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DHS Press

The #1 source for news for Dominion High School students and the Dominion High School community in Sterling, VA

DHS Press

The #1 source for news for Dominion High School students and the Dominion High School community in Sterling, VA

DHS Press

The New System for Prayer During School

This year, prayer at school has more structure and limitations since the prayer room is one set location and has set times.
Alla Abdelhalim
Students praying together in the choir room during 7th block.

With a shift from last year’s constantly changing spaces and times where students could pray, a new system has been put in place for prayer at school. This year, any student can get a pass and go pray in the choir room, room 705, during their 3rd or 7th blocks between 1:30 and 1:45 pm Monday-Thursday, and until 1:55 on Fridays. 

Principal John Brewer stated that these prayer rooms are for anyone who wants to pray or practice their faith. “This request came from the Muslim Student Association, and [it] appears to me that most of the students who are accessing the room for prayer are followers of Islam,” Brewer said.

“During their lunch shifts [students] can go to classroom 112 to pray,” Brewer said. Currently students are just praying during 3rd and 7th blocks since prayer time begins during the last few minutes of D-lunch.

There are five daily prayers in Islam, each prayer is supposed to be made before the next prayer time begins. Students pray during the school because the second prayer of the day (Dhuhr) is around 1pm and the third prayer (Asr) is around 4:30pm so most students won’t make it home in time to pray Dhuhr before it’s time for Asr.

In Islam, there is a special prayer which occurs on Fridays called “Jummah.” These prayers generally take longer than any other prayer because they consist of a sermon (called “Khutbah”) and a regular prayer. To accommodate this, the prayer room will be open until 1:55 pm on Fridays instead of 1:45 pm. “The biggest thing that we [MSA] are going to be involved in is making sure there’s rotations on figuring out who’s going to be leading the prayers,” MSA Co-President Hafsah Zaman said.

According to Brewer, the prayer room will not be supervised, but the e-hallpasses during 3rd and 7th blocks will be. MSA Co-President Hamza Alsefyani said, “We are lucky to have a prayer room and we do have to treat it with respect, it’s a responsibility on everybody but if something does go wrong, the MSA leadership will have to take responsibility.” 

Teachers during 3rd and 7th block have been asked to work around the prayer time if giving a test. Brewer has made numerous announcements about prayer during school to both students and faculty. “Every staff member should know exactly what’s supposed to happen. Everybody should know, they’ve received the information in several different formats,” Brewer said.

“I used the prayer rooms that Dr. Brewer provided to us last year and they were good, but this year, they’re even better because we don’t have to constantly change locations,” Junior Raiyan Kadir said.

Students still have concerns about the prayer rooms that they hope to work out with administration later this year. Kadir said, “the only concern I have is the mirrors because we’re not allowed to face them while we pray.”

According to Zaman, there is some concern about the steps in the choir room, due to how crowded the prayer room has gotten during Ramadan in the past. “Last year, we had a trial run of the wrestling room as the prayer room so we’re hoping that once the month of Ramadan comes around we’ll be able to use that room as a space instead,” Zaman said.

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About the Contributor
Alla Abdelhalim
Alla Abdelhalim, Assistant Editor
Alla Abdelhalim is an Assistant Editor currently serving her second year writing for DHS Press. Alla is a senior that has been involved with the journalism program since her freshman year. Along with Newspaper, she is also in her third year of photojournalism and is excited to move on to higher education next year.

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    Saly HassanSep 23, 2023 at 10:52 am

    Great job making a room every staff member knows about it it’s much easier for the students.
    Thank you.