FAQ about the Lateef Project

 What is the Lateef Project?

The Lateef Project is a free confidential Islamic telephone counselling service for the Muslim community and people related to the Muslim community in Birmingham. It is a registered charity. It works in partnership with the NHS in Birmingham. It is set up for people who are experiencing mental health problems in order to provide support for people who are dealing with difficult matters; these can range from emotional distress, such as relationship problems, stress, loneliness, etc to physical distress such as domestic violence, assault, drug and sexual abuse and also mental distress such as depression and anxiety etc, or it can be for someone who simply needs a listening ear, to talk through a difficult situation. No matter how big or small, we are here to help. If we are unable to help, we will do our level best to support callers by signposting to a local or national service.


Why do we need the Lateef Project?

Muslims make up the second biggest faith group in Birmingham. Local researches have highlighted that very little is known about the mental health needs of the Muslim communities in Birmingham. The Aap Ki Awaaz Project found 83% of a predominantly Muslim sample believed that Muslims prefer to keep mental illness a secret, this is a huge problem with severe consequences which are affecting the community as a whole. As a result this could not be ignored, hence the Lateef Project. Having this phone-based service, we hope it will enable Muslims to easily access the support they need, and will be a great advantage for those who are housebound, disabled, carers and women or men who are oppressed. We hope that having quick assess to a phone service will combat some of the difficulties they are experiencing and that with the support of the community we can work together to make a difference.


Who is the Lateef Project for?

It is for Muslim men and women aged 14+ years old and people related to the Muslim community in Birmingham. The service is for all Muslims across all schools of thought who may want support working through difficult issues or times. For example, you may not be Muslim but your husband/mother/father/friend, etc is Muslim and you would like to get help regarding them. The service is also available to people who are experiencing difficulties while thinking of becoming Muslim or who are in relationships or families with Muslims.


What are the Lateef Project's service hours?

Currently the service is open 3 days a week;

Tuesdays        9am - 3:30pm

Wednesdays   10:30am - 1:30pm

Service hours do change from time to time, so please regularly check our website www.lateefproject.com for all updates to the service.


What are the numbers to call?

The numbers to call are 0121 301-5392 or 0121 301-5393.


Why is it for Muslims only?

The Islamic Counselling Model is based on the Qur'an and Sunnah and teachings of the Islamic science of the self (nafsiyah), and as it is faith-based it is designed to help Muslims. However, people who are related to Muslims in the community, e.g. if your spouse is Muslim, could also benefit from the service.


Do you have to practicing?

No, not at all. Anyone can pick up the phone and we will do our level best to help them through whatever issue or difficulty they may be going through InshaAllah. As volunteers we are here to help and listen, and not to judge anyone.


Who provides the service?

The service is staffed by both male and female Muslim volunteers trained in Islamic Counselling Skills and Theory to a level where they can support callers with understanding of the sorts of issues that happen in our everyday lives. Our volunteers are diverse, young and old, male and female. And though they come from the different schools of fiqh they provide the same service. If it is something we cannot help with we will support you by signposting you to a local or national service.


How are volunteers trained?

Volunteers are trained through NVQs Level 2 and 3 in Islamic Counselling Skills and Theory. The training is sufficient to enable the volunteers to support people in the community who are experiencing difficult life events and to identify indicators of mental health problems, referring callers on to appropriate services.


What is Islamic Counselling?

