USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Healing Heartwork Toolkit: Exploring Self

Healing Heartwork Toolkit: Exploring Self

Deepening our understanding of Islamic tools for healing, self-care, and community care

In response to the emerging needs of AMCLI fellows, AMCLI launched a new series called “Healing Heartwork” in Ramadan 2021 focused on introducing Islamic tools for healing, grounding, centering, and exploring the self. The toolkit acknowledges and deepens our understanding of Islamic modalities that can be applied toward self-care and community care. AMCLI released a second Healing Heartwork toolkit in 2022, focusing on janazah, or funeral rites, as a way to address experiences of grief and loss as we enter year three of a global pandemic.

Read Healing Heartwork Volume Two: Exploring Loss

Ramadan is a time for reflection, spirituality, and nurturing a connection to the Divine, self, and community. After a difficult year, AMCLI hopes that this series will provide tangible tools that can increase the resilience and mental health of American Muslim civic leaders in the AMCLI network. 

AMCLI has partnered with Chaplain Sondos Kholaki, who will lead the program based on her years of experience in supporting and accompanying individuals in crisis on their healing journey. Over the month of Ramadan, AMCLI Healing Heartwork with Ch. Sondos Kholaki will release the series in three parts with each part focused on a relevant Ramadan theme.

  • Part One: Mercy and Compassion, centered around cultivating personal afiyah (well-being) and mental health.
  • Part Two: Forgiveness, which will explore ways to finding grounding, resilience, and redemption.
  • Part Three: Safety, how can we create moments of sakina (tranquility)

Follow the series by following USC CRCC and Ch. Sondos Kholaki on Instagram, or AMCLI’s Facebook page. AMCLI fellows will also receive email reminders about the series throughout Ramadan.

Download Healing Heartwork Toolkit: Exploring Self

About the Healing Heartwork Toolkit Series

Islam, the religion that Allah perfected for all of creation (Quran, 5:3), remains a tradition of healing. In times of crisis, religion and spirituality offer invaluable coping strategies for our enhanced emotional well-being or afiyah. Emotional well-being includes the ability to express and manage thoughts and emotions, maintain a positive sense of self-worth, utilize practices for resilience, and sustain self-care and support networks in the midst of hardship. 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “It (Ramadan) is the month whose beginning is mercy; its middle, forgiveness; and its end, emancipation from the fire.” For each ten-day period of Ramadan, then, we will explore healing modalities around mercy/compassion, forgiveness, and safety toward the enhancement of our afiyah, individually and collectively, with God’s Grace and Guidance. 

About Chaplain Sondos Kholaki

Chaplain Sondos Kholaki serves as a hospital staff chaplain and a community chaplain in Southern California. She is a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC). Sondos earned a Master of Divinity degree in Islamic Chaplaincy from Bayan Islamic Graduate School/Claremont School of Theology and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from UCLA as a Regents Scholar. Sondos completed five units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) residency where she served care seekers of all faiths and educated staff and volunteers on Muslim spiritual care. Sondos is the author of Musings of a Muslim Chaplain (January 2020) and the co-editor of Mantle of Mercy: Islamic Chaplaincy in North America (fall 2021). She also serves as Vice President of Healthcare for the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC). Sondos enjoys sipping a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, listening to Quran recitation by Turkish reciters, and singing her heart out at spiritual gatherings. She is married and has two children.


The Healing Heartwork Toolkit: Exploring Self is a collaboration between AMCLI and Chaplain Sondos Kholaki.

Chaplain Sondos Kholaki is an AMCLI fellow and guest contributor with the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.