As voices rang through the air in the Efferson Student Union Multipurpose Room, “Allahu Akbar oh Allah Akbar” (translation: Allah is the greatest), the students of the Florida A&M University Muslim Student Association (MSA) answered this call by congregating to give supplications to Allah through Jummah, or prayer, every Friday afternoon.
MSA in collaboration with The Office of Student Activities and Efferson Student Union is now offering Islamic Prayer Service on campus for this semester.
William Clemm, Director of Florida A&M University’s Efferson Student Union and Activities (ESUA), took his duty as overseer of programming and operations to collaborate with the organization.
“We are taking small steps to find ways to celebrate all rattlers,” Clemm explained. “Providing some space for our Muslim students to be able to pray is something that does not require a lot from the university but it means a lot to our students. This allows Muslim rattlers an opportunity to congregate for prayer and activities in an on campus location that is convenient.”
Jummah is a traditional Muslim congregational prayer ceremony held on Fridays around noontime. It consists of a short address on various topics from finding peace, knowledge of self, to Islamic traditions. The MSA president, Imam (an Islamic elder) or guest speakers perform the address, and then, the prayer follows it.
Clemm is familiar with diversity inclusion and wants to promote unity for all students. He mentioned EUSA is working to highlight the diversity and uniqueness of the FAMU community.
“We are looking for ways to make all rattlers feel at home on campus. We are having conversations to find out what makes students of various cultures feel more at home,” Clemm noted. “From there, we will develop programs and services to support them.”
Students of the Islamic religion chartered the MSA on FAMU’s campus the summer of 2015. Since then, the leaders of the organization have spearheaded several community events to advance an educational and informative message of Islam that assist in addressing and eliminating misconceptions of the religion today.
The current president, whose name means “servant of the all provider," Abdul-Razak Brimah, a senior environmental engineering major who joined shortly after the organization chartered and took office as president after serving as the vice president for three years.
Brimah’s goals are to enlighten both Muslims and non-Muslims through camaraderie and solidarity.
“[I want] the entire community to know that Muslims are aware of local concerns, the voice of the Muslim community is growing and we want to assist in that growth on campus” Brimah noted.
MSA does not only consist of rattlers who are only Muslims. The members and executive board aim to make an open and friendly environment, where all could become like family and support one another.
Family and support are always important especially in times of tragedy. This past week, senior pharmacy major Samar Elsheikh, was killed in a fatal car accident. During that time of bereavement, her close friends and family “socialized together to aid in each other’s suffering.”
“Sister Samar was a very supportive member of MSA, she would come out to as many events as she could fit into her busy schedule,” Brimah expressed. “She was a beautiful and nice young lady.”
The cohesiveness of MSA is an attribute that inspired freshman pharmacy major Ibrahim Elsamra to join about a month ago. He was excited to hear about the initiative the Muslim students have taken to establish MSA and wanted to know more.
“I heard about it from Taofeek Akintola at the local mosque,” Elsamra recalled. “My favorite part about being a member is the acceptance that the members showed me and my brother.”
Elsamra noted he was looking forward to more collaboration between MSA and EUSA. His vision for the future of the organization is similar to Brimah’s as far as more people interacting MSA.
“I wish we could have more involvement,” Elsamra said. “We have potlucks and friendly socials that I wish more people would come to and enjoy.”
MSA looks forward to branding themselves on campus as a Muslim organization that spreads “good news” to everyone. The association typically hosts a week full of events once a semester that consist of canvassing, collaborating with the local masque, informational tables, and discussion panels, to name a few.
For more location, time and service details, Abdul-Razak Brahim can be reached at Abdulrbrahim@gmail.com.