

e.g.: PO, classes has no chairs or students.

PO, hospital has no patients or doctors.

PO, hospital has no doors or beds.


Is relationship between 2 objects, 2 parties or 2 people.


1.       A Lecturer teaches students,

PO, a student teaches lecturer.

2.       A Patient goes to clinic,

PO, a clinic goes to patients.

3.       In the zoo, people watch animals,

PO, animals watch people.


  • For exaggerate to increase or to decrease.
  • Something that can be counted or measures.
  • You are dealing with numbers, figures and dimensions.
  • Do not reach the zero, because when become zero it means the escape method.


1.       Classroom has 2 doors.

PO, classroom should have 10 doors.

PO, classroom should have 1 door.


  • Distort the arrangement, procedures and steps.
  • If it is only 2 relationships, the distortion becomes reverse.
  • Has relationship between many parties.
  • Distortions and reverse may overlap.


1.    PO, you take medicine before you see the doctor.

2.    PO, you attend to the class before you register it.

3.    PO, you drive the car before you start it.

Wishful thinking:

  • Dreaming, fantasy and imagination.
  • Wish to have something that is impossible.


1.       PO, I wish I can fly.

2.       PO, I wish everyday is holiday.

3.       PO, I wish I remain 17 years old.

4.       PO, wouldn’t it be nice if …

Movement technique:

  • A technique used in order to move forward in exploring ideas and possibilities.
  • To apply the movement technique efficiently, you have to suspend the judgment and move along the possibilities.
  • It is the willingness to the person to move forward towards generating ideas after he has made a provocation.

Aim: to get some practical and useful ideas and suggestions.


Extracting principle:

  • Try to extract and derive any feature, concept, aspect, principle or idea from the provocation that have been made.
  • Keep extracting from the different aspects, other ideas or features trying to narrow down the scope looking for practical and useful idea.

Positive aspect:

  • Consist of selecting the positive aspect of the provocation and try to move in order to get useful ideas.
  • Try to look for benefits and positive aspect.
  • Try to look ways for achieving some practical term.

Focus in difference:

  • Move forward in exploring ideas through focusing in difference.
  • Try to compare the provocation with the old way of doing things.
  • List down the differences.


  • Look around for special circumstance that would give value to the PO and then try to generate the ideas.
  • Try to study the situation and see in what conditions, time, place from the PO, can give a value and then move forward in generating ideas.

Moment to moment:

  • In order to move forward in generating ideas, you might use your own imagination even if it appears unrealistic.
  • Try to imagine the situation that is given to you, like watching a film moving before your eyes.
  • Try to visualize what would happen instant by instant and try to observe.
  • Try to imagine the provocation as being put into effect.
  • Try to pick up some events, ideas etc.

Thinking styles in the Quran:

1. Inquisitive :

  • Asking question is 1 of the most effective tools in teaching and learning which leads to new ideas and concept.
  • Islam encourages asking questions  to acquire knowledge by contemplating on the questions raised in the Quran, the reader can have better understanding to the issues being put forward. Only those who read Quran in proper way will internalize this inquisitive thinking.
  • Three types in terms of the answers:

a.       Questions where the answer is given to provide new information.

b.      Questions where the answer is clear and obvious to every reader hence the objective is to remain or to affirm facts.

c.       Questions where the answer is not given as it requires thinking and reflection to arrive at the answer.

  • More than 1200 questions can be found in Quran. Sometimes the Quran does not give the answer directly because it is a clear to us (Rhetorical questions) and sometimes answer are also provided in order to clarify the problem or phenomena.
    • Once Ibnu Abbas (knowledgeable companion), was asked about how he managed to cover a wide spectrum of knowledge in a short period of time, he replied: “By an inquisitive tongue, and a comprehending heart”.

2. Positive thinking style:

It can be divided into the following stages:

1.       Not to lose hope in Allah’s mercy. Allah Almighty says: “O My sons! Go you and enquire about Yusuf (Joseph) and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” (Yusuf: 87).

  • Prophet Ya’qub teaches his son not to lose hope in Allah and always to be positive because only those who deny the truth can ever lose hope in Allah’s life-giving mercy.

