Muslim students practicing weekly Friday prayers in library


Esther Kim

Coppell High School Muslim students have been performing Jum’ah (Friday) prayer in the library since Nov. 5. Jum’ah prayer refers to weekly Friday Dhuhr (midday) prayer, which can be practiced in congregations or individually.

Anette Varghese, Student Life Editor

Jum’ah (Friday) prayer, refers to when Muslims gather for congregational worship during Friday midday prayer time. Prayer is after a sermon (khutbah) from an imam. Group Friday prayer is encouraged for everyone, but can also be conducted individually. Establishment of the Friday prayer is a commandment found in the Qur’an

Coppell High School junior Sumayyah Hasan, female co-president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) recognized the organization as a way to practice their faith publicly. Beginning Nov. 5, CHS Muslim students began performing Friday prayer in the CHS Library during passing period prior to fourth period. 

“I am a Muslim myself, and a lot of my friends are Muslims,” Hasan said. “I thought it was a great way to get together with my friends and involve others. Our religion teaches us to always connect with one another and be with one another, so I decided to run for the position.”

Muslim students perform Jum’ah (Friday) prayer on Nov. 12. Muslim students began using the CHS Library to practice Friday prayer on Nov. 5. Photo courtesy Sumayyah Hasan

The CHS 2021-22 Student Handbook states students have the right to pray as long as it does not interfere with school activities: Each student has a right to pray individually, voluntarily, and silently or to meditate in school in a manner that does not disrupt school activities. The school will not encourage, require, or coerce a student to engage in or refrain from such prayer or meditation during any school activity.

“There were many people in MSA [telling] me they wanted to pray,” Hasan said. “The library was always open for us to pray, but now we have a scheduled time. We have a mentor named Sister Huma Husain, who helped us out. We also talked to [Principal Laura Springer], and both she and the librarians were supportive.”

CHS graduate Rohina Aslam founded the organization in 2015 in order to further her faith while in a school environment. Rohina’s younger brother, Abdullah Aslam, resolved to become a leader in the program because he saw how necessary the role was, thus he became the male co-president of the organization. 

 “I wanted somewhere where we could pray in school, because our prayers lie in between school timings,” Abdullah said. “I wanted to change the standards for the next [MSA leaders], rather than doing the bare minimum, [we wanted] to give the members the support that they wanted. [Such as a] place where they feel like they can come [and] talk in a welcoming environment, through Friday prayers I’ve seen a lot of new faces.”

When Rohina founded the club as a junior, alongside CHS graduate Nesma Hasan, they faced hurdles that today’s organization no longer struggles with, including not being allowed to meet on campus because they were a religious organization. 

During her senior year at CHS, Rohina was also at the forefront of a major change for minorities on campus. She was the first hijab (a garment worn by Muslim women outside of their family) wearing Muslim to win homecoming queen. Opening doors for all minorities present at CHS, and dispelling any unwritten rules that were present in the past. 

“[Rohina] was the first hijabi Muslim to show that she can have both school [sucess] and be president of [a] Muslim club,” Abdullah said. “She was a big Muslim influence on a lot of students, so we had a baseline. We’re constantly meeting new people and focusing on creating a welcoming environment for them, where they can come and talk.” 

Both the current co-presidents and former MSA president agree these are welcome changes, and they are just the beginning to creating as inclusive of an environment as possible at CHS. 

“Muslim kids are more and more comfortable being Muslim outwardly at CHS,” Rohina said. “The administration has empowered [Muslim students] and the MSA by allowing Friday prayer to take place. There is progress and a very good environment of embracing people for who they are at CHS.” 

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