Wednesday, August 22, 2018

How To Identify a Prayer Rug?


In the world of rug cleaning one of the biggest problems I see in our shop is the misidentification of rugs. This can be someone thinking they have a nice hand-knotted wool rug when they have a machine made rug or someone thinking they have a prayer rug when they do not and a whole lot in between.

While prayers rugs are not specifically required in Islam they are widely used because the requirement is that their prayers be performed in an area that is clean. So it has become a tradition for many to ensure that the space around them is clean when they pray to use a small prayer rug.

Mihrab motif displayed in the rug above

So how do you identify a prayer rug or double prayer rug? Prayer rugs can be easily identified by their motif. The mihrab motif or design resembles an archway. Some rugs will have this motif at both ends which makes it a double prayer rug. Double prayer rugs are usually seen in older antique rugs. By definition, a rug must have the mihrab motif or else it is not a prayer rug. So this makes the identification part easier.

The field of a prayer rug or the design inside the mihrab motif can be left open with very little or no designs or it can be filled with designs. Sometimes when these fields are filled with paradise birds, tree of life or other animals it can make some believe that it is a hunting design. Do not make that mistake. Just remember if it has the mihrab motif then it is a prayer rug no matter what is in the field of the rug.

The next thing that throws people off is the size of the rug. The size of the rug does not necessarily tell you that it is a prayer rug. Typically prayer rugs are smaller than 5’ x 7’ but not always. Some people will mistake a small Hamadan mat for a prayer rug. These are not prayer rugs just because they are small. You still have to have the mihrab motif at one end of the rug to make it a prayer rug. Most prayer rugs are small though and so it is a characteristic of prayer rugs but don’t let it be the deciding factor. Since they are small this makes them easy for people to carry them around with them or move them from place to place.

Hopefully this short article about prayer rugs was useful to you. The goal here was to teach you what a prayer rug is so that when you go to purchase one you are not led to buy a different style rug by a rug dealer that doesn’t know the difference. People bring rugs into our rug cleaning plant all the time that are mistaken on what they actually have so don’t let this happen to you. Learn a few things about rugs before you go out and make a purchase.

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