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It is not uncommon to see Muslims kneeling and prostrating on prayer rugs or for the carpet to be used as décor ornaments in a Muslim household. On the first look, prayer carpets resemble oriental rugs or even Persian Rugs. These are often constructed of cotton/silk and feature Islamic landmarks, geometric, floral, arabesque or free-flowing patterns. Although the sizes vary, most rugs are just sufficient for an average man to fit during the acts and antics of prayer. Wool is also a material used in the making of prayer rugs.

However, they are mostly hand-knitted and are too expensive to be bought.  And while Muslims are the frontrunners, what religions use prayer rugs? Christians are one group who have used them over the years. While most Christians now use some sort of clean mat or pillow to kneel, it hasn't been this way all along. Indeed many traditions credit them for the origin of what came to be known as Christian prayer rugs. Christians in some parts of the World, though, persist with the idea of using a carpet for prayer. It is worth noting that Islamic prayer rugs aren't a prerequisite for offering Salat. All Islam calls for is for Muslims to ensure cleanliness in place of prayer.

Indeed some Muslims across the globe don't even use one for worship. It's just a practice that has become a traditional thing for many in order to reserve a clean and isolated space for worship. Plus, the patterns and design laid on the rugs hold significant value and importance to Muslims- So why not use one? Keep reading ahead to find out everything about prayer rugs- from its origin to its maintenance and how they’re made!

Prayer Rugs

Prayer Rugs History

Early Christians did use the prayer rugs (according to traditions), but we would refrain from jumping into the sensitive issue. This section deals with the origin, popularity, and recent controversies linking Islamic prayer rugs.

Prayer Rugs History

Early Years

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) started the practice, using the 'Khumrah' for prayer. What is Khumrah? It is a mat made of palm fronds. The practice developed over the course of the next few centuries so that by 14th-century travelers were reportedly carrying carpets for Salat. The rugs intrigued early Muslim leaders who would have them customized for their use by the greatest artists in court. Prayer Carpets begin to be used as a symbol of power and as presents. This practice flourished under the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal dynasties. Rugs would be thought of as a national treasure, traded and used as items of ordination. They became associated with Islam.

Such was the preciousness that a few of them even found their way in Christian Churches! The rapid spread of practice meant that prayer carpets picked up numerous names. These can be attributed to many languages spoken across the globe in general. So, what is the Muslim prayer rug called in different parts of the World? In the Arab World, they are known as Sajjādat aṣ-ṣalāt, while the Urdu/Persian equivalent is Janamaz. Other commonly used words are Sajadah, Pasahapan, and Namazlyk. One thing that stands out is that all these emphasize the prostration aspect of prayer.

Early Years

Recent Past

In recent times, prayer carpets have transitioned from wool to cotton and silk as the raw material. This has meant that not only are they cheaper to produce but much more accessible as well. Another change has been in usage. Over the years, the use of rug as a medium for prayer has increased, and that as an item for decor has decreased. One thing that, however, hasn't changed is the regard the rugs are held in. Undoubtedly these rugs are one of the most revered Muslim household items. This is evident from the fact that Trump's decision to remove prayer rugs in Whitehouse caused outrage across the Muslim World. This story does go on to confirm the sovereignty of the prayer rug in today's Islam.

Another such tale is Sabeeha Rehman's 'Threading my Prayer Rug. The plot revolves around a woman's trouble in following her religion away from her native land. The book beautifully captures the essence of the transition of a secular Muslim to a devout one. All this while the external conditions are changing. Lastly, over the years, prayer rugs have become wholly associated with the Islamic religion. The connection to other religious groups seems to have faded. Trump's tweets about Prayer rugs found on the border are a few of the examples. Not surprisingly, the tweets caused an uproar in the Islamic World.

Recent Past

Features & Uses Of Prayer Rugs

Having scrambled history, let's look into Islamic carpets of today. Most rugs use cotton or silk as raw materials, and by that, I don't intend over-generalization. A few are hand-woven wool rugs too, but the majority comprises the former.