2.       To have hope and trust in Allah’s guidance and help to us.

  • Allah the Almighty says: Then after the distress, He sent down security for you. Slumber overtook a party of you, while another party was thinking about themselves (as How to save their own selves, ignoring the others and the Prophet) and thought wrongly of Allah – the thought of ignorance. They said, “Have we any part in the affair?” Say You (O Muhammad ): “Indeed the affair belongs wholly to Allah.” they hide within themselves what they dare not reveal to you, saying: “If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would have been killed here.” say: “Even if You had remained In Your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death,” but that Allah might test what is In Your breasts; and to Mahis that which was In Your hearts (sins), and Allah is All Knower of what is In (your) breasts (Ali Imron: 154).
  • This verses tells us about the positive thinking, that must be borne in mind, about Allah’s mercy.

3.       The concept of reliance (tawakkal) upon Allah.

  • Allah the Almighty says: Two men of those who feared (Allah and) on whom Allah had bestowed his Grace said: “Assault them through the gate, for when you are in, victory will be yours, and put your trust In Allah if you are believers indeed.” (Al-Maidah: 23)
  • Those who have true faith in Allah will rely on Him.

3. Metaphorical thinking:

  • A metaphor is described as: “a figure of speech using analogy or close comparison between 2 things that are not normally treated as if they had anything in common. The metaphor is a common means of extending the uses and references of words”.
  • The word refers to the comparison of the terms on the basis of similarity. It is a device for seeing something in terms of something else.
  • It is also called as parable.

The purposes of using parables in the Qur’an:

a.        Encouraging and promoting good deeds. Allah the Almighty says: the parable of those who spend their substance In the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it growth seven ears, and each ear hath a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills: and Allah is all-sufficient for his creatures needs, all-knower (Al Baqoroh: 261).

b.      Stressing and affirming the oneness of Allah. Allah the Almighty says: Allah puts forth a Parable― a man belonging to many partners at variance with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no knowledge (Az –Zumar: 29).

c.       Proving something which is beyond the reach of human perception such as resurrection. (Fussilat: 39).

d.      Discouraging evil acts by making them appear ugly in the sight of humankind. (Al Ankabut:41).

4. Scientific thinking style:

  • Enhances the thinking ability of man in matters of natural sciences: enable him to utilize as well as develop the findings resulting from the exercise to such thinking for the betterment of humanity as a whole.
  • How natural milk is formulated. Allah the Almighty says: And landmarks (signposts, during the day) and by the stars (during the night), they (mankind) guide themselves (An Nahl: 16).
  • Another issue in sciences is the creation of mankind. Allah the Almighty says: O mankind! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily! We have created you (i.e. Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge i.e. offspring of Adam), then from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood) then from a little lump of flesh, — some formed and some unformed (as in the case of miscarriage), that We may make (it) clear to you (i.e. to show you Our Power and Ability to do what We will). And we cause whom we will to remain in the wombs for an appointed term, then we bring you out as infants, [] then (give you growth) that you may reach your age of full strength. And among you there is he who dies (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age, so that he knows nothing after having known. And you see the earth barren, but when we send down water (rain) on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth). That is because Allah, He is the Truth, and it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who is Able to do all things. And surely, the Hour is coming, there is no doubt about it, and certainly, Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves (Al Hajj: 5-7).

5. Objective thinking style:

  • Objectivity means expressing claims, and judgments based on proofs and evidence, based on certainty and not on doubt or conjecture to avoid bias, personal interest or whims in forming opinions and giving judgment.
  • Can be divided into various aspects:

1). Seeking evidence to prove a claim. Allah the almighty says: Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if what you say is true (Al Baqarah : 111). Through His Prophet, Allah asked the unbelievers (the Jews) to produce their proof for what they are saying from their own scripture.

2). Warning us not to rely on conjecture. Allah the Almighty says: And most of them follow nothing but, conjecture; certainly conjecture can never substitute for truth (Yunus: 36). Objective of this verse is to condemn those who use their conjecture as a guide for their life.

3). Condemning al-Hawa or warning us not to be misled by our desires, personal interests and other forms or bios. Allah Almighty says: Do not then follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice: for it you distort the truth, behold, Allah is indeed aware to all that you do (An Nisa: 135).

Allah is aware of everything that we do whether it is visible or invisible.

4). Condemning blind following and fanaticism even in Ibadah. Allah the Almighty says: On the day when their face shall be tossed about in the fire, they will exclaim, Oh! If only we had obeyed Allah, and obeyed the Apostle! and they will say, Oh our Sustainer! Behold we paid heed unto leader and our great men, and it is they who have led us astray from the right path! (Al Ahzab: 66-67).

