Muslim chaplaincy is the pastoral care of Muslims within institutional settings. It primarily serves the needs of those who may be experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, spiritual, social, psychological, and physical distress. It may be provided through a number of interventions including spiritually-integrated psychotherapy, spiritual mentorship, education, advocacy, and a caring relationship.

Although Muslim chaplains specialize in the pastoral care of those in distress, they may also contribute to the sense of joy and thankfulness within his or her community or institution by leading celebrations and prayers at times of success, joy, and the sacred days of the Islamic year. While Muslim chaplaincy can and does serve the needs of people of other faiths, or no faith at all, the Muslim chaplain is unique in his or her ability to provide specialized care and services that are relevant and meaningful to Muslims within an institutional context. In doing so, the Muslim chaplain strives to provide his or her services in ways consistent with the principles of the Islamic tradition, such as its emphasis upon guidance (irshad) and mercy (rahma), no matter who the chaplain is serving (Muslim or non-Muslim). Furthermore, Muslim chaplaincy differs from other ways of serving the community (khidma) by being founded upon the principles of reformation (islah) of the spiritual heart (qalb) and a psychological understanding of wellbeing, healing, and growth.

Quoted from Long, I.J. & Ansari, B. (2018). Islamic Pastoral Care and the Development of Muslim Chaplaincy. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 12(1), p. 115.