Every morning, Samer Naseredden wakes before dawn so he can pray.
He will do this four more times throughout the day in order to keep salat, one of the five required practices of Islam. Salat specifically refers to daily prayer.
He finds time for these prayers while working a job and going to class for his psychology major.
Although the prayers can be draining, Naseredden sees Islam as a foundational element of his daily life.
“For me, Islam is a way of life that really encompasses every aspect of life,” he said.
Naseredden said he has never had a time in his life marked by significant doubts or disbelief. However, he said his faith strengthened during his time in high school because of strong mentors who helped him build the foundation for what his faith is today.
He now finds new things in Islam every day.
“To me, every day is a learning experience (about Islam),” Naseredden said.
The constant presence of religion in Naseredden’s life greatly influences his actions. One part of the faith is about giving others the respect you would want, he said.
Being active in Islam also produces obligations. Prayer is a daily obligation, but Naseredden must also spend time at the mosque and participate in Ramadan, a month of fasting.
During Ramadan, Muslims are prohibited from eating or drinking anything, including water, from dawn until dusk.
Naseredden’s faith has also brought him a support system. His friends, family and mentors all support him, and he said he finds additional support in the Quran and Islamic lectures and events.
In addition to all of this, Islam has been a source of opportunity for Naseredden. It has pushed him to excel in his education and it has encouraged him to become president of the ASU Muslim Students’ Association, which he said has given him experience dealing with adversity and managing his time.
“It definitely bears fruits that you can see,” Naseredden said. “I know I wouldn’t have had opportunities without Islam.”
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @amy_medeiros