Muslim students struggle with unorganized prayer opportunities at Harding
January 20, 2016
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Muslims believe that it’s important to pray five times a day in order to maintain a happy and significant life. Prayer is one of the five pillars of Islam, and it’s obligatory for every Muslim to pray five times a day.
Harding High School’s diverse community has been welcoming to its Muslim students.
Muslim students at Harding fulfill one of their five daily prayers during school hours, and Harding has provided them the means to do so.
Suleeman Mohamed, a senior at Harding, is one of the Muslim students who pray at the school.
“There’s the usual two afternoon prayers,” he said. “The first one I do pray here but the second one depends on whether I stay after school or not.
Until recently Muslims students at Harding prayed outside of Mr. Pilot’s room. “We were recently given a designated area in the ninth grade support center, but at the same time it’s not really for prayer,” said Suleeman. On some occasions when we go there, it’s being used for meetings. Overall, I’m happy with the fact that Harding has given us a place to pray, but it would be more convenient if we had our own place that isn’t used for meetings or anything else.”
Harding students have been praying at school for much longer than most people think. One obstacle for Muslim students who pray at Harding is the changing prayer times. Prayer times change based on sunrise. It usually increases or decreases by a minute depending on the time of year. The main change in prayer times occurs during daylight savings. During daylight savings, the prayer times increase by an hour. Harding students usually pray during fifth or sixth hour depending on daylight savings and prayer times.
Ayuub Muumin, a freshman and another student who prays at Harding, had a good experience when he tried to pray here for the first time. “The first time I tried to pray here was on the first day of school,” say Ayuub. “I was sent to the health clinic and prayers in one of the rooms there. After a while, I was transferred to the ninth grade support center, where I pray now.”
Many students have been praying at Harding since their first year here. One of those students is Abdullahi Adam who is now a junior. “I’ve been praying at Harding for roughly two years,” said Abdullahi. “ I began praying at Harding in the the third quarter of my ninth grade year. I didn’t really know about it until my friend went and asked me to join him. It was difficult then and hasn’t really been much better. We would pray in different places everyday. From the way I see it, I think Harding should give us our own room to pray in. It’s kind of tiring when you have to go place to place just to pray. I do respect Harding teachers and staff for allowing us the time to pray but would really appreciate it if we had our own room.”
Abdullahi Adam, a junior at Harding in the middle of prayer.