Rehana is a Chaplain at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust and also the Birmingham Women’s Hospital. She is at the sharp end of the social realities within the community: “There have been instances when working as a hospital chaplain I have spoken to women who have given birth only to be submerged by the grief of a previously unacknowledged abortion. Disability awareness in Muslims is a relatively new concept because on the Indian subcontinent, many babies with disability die and caring for a disabled child or adult long term is a new challenge”.
In addition to providing individual counselling to patients, she has been active in seeking better facilities for Muslim patients and their visitors, and in November 2004 organised an Awareness Week with coffee mornings at the Trust’s hospitals. The programme included talks on the Muslim healthcare environment, Fasting and the Muslim patient and Islam’s contribution to medicine. Her comment was: “At this time, it is more important than ever to ensure Muslims feel welcome in hospital and equally, share our faith and practice with those of other faiths or of no faith, breaking down barriers and taboos and eradicating misconceptions that are prevalent today”. Her job also involves visiting terminally ill people in acute NHS hospitals in Birmingham. She notes, “it can be the simplest things that make a difference, like providing prayer mats or pointers showing which way is east when people want to pray”. Rehana Sadiq was one of four lead chaplains in the strategy project team ‘Caring for the spirit’