What is Muslim Chaplaincy?


Muslim Chaplaincy is the pastoral care of Muslims within communities and institutional settings. It primarily serves the needs of those who may be experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, spiritual, social, psychological, and physical crises through spiritual mentorship, education, advocacy, and a caring relationship based on mercy (rahma) and sincere concern (nasiha). However, Muslim chaplains can also add 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 a community and 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, no matter who the chaplain is serving. Moreover, Muslim chaplaincy differs from other ways of serving the community (khidma) by being founded upon the reformation (islah) of the spiritual heart (qalb) and a psychological understanding of well-being, healing and growth.

– From draft for later publishing (C) Ibrahim J. Long 2016

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