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Why the need for such a book?


Nursing care of the patient of a different culture and religion is both challenging and rewarding. The nursing profession is faced with the challenging role of providing individualised care within the context of culture, beliefs and tradition. The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses (2006) contains the following statement:  “Inherent in nursing is a respect for human rights including cultural rights, the right to life and choice, to dignity and to be treated with respect. Nursing care is respectful of and unrestricted by considerations of age, colour, creed, culture, disability or illness, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, politics, race or social status. In providing care, the nurse promotes an environment in which the human rights, values, customs and spiritual beliefs of the individual, family and community are respected.”


In a classical paper, Rassool (2000) had proposed back in the year 2000 that Muslims and non-Muslim scholars and clinicians, in the health care professions, should aim to develop a nursing care and model based on the Tawheed Paradigm in meeting the spiritual needs of the Muslim patients. A model grounded in the Muslim worldview was developed as a result of Lovering’s (2008) study of Arab Muslim nurses' experiences of the meaning of caring. In Lovering’s (2008) study, the nurses’ translated their spiritually derived beliefs about health, illness and healing into a form of caring that is distinct from Western or Eastern nurses’ caring models. Subsequently, the Crescent of Care model was developed to provide guidance in the care of Muslim patients by Muslim and non-Muslim nurses (Lovering  2012).


As the population of Muslims increases in Northern and Western Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Oceania, it is reasonable to assume that many nurses and allied healthcare practitioners will more frequently encounter Muslim patients in the health care system.. There is a need for nurses and other health care professionals not only to be aware of their own values but also have an awareness of cultural competence. This awareness and competence will enhance the qualities of caring, competence and professionalism. There are major challenges facing health and social care providers in the provision and delivery of service provision for Muslim patients. Muslim patients are a heterogeneous group with varying values, attitudes and customs that affect the patterns of health and illness.


As there was a dearth of suitable textbooks that focus in cultural competence in nursing for Muslim patients, the concept of the book was mooted back in 2001. The aim was to offer a book that focus on the basic understanding of the tenets of Islam and the implications for the delivery of culturally appropriate and compassionate care to Muslim patients.


The essence of this book is based on the following notions:

  • The fundamental of Islam as a religion is based on the Oneness of God.

  • The tenets of Islam are the Noble Qur’aan and Hadith.

  • Muslims believe that cure comes solely from Allah (God).

  • Seeking treatment for ill health does not conflict with seeking help from Allah.

  • Central to Islamic teachings are the connections between knowledge, health, holism, the environment and the “Oneness of Allah”, the unity of God in all spheres of life, death and the hereafter.

  • Health is state of complete physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being.

  • Islam takes a holistic approach to health. Physical, emotional and spiritual health cannot be separated.

  • The importance of meeting spiritual needs comes before physical needs.

  • Islam places great emphasis on both physical and spiritual, cleanliness and purification, a well-balanced diet combined with physical activity and exercise.

  • Emerging cultural competence in nursing is aiming to make healthcare services more responsive to the needs of the Muslim patients.

  • There is wide consensus amongst Muslim scholars that psychiatric or psychological disorders are legitimate medical conditions that is distinct from illnesses of a supernatural nature.

  • Organ and blood donation and organ transplantation are consistent with Islamic belief.

  • The family is partners in the care of the patient, and make decisions on the patient’s care with the health care team.

  • Application of the Crescent of Care model places the patient and family at the centre of caring action, in the provision of psychosocial, interpersonal, cultural, clinical and spiritual care. 

  • Caring, in the Islamic context, is an act of shared spirituality between nurses and patients, where the nature of the shared spirituality is fluid, depending on the patient’s spiritual needs.

  • It is a sign of respect that Muslims would utter or repeat the words ‘Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him’ (PBUH) after hearing (or writing) the name of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).




  • International Council of Nurses [ICN] (2006). The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses (Geneva, Switzerland: ICN) .

  • Lovering, S. (2008) Arab Muslim nurses' experiences of the meaning of caring. Faculty of Health Sciences. Sydney, Australia, University of Sydney. Doctor of Health Sciences: 248.

  • Lovering, S. (2012) The Crescent of Care: a nursing model to guide the care of Arab Muslim patients. Diversity and Equality in Health and Care 9, 171-178.

  • Rassool, G. Hussein (2000).The crescent and Islam: healing, nursing and the spiritual dimension. Some considerations towards an understanding of the Islamic perspectives on caring. Journal of advanced nursing 32 ( 6) 1476-1484.

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