Features & Uses of Prayer Rugs


On first look, it's hard to distinguish an oriental rug from a prayer rug. This can be attributed to solid colors or geometric, floral, and arabesque patterns. Most rugs have an Islamic landmark embedded upon them. This ranges from the Ka'aba in Mecca, Al-Masjid e Nabawi in Medina to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Having said so, it isn't uncommon to find a rug with abstract patterns. The area of rug production does affect the texture. A few rugs have patterns/dyes while others have materials native to their area of manufacture. All prayer rugs, however, do have a niche on top-the Mihrab. The Mihrab is the feature of the mosque representing the direction for the performance of prayer. The niche is where a Muslim places his head during prayer. Some rugs have an actual representation of Mihrab, while others are a bit abstract in their demeanor. All of these rugs have some form of decorations. They may have illuminated lamps or even combs and pitchers. These decorations not only play a part in imagery but also serve the purpose of reigniting Islamic thought. Illuminated lamps, for example, are a reference to the Verse of Light of the Quran. Such elaborateness is common, and attention to detail is common in Turkish prayer rugs. A few rugs may have imprinted hands on either side of Mihrab. These help the new converts place their hands correctly during prostration. It's easy to assume that each aspect of a prayer rug serves a purpose. That's not entirely true. Some rugs just have solid colors imprinted on them. It's all about craftsmanship. The only thing certain is that a prayer rug would have an easily distinguishable top and bottom and a Mihrab.


Size Of A Prayer Rug

A typical Islamic Prayer Rug ranges from 2.5 ft × 4 ft (0.76 m × 1.22 m) - 4 ft × 6 ft (1.2 m × 1.8 m). In other words, it is just enough for a person to kneel for prostration. While the size shouldn't matter, extraordinarily obese and tall individuals should prefer the largest size available. Take my word for it for I can relate. You don't want your head touching the ground during prostration! In case you intend to buy one as a décor piece, you still need to be careful. A Woolen rug (if yours is one) isn't the easiest to have hanging on your wall.

Size of a Prayer Rug

Material Used For Prayer Rugs

Area rugs are made up of many materials but when we talk about prayer rusg; most prayer rugs are crafted on cotton or silk. This not only renders them cheap but also makes them more accessible in the process. A few of them are hand-woven off wool too. These are ultimately more expensive and hence rarely used. Palm mats are one example of prayer carpets, and these are extremely popular, mainly because the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used one. The reason behind using palm mats is rather more symbolic and it is hard to reason against as almost all mosques having these! As of now, the rugs are being modified to cater to the health needs of worshipers. These are multi-layered carpets aimed at absorbing weight and hence reducing the pressure on the worshipers' body. One such example of a physiological mat is the Times. It has five layers- 3 of which absorb pressure. The bottom layer prevents slipping, while the top layer halts heat and microbes. Apparently, this is my type of mat for prayer!

Material Used for Prayer Rugs

Different Uses Of Prayer Rugs

And we are into the obvious!

      • What is a prayer rug used for?
      • Is it to offer daily prayers?

Muslims use the mat to ensure cleanliness and to offer prayer in an isolated space. While this isn't a requirement in the Islamic religion, Islam does call on its followers to worship in a clean area. A prayer rug offers both of these and hence has become one of the most cherished items of any Muslim household.

Different Uses Of Prayer Rugs

1. Praying 

A Muslim lays the rug on the ground so that the top points in the direction of the Ka'aba. Once he/she is done with prayer, the rug is immediately folded and put away until the next use. This helps ensure cleanliness. Cleanliness isn't often an issue for one prerequisite for the performance of Salat is cleanliness itself. Plus, most carpets can easily be hand-washed for they are made of cotton. In case yours is a woolen prayer mat, here are the dos and don'ts. However, prayer rugs can be used for other purposes than just being used for the performance of salat.


2. Decor

Another use for prayer rugs is as items of décor. They resemble Oriental/ Persian rugs and look ridiculously ravishing adorning walls. Woolen prayer mats are almost explicitly used for this purpose. This practice dates back to the Ottoman and Mughal empires when emperors had rugs customized for use in prayer. These were even presented to kings as presents in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties. While there is a difference of opinion over the permissibility of using prayer mats as ornaments, we aren't getting into that debate.


