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Photo by Maria Levandoski.

Seton Hall MSA looks for new prayer room

The Seton Hall Muslim Student Association (MSA) is looking to improve the Serra Hall prayer room after it flooded two weeks ago.

Established over six years ago, the upperclassmen dormitory is home to just one of the University’s prayer spaces. The Serra prayer room has become a place of comfort for the Muslim community on campus.

Sumaiya Rehman, a sophomore business law major and president of MSA, spoke about the mission of MSA and why getting a bigger prayer room is part of the organization’s purpose.

“Making each other feel comfortable, giving back to the community and contributing to strengthening the sisterhood and brotherhood amongst the Muslims on campus are some of the strongest goals of the Muslim Student Association,” Rehman said. 

“The purpose of a bigger room is simple: it provides more comfort to people,” she said. “A bigger room will serve the purpose of providing what the MSA stands for, that is, our values and teachings of Islam, provided in a way where we can cater to everyone.”

Samia Raza, a junior communication major, conveyed her appreciation for the things that make the prayer room in Serra “special.”

“The main difference between the prayer room in Serra and the one in the University Center is that the one in Serra is more for Muslims while the UC is open to everyone,” Raza said. “In Serra, we keep prayer mats, prayer clothing, Qur’ans, and even blankets and snacks to make it cozier and more comfortable.”

Raza added that the library also has prayer rooms. “But the rooms are extremely tiny, so it’s not possible to pray all together.”

Ayaz Rabbani, a freshman psychology major, added that while Serra Hall has been “fulfilling” as a comfortable environment to pray, it should still be enhanced.

“Muslims have a religious responsibility to pray five times a day,” Rabbani said. “The room is quickly becoming too small, with daily prayers becoming a hassle. The lack of space becomes apparent when even relatively small groups of people praying in congregation don’t fit, leaving many Muslims with no space to pray as they try to fulfill their religious obligations between classes.”

According to their Instagram, MSA “embodies” the message and values of Islam. They also host events such as Ramadan workshops, “Sister’s Halaqa” and “Muslims Around the World.” In November, “Muslims Around the World” raised $1,500 dollars for Islamic Relief USA.

Rehman and her fellow MSA e-board members have begun the process of appealing for a bigger prayer room by speaking with a representative from the Student Government Association (SGA). Their goal is to bring the case to the University administration.

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“We announced this initiative at the [MSA] general body meeting in late January, and we hope to slowly pick up the pace moving forward,” Rehman said. “Of course, this is not an easy process, but it is one that we’ll look back on and be grateful to have taken part in. Especially for the coming years, advocating for a bigger room will help the future of this MSA.”

Rehman also discussed MSA’s recent poll about the prayer room, which garnered 50 responses.

Students that are not on the MSA e-board, such as Rabbani, are aware of this effort to improve Serra’s prayer room, saying that the space in Serra has been an “integral” part of feeling at home at Seton Hall.

“Even in the relatively short time that I’ve been at Seton Hall, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that the current space will become too small by next semester,” Rabbani said. “The perfect time to assign a bigger prayer room that Muslims on campus desperately need is now, and I truly hope to be able to join my fellow Muslims in a larger, more comfortable prayer room soon.”

Jacqueline Litowinsky is a writer for the Setonian’s News section. She can be reached at


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