The Sanctuaries | Washington, DC

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Qur'an and the Arts

I don’t often have the opportunity to recite Quran in front of other people. These sacred things I say to myself 17 times a day — I rarely say them out loud.

So there I was, in a cozy, dim room with a group of people who feel more and more like family as the weeks go on, about to share something terribly personal. And of course, as fate would have it, I happened to be the person scheduled to lead a centering activity on the day that grammy-nominated musician Maimouna Youssef happened to swing by. That’s just how the world works.

I took a deep breath. Everyone closed their eyes.

And then I shared the most hallowed words I know, in a language that few in the room understood. Still, they listened…and drank it all in. It meant everything for me to be able to give that to the group that day.

In so many ways, being a part of the Collective has been a lot like reciting Quran.

I feel clumsy and unsure about sharing. But every time I do, I’m overwhelmed by the tremendous love and support that I get in return. I’ve been gently pushed to create and held accountable by a community of artists who see me as my whole self. Not compartmentalized by my faith. Or my craft. Or my story. They see all of it together. Exactly how I want to be seen.

Because of them, I’ve written more music in the past 4 weeks than I have in the past 4 years.

All praises due to The Most High, all the time.


Lauren Schreiber is a member of The Collective at The Sanctuaries, a diverse arts community with soul in Washington, DC. Listen to her music here.

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