3. Trade

Prayer Carpets make for prolific items of the trade too. Especially hand-knotted Wool Rugs with intricate designs- these rugs possess great value. That's one reason for rug production in Europe. This practice also dates back to the 15-17th century. Trade can partially explain the presence of Muslim prayer carpets in Churches!


Importance Of Prayer Rugs:

Prayer rugs symbolize devotion, piety, and submission to Allah. It is also a reminder of the humility we should all feel before our creator or truth. It can be said that prayer carpets are so important because they remind us how we ought to lead our lives in this world! Using a prayer rug for prayer is also a reminder of the future that awaits us and how we should lead our lives so as to be worthy. Nowadays prayer rugs are also used as a symbol of Islam or as an expression of their culture. The traditional prayer rug is about six feet by three and a half feet in size, made from wool or cotton with the design woven into it.  It has no fringe but may have tassels on each end to remind us that Allah's Mercy is always with us.

Importance of prayer rugs:

Types Of Prayer Rugs:

The prayer rug is generally made of wool or cotton and may have a design woven into it.  It has no fringe but may have tassels on each end to remind us that Allah's Mercy is always with us.

1. Traditional Wool Rug:

This type often does not have any fringes, although these are the most costly type of prayer rug. The wool is often hand-spun and knitted by the weaver, who may take months to complete one rug.  The rugs are made in a wide variety of colors with intricate patterns woven into them. This type can be used for any purpose apart from prayer as well.

Traditional Wool Rug

2. Mesh Cotton Rug:

This type is made with a cotton cloth which is woven into the shape of the rug.  These are usually not as detailed or ornate as wool rugs and can be more affordable than traditional ones. This type of prayer rug gives a light, airy feel and can also be used for other purposes outside of prayer. But, is the most comfortable and easy to clean of all types.

Mesh Cotton Rug:

3. Jute Prayer Rug:

A prayer rug made of jute is also very famous for praying. These are usually made in one piece without any seams and can be designed to look like traditional rugs with floral patterning or more modern, geometric patterns. These prayer rugs do not have a soft feel, but they are inexpensive and easy to clean.

Jute prayer rug:

4. Silk Prayer Rug:

Silk prayer rugs are one of the most luxurious types and can provide a soft, comfortable surface to pray on while also providing an elegant look. These typically have simple patterns or designs and come in many different colors from light blue to dark red. Although these rugs are more expensive and are more difficult to clean, silk prayer rugs are a great choice for those who want something luxurious.

Silk prayer rug:

5. Oriental Prayer Rugs:

Oriental prayer rugs are typically made with wool and have an intricate, artistic design. These types of rugs look great in any room and can be very expensive depending on the size of the rug you purchase. Oriental style is one that has been around for hundreds of years so it provides a traditional feel to your prayers.

 Oriental prayer rugs:

6. Sisal Prayer Rugs:

Sisal prayer rugs are made from plant fibers and are most popular in the Americas. They are durable, environmentally friendly, affordable, and come in a variety of colors. Using this natural fabric as a prayer rug is a great way to bring natural textures into your living space.

Sisal prayer rugs:

7. Turkish Prayer Rugs:

Turkish rugs are made from wool, are more expensive than other types of prayer rugs, and come in a variety of colors. Turkish-style rugs will add an elegant touch to your prayers as well as provide you with a little bit of luxury for those who want it. These rugs are also durable and easy to clean. These rugs are perfect for Islamic prayers because they are made from wool and the color scheme matches well with prayer mats.

Turkish prayer rugs:

8. Persian Prayer Rugs:

Persian prayer mats are woven with vibrant colors and are typically made from silk. These prayer rugs will add a beautiful spice to your living space, as well as be an excellent addition to any room they're used in. They are the most popular type of prayer rug in the world, and they are quite expensive.

Persian prayer rugs:

9. Padded Prayer Mat:

A padded prayer rug is perfect for those who are looking for a little bit more comfort during their prayers. These rugs come with foam padding that makes your prostrations a lot easier to do and more comfortable on the knees. A rug pad could also be added to any type of prayer rug for extra comfort. Prayer mats are woven with vibrant colors and are typically made from silk. These prayer rugs will add a beautiful spice to your living space, as well as be an excellent addition to any room they're used in. They are the most popular type of prayer rug in the world, and they are quite expensive.

