After 20 years of praying in the small women’s locker room, Muslim students at the University of Maryland have finally inaugurated their new prayer space at the center of the campus.
“In the last 20 years, [the Muslim community has] been in two other locations, so this is a ‘final home’ for them,” said Tom McMullen, this university’s assistant to the Office of the Provost, The Diamondback reported.
According to university Muslim Chaplain Imam Tarif Shraim, the dream of a new prayer space started in 2017.
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The plan was sponsored by Muslim Student Association who successfully raised $200,000. Stamp Student Union also contributed around $20,000.
“To essentially be in a space, in a university climate where you’re able to access a space that supports your religious identity, that allows you to connect with other students that share your faith … the importance of that can never be understated,” Shraim said.
Some students shared excitement in the space’s central location, which makes it easier for them to pray between classes.
Yet, they still have special feelings for the old place that hosted their prayers for long years.
“Everything I have, I owe to this space,” said guest speaker and class of 2018 alumnus Haris Ansari.
“There’s no other campus I’ve been a part of that sits with their students saying, ‘This is not enough for us,’ and then actually does something about it.”
With the space fully renovated, Muslim community members are looking forward to connecting spiritually with one another.
“To all the young students here, do not forsake this space,” Ansari said.
“You will find company here you cannot find anywhere else … Any time you spend in here studying, praying, learning, talking, laughing with your friends, it will not go to waste.”
Muslims pray five times a day, with each prayer made up of a series of postures and movements, each set of which is called a rak‘ah.
The five prayer times are divided all through the day which starts with Fajr prayer at dawn.