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Thursday, 17 April 2008

The prayer mat - a direct line to God

The prayer mat - a direct line to God
Taken from The BBC, June 2004
By Dr Fiaz Hussain, Director of "Dawah and Welfare Office", for the UK Islamic Mission

My favourite spiritual place must be the prayer mat. I believe it’s a direct connection between myself and our creator, God Almighty.

When I put the prayer mat down on the floor I have a direct line to talk to God about issues that concern me, problems that I have and my wants and needs as a human being.

All Muslims throughout the world use a prayer mat. Whenever we pray we have this direct line.

Of course this is not exclusive to Muslims, I believe that if anyone wants to talk to God, then God is there and He’s always listening to us and He wants to hear from us.

Indeed, the saying of the Prophet "Peace be upon you" is such that when all other doors are closed in the night, God’s doors are open and they’re open wide, so whatever we want or need, whatever requirement we have God listens and God does provide.

I also believe, as a Muslim, that the earth as a whole is a big prayer mat.

In other words, wherever I am, whether I’m in the Sahara Desert or whether I am amidst the greenery of England, when I want to pray or have a need to pray, I look towards God and simply place my prayer mat on the ground and start praying.

It is an opportunity to thank our Lord; to thank God for everything that He has given me – and for the countless bounties that he’s provided for us all.

There are various designs for a prayer mat, but it’s always rectangular in shape and typically there are pictures of two or three holy places in Islam woven into the fabric: the Mosques in Mecca and in Medina, Saudi Arabia and the Mosque in Jerusalem.

Other designs are geometric, like triangles, squares, circles that beautify the prayer mats.

Having said that, the prayer mat should not distract the person from communicating with God – some are totally plain in black or white.

The prayer mat is used to signify a place of cleanliness. When I pray I need to go through some actions like bowing and prostration so that when I do put my forehead on the ground, it is clean. I am in a state of cleanliness.

As a Muslim, I need to be clean, my body, my clothes, quite clearly where I stand, kneel and where I prostrate, that needs to be clean – because God loves those who are clean.

When you stand on the prayer mat you stand before God Almighty, in the Kingdom of God Almighty and you don’t communicate with anyone except God. A Prayer mat, in fact, signifies to the world that you recognise there is a Creator, that there is a Lord. The designs that are on the prayer mat acknowledge this too.

I place my prayer mat on the ground five times a day – that is a must for an adult, not just because I’m a human being and I have shortcomings but also to thank and be grateful to God Almighty. Praying is a continuous process. We can pray at any time of day – the doors of God are always open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Whenever I need God, God is there. I put my prayer mat down to indicate that I want to talk to God and no one else.

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