  • It explain now the condition of people on the Day of Judgment would be accused their leader of getting them thrown into Hellfire. This is the result of their fanaticism for their leader. Allah warns us not to be like them.

6. Hypothetical thinking style:

  • Increasing human intellect by exposing to truth. Example of verses:

1). Allah the Almighty says: (Joseph) exclaimed, it was she who sought to make my yield myself unto her! Now one of those present, of her own household, suggested, if his tunic is from the front, then she telling the truth, and he is a liar. But if his tunic is torn from behind, then she is lying, and he is speaking the truth (Yusuf: 26-27).

  • Hypothesis:

A). had Yusuf’s garment been torn from the front, the lady would be innocent and had it been torn from behind, Yusuf would be innocent.

B). the presentation and evidence starts from the offended or the guilty points. First, showing as if she was right but at the end of the presentation, the verse persuasively convinced the audience that the lady was guilty by ending up with such a hypothesis.

2). Allah Almighty says: When the night grew dark upon him he beheld a star. He said (Prophet Ibrahim): This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: I love not things that set. And when he saw the moon uprising, he exclaimed: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: Unless my Lord guides me, I surely shall become one of the folk who are astray. And when he saw the sun uprising, he cried: This is my Lord! This is greater! And when it set he exclaimed: O my people! Lo! I am free from all that ye associate (with Him). (Al An’am:76 – 78).

7. Conceptual: Can be divided into 2 categories:

1. Conceptual Expansion:

Refers to constructing, stretching, extending, modifying and refining concepts to fit new situations and thus creating new meanings.

The concept to worship was confined to mere religious ritual acts and to religious good deeds related to the spiritual aspect to Islam alone.

Islam came to extend the meaning of the term to include all the actions that please Allah.

Fasting meant to refrain from something.

2. Conceptual Combination:

Refers to the combination of 2 concepts together to produce a new idea or meaning where a non-existent concept is brought into being.

It is one of the basic processes that can produce a creative outcome and is a source of conceptual change and growth.

It is made lawful for you to go unto your wives on the night of the fast. They are raiment for you and ye are raiment for them. Allah is Aware that ye were deceiving yourselves in this respect and He hath turned in mercy toward you and relieved you. So hold intercourse with them and seek that, which Allah hath ordained for you, and eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall and touch them not, but be at your devotions in the mosques. These are the limits imposed by Allah, so approach them not. Thus Allah expounded His revelation to mankind that they may ward off (evil). (Al Baqarah: 187).

It symbolizes the relationship between spouses and implies that this relation should be based on love, appreciation and support for one another.

Concept of fan (widening and searching for solutions):

  • A useful technique for widening and searching for solutions when you have rejected all obvious approaches
  • The idea of concept fan was devised by Edward De Bono in his book “serious creativity”
  • It gives a clear framework within  which you can take “1 step back” to get a broader view of a problem

How to use tool.

  • A way of finding different approaches to a problem when you have rejected all obvious solutions
  • Develops the principal of “taking one step back” to get a broader perspectives
  • To start it, draw a circle in the middle of the paper
  • Write the problem you are trying to solve into it
  • To the right of it, radiate lines representing possible solutions to the problem.


Lateral meaning of ijtihad:

1.       Creativity (ifti’al) derived from hard work or over exertion (al-juhd).

2.       Therefore, al-ijtihad is characterized by its hardship in producing a product.

3.       Al-ijtihad is derived from al-juhd, meaning hardship and ability.

4.       It denotes the posses of profound thinking, making the mujtahid (creative person) conscious of the ruling of events.

The technical meaning of al-ijtihad:

1. Ibn Qoyyim al-Jauziyyah (d. 751 H):

An opinion.

2. Al-Qodhi Abdul al-Jabbar (d. 415 H) and Abu Al-Hasan Al-Bashri (d. 436 H):

Method of establishing shari’ah ruling rather textual, of the kind that allow differences of opinions and justify each individual’s differing viewpoints.

3. Abu Ya’la al-Ukhburi al-Hanbali (d. 438 H):

Is exerting an effort in achieving the goal.

4. Al-Mawardi (d. 450 H):

Is the pursuit of rightness by signs (al-Imarat) leading of it.

