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Understanding the meaning of chaplaincy.

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Understanding the meaning of chaplaincy The word chaplain has many meanings and different connotations. Its early usage is of Christian origins. Usually a Christian priest was in charge of a chapel in a prominent institution. But throughout time especially in the last 50 years the word chaplaincy has taken a whole new meaning. The influx of multi-faith immigrants has forced the nature of chaplaincy to reach out to other cultures and religions, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Sikhism etc. unlike before, predominantly everything was very much exclusive to the adherents of the Church Of England. In the modern world today, we see that chaplaincy work is not just confined to religion but has a broader spectrum. It deals with comforts and soothing the pains of difficulties in life. One of the most beautiful examples for a Muslim chaplaincy is how the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) dealt with difficult situations, even before he was crowned with Prophethood. He served the need of fellow human beings, without looking into their religious identity. Hazrat Khadijah, his beloved wife has described his character in the most eloquent way. She says: "o' Prophet of Allah 'No' Allah would never disgrace you! You maintain close ties with your relations; you bear others burdens and give people what they need. You are hospitable to your guests and help those with a just claim to get what is due to them." From this very short excerpt of his voluminous biography, we can deduce the many good qualities that are needed in the field of chaplaincy Good listening skills Listening plays a paramount role for a chaplain. ...read more.


Do you break the news to him or conceal it? If a question is asked by the patient "why me? What wrong did I do?" how do you answer that? These are very sensitive issues and must be dealt with, with great deliberation. A great degree of comfort can be brought to a seriously ill or dying patient by the recognition of what their needs might possibly be. The fact that someone has bothered to ask whether it would be helpful to have a bagwan/gita or drops of Ganges water in the case of a Hindu, or Sabbath candle sticks to a Jewish person, or the Holy Quraan for a Muslim may make him feel wanted and cared for. It can make the difference between the patient regarding himself as just another person on the hospital conveyer belt or as someone whose individuality is being taken seriously. It can be enormously helpful transforming the attitude of the patient concerned who may suddenly become more co-operative in treatment, the patients relationship with the staff may also be enhanced with those who have shown such interest. The sensitivity shown in this area is enormous it is all too easy to upset a patient by forcing or seeming to force his own religion upon him. What has to be developed is sensitivity towards the possible requirement of an individual patient with some knowledge of the religious tradition from which he comes rather than imposing an abandoned half forgotten religious tradition upon him. ...read more.


Post-mortems There is a strong prohibition against any form of mutilation for any purpose. Post-mortem examinations are therefore forbidden in Islam and most families will refuse. But when permission is taken one must remember that this is likely to be a sensitive issue. Condolences It is a duty upon Muslims to offer condolences, sympathy, support and comfort to the family. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has encouraged the Muslims to visit the family of the bereaved. And has marked it as his own way of life. Muslim Chaplains knowledge of Islam As well as challenges that the muslim chaplain may face in an environment that is un-islamic, he has to adapt to the system with making sure he is not a threat to anyone or he is not there to convert anyone. His aim must be to take on a supportive role for the Muslim patients and this will require from him a substantial amount of Islamic knowledge. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) has said; "Whenever a Muslim visits his sick Muslim brother, he constantly remains amongst the fruits of paradise until he returns (from the visit)" The Prophet (peace be upon him) has also mentioned; " Visit the ill and build your self a mansion in paradise." Conclusion Allah has given great honour and status to human beings and we are all the children of Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) and our fundamental duty is to understand each other in the diversity of environment and never be judgemental but always be a helping hand to all fellow human beings. ...read more.

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