Trials as Transformation: Islamic Chaplaincy and the Problem of Human Suffering

Ailya Vajid

It is sometimes through life’s greatest hardships and suffering that we experience the deepest transformation. Seen thus, suffering can become a means towards seeking our higher self and can be experienced not only as hardship but also as Divine gift and blessing, as it becomes a means of outward and inner growth and a returning to our fiṭra or primordial disposition. In this paper, I will offer a case study analysis of how college students may navigate, endure, and make meaning of hardship and suffering in their lives and in the world around them, thereby challenging the prevailing narrative that joy, peace, and purpose are rooted only in the pursuit and attainment of the delights of life.

About the Presenter

Ailya Vajid is currently a student at the College of Medicine and Healing Arts pursuing a diploma in Unani Tibb. Previously she has served as a university chaplain at several institutions. Ailya holds a BA in Religion and Islamic Studies from Swarthmore College and an MA in Theological Studies, with a focus in Islamic Studies, from Harvard Divinity School.