The Muslim Student Association welcomed students to be part of a congregational prayer led by Darvish Ali Salami, April 20 in Sneaky Park.
MSA wanted students from the University to become familiar with the culture and rituals of Islam.
“It covers one of the core values of the University, which is diversity and inclusivity,” MSA vice president, Nala Kachour, said.
She said when students are put in diverse environments and get to know each other, they become more tolerant toward other cultures.
To open the Friday prayer, Kachour played a recording of a muezzin reciting the adhan.
An adhan is a call to prayer, and a muezzin is someone at a mosque chosen to recite it.
Kachour said Muslims pray five times throughout the day.
“Some people separated into five different times and some people separated into three different times,” Kachour said.
She said that the importance of the Friday prayers to Muslims is similar to the importance of Sunday church services for some Christians.
“In other countries where the Muslim population is higher, it becomes an obligation for Muslims to not work on Fridays, but instead pray,” Kachour said.
She said it can be difficult for Muslims to practice their Friday prayers.
The culture in the United States, which is predominantly Christian, is different from other countries that have Muslims, she said.
Eight University of La Verne students gathered around the prayer mats and began the ritual with Salami, who offered to help lead the prayer.
Some students sat on prayer mats while others stayed seated. While praying, everyone faced the direction of the Kaaba shrine in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is the holiest place in Islam.
Salami started with an introduction of Islam and talked about Allah, the Muslim name for God, before he began a 20-minute prayer session.
“Even though there was some differences during the prayer, I really enjoyed it,” said graduate student Hanan Alanazi, who is from Saudi Arabia.
“It’s all for good intentions and that is to pray for god,” said Alanazi.
Evelia Martinez, senior biology major, said that she was raised Catholic and attended a Muslim prayer session for the first time.
She said she found the prayer peaceful and interesting.
“I learned a few things about the Muslim religion,” Martinez said.
Vanessa Martinez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.