Padded prayer mat:

10. Thick Prayer Rugs:

Thick prayer rugs are the ideal choice for those who want something to provide them with extra cushioning during their prayers. These rugs can come in a variety of different sizes and are often used by people who have chronic pain or other disabilities. The thick pile height of a rug is typically around six inches.

Thick prayer rugs:

11. Thin Prayer Rugs:

The best option for those who want to get the most affordable rug possible, thin prayer mats are woven from cotton and polyester fibers. They do not provide any cushioning whatsoever which can make them difficult on knees and feet if you don't take care of your prayer mat. Typically, they are woven with a pile height of about one inch and can be found in most stores for under $20.

Thin prayer rugs:


1. What Are Prayer Rugs Called?

Prayer rugs are also known as prayer mats. These rugs are used for praying or reading the Quran. Prayer rugs are an important part of Muslim culture. They are an essential part of Islamic worship and everyday life, from before the time they arise in the morning until after sunset when all lights are extinguished. They're also used for reading the Quran during Ramadan. For many Muslims, their prayer rug is a symbol of their identity as Muslims.

2. What Are The Different Kinds Of Prayer Rugs?

Prayer mats come in many shapes and sizes depending on your preference or need. They can be made from materials like wool, cotton, silk, polyester, or nylon for maximum comfortability. You'll find that there's a variety to choose from, including rectangular, square, and round.

3. What Function Do They Serve?

A prayer rug is the most important piece of a Muslim’s furnishings, it should be placed in an area that has enough space to accommodate at least four Muslims for praying. Prayer rugs are used to increase the cleanliness of one's prayer space and for Muslims, they also serve as a symbol of their identity.

4. How To Clean Prayer Carpets?

The rug under your feet can get dirty, whether you're using it for worship or as a decorative article. So how do you make sure that the rug is in pristine condition? The first step to cleaning prayer rugs usually involves vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner and some white vinegar; this helps remove any dirt or grime which has accumulated on the surface of your carpet through daily use. Follow these tips if want to keep your prayer rug looking new and clean: Roll and fold your rug after prayer.

      • Place and lay your rug in the clean locality.
      • Clean your rug from time to time. If you own a cotton rug, it would be a walk in the park. Just deep clean it! Silk and wool rugs can be a bit hideous! While Silk rugs require dry cleaning, you can clean your wool rug by vacuuming it once in a while.
      • Clean any stain as soon as it occurs. Once a stain sets in, it is difficult to remove. Each kind of spill has its remedies. Here are the ones for woolen prayer rugs.
      • Avoid smoking around the rug. Smoke odors embed themselves in the rug and cause discoloration. Avoid smoking in general, but be extra cautious in the vicinity of prayer carpets.
      • Don't let the rug get wet. If it does, you can dry clean or spot wash it depending on the extent of dirtiness.
      • Spot washing is a quick process where you just dip a cloth in detergent and water and rub at the stain lightly until it's gone. This should only be done if there are no chemicals involved in your spill, like from paint or other household cleaners.
      • Dry cleaning is done by taking the rug to a professional cleaner and letting them do it right there on site. It's more expensive but faster than washing your own rug at home.
      • Rugs should be flipped over regularly so that they wear evenly if you have woolen prayer rugs without the pile.
      • Always remember to cover the prayer rug with another clean cloth when not in use.

5. What Type Of Material Is Used To Make A Prayer Rug?

Prayer rugs are often made from cotton, wool, or silk. Some prayer mats may also be woven out of hemp and jute twine. There's no specific type of material that you must use to make a prayer mat, but it is important for the rug to stand up on its own when laid flat as some designs have a tendency to curl up at the edges. If you want a prayer rug that will last longer and resist stains, it's a good idea to use cotton or wool. If you're looking for something that will be more comfortable, silk is the best choice. Silk prayer mats are light on your feet and have a similar feel as carpeting. This material also tends not to get stained easily so they'll stay clean longer than other types of rugs.

