Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Illuminating Prayer Rug:"Alhamdulilah for Technology" or "Eww Bidah!"?

During my usual frolic on the interwebs, I stumbled upon an article which touched on an interesting project currently being showcased on Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. Get this: A prayer mat that glows/lights up when it faces Mecca. The blog on entitled "Holy Tech! Prayer Mats Light Up When Facing Mecca", raves about the artistic rug with its electro luminescent lights and built-in digital compass. Take a gander at the article by clicking the appropriate link. (Note: I do find it funny by the way that the creator, Soner Ozenc, initially was working on designing a flying--FLYING carpets, when this idea struck him. Cue the "Magic Carpet Ride" song.)

I have mixed thoughts about the invention, but lean towards positive. In the age we live in , technological advances is not only making our lives easier and more convenient, but is making spirituality/religion and the act of getting closer to God hip and fun as well. For Muslims, we have apps for the Qur'an and Hadith to be read in the palm of our hand, apps that remind us of our daily prayer times complete with Adhan (Call to Prayer alerts), we can listen to Arabic recitations from our phone or tablet at the touch of a button (or touchscreen). You can't help but say MashaAllah to all of this. And what this light up prayer rug, coined as EL Sajjdah, brings is technological innovation into your one-on-one conference with the Creator. It's a beautiful sight to look at to the point where on top of its primary use for prayer, it makes an excellent piece or art on your wall.

One issue that has already been brought up is how this invention could effect Islamic ettiquette when praying the salat, most notably the possibly detriment to focus and concentration required in the prayer (known to Muslims as khushoo). It is haram (forbidden) for one to be distracted by external things when trying to pray to Allah(swt). It's bad enough Shaitan jumps into our ears and tries to screw up our prayers with thinking about trivial nonsense now we have a shiny light to "ooh" and "ahh" about when we're supposed to be laser-focused on making sure our act of worship is worthy of being accepted and not chunked right back in our faces on Judgment Day for being crappy.

Some may call it an illuminating point of focus and for others a glowing distraction. I guess it really would depend on the person. But there is a good argument to make to those that would see it as a distracting extravagance. The way I see it, when praying your eyes need to be fixed onto where you will be doing the Sajdah (placing our face and forehead for prostation.). A good load of these old-school prayer rugs have images of the Kabah or a fancy domed Mosque with a crescent moon at the top to stare at. The whole reason for the images was to keep a persons eyes from looking elsewhere, darting left and right, looking up at the wall or ceiling because it would nullify the prayer.

So my question would be: What makes the glowing lights different or bad compared to the image of the Kabah or Mosque etc.? If it helps keep your eyes fixed so you can focus on your prayer, then all is good. If you're a hyper-distractable 6 year old (or Homer Simpson) that is easily astonished from shiny things, then yeah the EL Sajjdah is not for you.

I wouldn't mind buying one for my home, for the right price. The EL Sajjdah is not going to be mass-produced until it reaches it's goal of $100,000 on Kickstarter. You can pre-order or make a pledge to help them in this project by clicking here, which expires August 14th.

1 comment:

  1. Hello;
    I have read your blog regarding prayer mats, As you had right wonderful article, and this is very interesting.
    Thanks for sharing such wonderful blog.