Theory of Islamic Spiritual Care


Course Objective

The student:
1. Knows the theorization on the function of Islamic spiritual care
compared to other disciplines and denominations.
2. Knows the theorization on different situations of people in care
institutions, prisons etc. and the ways they address and articulate
questions on life and faith.
3. Has insight in what contemporary Islamic spiritual care is (not)
about, such as the relation between spiritual care and psychotherapy or
‘Islamic’ alternative medicine and how it is organized in the
4. Is aware of ethical and Islamic jurisprudential dilemmas in different
contexts of Islamic spiritual care (health care, army, prison) and is
able to formulate an authentic position in these matters from a
spiritual caregiver’s perpsective.
6. Is able to theoretically reflect on the hermeneutical and relational
challenges of spiritual caregiving to non-Muslims as caregiver with a
Muslim background.
7. Is able to employ the acquired knowledge about the theory of Islamic
spiritual care independently in a final paper with own discretion and
propositions reaching a profile of a Muslim spiritual caregiver.
8. Is able to present the profile of a Muslim spiritual caregiver, to be
engaged in dialogue about it with other students and, if necessary,
modify it.
9. Is able to explore source texts from Islam’s discursive tradition
regarding Islamic spiritual care, to analyze them textually and
conceptually and, where necessary, to make use of them during the
follow-up research or professional practice.

Course Content

This course contains both a conceptual and textual study on the
framework of Islamic spiritual care. It discusses the conceptualization,
definition, history, principles, models, methods and organization of
Islamic spiritual care. The key question is: What is the function of
Islamic spiritual care and what are the main roles and duties of a
Muslim caregiver?

Attention is paid to the distinction or overlap between Islamic
spiritual care on the one hand and psychotherapy and alternative
‘Islamic’ medicine on the other hand. The course also deals with the
Islamic discursive tradition on spiritual life and in which way
traditional textual sources of Islamic spirituality can be used in the
practice of the Islamic caregiver. The key question here is: in which
ways can the textual sources of Islamic spiritual life be activated in
life questions among clients of Islamic spiritual care?

The course also focuses on ethical and Islamic jurisprudential (fiqh)
dilemmas in the work of a Muslim caregiver, specifically related to
Islamic medical ethics (abortion, euthanasia, organ donation etc.),
questions of Islamic jurisprudence and ethics in prison (Islamic rituals
behind bars, questions of guilt and punishment) and in the army
(questions of loyalty and subordination, combat ethics, PTSD).

The course ends with some substantial points of attention and discussion
about spiritual care; such as 'interfaith' spiritual care.

The overall acquired knowledge and insights will result in a final paper
with own judgments and statements about the professional profile of
Islamic spiritual care.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and seminars, literature study, presentations,
assignments and final paper (see course outline on Canvas).

Method of Assessment

Final Paper with take-home questions (65%); presentation (15%);
assignments (20%).


- Ahmed, S. and Amer M., Counseling Muslims. Handbook of Mental Health
Issues and interventions, New York : Routledge,2012.
- Ajouaou, M., Imam achter tralies, (phd), Universiteit Tilburg, 2010
(Engelstalige editie: Imam Behind Bars, Creatspace, 2014).
- Reader (will be delivered by the teacher).
- Recommended literature: see Canvas

Target Audience

Depending on the student’s choice, the admission requirements for the
Spiritual Care and/or the Research MA program apply for this course as

Additional Information

• Successful completion of this course is a prerequisite for following
an internship (stage) on Islamic spiritual care. (together with Arabic,
Quran-recitation and memorization)

Recommended background knowledge

Depending on the student’s choice, the admission requirements for the
Spiritual Care and/or the Research MA program apply for this course as

General Information

Course Code G_TISC
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator dr. P. Coppens
Examiner dr. P. Coppens
Teaching Staff dr. P. Coppens

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: