A prayer mat or a musalla prayer mat or prayer rug is simply a large piece of cloth, sometimes just a square pile cloth, used by Muslims as a place to sit for prayer. The cloth is wrapped around the legs and a seat is then provided for this purpose. Muslim prayer rugs are normally square but the Christian prayer rugs are usually rectangular. They can also be printed with messages or pictures on them. These are traditionally used in synagogues, even though nowadays they are very popular in houses of worship as well. The praying mat has several different functions.
- Firstly, it acts as a place where prayer is done. This is where the Namaz, which is a form of Muslim prayer, is given. It is also a place where people go for meditation or just for an individual quiet moment before prayer. The mat is used for this purpose also.
- Secondly, the prayer rugs are used as decoration. They are available in a variety of colors, designs, and styles and thus offer an added flair to any room. Sometimes they are customized with the name of the person who is offering the prayer or the text of the prayer. They make for excellent gifts too.
- Thirdly, the rugs are used as a decoration on the prayer area itself. They can be arranged in a way that they look like a carpet. This gives the area a luxurious look and gives it a spiritual touch. They can be kept in place of carpets at home.
- Finally, it is used as an aid for prayer. They come in different sizes. Some are meant for each prayer. Others are separate. The smaller ones can be used to place under the chair when sitting.
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- A prayer mat comes in different materials too. They are available in cotton, linen, jute and satin. They are washable and are made in various shapes and sizes. They are easy to maintain and are affordable.
There are many advantages of a foldable praying mat. Apart from helping in meditation, it helps one to concentrate. It also provides a safe place to kneel or sit. It helps to bring about serenity in a busy and stressful environment. It also provides an area where people can join hands to pray, in case there is no nearby prayer room.