5. Ahmad Ibn Ali al-Razi (al-Jassas) (370 H):

Is to expend every effort toward an aim of mujtahid in his study.

He characterized al-ijtihad as a custom in which the rulings of events have no direct divine evidence.

These rules are linked by common knowledge.

In the traditional of the scholars, ijtihad has been characterized as an individual’s personal opinion or the degree of his ijtihad.

6. Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri (d. 456 H):

Expanding ability in searching for the ruling of events wherever it is found.

Is a searching the aim and expanding ability wherever it is needed in search for the truth.

7. Al-Ghazali (d. 505 H):

Defined as over exerting oneself in searching of knowledge of shariah rulings.

The complete ijtihad is when one over exerts oneself in the searching to the extent that he feels incapacitated to go beyond that searching.

8. Fakhr ad-Din Al-Razi (d. 606 H):

Defined as expanding one’s ability to study what will not result in blame after expanding it in the ability.

The relationship between ijtihad and creativity.


  • Denotes expending the fullest effort or new ideas to achieve a difficulty but worthy goal.
  • Through thinking process.
  • Is inherently creative and optimistic.
  • Functioned as legal reasoning, however some scholar looked to ijtihad as the creative impulse.


  • Creativity is a mental process, involving the generation of new ideas.
  • Also through thinking process.
  • Is essentially creative and innovative.
  • Built in the belief that there were always new possibilities and other alternatives.

Both of ijtihad and creativity are parts of worshiping Allah.


  • The person who involved in ijtihad.
  • Individuals who are true believers and have enough knowledge the basic of their religion as well as being creative in their own field or specialization.
  • There are some rules and condition that makes their process of ijtihad is valid.

The importance of ijtihad:

  • To seek the pleasure of Allah.
  • To spare no effort and ability.
  • To be conversant with the various science and techniques of al-Quran and as-Sunnah and the Arabic language as well.
  • To seek truth and justice.
  • To be conversant with the evidence, their grades and levels of proof. The shariah principles and the method of deriving rulings.
  • To adhere to the objectives of the shariah, balancing between the promotion of human welfare and the prevention of corruption or evil.
  • To establish the invention or seeking the best solution, not just to conduct research on any solution available, for in one issue there could be varying solutions, but what is required from him is the pursuit of the best and perfect solution.
  • To refrain from discarding other’s solutions, for some issues have more than one view.
  • To refrain from shutting the door on new solutions, ratified or developed or that which is termed as opening the door of reviving ijtihad from time to time.


Definition: the simplest of all creative thinking technique and the most important.

  • An interruption in the smooth flow of attention in order to pay deliberate attention at some point.
  • A way of building creative attitude.
  • A way of enhancing creative attention.


Duration 30 seconds (individual or 2 minutes in group).


Most of our thinking is reactive.

Creative pause is proactive thinking which means stopping for no reasons.

Helpful Statement:

I want to notice that…

I want to pay attention to that…

Examples of creative pause:

  • While walking to the class, I realized that most sisters are carrying their bag compared to brothers, why?
  • Brothers are wearing pants, they have pockets to put all their belongings but some “baju kurung” for sister does not have pockets.
  • Brothers are lazy to hold many things in their hands.

Creative pause is a way of turning creative attention into a habit.



  • The ability to pick up and define a creative focus.
  • To pay attention on certain area.

General area type:

  • Identify any general idea which you want to focus on and generate ideas from it.
  • This type does not need to have any objective.

E.g.: I want new ideas in the area of improving bus services.

Simple focus:

We pick any point, which we want to focus with no reason.

Specific focus:

We pay attention to certain point with specific reason.

Purpose Type focus:

Identify a focus area where you want new ideas and also identify your purpose focus.

Improvement: your aim is to improve in certain areas or situations.

E.g.: We want new ideas on how to improve student’s skill.

We want new ideas on how to improve the relations between the local and International students.

Problem solving:

Your aim is to provide solutions and overcome problems.

E.g.: a) how to deal with late registration?

b) How to solve the limited parking space in IIUM?


Your aim is how to get benefits from the opportunities given.

E.g.: How can we benefit from these big halls?

How can we benefit from IT Facilities in IIUM?

Task Accomplishment:

It is not just a matter of removing a problem but of reaching a desired point. The attempt to achieve a specific goal.

