Caring for the Muslim Patient

Ahmed Abdelmageed PharmD
Associate Director of Experiential Education
Clinical Assistant Professor
Objectives …..loosely speaking
• What is Islam
• Who are the Muslims
• The five pillars of Islam
• Modesty and gender Interactions
• Dietary considerations
• Hygiene
• Maternity, Labor and Delivery
• End of life issues
What is Islam2
• The essence and substance of Islam can be easily summed up by three
major principles (which are also successive stages in the spiritual life)
• Islam (meaning ‘submission to God’s will’)
• Iman (meaning ‘faith in God’)
• Ihsan (meaning ‘virtue through constant regard to, and awareness of, God’).
• The five pillars of Islam
The testimony of faith
The five daily prayers
Paying of Zakah (alms)
Fasting the month of Ramadan annually
Hajj or Pilgrimage to Mecca
Who are the Muslims?2
• POP Quiz
• List the top 3 countries with the
largest number of Muslims
Muslim Population by Region2
Who are the Muslims? (Cont’d)
Unity within Diversity2
• Islam does not, like Christianity, have a clergy. There is no temporal
or even spiritual governing institute
• A traditional canon
• A collection of sacred texts which everyone has agreed are authoritative
and definitive, and which ‘fix’ the principles of belief, practice, law,
theology and doctrine throughout the ages
• Quran and Hadith-Sunnah
• Muslim scholars interpret these texts and work out their practical
applications and details
• Certain limits beyond which it will not go
• An internal check and balance system that safeguards its mode
The First Pillar:
Testimony of Faith
• I bear witness that there is no God
but God and that Mohammad is
His messenger
• Tenets of faith: Belief in…
• Allah= God
• Angels
• The Quran and the books
• Mohammad and the messengers
• Destiny
• The hereafter
• Individual Accountability
The Second Pillar:
Prayer (Salah)
• Five times a day
• The call to prayer
• Fajir- Before the break of dawn
• Duhur- Around noon
• Asr- Afternoon/Midday
• Maghrib- Sunset
• Isha- Night
Prayer (Cont’d)
• Wudu = Ablution
• Pray facing Mecca (Ka’abah)
The Third Pillar:
Zakah (Alms)
The Fourth Pillar:
Fast of Ramadan
• The lunar calendar
• Fasting
• Spiritual
• Physical
• To fast or not to fast
• Eid Al-fitr
• Eid Mubarak
• Eid Al-adha
The Fifth Pillar:
Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Modesty and Gender Interactions
• Same sex provider
• Interactions with the opposite sex
• Physical interaction- Hand shaking,
hugging, patting on the back
• Alone in a room
• Modesty
• Men and Women’s dress code
• Wearing the headscarf (Hijab)
• Knock on the door before entering
Dietary Considerations
• Halal Food
• Halal means lawful and is used to
designate food which is permitted in
• Halal Meat- Meat and derivatives that
have been killed ritually
• Not Permitted
• Alcohol
• Pork and Pork Products (swine)
• Pop Quiz: Which of these products does
not contain a pork product
• Utensils
• Capsule and tablet casings
• Islam places great emphasis on hygiene, in both physical and spiritual
• e.g. Ablution
• Other hygiene related rules include:
• Washing with water after urination or defecation
• Toilets should be equipped with a small water container to assist with washing
• A beaker of water should be made available to a bedbound Muslim patient whenever
they use a bed pan
• Removal of armpit and pubic hair
• Keeping nostrils clean
• Keeping fingernails trimmed and clean
Maternity, Labor and Delivery3
• As soon as a child is born, a Muslim father may wish to recite the
call to prayer into the baby’s ears
• Circumcision is performed on all male children
• Can be postponed if medically necessary
• A fetus after the age of 120 days is regarded as a viable baby
• If a miscarriage, an intra-uterine death after 120 days, or stillbirth occurs,
Muslim parents may wish to bury the baby
• Islam suggests that mothers to breastfeed their children for two
End of Life Issues3
• The preservation of life is considered paramount in Islam. However, Islam
recognizes that death is an inevitable part of human existence
• There is no elaborate or complicated ritual to be performed at the death
• Family member would read some verses from the Qur’an and pray for the
peaceful departure of the soul
• If the patient is in a state of consciousness, they may wish to recite the
testimony of faith and pass away while reciting these words
• Muslim burials are performed as soon as possible after death, sometimes
on the same day
• Relatives or people from the Muslim community will wish to make
arrangements for the washing, shrouding and burial according to Islamic
Blood and Organ Donations
• Muslims accept blood transfusions and transplants of various
human organs
• It is acceptable for Muslims to donate blood and organs, as the
saving of life is considered an act of great virtue
• There are five pillars of Islam that all practicing Muslims share
• Prayer is an essential ritual of the Muslim day
• Considerations for opposite gender interactions
• Hygienic practices
• Dietary considerations
• Islam places the responsibility of practicing religion on the
individual and, as a result, it is important that health care providers
discuss religious observance needs with each patient
1. The-Future-of-the-Global-Muslimpopulation.aspx
2. The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre
3. Queensland Health and Islamic Council of Queensland.
Health Care Providers’ Handbook on Muslim Patients Second
Edition 2010. Division of the Chief Health Officer, Queensland
Health, Brisbane 2010.
Challenges and Strategies for Healthcare Settings. Aasim Padela,
MD, MS, Katie Gunter, MPH, MSW, & Amal Killawi. ISPU MSW1225
Eye Street, Nw, Suite 307, Washington, DC, 20005

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