Berlin – A muezzin calls to prayer. An elderly man slowly kneels on a prayer mat, his movement difficult. With some effort he gets up.
“You cannot pray like that,” was probably the thought that inspired Turgay Yenerer, a carpet store owner in the south-western German city of Karlsruhe, to make his orthopaedic prayer mat, the “Mihrab.”
The carpet looks ordinary at first glance but with a length of 1.25 metres it’s 15 centimetreslonger than a normal prayer rug and the material feels like a yoga mat. It’s filled with a 1.5 centimetre-thick mixture of foam materials. Yenerer says a similar material is often used in hospitals.
A YouTube video of his mat claims that it will take care of “knee pain, back pain and foot pain” while praying.
Yenerer had to get the approval of Islamic scholars and it took about 50 different prototypes of differing lengths and thicknesses before it was given. With the scholars’ blessing in hand Yenerer also took out a patent on the rug.
“The mat is not allowed to be too thick,” says its inventor. “There must be a little bit of effort put into the act of praying.” The carpet is longer than normal as otherwise the distance between the knees on the carpet and the forehead would be too great while praying.
Yenerer has lived in Germany for over 20 years. He got the idea when elderly friends and family members complained of joint pain that made praying difficult. Muslims are required to pray five times a day and it’s important that they can maintain concentration.
“Nothing should be allowed to disturb the prayer.” But if you are suffering from pain, “you are diverted by pain and you cannot devote yourself to prayer,” says Yenerer.
The carpet could also be useful in mosques. After praying with the forehead on the mat, Muslims can raise their upper bodies and sit listening to the Imam. “It helps to make the mosque much quieter,” says Yenerer.
Yenerer has sold 2,000 carpets since they went on sale on the internet last October. Sixty per cent have been sold to Muslims in Germany with the remainder were sold in Turkey where the carpets are produced. His goal is to eventually market the rug all over the world. Source