I want to score A in all subjects.

I want some powerful slogan to help me get elected.



  • The ability to seek many ways.
  • The ability to find the uniqueness.
  • The ability to challenge the situation in order to develop ideas and solutions. It is a way of looking for alternatives to the existing ideas and practices.


Why does it done this way?

Are there any other ways of doing it?

Next steps:

1. Block it (Why A):

  • Looking for other alternatives.
  • Block the current idea and try to find other alternatives.

E.g.: Bus is going late to the school, what would I do? (Going to class by LRT).

2. Drop it (Why C):

  • Dropping unnecessary idea.
  • Challenge the existing way of doing something which is not really needed.
  • Sometimes when you challenge, then you will find that it is not necessary for you to do it. Even if you find out, no need to do it.

E.g.: Use car to send someone. (Use post office, letter, and phone)

3. Escape it (Why B):

  • To escape from dominating ideas or for satisfying a condition.
  • We may challenge the concepts or ideas.

E.g.: Escape using umbrella when it rains, use other alternatives.

Differences between Critical challenge and Creative challenge:

Critical Challenge:

1.       When it defects, then we try to challenge it.

2.       Reactive.

3.       Waste a time.

4.       1 way looks at thing.

5.       Set out to criticize, judge, or find fault.

6.       There is a limitation.

Creative challenge:

1.       Doesn’t set out to criticize.

2.       Everything is okay, but still need to challenge it.

3.       Proactive.

4.       Not waste of time.

5.       Many ways to look at things.

6.       There is no limitation.


Substitute (S):

Think about replacing something with something else, by looking for the replacement, we can come up with new ideas.

Combine (C):

Think about combining 2 product or process in order to create different product or process.

Adapt (A):

Think about adapting an existing idea to solve problem.

Modify (M):

Think about changing part or the entire current situation.

Put to other uses (P):

Think on how we might be able to put our current idea to other uses.

Eliminate (E):

Think on what might happen if you eliminated various parts of the product or process.

Rearrange & Reverse (R):

Think on what you would do if part of your problem, product or process worked in reverse or in different order.



I wish you all the best……..

(Intan Sumantri Sholeh, Siddiq 4.5c International Islamic University Malaysia)


About intanelwahdy

Graduate of International Islamic University Malaysia B.A In Islamic Studies. Member of Majelis Intelektual & Ulama Muda Indonesia Branch Kaltara Member of Komisi Fatwa Majelis Ulama Indonesia Tarakan
This entry was posted in Intan's Notes. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Creative Thinking & Problem Solving (RKGS 2010) Notes.

  1. vimiium says:

    Thank you Intan.

    Salam Salamah.

  2. intanelwahdy says:

    You’re Welcome….
    jangan serik-serik untuk mengunjungi Blog saya,….
    it will be something new every minutes….

  3. Huzaifah Chorghay says:

    Thank you brother for making a valuable effort of posting notes on the blog..
    It was merely enough for me to read this and prepare for exams. 🙂

    May Allah reward you for this work. Ameen!

  4. Huzaifah Chorghay says:

    No, from India.

  5. humblefish says:

    May Allah reward u immensely for spreading this beneficial knowledge. Got my creative thinkin’ exam today and ur blog is very helpful alhamdulilah 🙂

  6. fieza abdullah says:

    alhamdulillah…full note untuk subjek ni…thank you so much..very useful for my final exam..

  7. Det er også veldig sexy å ligge på ryggen, på en pute, og dra opp knærne til hver side.
    Ikke bli sjalu over at ingen tar på deg, men len deg tilbake og nyt det du ser.
    På knull kontakt finner du helt sikkert damer som har lyst på det samme
    som deg og som kan tenke seg å ha en het One Night Stand ute i naturen
    sammen med deg.

  8. ANA says:

    SALAM,ada x laman web untk detail lg about each.?tQ.

    • intanelwahdy says:

      Saya x pasti ada ker tidak untuk detail, sebab ni just yang dulu saya pernah belajar kat kelas, mungkin kalau Cik Ana cuba download buku PDF akan lebih memudahkan….

  9. Ala'addin says:

    Jazakallahu Khairan brother

  10. amalina says:

    Salaam brother. Jazakallah for this note! I was in a dire need of it. May Allah reward you generously for this sharing

  11. shamim says:

    Mohon share ya 😃

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s