Expansion of Training Programs in Malaysia

On behalf of Ziyara Spiritual Care Services, Chaplains Kamal Abu Shamsieh, Sondos Kholaki, and Sharif Rosen traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to share approaches to spiritual care and train Malaysia spiritual care providers, clinicians, and volunteers between October 6-9, 2018. Presentations and training were conducted at An-Nur Hospital, the National Cancer Institute, Al-Islam Specialist Hospital, Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), UiTM (Universiti Teknologi Mara) Medical campus, and the International Islamic University (IIUM) on topics such as spiritual care at the end of life, prophetic pastoral care, basics of spiritual care, and palliative care.

On Sunday, October 7, the Chaplains participated in a pre-conference training in partnership with palliative care specialist, Dr. Diana Katiman, supported by Dr Shahnaz Alqudsi and Dr Harith Rosdi. The all-day training was hosted by UiTM (Universiti Teknologi MARA) Medical campus and was attended by medical specialists, faith leaders, and spiritual care providers.

The main training seminar took place on October 8 & 9 at Malaysia’s largest hospital, Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), a government hospital with a capacity of over 2000 beds. Conference attendees included spiritual care providers from across Malaysia, and delegates from Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, and Thailand. The conference included supporting messages from YB Fuziah Salleh, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs, Dr. Azman Abu Bakar, Deputy Director-General of Public Health, and Dr. Ishak Masoud of the Federation of Islamic Medical Associations.

Chaplains Kamal Abu Shamsieh, Sondos Kholaki, and Sharif Rosen led several spiritual care sessions addressing the foundation and theology of spiritual care, end-of-life care, and spiritual care visits. The attendees engaged in a series of role playing and for some, actual pastoral visitations in the hospital supervised by the Chaplains who offered feedback about the spiritual care providers’ interactions with patients.

The visits and speaking engagements were coordinated by Sakinah Alhabshi, Ziyara coordinator in Malaysia. She is a spiritual care provider with interest in palliative care chaplaincy, who volunteers with hospice care as well as psycho-social disaster relief missions through Mercy Malaysia.

The generous hearts and eager minds of the hosts and attendees in Kuala Lumpur deeply impacted the visiting chaplains from America, who returned to their respective homes after an intensive week with a renewed appreciation for the art of spiritual care, not only in their local community but for the ummah across the world. Pain, loss, and suffering know no cultural, linguistic, or religious bounds, and the revival of the Prophet Muhammad’s (s) Sunnah of compassionate care remains the key to addressing these needs in restoring wholeness.

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