Temperament - Mizaaj

“Life is sustained by heat and grows by moisture; heat is supported by moisture and feeds on it.”
Ibn Sīnā

Temperament is the Golden Key to discovering and understanding your unique individuality.


Unani Tibb Understanding of Mizāj – Temperament

Mizāj – temperament is a dynamic quality that results from mutual actions and interactions of the four primary qualities inherent within the Elements. Temperament as defined above is a unique combination of the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of an individual. It is a dynamic state unique to each individual. Every being is endowed with the most suitable temperament for the purpose and conditions of its creation. Human beings possess the most suitable temperaments for the conditions of life.

Temperament is the inherent predisposition to respond and react along qualitatively predetermined characteristic patterns. Temperamental differences can be observed in the differences of response patterns to identical situations. Each individual responds and reacts according to innate psychological and physiological patterns, many of which they share in common with others, however when combined this set of patterns contributes to the person’s unique individuality.

Qualities and Elements

Arkān – the primary Elements – are the simple constituents of minerals, plants and animalsThe various orders of creation depend upon intermixtures of the Elements. Throughout the classical civilizations of China, the Middle East, India and Greece, the concept of the Elements has been used to explain and understand nature’s most complex processes, including health and disease. Unani Tibb, as a living and dynamic tradition of medicine and healthcare, shares with classical societies the idea of the Elements. However, owing to its own unique historical and social contexts it has its own particular emphasis, which will be the focus of this discussion.

The manifestation of existence by being is a result of polarization of materia prima into Quwā – energy. From the Unani Tibb perspective, the highest levels of organisation of the cosmos are concerned with complex energies. This understanding of the universe also extends to other organisms including human beings. Creating a spectrum for measuring the qualities of heat, cold, moisture and dryness, develops this framework.

The four Khawāṣ – primary qualities of heat, cold, moisture and dryness – are used as qualitative dimensions of measurement. Heat and cold are active; moisture and dryness are passive. This concept is further developed to yield four basic universal symbols called Arkān – the primary Elements. The macrocosm – the cosmos, and its miniature – the human being, are both results of an interplay of these four Elements, which are united in unvarying patterns.

The understanding of the qualities and the Elements is an intricate and subtle idea that requires transcending gross materialism. The Elements can be perceived as components, dynamic qualities, primary forms or different phases of a cycle. However, in all these aspects the Elements represent dynamic aspects of phenomena of life, originating from one creative source.