Chaplains were, in its origin, in the UK people appointed by the Church to work in all kinds of places outside the normal life of the congregation or Church. However, this concept has expanded considerably in the UK and now people of all faiths and none are chaplains who provide care to service users. There are chaplains in hospitals, workplaces, prisons, the armed forces, shopping centres, rural areas, colleges, universities and schools to name but a few.
There are various ‘models’ of chaplaincy that identify the different characteristics of the role. For our purpose, a chaplain is someone (most cases imams and scholars):
Who provides support to those who need some time with a trusted and qualified individual to talk through issues or situations they are facing. This is usually not formal counselling (unless they are suitably qualified and this is what the (for example) school or college or university want from them), but giving time.
However, pastoral support is not just dealing with problems but enabling people to grow into life in all its fullness. There can be a considerable need for such support but it is helpful to agree on a limit to the time that can be given so as not to detract from time that could be given to other aspects of the role. It is not about preaching or imposing your view on people but being a good listener and facilitating people to develop their psychological, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
We want to develop a nationwide pool of Muslim chaplains serving the community and institutions and working to develop and support generations of Muslims who are well-established in their faith and capable of giving back to their communities and society intellectually, spiritually, and professionally.