Islamic Prayer Rug: Essential during Prayers

JN1021-thumbnailIt is a common sight in Masjids and Mosques to see Muslims kneeling and prostrating in front of Allah or God. During prayers, whether at a common ground or at home or at a Mosque, it is customary for all Muslims to bow, kneel and prostrate on the ground to show their humility and reverence to the Almighty. But, they are never allowed to kneel on a barren floor or ground while praying. It is necessary that they ensure the cleanliness of the area where they pray. For this, they require a small piece of cloth or rug on which they kneel and bow and offer their prayers. This piece of cloth is usually a decorative piece and is known as the prayer rug, which is one of the most important Islamic essentials. The prayer rug in Arabic terminology refers to “sajada,” which comes from two words “masjed” (mosque) and “sujud” (prostration).

Designs of a prayer rug

Prayer rugs are available in a wide variety of designs, colours and prints, made of cotton, silk, wool etc. They are usually adorned with nice patterns and embroidery works. The designs are often geometric or floral, with strong resemblance to Arabic culture and religion. In almost all prayer rugs, you will come across Islamic features and symbols like as Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the Ka’aba in Mecca, one or more mosque lamps, some verses of the Quran etc. Designs of a comb and pitcher are also very common in prayer rugs to remind the Muslims that they need to comb their head and keep themselves clean while offering their prayers. Generally, the size of a prayer rug is around 2.5 ft × 4 ft to 4 ft × 6 ft, which is suitable enough for any person to fit comfortably while praying.

Essential features of a prayer rug

This small rug should not be disrespected at all. It should be taken care of in a holy manner. You are not supposed to keep the rug in any dirty place or throw it in a disrespectful way. The rug should be immediately folded or rolled and kept in a proper place after praying. The reason being, the prayer rug has a very strong symbolic meaning associated with it and to show respect to Allah, Muslims have to be clean, their prayer location should be clean and hence the prayer rug should be kept clean.

Another interesting feature in the design of a prayer rug is that it has a “top” and “bottom”. It is said that the top of the rug points towards Mecca or towards the direction of prayer and the bottom is where the worshipper stands. While praying, the worshipper kneels at the bottom of the rug, places his or her hands at either side, and his or her forehead touching the top, facing the Mecca. For Muslims, there are essential Islamic features associated with the rug which make it solely an Islamic prayer rug. Modern, commercially-produced Islamic prayer rugs are available in all Islamic stores both retail and online.

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