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Profiles in Chaplaincy

Sohaib Sultan is the Imam & Muslim Life Program Coordinator at Princeton University. We spoke to him briefly about his experience in the Islamic Chaplaincy Master’s program at Hartford Seminary.

"The Islamic Chaplaincy Program

In what setting do you plan on, or are currently, using your Islamic Chaplaincy degree (i.e. hospital, military, education, corrections)? Please expand on your current roles and responsibilities as a Chaplain in your particular setting.

I’ve used my training at the Hartford Seminary to work on college campuses as a university chaplain. For the last seven years I’ve been at Princeton University. My responsibilities as the university Muslim chaplain are manifold. Every day is a new day with its own set of joys and challenges. My work is divided into six converging categories: organizing Muslim worship and devotion on campus; counseling and advising students on the myriad of questions and challenges they face from religion to relationships; advocating for the religious needs of Muslim students on campus and representing the Islamic faith when necessary at official university functions; teaching non-academic personal enrichment classes on the Islamic tradition; and, lastly, working closely with other faith chaplains to foster inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.   

What should prospective students know about Hartford Seminary and the Islamic Chaplaincy program?

The Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary is a really unique and outstanding program. If you want to learn how to be a religious leader who can apply theology and ethics in the real lives of real people, then the seminary is for you.

Please click here to continue reading about Sohaib and his time at Hartford Seminary.

Iskandar Atajanow is a Muslim Chaplain at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, N.Y. and a Muslim Advisor at Vassar College in neighboring Poughkeepsie, N.Y. We spoke to him about his experiences as a Muslim Chaplaincy student at Hartford Seminary.Iskandar Atajanow Islamic Chaplaincy

How did you hear about Hartford Seminary?

When I decided to become a chaplain, a current Muslim chaplain suggested that I check out Hartford Seminary.

What made you decide to attend?

Hartford Seminary is known for its great education in the field of Christian-Muslim relations and Muslim chaplaincy. Its alumni have achieved a lot of success in the chaplaincy field and set a standard for the rest to follow. Hartford Seminary has some of the top Islamic Studies scholars who are willing to go above and beyond in order to help students to develop their scholarly and pastoral potentials.

What sets the Hartford Seminary environment apart?

Hartford Seminary has a great on-campus living environment. Students and the faculty live in an approximate distance from each other, which helps to develop an ever-learning and neighborly environment.

To read more about Iskandar’s experience so far, please click here.

INTERVIEW WITH AL-HAJJAH KHALILAH KARIM-RUSHDANrushdan

Former Chaplain to the Muslim Community – Smith College

Saima Malik (staff at the ICP): Would you please share some background information about yourself and the work that you are involved in?

I have worked in community service in some form or another for many years, from being a criminal investigator in Mississippi to my current position as a Psychotherapist and Chaplain at Smith College, Northampton, MA. I’m blessed to be able to do the two things I love most, dawah and psychotherapy. I began my work as the Muslim Chaplain in 2000 as adjunct faculty to the Office of Chaplains. After the events of September 2001 my role as Muslim Chaplain was expanded.

My educational background includes a B.A. in Social Welfare/ Sociology from the University of New Haven in West Haven. CT. I earned my Master of Social Work degree from Smith College Social for Social Work.

Read more of this interview

INTERVIEW WITH MUMINA KOWALSKImkowalski

Muslim Chaplain at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, PA

Saima Malik (staff at the ICP): Would you please share some background information about yourself and the work that you are involved in?

Since 1999, I have been the Muslim Chaplain at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, the first woman to work in this capacity in the Pennsylvania state system. Located in the north central sector of the state, this prison is the largest facility for women in Pennsylvania, with approximately 900 females incarcerated at five levels of security, including capital cases.  Read more of this interview

 

INTERVIEW WITH JIBRIL BILAL RASHADrashadic

Associate Chaplain at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, VA

Saima Malik (staff at the ICP): Would you please share some background information about your qualifications and the work that you do?

I am an Associate Chaplain at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, VA. To be a chaplain at any clinical setting one must possess a Masters degree in religion or theology. Also, one must take units of CPE or clinical pastoral education, which are closely orchestrated counseling sessions at a hospital accredited to teach in this function. I am close to finishing my degree at Hartford and I have had CPE at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fl. This has all been very rewarding indeed. I have been working at the Children’s Hospital for about three years now and loving every minute of it despite its ups and downs. Read more of this interview

 

What is a Chaplain

A chaplain is a professional who offers spiritual advice and care in a specific institutional context, such as a military unit or a college campus, hospital or prison. Although chaplains often provide religious services for members of their own faith communities, the main role of a chaplain is to facilitate or accommodate the religious needs of all individuals in the institution in which he or she is working.

Chaplains often serve as experts on ethics to their colleagues and employers, providing insight to such diverse issues as organ transplantation, just-warfare, and public policy. Professional chaplains do not displace local religious leaders, but fill the special requirements involved in intense institutional environments.

Thus, a Muslim chaplain is not necessarily an “Imam,” although an Imam may work as a chaplain. There is a need for both male and female Muslim chaplains. For example, female Muslim students on college campuses or hospitalized Muslim women may feel more comfortable with a Muslim woman chaplain.

View the NYU Muslim student film about the need for Muslim college chaplains

To learn more about becoming a chaplain see our Frequently Asked Questions section.

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