A prayer mat has a unique design such as its solid colors or geometric, floral, and arabesque patterns. Most Salah mats have an Islamic landmark embedded upon them. This ranges from the Ka’aba in Mecca, Al-Masjid e Nabawi in Medina to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. You will also see many prayer carpets with abstract patterns. All prayer rugs, however, do have a niche on top-the Mihrab. The Mihrab is the feature of the mosque representing the direction of Ka’aba. Some rugs have an actual representation of Mihrab, while others are a bit abstract in their demeanor. All of these rugs have some form of decorations. A few rugs may have imprinted hands on either side of Mihrab. These help the new converts place their hands correctly during prostration. Some rugs just have solid colors imprinted on them. It’s all about the craftsmanship. The only thing certain is that a prayer rug would have an easily distinguishable top and bottom and a Mihrab.
Uses of Prayer Carpets:
Muslims use the mat to ensure cleanliness and to offer prayer in an isolated space. While this isn’t a requirement in the Islamic religion, Islam does call on its followers to worship in a clean area. A prayer carpet offers both of these and hence has become one of the most cherished items of any Muslim household.
A Muslim lays the rug on the ground so that the top points in the direction of the Ka’aba. Once he/she is done with prayer, the rug is immediately folded and put away until the next use. This helps ensure cleanliness. Cleanliness isn’t often an issue for one pre-requisite for the performance of Salah is cleanliness itself. Plus, most carpets can easily be hand-washed for they are made of cotton. In case yours is a woolen prayer mat, here are the dos and don’ts. However, prayer rugs can be used for other purposes than just being used for the performance of Salah.
Prayer carpets are also used to decorate. Their Oriental/ Persian designs enhance the look of ravishing adorning walls. Woolen prayer mats are almost explicitly used for this purpose. This practice dates back to the Ottoman and Mughal empires when emperors had prayer carpets customized for use in prayer. These were even presented to your friends and family. Prayer carpets are also known as one of the best folding janamaz.