1. Prayer Rug

external image moz-screenshot-2.pngexternal image prayer.jpg


Citation & Research strategy
  1. "prayer rug." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 05 Nov. 2009 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/474169/prayer-rug>.
    • I found this site http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/474169/prayer-rug after searching through many databases on the micds library database site. After finding a database that had anything on prayer rugs I was overjoyed. After reading the limited description of prayer rugs I was some what disappointed. Then I immediately proceeded to check the description of what articles where used to make this article for any links to better sites and the link I found was this link to the encyclopedia Britannica. This site had many helpful descriptions of how to use the prayer rug and what it was and its importance.
  2. Huda. "Islam - Prayer Rugs." About.com Islam. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2009. <http://islam.about.com/od/prayer/f/prayer_rugs.htm>.
    • I found this site http://islam.about.com/od/prayer/f/prayer_rugs.htm when I was searching Islamic Prayer Rugs in Bing. After finding no good sites After going through a couple of bad sites I decide to search something a little more specific so I searched Islamic religion; prayer rugs. After going down a list of a bout 15 or 16 I found many bad sites until I found a site that had many links that had many sites that had little to do with or all to do with prayer rugs. After searching for a while I found this site and was relieved that I found something. This site went into depth on the meaning of some of the symbols on the rugs. site that was the 5th one down.
  3. Huda. "Muslim Prayers - How to Perform the Muslim Prayers." About.com Islam. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <http://islam.about.com/od/prayer/ht/pray.htm>.
    • I found this website: http://islam.about.com/od/prayer/ht/pray.htm when I was searching for Prayer rugs. I was looking for different websites about Prayer Rugs, and I came up with the idea of looking in the textbook. In the textbook I didn't find anything, but I came up with the idea of prayer rugs connecting to the 5 pillars of Islam, and the daily prayer that all Muslims have to do. I then searched Islam Daily prayer in Google, and I came up with this website. This website goes into depth as to exactly how to pray, the length each one should take, and even the difficulty of the prayer. This website includes some positions that the person praying should use to do it correctly, and it lists it in order.

