Developing a Religiously-Tailored Health Education Model for American Muslims

Project Overview

Many studies note that Muslims share health beliefs, values, and experiences that impact healthcare behaviors across ethnic and racial lines. In addition to sharing a theo-centric framework of health and disease, many Muslims look to Islamic ethico-legal guidelines to decide which medical treatments and procedures are permissible.

There is a difference of opinion within Islamic law and among Muslim scholars on the permissibility of organ donation contributing to knowledge gaps within Muslim communities. Our project began by seeking to define these knowledge gaps aiding in the design religiously-tailored, peer-led group education workshops conducted in mosques.

Organ donation and end-of-life care attitudes are impacted by biomedical and religious knowledge gaps. This project aimed to deliver and test the effectiveness of religiously-tailored, mosque-based educational workshops that discuss the biomedical and religious aspects of end-of-life care and living organ donation.



Project Aims

The purpose of developing these workshops was to empower the Muslim community to make informed decisions by:

  1. Enhancing workshop attendee knowledge of the benefits and risks, understanding of religious arguments for and against, and biomedical knowledge about the process and types of living organ donation
  2. Enhancing workshop attendee knowledge of the benefits and risks, and understanding of religious arguments for and against different medical decisions and procedures during end-of-life care

This project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (Grant Number R39OT31104).

Why Organ Donation?

The disparity between supply and demand for life-saving and/or life-sustaining organs is well-known and contributes to over 140 people on the waiting list per week dying in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013).The situation for ethnic and racial minorities is even more dire as, not only do biological factors make finding appropriate matches more difficult, organ donors rarely come from such backgrounds (Health Resources and Services Administration).

2017 Organ Donors and Wait-list Recipients Ethnic Breakdown   

*Note: there is no specific data on Muslims overall, nor on South Asians and Arabs (Arabs are classified as white in most organ donation research). To view national data reports on waiting lists and donation rates, click HERE

What Are American Muslim Attitudes Towards Organ Donation?

Findings from Community based surveys in Michigan and Chicago

American Muslim attitudes towards organ donation are more negative compared to the general US population which has a > 95% support rate. The gaps can be contributed towards lack of religious and biomedical knowledge to make informed decisions regarding organ donation.

Why End-of-Life Care?

Muslim patients and physicians grapple with questions about ethical obligations of providers and families during end-of-life healthcare. Identified issues of uncertainty include: withholding and withdrawing life sustaining treatment and whether or not brain death equates to true death according to Islam.

Academic Presentations
Replication Toolkit

Replication Guide

Community members who are interested in replicating religiously-tailored, peer led, organ donation workshops in your mosque can use our replication guide to help plan workshops that address both biomedical and religious knowledge regarding living organ donation.

PowerPoint Presentations

Click on the PowerPoint titles below to download for public use.

Educational Resources

Community members who are interested in replicating the workshops can find samples of our peer education training manual, participant course booklets, as well as other educational documents and videos that might be helpful in organizing the workshops. 

Developing Religiously Tailored Intervention

Supported by:

Community Advisory Board
  • Tareq Abedin
  • Mohammad Yahya Alvi
  • Jaseem Anwer
  • Naeem Baig
  • Fawzia Fazily
  • Irfan Galaria
  • Mahsin Habib
  • Muhammad Nabeel Hasan
  • Kamran Husain
  • Mohammad Khalid
  • Fauzia Lodhib
  • Saulat Pervez
  • Rafiq Rakhangi
  • Latif A. Rasheed
  • Irfan Shaikh
  • Neima Surur
  • Sabih Uddin
  • Abdul Rahman Wajid