A new brother in faith told me recently on receiving his new praying mat “I’m Blessed and am so happy today I got my praying mat and the praying beads, alhamdulillah”. How many of us (including me) have said ‘alhamdulillah’ for the praying mats we are blessed with?
I never knew a prayer mat can bring so much happiness to him and it was then I started not taking my prayer mat for granted.
We all know we prostrate to none other than Allah and that we do not prostrate before any humans, idols or images. Hence even if the prayer mat includes images, they should be free of drawings of animate things. Unfortunately there are mats that have been widely distributed which portray malicious drawings depicting other religions, pig faces and also latent human figures that are not manifested vividly, but have a great impact on the human mind as it is perceived below our threshold. Our mind tends to comply with what we see rather than what we have understood. It is our obligation to choose mats that is free of such malicious and diverting images.
At times there are questions posed about the ‘crosses’ drawn in the prayer carpets, and although they are not animate, they are regardless still prohibited. The cross is the symbol used by the Christians to exalt and venerate their religion and furthermore they regard that as the symbol of the crucifixion of Isa (Jesus).
But Allah has stated in the Quran:
“…And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them….” (Quran 4:157)
Therefore is is not permissible for us to have it on our prayer mats in order to avoid the resemblance of Christians and their places of worship.
There has always been the controversy about the inanimate images included in the prayer mats, and some vehemently condemn the inclusion of the pictures of the Ka’bah and other sacred places. The past records some campaigns calling for the boycott of buying such carpets, as such to avoid them being stepped over. This has only been perspectives of some Muslims, though in Islam it is not forbidden or haram to include images of inanimate objects such as trees, building etc. and this even includes the pictures of mosques and Ka’bah. However it is obligatory that these prayer mats do not contain images that can distract the person during the prayer.
Al-Bukhari, Book 8, Hadith 373, Narrated by Aisha
The Prophet prayed in a Khamisa (a square garment) having marks. During the prayer, he looked at its marks. So when he finished the prayer he said, “Take this Khamisa of mine to Abu Jahm and get me his Inbijaniya (a woolen garment without marks) as it (the Khamisa) has diverted my attention from the prayer.”
Aisha said “The Prophet said, ‘I was looking at its (Khamisa’s) marks during the prayers and I was afraid that it may put me in trial (by taking away my attention)’.”