Research notes
This Article was very informative, and was the primary source of our information during this project. This Article asked the question: "Question: What are prayer rugs, and how are they used by Muslims?" and then answered it. This website offered a lot of information that pertained to our image, and explained what the prayer rugs were used for in an easy to understand way. Here are some of the most important research notes that we got from this article. (http://islam.about.com/od/prayer/f/prayer_rugs.htm)
  • Muslims are often seen kneeling and prostrating on small embroidered rugs, called "prayer rugs." For those unfamiliar with the use of these rugs, they may look like small "oriental carpets," or simply nice pieces of embroidery. (these rugs often look like normal ones with small patterns, but this small rug is much more important to the Islamic culture than it seems. This prayer rug will be used every day five times a day to pray in a Muslim household.)
  • During Islamic prayers, worshippers bow, kneel, and prostrate on the ground in humility before God. The only requirement in Islam is that prayers be performed in an area that is clean.
  • Prayer rugs are not universally used by Muslims, nor specifically required in Islam. But they have become a traditional way for many Muslims to ensure the cleanliness of their place of prayer, and to create an isolated space to concentrate in prayer.
  • Prayer rugs are usually about one meter long, just enough for an adult to fit comfortably when kneeling or prostrating.
  • The designs are often geometric, floral, arabesque, or depict Islamic landmarks such as the Ka'aba in Mecca or Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. (this article makes it clear that even though prayer rugs aren't universally associated with the Pillar of Islam that depicts praying five times a day, it is clear why some would choose to use it. This prayer rug Is a way of getting an understanding of what you are praying for, and to. These patterns on the rug can signify anything from the Ka'aba in Mecca or the Al-aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, but no matter what it signifies, they are all used for the same purpose.)
  • They are usually designed so that the rug has a definite "top" and "bottom" -- the bottom is where the worshipper stands, and the top points towards the direction of prayer.
  • When the time for prayer comes, the worshipper lays the rug on the ground, so that the top points towards the direction of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. After prayer, the rug is immediately folded or rolled, and put away for the next use. This ensures that the rug remains clean.
  • The Arabic word for a prayer rug is "sajada," which comes from the same root word (SJD) as "masjed" (mosque) and "sujud" (prostration).
These are from the website (http://islam.about.com/od/prayer/ht/pray.htm) that I found on how to pray, and use the prayer rug during praying. I took these easy steps from the website. These 9 steps are only a few of the multiple steps that go into praying once, which must be done 5 times a day. While you are praying, you (and your prayer rug) will be facing Mecca as you perform your prayer.
  1. Standing, raise hands up and say "Allahu Akbar" (God is Most Great).
  2. Standing with hands folded over chest, recite the first chapter of the Qur'an in Arabic. Then recite any other verses of the Qur'an that you would like.
  3. Raise hands up, saying "Allahu Akbar." Bow, reciting three times, "Subhana rabbiyal adheem" (Glory be to my Lord Almighty).
  4. Rise to standing while reciting "Sam'i Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal hamd" (God hears those who call upon Him; Our Lord, praise be to You).
  5. Raise hands up, saying "Allahu Akbar." Prostrate on the ground, reciting three times "Subhana Rabbiyal A'ala" (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High).
  6. Rise to a sitting position, saying "Allahu Akbar." Prostrate again in the same manner.
  7. Rise to a standing position, saying "Allahu Akbar."
  8. This concludes one rak'a (cycle or unit of prayer). Begin again from Step 3 for the second rak'a.
  9. After two rak'as, one remains sitting after the prostrations and recites the first part of the Tashahhud in Arabic.
What You Need:
  • The heart-felt intention to perform the prayer
  • A clean body with correct ablutions
  • A clean place to pray
  • A prayer rug
These are the notes from the Britannica Encyclopedia Article (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/474169/prayer-rug) which was found by searching through the databases. Although this website was from the database, there wasn't much information on it that we hadn't already found. These are some of the Main points that the article was trying to convey.
  1. One of the major types of rug produced in central and western Asia, used by Muslims primarily to cover the bare ground or floor while they pray.
  2. Prayer rugs are characterized by the prayer niche, or mihrab, an arch-shaped design at one end of the carpet.
  3. The mihrab, which probably derives from the prayer niche in mosques, must point toward Mecca while the rug is in use.


Islamic Prayer rugs are small rugs used to make a clean, isolated area where a Muslim can perform the correct prayer multiple times a day. The images above are examples of some prayer rugs that can be used. The bottom of the rug is where the worshiper stands when praying, and the top of the rug is pointing toward the direction of Mecca. These images all have some sort of passageway or doorway on them, this signifies a door way to Kaaba. Sometimes these rugs will have small images at the top depicting the Kaaba. Islamic prayer rugs are designed to flow with the method of prayer. Some steps that include :"Standing, raise hands up and say "Allahu Akbar" (God is Most Great).Standing with hands folded over chest, recite the first chapter of the Qur'an in Arabic. Then recite any other verses of the Qur'an that you would like." flow with the design of the Prayer rug, because of the designated spot to stand on the prayer rug. The picture that includes the man praying kneeling over on the prayer rug is a perfect example of how these rugs should be used. The man has his head on the top of the rug, and is most likely in this stage of the prayer: "Prostrate on the ground, reciting three times "Subhana Rabbiyal A'ala" (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High)." during this part of the prayer the person praying is on the ground worshipping the great lord while facing the Kaaba.

