Creating your personal prayer space

Source: Islamic Insights

Why set aside a prayer space in your home? So that you’ll be able to
concentrate on your acts of worship and not on what’s around you. Make
the area peaceful and attractive, and you will definitely feel the
difference. No, you don’t need a mansion or a decorating budget to do
this! All you need are a couple of hours and some imagination.

Choose the Space

Designate
a space that will have nothing in it except what is related to prayer.
You can pick a corner of your bedroom or your apartment’s living room,
or a section of your home’s basement. Even if the rest of the house
isn’t in a good state, make it your priority to always keep this little
spot clean and clutter-free.

 

Collect the Essentials

  • Prayer rug.
    Make sure it’s not so pattern-filled that it will distract you during
    prayer. You could even use a simple bamboo mat if you want. But make
    sure you choose something that will be comfortable for you to sit on
    for a long period of time.
  • Turba (the clay tablet that the forehead is placed on)
  • Sandpaper. Your Turba will
    turn darker after some months as it accumulates oil from your skin, so
    give it a light sanding every once in a while. If it has writing or
    decoration on one side, you may prefer to place your forehead on the
    solid side so sanding won’t ruin the design of your Turba.
  • Tasbeeh.
    Have you ever considered making your own prayer beads? Or having your
    children make some? This could be a way to get them involved in
    personalizing the home’s prayer space.
  • Long outer veil if you’re a sister (or expect a sister to be praying there sometimes too):
    if you’re a sister at home in a t-shirt, you won’t need to go and
    change when you’re busy and it’s time for prayer. You can just slip on
    a chador that’s clean and waiting in your prayer space.
  • Supplication books (with English translation), or a tabbed binder of printouts from www.duas.org. Consider Mafatih al-Jinan,
    supplications to be said after each daily prayers and for each day of
    the week, Hadith al-Kisa, Ziyarat Waritha, Dua Kumayl, Dua Tawassul. If
    your du’a books are looking beat up, put some gorgeous wrapping paper
    on their covers.
  • Qur’an. Keep a copy with the
    type of Arabic script that is easiest for you to recite from (some
    people are more comfortable with the Urdu-style writing, for example).
    Also, have an English translation.
  • Water bottles and airtight container of nuts or raisins, or a granola bar. Your space is supposed to keep you focused on doing your Ibadah, so don’t let any excuses distract you from that. If you’re on a spiritual high and want to keep reciting Qur’an or du’as,
    especially if it’s after Fajr and you haven’t eaten yet, don’t let a
    grumbling stomach or a dry throat lure you to the kitchen, where you
    might get distracted by the pile of dishes in the sink or the laptop on
    the counter. Keep some food handy so you can stay where you are and
    keep going on with your acts of worship for as long you desire. You can
    listen to recitations or lectures on your MP3 or CD player while you
    eat.

Make the Space Inviting

The
bedroom is supposed to be designed as a relaxing place, as if it’s your
refuge from the world. (Although in reality, for many of us it looks
like a whirlwind of tossed clothes, books, and homework.) If bedrooms
can be decorated so carefully, why not apply such care to the best
space in your home, where you pray? (Having a place where you pray
regularly in your home is significant even at the time of death, when
it is recommended that the dying person be taken to that area of the
house.)

The next thing you are going to do is grab a laundry
basket and go "shopping" around your house (or your parents’ place!).
See what your family already has at home that can be repurposed. You do
not have to try and do every single thing in the list below. It would
create too much clutter, and the space would become a distraction in
itself.

See what would work in your home. For example, if you
have small children around or if your space is by a window with big,
flowing drapes, you don’t want to have lit candles that are going to be
a fire hazard. Choose wisely, keep the décor to a minimum, but arrange
it well. It’s the little touches that will make your personal prayer
space that much more appealing:

  • Incense sticks, oudh, or a can of lavender or vanilla air freshener
  • Saucer, bowl, vase, or empty jar: fill with pebbles, potpourri, rose petals, sand, shells, scented candles, or tealights
  • Decorative box – store your Turba and Tasbeeh; tasbeehs could also hang on a long nail in the wall
  • Tall bottle or glass to hold a single artificial flower or a bamboo stalk
  • Little baskets, boxes – store different du’a
    books (like Ramadan ones) that you don’t use every day. Keep the other
    ones on your prayer mat, so you are more inclined to read them when
    they’re right in front of you.
  • A throw-pillow to rest your Quran on
  • One
    or two pieces of Islamic art or calligraphy, even if it’s a postcard or
    photo of a shrine. Hang these to the side, not in front of you.
  • Perfume samples or Arab attars you
    may not be using that often, to remind you to perfume yourself before
    praying if you haven’t already done so beforehand with the perfume you
    put on that morning.

Praying in a space that is free of distractions is one way you can strengthen your mental concentration during Salat.
Without a mess or work surrounding you, you can be more at ease. The
above are just a number of suggestions to choose from to make it an
attractive area. While you should be able to pray almost anywhere,
choosing a special spot in your home devoted to prayer will make you
feel peaceful and eager to talk to Allah about your thoughts, feelings,
and issues. Create your personal prayer space and let it be your
refuge, where you can reflect and repent.

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