Tawaf – cleansing our souls: A model of supervision for Muslims


  • Selina Akhter Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Aotearoa New Zealand




Kaitiakitanga, Islam, nafs, tawaf, rangahau, supervision


INTRODUCTION: Cultural supervision with Māori (tangata whenua) in social work has been a focus of practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. New approaches to address the cultural needs of Māori social workers and those of other cultural backgrounds have been developed. This article portrays a model of cultural supervision for Muslim social workers in Aotearoa.

APPROACH: The broader methodological structure of this reflective account is a kaupapa Māori framework and Rangahau (a Wānanga response to research). Rangahau is the traditional Māori methodology of inquiry utilising mātauranga Māori and āhuatanga Māori – traditional Māori bodies of knowledge from the context of a Māori world view. Critical self-reflection and use of reflective journals are used as methods of the rangahau.

FINDINGS: A model of supervision is presented which is tawaf, a ritual of haj – one of the pillars of Islam. Muslims (who follow Islam as a religion) perform haj (pilgrimage) to receive hedayet (spiritual guidance) to cleanse their nafs (soul). In this model, the phases of tawaf have been applied to structure and guide social work supervision sessions designed for Muslim social workers. Some important values of Islam such as tawbah, sabr, shukr, tawakkul, and takwa, have been integrated into the model as every action of Muslims is value-based. The model combines both nafs and a value-based approach in supervision.

IMPLICATIONS: Tawaf represents the Islamic worldview and aims to deconstruct and reconstruct supervisees’ practice and assumptions. This will be used in the context of cultural supervision with Muslim social workers by Muslim supervisors.


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How to Cite

Akhter, S. (2021). Tawaf – cleansing our souls: A model of supervision for Muslims. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 33(3), 20–33. https://doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol33iss3id890



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