Meet the Prayer Group


By Robert Leszkowicz, Staff Writer

When walking through the halls of Wayne Hills High School either during lunch or in between blocks 5-6 of the day, you might stumble on the Muslim prayer group doing their afternoon prayer in the cardio room. The prayer they take part in is referred to as “Dhuhr,” which means afternoon. This is one of the five daily prayers they take part in as an obligation in the Muslim faith.

In the past year, the prayer group has grown exponentially, leading to a new location and many new members.

This year, juniors Mustafa Sheikh, Tariq Suliman, and Ahmad Salha started praying together at the small Zen Den in the library. Over the course of the fall, students of the Muslim faith began to join them. The prayer group got so big they had outgrown the Zen Den and later moved into the SRO office, then located in the library so they could fit the group and be all together when they do their prayer. During this time the prayer group grew to over approximately twenty students.

 With the even larger attendance the group had again outgrown another room. This left the group to approach administration and ask for a bigger space for the group. Administration agreed to give the group the Cardio Room, which was a much bigger space than the past few rooms they had been in. This was a turning point for the group as they fit the already large group for their prayer but also have more room for anyone that wanted to join them. Operation ran very smoothly as students would pray then go back to class with teacher signatures acknowledging that they were out for prayer.

According to Principal Rewick, “The understanding in the Fall was that once Daylight Savings Time arrived again that students would be able to fulfill their prayer obligations at home because the prayer window increased from 3:35 to 4:25 p.m.” However, after students expressed concern about prayer ending, Hills leadership sought clarity from central administration, who agreed that prayer would continue throughout the year.

“The result is that now, all year, students may use the cardio room to practice their faith,” Rewick said in an email.

Out of the four days of the school week, the prayer group would pray in between blocks 5-6 in the cardio room, for their afternoon prayer referred to as “Dhuhr,” which is one of the five Muslim daily prayers. On Fridays, however, the group is back in the cardio room during lunch time to do their congressional prayer but also a sermon. This is due to Friday being the holy day for the Islamic faith.

When asking fellow student and prayer leader Tariq Suliman about Friday’s prayer he explained, “Like other religions that have a holy day, Friday is our holy day so we try our best to dress best, act in the best behavior, and increase worship and be more spiritual. It is conducted by first doing the call to prayer, then the Imam (prayer leader) gives the sermon to the worshipers. Then we all pray 2 units of prayer together to end it off.”

When also asking Tariq about the prayer groups impact on the congregants he replied, “The prayer group has brought Muslim students closer to religion, established a welcoming community of Muslims in our school, and an overall blessing from God to have students devoted to their faith and worship during school hours which has never been done before in the history of Wayne Hills.”

Today, the prayer group has grown to having over 40 students each prayer session.