Abstract

Every community has its own religio-cultural understanding of death, its rites, rituals and beliefs. Although there is a growing Muslim population in the UK, many of whom either access or provide healthcare services within the NHS, very little is known about the beliefs, processes and practices they use in relation to death, dying and remembrance. In this presentation, I will share findings from an empirical study that offers a thematic analysis of 50+ interviews with Muslim patients and families as well as doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, chaplains and community faith leaders across the UK. The themes include ethical challenges raised by the reconciliation of beliefs and practices in Muslim communities when they encounter the health service, the role of faith leaders and religio-cultural commitments in the understanding and articulation of values around death and dying such as, acceptance and hope. The presentation will also explore how attitudes and practices amongst Muslim communities in the UK is changing and how such intergenerational transitions in the beliefs, processes and practices in relation to death, dying and remembrance may impact access to health services and the practice of professionals delivering care.

The study shows that Islam, its texts and lived practice, finds growing importance within the UK end of life care discourse as there is an increasing Muslim population and burgeoning interest in the role of faith and spirituality in healthcare decision making. It also indicates that patients and practitioners alike rely on multiple moral sources to make decisions and face moral anxiety and frustration when these different moral sources are in conflict. An analysis of such tensions will be presented with an evaluation of implications for health systems, health care services, providers and users.    

If you would like to attend, please e-mail Jane Beinart at jane.beinart@ethox.ox.ac.uk.