All five daily prayers are performed together in congregation (jama’ah), in full format (not shortened form for traveling). This helps us reinforce the place of prayer in our daily routine outside of camp, and helps those among us learning the details of prayer. Campers are awakened by the adhan for fajr around 5:00 AM, and retire to their cabins after ‘isha prayer around 9:30 PM.
At the prayer time, a boys team spreads out the prayer mats, and after prayers, a girls team folds the mats and clears the area. Boys Between the adhan and iqama at each prayer time, campers join together in quiet praise of God (tasbeeh) and typically take a few minutes to read the Qur’an or perform sunnah prayers. While prayers are often led by various adult male campers, we do provide opportunities for young boys and teenagers to call the adhan and iqama, and to lead the prayers. Similarly after each prayer, one of the female campers leads all campers in the recitation of parts of a du’a (invocational prayer) that has been chosen for the whole camp to memorize throughout the course of week, building day-by-day until the entire du’a is memorized. (The special du’a for this year’s camp will be provided upon arrival). Typically after Asr prayer, campers volunteer to share a favorite Qur’anic verse or hadith. On Friday, campers are given extra time to prepare for a formal jum’a program that includes a full khutba (sermon) before the prayer.
These MYC traditions help build each camper’s Islamic knowledge, self-confidence, and leadership. Furthermore, throughout the week MYC staff and volunteers provide tutoring for campers wishing to work on their prayer and Qur’anic recitation skills.
Other religious practices take place as well. For example, at each meal time, a camper is selected to lead the entire group in a traditional du’a prior to eating. Hikes, classes, counseling sessions, casual discussions and campfire activities are often punctuated with recitation of topically-appropriate Qur’anic verses and hadith to help shape the nature of learning and ideas during the camp week.