Incorporation of Religious Knowledge and Spirituality into Social Work Education, A Case of Pakistan
The current review-based paper sets to argue that religious knowledge and spirituality should be included in the social work curriculum in the context of Pakistan. Incorporation of religion knowledge and spirituality in the social work education and practice is getting attention of researchers and scholars at global level. This has become significant for making social work practice more effective and acceptable in Muslim countries. At the moment, Pakistan is 5th most populous country in the world with an overwhelming majority of Muslim population. Here, professional social work started in early 1950s soon after independence of the country but still could not acquire status of a recognized and socially accepted profession as it is in the Western world. Despite existence of social work education in Pakistan for more than six decades, till date social work education and practice model is mainly westernized and needs indigenization for addressing local social problems and needs in the cultural context. Islam is complete code of life and provides comprehensive guidelines for all aspects of human life including carrying out welfare activities for the fellow human being. Islam spread in Sub-continent region through sufis who were embodiment of spirituality and enlightened minds and souls of millions of people. That is why religion and spirituality occupy central place in social lives of people of Sub-continent in general and Pakistan in particular. Based on religious mindedness of local people, mosque and prayer leader occupy a central place in the society and are very important in influencing public opinion at large. That is why, message delivered by prayer leader from mosque is considered significant and is hardly dishonored by people. Based on massive belief in religion and spirituality, incorporation of religious knowledge as well as spirituality in social work education and practice would be fruitful in term of its effective practice and social acceptance by common people in an Islamic country like Pakistan.
Keywords: Religious knowledge, social work curriculum, professional social work, spirituality, Pakistan
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