Religious graduation events foster community, reinforce Islamic principles

Religious+graduation+events+foster+community%2C+reinforce+Islamic+principles

Ashleigh Atasoy

Muslim graduation
Muslim students sit through graduation, listening to the speaker. Photo by Ashleigh Atasoy

For seniors, the end of the school year can be a blur of graduation parties, senior activities and prom, but for some students, the end of the year is much more hectic.

For RBHS muslim students, additional events such as Muslim prom and a Muslim graduation ceremony are added to the mix. Both events are a tradition for muslim students throughout the school district, and muslim graduation serves as a means of bringing the muslim community together to celebrate the seniors’ accomplishments.

“Muslim graduation is to bring all the muslims together and let the community know that the kids in our community are doing great and they are on the right path they are [also] setting examples for the younger ones,” senior Mubinah Khaleel said. “It’s made graduation better knowing that I have all this support from the community.”

Similar to RBHS graduation, Muslim graduation consists of a speaker, certificate distribution and senior recognition. Along with these graduation rituals, other features such as a baby picture slideshow and speeches from graduates’ siblings all give the ceremony its own traditions.

Senior Leenah Mustafa believes the ceremony is a good way to foster community and bring friends and families together.

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Senior Mubinah Khaleel’s brother, Fuad, speaks about her childhood during the sibling speech portion of graduation. Photo by Ashleigh Atasoy

“The entire Muslim community gathers together in the PAC and enjoys an entertaining program that highlights the accomplishments of the graduating kids,” Mustafa said. “The best part of the program is the sibling speeches which usually entails older siblings embarrassing their younger siblings in front of the whole community. It’s also an awesome way for friends and family to congratulate the graduates and give them gifts because the real graduation is always so chaotic and crowded that you don’t get a chance to see everyone you wanted to see.”

Along with the graduation, another important event, Muslim Prom, incorporates fun with theology. Serving as an alternative event to the traditional Prom, the girls-only dance is a means in which  the muslim community can have fun within the bounds of their beliefs.

“Muslim prom is just a way for muslim girls to get together, dress up and have a good time,” senior Inas Syed said. “It gives us an excuse to do our hair, buy nice dresses and shoes and socialize with our friends … I think Muslim prom is just a way for us muslim girls to let loose in a way that fits with our religious views.”

Muslim prom touches on a fundamental tenet of Islam: modesty. Through the use of Hijabs, or veils, muslim women hope to protect themselves from unwanted attention, and believe that they our following Allah’s commands in doing so. Mustafa said modesty is not only applicable for women, but also men, and is a quality that is exhibited internally as well as externally.

“Modesty doesn’t just regard how a person dresses, its how they carry themselves, how they walk, how they talk, how they act around people and how they act in private,” Mustafa said. “Modesty is important because it is a huge part of our faith and Allah commanded women and men to be modest. It’s important to me because I know that I am pleasing my Lord when I am modest. When I cover my beauty I know that I am protecting myself against inappropriate and unwanted attention. I reveal it only to those that I love and choose to reveal it to. The key to modesty is knowing that God is aware of what you do at all times and to shy away from what displeases him.”

For some girls, the dance has even become a means of better pleasing and following Allah. By embodying a core belief of Islam, the dance has helped to strengthen the girls’ understanding of their religion. In this way, ideals such as modesty are stressed, illustrating the religion’s place within everyday life.

“The fact that it is a female only party emphasizes the importance of modesty in our religion and why it is a big part of our faith,” Mustafa said. “As long as we have the pure and true intention of pleasing Allah and straying away from what he forbids, he will always be there to guide us.”

Ultimately, Muslim prom and graduation both serve to bring the community together and celebrate the Islamic values of family, modesty and reverence to Allah. Grounded in faith, the events have become something most muslim graduates look forward each year to finish their high school career off with.

“These events are something extra to look forward to when we graduate,” Mustafa said. “It gives a chance for families to show their love and appreciation for the youth and express their pride in our accomplishments. It’s also an amazing way to get the whole community together in one place and celebrate as one.”

By Ashleigh Atasoy

What do you think of extra graduation events? Have you attended Muslim Prom or Muslim Graduation? Sound off in the comments section!