Prayer mats are an essential part of a Muslim’s life. The religion Islam preaches prayers or Salah to be offered five times daily by all followers of the faith. It is absolutely necessary to pray in a clean place, which is the reason that mats are used for this purpose, which can be placed anywhere to create an unsoiled place suitable for praying. Prayer mats have been in use since the advent of Islam, and many different types are available for purchase.
The most common form of prayer mats are small hand woven carpets with some sort of an Islamic building as an icon that sets it apart as a praying mat instead of a regular carpet. Certain areas are very famous for the prayer rugs that they produce, and at times some of these rugs can be considered a form of Islamic art as well.
Prayer mats are very representative of the area of their origin. Pictures of a famous local mosque or local Islamic architectural designs are often woven into the mats to distinguish it from other originating in different areas. The Middle East and other Muslim countries that are most prominent in manufacturing prayer mats have special small towns where they are made. It provides a steady source of income for the locals as well as integrates the local traditions into it.
In Saudi Arabia, a large number of prayer mats have the Kaaba or Masjid-e-Nabvi’s design woven into them. People who visit Mecca and Medina for pilgrimage take benefit of this fact and purchase their prayer rugs from there. This leaves them with an image of the house of Allah, which they can see every time they pray.
Other common designs that can be frequently seen in prayer mats from all around the world include an arch shaped structure place at the top of the mat which acts as direction marker for the worshipper to face towards Mecca. In addition, certain mats have the picture of a pitcher that reminds its user to make “wudu”, which is the act of cleaning up before offering salah.
Based on the weaver, you can get numerous designs on prayer mats, with a variety of colors. Green is mostly used on prayer rugs that have a picture of the Medina’s Masjid-e-Nabvi, as it represents the color of dome of the famous mosque. Black color is used for pictures of the Kaaba, along with the use of beiges and browns to weave the remainder of the mat.
Certain pieces are so unique that they have been preserved for more than 100 years for the newer generations to look and appreciate. In addition, mats used by prominent Islamic figureheads are also safeguarded for generations to see.