Islamic counselling teaches a philosophy of self-transformation. The significance of the Islamic counselling model is its basis in core-shared understandings of the self and its relationship to the world and its Creator as understood by Muslims. The Islamic counselling model is a pastoral or spiritual model of counselling based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Counselling encompasses the spiritual, the psychological, the emotional, the social, and the physical aiming to bring out this wholeness tapping into the deeper spiritual truth of the individual. It is this emphasis of the spirituality within this model that differentiates the Islamic counselling process, and in effect the service that the Lateef Project has to offer, from other models of counselling and other services out there. Spirituality is often neglected and as a Muslim to deny the spiritual needs can result to internal conflict thus preventing a person from moving forward. Spirituality links us to Allah (SWT) and the Islamic Counselling model enables a Muslim to recognise this. Therapeutic change can happen quickly or over a period of time, remembering that Allah is the Healer and Agent of change, and Allah helps those who help themselves. Allah will create change, and we are a witness and a mirror to the caller. It is a difficult and perhaps will be the hardest step to take, it takes courage to pick up the phone and this is a huge step forward and the first step towards seeking Allah's Help. To want to pick up the phone is recognition also that help is needed and InshaAllah once you've taken this first step Allah will make it easy for you, as He (SWT) says in a Hadith Qudsi

"O My Servant! If you take one step toward Me, I take ten toward you."

Islamic counselling is not a form of education or "preaching", it is a contemporary distillation of Islamic teachings specific to the therapeutic needs of the individual aimed at enabling balance and mental health. It is a service open to all Muslims.


Is it not just about living within Shariah?

"Allah does not look at your body and face, rather He looks at your heart." (Muslim) Sometimes we can do what we need to do but feel exactly the opposite on the inside, and if anything Islamic counselling is about self-transformation/tarbiyyah.


What types of issues does the Lateef Project deal with?

As previously mentioned, the Lateef Project is here to deal with a range of emotional, physical, mental issues. Some examples are



Relationship difficulties

Forced Marriage

Family difficulties

Anger management

Sexual abuse


Substance misuse


Domestic violence

We will ensure appropriate referrals to other outside agencies are made, where we are unable to assist.


Do callers have to give their name/personal details?

Callers do not have to give us their name, they can remain anonymous if they wish. However it is in their best interest to provide some level of detail about themselves so that we may be able to identify them if they decide to call again. This could be a real name, a nickname, or any name they wish to be known by. Also it is important to highlight that callers may not be able to speak to the same volunteer each time they ring, however it is stressed that all information provided by callers will remain confidential within the service. We take confidentiality very seriously, so we hope you will feel confident that your call will be held in trust by us.


Do you have to pay for the service and is there a limit on how many times a person can call?

It is a free service, at the cost of a call. We don't actually put a limit on people's use of the service.


Does the Lateef Project offer face-to-face counselling?

As the Lateef Project is still a fairly new service, At this time there is a limited face to face service operating in partnership with one GP surgery any further development of face to face work will be posted on this website.


How do I volunteer for the service?

Everyone is welcome to volunteer for the Project and the Lateef Project is always looking for new volunteers from all backgrounds. Volunteers will be trained in Levels 2 and 3 Islamic Counselling Skills and Theory. Training in Islamic counselling is provided to volunteers under contract that they commit to completing the training and to providing a minimum of three hours a week volunteering to the Lateef Project. The Lateef Project recruits and trains its volunteers to meet its needs to provide a service to the community. Training is provided free however trainees must pay a deposit on enrolling on training which is reimbursed when they are volunteering. Training normally starts at the beginning of the autumn and winter terms please check our website six to eight weeks before this for details.


I'm from an organisation/I know an organisation that could benefit from knowing more about and/or working with the Lateef Project.

No doubt there are numerous organisations which work closely with Muslims in Birmingham. If you think you would like to work with us and could support us by raising awareness of and promoting the service, we would be very grateful if you could provide us with your name, organisation and contact details. We can then send an information pack to you with leaflets and posters. You may email us at mail@lateefproject.com or alternatively you can send us a message via our Facebook page (search "The Lateef Project").


I would like to help promote the Lateef Project.

As a new service, there is still much promotion and publicising that we need to do. If you think you can help us by distributing leaflets and cards and putting up posters, please contact us with your postal address and details of where you would like to distribute our material. You may email us at mail@lateefproject.com or alternatively you can contact us via Facebook. We thank you in advance for your kind support.


How do I find out more about the Lateef Project?

Please regularly check our website www.lateefproject.com.

Also, do become a fan of our Facebook page to stay updated on the service.