Academic Programs 

Spiritual Resources for Muslim Chaplains    (WS-602)
Fall 2006

The Muslim Chaplain provides support and a compassionate presence to many people.  In order to maintain a healthy sense of purpose, the chaplain must develop self-awareness and a solid spiritual discipline.  In this class, we will explore the wisdom resources of classical Islam addressing issues such as sincerity, humility, certainty, hope and mercy.  In addition, we will discuss ways to answer the “tough questions” many Muslims ask their chaplains and religious leaders and distinguish between the authoritative and the authoritarian voice in Islam.



Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., beginning September 14

Ingrid Mattson
Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

Contact Information:

(860) 509-9531


Course Syllabus


Required Book
Qushayri, Principles of Sufism, translated by B.R. Von Schlegell

Some suggested resources:
Taha Alwani, Ethics of Disagreement in Islam.
Khaled Abou El Fadl, Speaking in God’s Name. (“iman stop”).
Ibn Ata’Allah, Kitab al-Hikam.
Hamza Yusuf, “The Seventeen Benefits of tribulation,” Audio CDs
Abdul Fattah Abu Ghudda, Islamic Manners
Living and Dying with Grace: Counsels of Hadrat ‘Ali, translated by Thomas Cleary.
Jeffrey Lang, Struggling to Surrender: Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam.
Ibn ‘Abbad of Ronda: Letters on the Sufi Path, translated by John Renard.
Isra Umeyye Yazicioglu, “Affliction, Patience and Prayer: Reading Job (p) in the Qur’an,” Journal of Scriptural Reasoning, no. 4.1 (July 2004).
Ibn Qayyim, Kitab al-Ruh.
Al-Nawawi, Kitab al-Adhkar

Class Structure and Requirements: As a group, our goal is to have by the end of the class a “Muslim Chaplain’s Handbook” that we have collectively produced. We will have a Blackboard site on which we can post reflections, readings and writings. In the first class we will decide the topics that need to be addressed, students will make their selection and we will construct a timeline for the assignments. It is my hope that we can at least address the following topics below:



A. You as a Chaplain

1. What is a Muslim Chaplain?
2. The Challenges of Religious Leadership (Purifying your intention; Knowing yourself; The “ungrateful” community; Temptations (power, status, pride); Dignifying the Position (without arrogance).
3. How to seek feedback for self-improvement: seeking advice; mentors/mentoring; accepting criticism; external standards, etc.
4. Your life, your priorities (Community, Family, Seeking Knowledge; Engaging in worship (I’tikaf, khalwa, salat; sawm etc).

B. Knowing your constituency

1. The Diversity of the American Muslim Community
2. The Special Needs of the Convert
3. Dealing with the Fasiq
4. Dealing with the Literalist
5. Working with Youth
6. Muslim Women
7. The Muslim who has lost faith because of trials and suffering.

C. Giving Guidance: Form and Content

1. Questioning Islam; Certainty and Doubt
2. “Feelings”: to be revealed or controlled?
3. Sickness and Death
4. Sin and Repentance
5. Iman and `Amal: Increasing faith through obedience to God.
6. Interfaith Prayers



Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500