In Islam, the worshipper places this mat between them and the ground to symbolize cleanliness during a prayer.
Some Christians also use them during prayers involving prostrations or reciting the Alleluia and Kyrie Eleison.
So, Is It Bad To Use a Prayer Rug as a Regular Rug?
The answer is that it depends. Most times, prayer mats can be regular mats without any specific significance. So, in that case, you can use them decoratively. Non-Muslims can sit on them or use them as a picnic blanket. However, it might not be very respectful to some people. When you use the special Muslim prayer mat for other things other than its purpose, it may come out as disrespectful.
Why You May Not Want to Use a Prayer Rug for Another Purpose?
There is nothing wrong with using a prayer mat to serve other functions.
But, it may cause some offense. The offense might not be strictly religious but symbolically.
For example, it can be very disrespectful to use a prayer mat for bedding a dog or a bath mat.
Even if you aren’t a Muslim or don’t pray on it, doing this sounds disrespectful.
Additionally, if a Muslim visits your home and finds you using the special Muslim prayer mat for wiping your shoe, it may appear that you’re deliberately disrespecting their religion.
Think about it this way. You visit a foreign country and see people using toilet paper that looks like your flag.
This may not be very pleasant.
So if you bought a Muslim prayer mat or were given and didn’t use it for praying, think of hanging it on a wall as a decoration.
Muslims usually fold their prayer rugs up and store them carefully when they’re not using them.
So even if your religion is different, it’s best to treat artifacts from these religions with respect.
Can You Stand on the Prayer Mat?
As we have earlier said, the prayer mat has no specific significance.
So, non-Muslims can use it for other purposes besides praying, provided they are respectful. Remember that the prayer mat isn’t a religious artifact.
It’s only a way to clean the area where one is praying. So this means that Muslims can also pray without a rug if the room is clean or suitable.
If you want, you can leave the mat laid out on the floor after praying.
However, many people prefer to fold it to prevent others from walking on them with dirty shoes. Leaving your mat open isn’t a big deal, provided that the area is clean.
Can Muslims Pray without a Mat?
Muslims don’t have to pray on a mat.
The mat is only used to make the ground clean and more comfortable when praying.
But, if the floor is clean and free of dirt, you don’t need to place a rug on top before praying.
Even the Prophet (peace be upon him) didn’t use a mat for praying.
Since his floor was made of sand and dust, he would pray on it like that.
Even when his ground got wet from the rain, he would still pray in the muddy sand. So, if you are a Muslim, you can pray without a mat.
The Sharia doesn’t consider dirt and dust from the earth as impure.
Therefore, you can pray without a rug on a clean surface.
But remember that urine and feces are considered unclean.
So if you intend to pray in an area with them, ensure you clean the play first or look for another area.
Generally, you can use any place on earth to pray, provided it is not a graveyard or washroom.
Three Things to Consider When Choosing a Prayer Rug
So as we have seen, both Muslims and Christians don’t necessarily need a prayer rug.
However, if you feel like having one for one reason or the other, you won’t be judged.
But how do you purchase the right prayer rug? Consider these design aspects when shopping for a prayer mat.
1. The Size
Prayer mats come in different sizes.
They can fit a whole room or be a small cloth depending on what you prefer. Consider your needs and space.
You could only want a small fabric that fits in your limited space.
You also want a travel-sized item for road trips.
Although some people may stare at you whenever you whip your cloth out and pray silently, focus on the purpose and not onlookers.
Alternatively, you can have a large rug where you can kneel when praying.
If you use the rug specifically for prayer, you need to ensure that it is ethically sourced and made under healthy standards.
Even though God cares about your prayer, he is also concerned about the manufacturers behind the rug.
Remember that this is about praying and prayer is holy. So, be very intentional even with the little things.
Muslims can buy the particular prayer rug sold in the market. But for Christians, you have to think carefully about the mat you’re buying since there are no standards.
A prayer rug should preferably have a clear design that won’t distract you when praying.
It should not have anything that may seem disrespectful to God, such as inappropriate print.
There are different patterns and prints you can choose from.
What’s important is to ensure that it aligns with your purpose and won’t distract you from it.
Prayer rugs are mainly made from cotton or wool.
They don’t have any fringes, but some may have tassels on their ends. You can choose a traditional wool rug without fringes.
It is expensive since the weaver handknits every knot, taking months to complete a single project.
But they are high quality, and you can pick from various colors. You can also choose mesh cotton rugs, jute prayer rugs, or silk prayer rugs.