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Aging Muslim Communities

M ON DA Y , A P RIL 30, 2007

http://w or l dm usl i m congr e ss. bl ogspot. com /2007/04/


agi ng-m usl i m -com m uni ti es.htm l

My maternal Grand father said between attending weddings, funerals


and visiting the sick, we will be more realistic about life. It brings
humility and shaves off the vain-ness in us - It is indeed effective and
brings about peace and freedom to us. Try it, you will feel blessed.

Mike Ghouse

Aging Muslim Communities


By Claudia Gaspar, april 30, 2007

An article published in the New York Times ' U.S. Muslims Confront
Taboo on Nursing Homes' (June 13, 2006) exposed a fractured aspect of
our contemporary society that afflicts all people disregarding of their
religion: what to do with the elderly, sick, permanently disabled elements
in a hectic society like the American ?

This poses a deep reflection on how we deal with our own limitations and
confront the exactly we reject most : our own decaying and the final
process, death.

The tradition tells us after Abraham circumcized himself, God came to


fulfill the commandment of soothing Abraham's period of discomfort.
The Talmud (Jewish oral law) states that a person who visits the sick
removes a sixtieth of his illness.

Caring for the sick must become institutionalized in the Muslim


community. Many communities had special societies which took
responsibility for providing health care for the needy. These societies
must be available to any community member or stranger who needed
help.

Nursing homes and hospitals alternative worship services to elderly, sick


and would ensue new liturgical forms to be used in alternative services at
mosques and prayers' meetings.

Here is where Muslim Chaplaincy Service comes in to provide pastoral


care, counseling, visitation and crisis intervention for Muslims in
general.

Hospitals

Pastoral care, counseling and visitation are provided to patients and


their families by community imans and volunteers at hospitals. Ongoing
educational seminars could be offered to hospital personnel and
chaplains to guide them in better meeting the needs of Muslim patients
at their facilities.

Nursing Homes

Friday and holiday programming and bedside visitation must be


provided by trained volunteers and congregational imans at nursing
homes. The frequency of Friday programming depends on the number of
residents and their level of acuity. Imans or trained volunteers could
advise and counsel families on nursing home placements.
Caring for the sick must become institutionalized in the Muslim
community. Many communities had special societies which took
responsibility for providing health care for the needy. These societies
must be available to any community member or even a stranger who
needed help.

The mission of nursing home/hospital healing service is to visit and


provide comfort to the sick and their families. No member of the
community should be lonely, isolated, forgotten or abandoned because
of illness, infirmities or advanced in age.

Reaching out with open arms, a warm heart and an understanding spirit,
we make a commitment to share their suffering. As we nourish their
spirits, offer comfort, friendship and consolation, we must bring a sense
of wholeness and connection to the Muslim community, repairing and
healing our world.

Many people in the Muslim communities are finding more spiritual,


personal and innovative ways of experiencing their faith. This comes at a
time when religious observers say the country appears to be on a
spiritual quest. Guided meditations at the beginning of adult Qu'ran
classes. Friday service in a study lounge where worship would includes
lively singing and swaying to the music of guitar, bass, tambourines and
drums. This will be a renaissance in which nursing homes and hospitals
will have an important role in transforming the way we see our
communities.

Jews and Christians use to read the Psalms but Muslims can start
thinking about an easy to understand prayers' book with dua'as and also
selected ayats translated into the local language in order they can be
easily understood. A contemporary melody could be offered as an option
to the traditional one.

Healing services would help to trigger Muslim Renewal Movement, a


colorful tapestry of matching, contrasting, clashing, and original threads
representing Islamic’s diverse history and denominations. Instead of
holding services in the larger traditional mosques or holy places, a
Muslim Renewal group would recite, chant, and sing primarily Muslim
prayers in smaller, intimate worship settings. Many of these small
worship groups could be unaffiliated with any trend inside Islam.

Claudia Gaspar writes from Brazil about Islam highlighting major


contributions of Islamic philosophers.