6. Are Prayer Rugs Hand-Knotted?

No, most prayer rugs are either machine- or hand-knotted. Some types of rug designs will be more expensive because they're produced in a less common way. Both machine-made and hand-knotted options are best for the purpose of prayer. However, rugs are a little more expensive than machine-made as they are made by professional weavers using the best quality material.

7. What Are The Benefits Of A Prayer Rug?

The benefit of using a prayer mat is that it can help you to maintain your concentration and focus during prayers. You'll need to show respect for Allah by maintaining proper etiquette while praying on these mats, which will make you feel more devout than ever before! Prayer rugs also offer a clean and organized space on the floor where you can pray. Most people prefer to use prayer rugs because they are made in a less common way than other types of mats, such as machine-made or hand-knotted options which offer both benefits for the purpose of praying.

8. What Are The Most Common Types Of Prayer Rugs?

Prayer mats come in many different styles, materials, and lengths. The most popular type is a machine-woven cotton rug that's typically about two feet by three feet - just large enough for one person to pray on at a time. Handmade silk carpets are also common, though they can be just as expensive as a hand-knotted option.

9. Is It Disrespectful To Use A Prayer Rug As Decoration?

Using a prayer rug as decoration in the home is perfectly acceptable - especially if it's used to cover up an area of dirt or mud. You can decorate your home with a rug without worrying that you'll be seen as disrespectful. Prayer carpets are typically made of cotton or silk and have an area where bowing during worship is permitted. Some people also fold the carpet so it can double as a large scarf when not in use for prayer. If you're not sure where to place the rug, think about where your guests will be sitting and what it'll look like with a prayer carpet on the floor. The prayer niche must be covered with the rug when not in use and should ideally be placed at the head of a room.

10. How Are Prayer Rugs Made?

Muslim prayer rugs have quite an interesting history as to how they’re made. Prayer rugs, or otherwise known as prayer mats, are manufactured by weavers in a factory. The weaver binds the material to the base or underlay of the rug, using various knots. Each rug is made as per the design, either the village it's being made in or an important Islamic landmark. These may include; The Holy Ka’aba, Masjid-e-Nabwi, etc. The knots are individually tied using variant colored wool to establish the desired pattern, after the rows of knots are finished. Furthermore, a weft string is intimately wrapped between the newly finished rows and the one which is about to begin. This helps to keep the design and pattern to be strictly in place. The most common materials used for Islamic prayer rugs are silk and cotton. This is because the fibers of silk and cotton are soft- which is an essential quality for prayer rugs to possess due to Muslims prostrating. The underlay for prayer rugs is a very important factor.

Most weavers use a soft foam underlay. This helps in keeping the Muslim, who’s worshiping, comfortable and also protects the rug from wear and tear caused by it. The fabric is beautifully decorated with patterns and materials that have traditional values. Prayer rugs border is something that really interests me. The borders are incredibly detailed with patterns of all sorts. Similar to the borders of Persian and oriental rugs, prayer rug's borders are just as beautiful. Depending on the rug’s materials and content, it can take months to complete! After the rugs have been made, it is sent for one final wash. The rugs are then thoroughly dried, sucking out any moisture left. These rugs are then collected by those who are responsible to collect and deal with them.  These rugs are usually made in villages and towns of the communities that utilize these mats. They’re also sometimes named after those deals and collect them.

11. Where Can I Buy Prayer Rugs Online?

Prayer rugs are an essential part of the Islamic faith as they are used for prayer. You can find prayer rugs online at several different websites. You can find prayer rugs online at several different websites, for instance, RugUSA, Wayfair, RugKnots, and more. RugKnots have the most options for rugs. You can buy the best quality rug with free shipping, and a hassle-free return policy.

If you're planning to buy the most beautiful prayer rugs anytime soon, Rugknots has to be your favorite destination. You can find many prayer rugs in different styles that represent religious symbols as well as are affordable and high quality. Also, if you need to know anything about rugs, For more information please email us at or call us at (301) 660-7046. We are happy to answer all your questions.

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Carlotta Suiter

I need to get a prayer rug