Muslim prayer mats are carpets upon which Muslims conduct their daily prayers. They vary in size, color, and thickness. Mats used to perform prayers domestically are designed for one person.
Most prayer mats for Muslims are small, rectangular in shape and a Muslim should know what mat is okay to use.
The ones used in Mosques are large and intended for congregational prayers with divisions which every believer occupies during worship.
Why Do Muslims Use Prayer Mats?
Muslims use prayer mats because purity during prayer is essential for the acceptance of a Muslim’s prayer by Allah. The prayer mat acts as a shield between the impure ground and the believer, thus protecting their prayer from contamination.
Nobody is sure about the purity of the ground since we walk upon it after visiting lavatories.
We might have contaminated it with impurities such as urine and stool, or even babies in the house might have relieved themselves upon it.
To remove such doubts, a mat is used as a shield. The carpet also protects the believer’s clothes from getting in contact with the ground during sujudu and pick impurities that might invalidate the prayer.
Using a prayer mat is also a sunnah since the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon Him, used traditional prayer mats made from leaves during his prayers at home.
Can Muslims Pray Without a Prayer Mat?
Using a prayer Mat is not mandatory for the acceptance of prayer. Therefore, Muslims can pray without a mat as long as the ground on which they are praying is clean and free from prayer pollutants.
There is a hadeeth of the Prophet and the believers praying in mud after it had rained during Ramadhan as reported by Abu Said Al-Khudri “ I saw the messenger of Allah prostrating on water and mud and saw the marl of mud on his forehead.
This hadeeth is an indication that the prophet Muhammad prayed on bare ground. Therefore, it is permissible to prayer without a mat and a Muslim should not say that because there is no mat, they will not pray.
Prayer cannot be rejected for not being done on a prayer mat, As long as the believer ensured the ground was clean and free from impurities such as urine, stool, and no dog accessed the place.
Things that invalidate a Muslim prayer are:
- Praying on a contaminated ground with knowledge of the contamination
- Praying without performing proper purification or Udhu
- Missing some steps in the prayer process
- When your forehead does not touch the ground i.e. when using a very thick mat
Other prayer contaminators are the presence of najis or impurities such as urine, stool, manii, or sperms on the clothes or body of the believer.
Menstrual blood also contaminates prayer. That is why Muslim women don’t pray during their menstruating period.
Is It Okay to Use a Thick Muslim Prayer Mat or a Mattress?
Some prayer mats are very thick and a Muslim should always know if it is okay to use thick mats from prayers. Those mats are always made like that for people with knee problems.
This is normally good for old people who have problems with their joints or for those who have hurt their knees in accidents thus cannot use the hard ground against their knees.
What’s the ruling on that or on praying on a mattress on a mattress? scholars say that the Prophet (PBUH) ordered us to enforce and make sure that our forehead touches the ground.
If you reach the ground when you prostrate over this mat or mattress, then you’re okay.
However, If the prayer mat is too thick and it is so soft to the extent that no matter how much pressure you apply, getting to the ground is a problem, then this means that you are prostrating on air.
This is not accepted in Islam and your prayer will not be counted as a valid one before Allah (SWTL). You have to feel that you’ve reached the ground and a solid place in order for your prostration to be valid.
How to Identify a Muslim Prayer Mat?
An authentic Muslim prayer mat is characterized by several things that distinguish it from ordinary mats.
First, it is symbolized by the presence of a ‘Mihrab’, which is a semicircular niche in the mosque’s walls which always indicates Qibla or the direction of Mecca’s Kaaba from the region.
This Mihrab on the prayer mat indicates the front part of the carpet, although some mats have it on both ends. Another indicator of a Muslim prayer mat is the presence of a lamp which indicates Allah.
Some mats have flowers and trees with fruits that show the beautiful nature in paradise promised to Muslims in the hereafter.
The prayer mat should not contain pictures or graphics that divert the believers’ attention from the prayer.
This means that a Muslim should know how to identify a prayer mat before getting one to use at home or anywhere.
A Muslim mat should never distract you in any way from performing proper ‘rakats’ and ‘sujud’ during prayers.
Luxury Prayer Mats
Luxurious prayer mats came into existence with the diversification of their weaving materials and use.
For example, mats made for Muslim rulers and prominent Muslim personalities such as sheiks and imams are always woven by professionals displaying elaborate pictures of paradise.
Those made for palace usage were woven using silk and wool with the inclusion of gold and silver threads.
Some wealthy European Muslims also use such mats for decorating their rooms, and some are personalized with customized designs.
Muslims who go for Hijah in mecca carry along expensive prayer mats because they highly rank Hija.
Traditional Muslim Prayer Mats
Mats that were woven traditionally were fashioned by the prevailing traditions among the people who wove and used them.
They always take after the folk art decorated by different symbols and geometrical designs associated with religious beliefs.
Weavers added pictures of inspirational creatures within the society to the Mihrab on the mats. For example, the Turkmen cattle keepers decorated the mihrab with horns.
Farmers in Uzebeks painted their Mihrab with leaves to symbolize agriculture, and some Asians who believed in prosperity decorated their mats with Motifs.
Most people will always preserve their cultural purity through art, and that is the reason why these symbols are always inscribed on religious materials.
What Does the Quran Say About Using Muslim Prayer Mats?
In the Quranic teaching about Muslim prayers, there is no verse supporting or directing Muslims to use prayer rugs or mats in worship. This also builds the argument that it is not mandatory to use a prayer mat for a prayer to be valid.
However, scholars have always said something that makes sense. A Muslim knows that he or she should not pray in any ground that has been defiled or is unclean and this is why you should use a prayer mat for your prayers to be valid.
Some Muslims even say that there is a certain way you should fold the mat after prayers so that seitan does not use it. This is not a teaching in Islam and it is a misconception. Satan does not have time neither is he interested in praying.
Did Prophets Use Prayer Rug?
In Islam, the most significant Prophet is Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. What he did, and lived-by is the standard unit of measure for Muslim conduct.
Concerning the use of a prayer mat, several hadeeths have been put forward, indicating that He used something similar to a prayer mat during his days.
Both Al- Bukhaari and Muslims report that Maimuna said the Prophet of Allah used to pray on a Khumrah which is a mat woven from palm leaves.
‘Ibn Abbaas’ also reports that one day a mouse dragged a wick of the lamp and threw it in front of the Prophet, which partially burned the khumrah on which he was sitting.
The two hadeeths are evidence that the Prophet used mats and this is why Muslims should embrace and know how to choose prayer mats.
Readers can also see more about: