Daily prayers take place in little-known mosque

Founders Hall is not the original home of the Muslim Student Association; however, the mosque there is just coming to attention.

MSA was originally in University Center 204, then room 124 of Founders Hall and finally found its home in room 522, according to Habba Siddiqui, vice president of MSA and a junior criminal justice major.

MSA, a student organization at NKU, started as an idea and blossomed into two females running the group. In 2009, Siddiqui and Mouhamed Mbaye turned MSA into what it is today.

Siddiqui and Essam Elgusian, president of MSA and a sophomore majoring in business administration, said they serve around 500 students, male and female.

Currently, MSA is able to use the Student Union Ballroom for the large crowd during Friday Prayer. While everyone is in the same room, women have a place separated from men by bookcases to pray. Elgusian explained that this is to ensure chastity and holiness.

Muslims have a “Call to Prayer” five times a day, Elgusian said. The name of these prayers represents the time of day they are in. The mosque has a clock with these and the times of prayers, which vary depending on the position of the sun, in addition to the current time and date.

“Aside from NKU, I usually get together with my friends and we’ll do some sort of discussion, or we’ll hold a discussion, or go directly from the Quran,” Siddiqui said when discussing her activities outside MSA.

For men Elgusian said, “Friday nights some of the guys have lectures and/or Quran studies.”

In addition to these events there are lectures and classes at Mosques in Cincinnati as well as a library one can access.

MSA is an open organization that invites everyone to join. Three students have even converted to Islam, Siddiqui said. Even if converting isn’t one’s hope, as Malcolm X said, “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.”

Elgusian and Siddiqui are in the process of getting the room open for Saturday prayers and a class.

“We still have a need to use it on Saturday for praying five times a day,” Elgusian said. They are talking to Elizabeth Chaulk, manager of International Recruitment and Marketing, about getting this room opened up on the weekends.

Siddiqui, Elgusian and Mbaye teach a class off campus, started by Mbaye, which teaches children about manners and carrying themselves, reading, writing and speaking Arabic and memorizing the Quran.

“It’s kind of like a mentor group,” Elgusian said. Afterwards they have their own religious class for themselves.

Islam is one of the fastest growing religions and is practiced by more than 1.2 billion Muslims across the world according to www.whyislam.org/. Islam, similar to Christianity, is a monotheistic (believing that there is only one god) religion that  serves various ethnicities.

“I think a lot of people, what they’ve done is taken a few phrases from the Quran and just like distorted it completely,” Siddiqui said.

She added that it’s mandatory in Islam to follow Prophet Muhammad’s character and his teachings. “It’s just people are unaware. And until you take the time to try to understand that one person you’re never going to know.”

“The word Islam means submission through peace,” Elgusian said. “We want you to feel welcome.” And that means welcome to drop by Founders 522.