Where do you pray?: Becoming Minnesotan

Abdisalam Adam, displaying Somali objects and books, 2004.
  • Name - Abdisalam Adam
  • Age at interview - 38
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 06.24.2004
  • Abdisalam Adam in front of a Quran school, Somalia.

    Culture Clash, Religion, Somali

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Problems in America: What could have helped this person’s adjustment in the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Like many other religions, Islam has important rituals that must be performed at certain times to demonstrate faithfulness.  Ablution is one of these rituals.  Muslims believe that every person must be pure and clean before doing daily prayers, so ablution is literally the act of washing with water before praying.  Prayers have to be done five times each day.  The person praying must kneel on the floor facing Mecca, a city in Saudi Arabia that is the most holy site in Islam.  It is sometimes difficult to follow these rituals while living in the U.S.

    To learn more about Somali history and culture, visit our Somali Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Abdisalam Adam 8
    0:42 Minutes | 0.68Mb


    Narrator: Abdisalam Adam (AA)

    Interviewer: Sumaya Yusuf (SY)

    SY:  What have been some obstacles or hardships you have faced while adjusting to life in America?

    AA:  Of course, the main ones were the religious practices, like where do you pray? You’re driving or you have a meeting or you’re somewhere or you’re in a classroom and the time of the prayer comes, that was the biggest challenge we had to struggle with. A lot of times, before leaving home, I have to plan ahead to go with my ablution or I’ll do it before I leave home. A lot of times, I’ll step out of where I am and have to look for a small corner to be able to pray. That, of course, required a lot of commitment and patience.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  The act of washing or cleansing the body as part of a religious act.


    Noun:  Difficulty or trouble; hard times.


    Noun:  Something that impedes, stands in the way of, or slows progress.


    Noun:  The ability to wait without feeling anxious.


    Noun:  1. A customary action, habit, or behavior; a manner or routine.  2. The observance of religious duties which a church requires of its members.

    Verb:   To perform or observe in a habitual fashion.  (practices, practicing, practiced)


    Verb:  To need; to call for as necessary.  (requires, requiring, required)


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 524