5 Tips for Turning Any Room into an Islamic Prayer Room

published Apr 19, 2022
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Ramadan is here, and for billions of Muslims around the world, this holy time — celebrating the month that the prophet Muhammed received the Quran — calls for an emphasis on spiritual enlightenment and connecting to God.  Performing salat, or the five daily prayers, is one of the five pillars of Islam, and during Ramadan prayer is especially powerful and rewarding. 

Praying at home is what’s feasible for most people, and whether it happens in a cramped Brooklyn walk-up or an expansive suburban home, anyone can utilize available space to create a sanctuary to practice devotion, introspection, and gratitude. Here are three tips for converting your space into a prayer room.

Start with cleaning

Cleanliness is essential in Islam. The Quran emphasizes the importance of physical and mental purity, especially during prayer, and any prayer not meeting this requirement is considered invalid. “It does not have to be an actual room — we can even pray outside — it just needs to be clean,” says Lama Zibdeh, owner of Home Synchronize, a decor shop and blog. 

Prayer rugs are commonly used in order to ensure cleanliness for the person assuming the multiple postures of the salat, so it is advisable to store rugs in a drawer or container in or near your prayer space, according to Zibdeh. 

Storage space can also be used to accommodate prayer clothes, which are garments made to be worn on top of your daily clothes to ensure cleanliness and modesty while praying, she says. 

Ensure you can face the Qibla

When creating a prayer space it is essential to consider the Qibla — or the direction of the Kaaba, the holiest shrine of Islam in Mecca — which Muslims must face while praying. 

There are many Qibla apps and compasses one can download to help pinpoint a room or spot to choose. 

“The requirements are cleanliness and facing the Qibla,” Zibdeh says. “The rest are things that will help us reach humility when we’re praying.”

Avoid high foot-traffic zones.

Prayer is a time for introspection, connection to God, and attaining peace, all of which requires deep concentration. To ensure this, it is recommended to avoid pathways or areas with heavy foot traffic.   

“You want to make sure wherever you’re desiring to make the prayer room, it’s not in a walk path that you know will not only bring in dirt, but also disturb an individual who’s praying,” advises Zulikha Hussain, Realtor and owner of Z4U-Real Estate in Dallas, Texas. 

In Islam, it’s impermissible to walk directly in front of someone praying. In order to minimize this, it is common for those praying to find a space where they can face a wall or window, according to Zibdeh.

“Nothing should be between a praying person praying and the Qibla,” Hussain says. 

In the event that there is no space to use that doesn’t have a lot of traffic, solid objects can be placed between those praying and those who aren’t, such as chairs or tables, according to Hussain. Once you have your space, you can immerse yourself in prayer.

Keep humility in mind.

Humility is one of the greatest virtues in Islam. While not obligatory, many choose to have their space represent this virtue. 

“Ultimately you’re connecting with your god. So when you’re sitting and praying, you want to be able to feel that sameness and humbleness,” says Hussain.

In order to achieve this, the Realtor suggests steering away from loud, distracting colors. This would also promote peace of mind and calmness. 

Do what you can with what you have.

As there is not a set standard for a prayer aside from cleanliness and facing the Qibla, the layout of a prayer area comes down to culture and circumstance. 

“Most homes do not have separate spaces that we can only dedicate to prayer,” says Zibdeh. “It does not have to be extra extravagant.”

Some may choose to add Islamic calligraphy on the wall, keep bookshelves stocked with the holy Quran and other Islamic texts, keep misbaha, or Islamic prayer beads, in the room amongst other things, but this is all extra, according to the Realtor. 

“To each their own,” says Hussain. “Make whatever part of the house you need that fits your need to connect with your Lord.”