Helping Those in Need

Muhammed is a Turkish American Imam who works as a religious Chaplain in hospitals to try to help his patients in any way that he can. 

I was born in Lezing, Turkey, I moved to the United States in 2014. As I said, I was born in Turkey, in the city called Giresun, its in the upper part of Turkey, close to the Dead Sea area. That area is very green, very pretty, and the people are very friendly. Everyone has two jobs there, one is their profession and also everyone has gardens, hazelnut gardens, they are growing hazelnuts, its more than a job, it’s kind of their passion. Turkey itself, has the integration of cultures, like cultural heaven, because of the western part, the eastern part, the southern part,  and the Black Sea. They are representing all different kinds of cultures and traditions, but they are all friendly and family-based. I am raised in this kind of neighborhood, with a lot of uncles and aunties, they were so cute and sweet, they always asked me if I needed anything, for ice cream or cake, they always tried to serve me, I was raised in that kind of environment. My father was an Imam, he’s retired now, my mother is Hafiz-ul-Rahman, which means she memorized the entire Quran, so they are highly respected parents.

Going back to my story, it began with my Islamic High School, I decided that I would be the best student, I will prepare for the College Prep Exam and they cut some of my points from the Exam since I graduated from the Islamic School. They cut points, you can only go to the local school if you pick other colleges or other professions like law school or medical school, your points automatically cut by the system, like about fifty points for example. After I graduated, the system did not change so I decided to go to the local school, I really wanted to do my masters in America, so it was hard to get my visa and the process was really hard to do in Turkey for three months. Then, I found some scholarship in Turkey and came here, and got my visa in my second interview, started ESL in one of the language schools in East Chicago. I gave most of my money and I just focused on the language for the first year because I basically could not speak any English when I came here, and then I started and focused on my ESL and then started to do my actual profession, theology.

I used to identify myself as Turkish, very passionately, “I am Turkish, I have Turkish blood”, because of its epic stories and how it affected me, especially when you are raised in Turkey, being Turkish is kind of a privilege. However, here my mentality is that God created us this way for the reason of getting to know each other. It’s just a name, a title, that’s it, it’s not more than that for me. Being in the hospital, that is my profession right now, you have an identity, you are a Muslim Chaplain, but you cover all patients, mostly. By practicing your own religion, by practicing your own spirituality, you should be able to serve the other faith-based patients, not preaching them at all, because being a Chaplain is being a mirror for the patient, basically reflecting whatever the patient needs to hear. Feeling like being beneficial for the people in need, like inmates are in need, patients are in need and you’re beneficial to them. According to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “the best among you is the most beneficial of the humanity”. So I am trying to be the most beneficial.

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