Islamic Prayer rugs are important to Islam because it helps convey the connection that the person performing a prayer has with the prayer being performed. The prayer rug symbolizes this doorway to Mecca, the home of the Kaaba, a place where muslims must travel at least once in their life. The prayer rug is very significant to Islam because it is used five times a day every day, it is used during every single prayer that is performed. The prayer rug would be kept with care, making sure that it does not get dirty signifying that the person praying has great faith in Islam. These prayer rugs are characterized by the arch shape image on the top of the rug called the "niche" or the "Mihrab". This Image must be facing towards the direction of Mecca. This Mihrab often includes famous landmarks in Islamic cultures like the Kaaba in Mecca, or the al-aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The Prayer rugs can include these images because the images can keep a meaning of why the prayers are being performed, and their purpose. The Prayer rugs with a Mihrab that includes the Kaaba can convey the Hard work, Devotion, and strife that a muslim must go through to reach the Kaaba.

2. Kaaba

[put 3 images here]
kaaba_2.jpg kaaba_3.jpg


"The History of Kaaba." Submission. Web. <http://www.submission.org/hajj/kaaba.html>.

"Kaaba." ABC-CLIO: Ancient World History. Web. <http://www.ancienthistory.abc-clio.com/Search/Display.aspx?categoryid=24&entryid=600875&searchtext=kaaba&type=simple&option=all>.

"The Kaaba & Black Stone." Tours Saudi Arabia. Web. <http://www.toursaudiarabia.com/kaaba.html>.

Research Strategy
We both found 3 credible sites, and compared them and then used the ones we though were the best. We both typed "kaaba" into Google and came across the two websites that we used. We decided that they gave us enough information, and they were credible. For the database, Cameron searched the ABC CLIO: Ancient World History Database. She typed in the word "kaaba" and "importance of kaaba" and found the small article and picture that we used from that database.
Combined Research Notes
Cameron's Reading Notes
· "The house of god"
· It is what Muslims face toward for their prayers.
· Built by Adam after he was expelled from Eden.
· Located in the city of Mecca where only Muslims can enter
· A large cube shaped structure that houses the Al-hajar Al-aswad (Black Stone)
· There is the Black stone or the "Kaaba Stone" that is considered to be a meteorite from the time of Adam
· It is the main destination for Muslims on the hajj
· Extremely Holy place
· The stone: Cleanses worshipers because it cleansed Adam of his sins
· Turned black over the sins that it has absorbed
· People touch and kiss the Kaaba stone, but it’s not considered idol worship

Emily's Reading Notes
The History of Kaaba October 20th 2008 Submission.org November 9, 2009 http://www.submission.org/hajj/kaaba.html
The most holy place of Islam.
The Kaaba was built by prophet Abraham as a landmark for the House of God, for the sole purpose of worshipping of God.
external image C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CCAJACK%7E1%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_image001.gifThe Kaaba and Black Stone. 2005 November 9, 2009 http://www.toursaudiarabia.com/kaaba.html

Was built by Abraham and his son, Ishmael

Is also known as “The House of God”
Located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

The Kaaba is a stone building located in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a large box-shaped building that is known as “The House of God”. It was built by Adam after he was expelled from Eden. It is the most important destination in the spiritual journey that all Muslims must take known as the hajj. Thousands of people travel to it every year, and in pictures you can often see crowds of people worshiping it. The building holds a black stone inside the corner of one of its walls, known as the Kaaba stone. It is considered very holy, and many people hope to kiss it or at least touch it. The stone is supposed to help the people make good decisions, and cleanse them. The Kaaba is mostly depicted as having thousands of people surrounding it, which signifies its importance. From photos many people can see its appearance and significance, but Muslims often hope to at least lay their eyes on it in person once in their lifetime.

The Kaaba is the most important destination in Hajj because it is believed to cleanse people of their sins. Praising it is such a valuable ritual that only Muslims may enter the city of Mecca. Every day when Muslims pray they face towards the Kaaba. During the Hajj the people are all very busy, but 5 times during the day every person there must stop to pray. It doesn’t matter where you are, but you must turn to face the Kaaba. Thousands of people form giant crowds each year to circle around the Kaaba during hajj, but those who are close enough may be able to touch the Kaaba Stone.It is believed to have been a meteorite from the time of Adam. This stone resembles a new beginning and a chance to be clean and pure. Thousands of people travel each year so that they may lay eyes on the Kaaba, as it is a part of their duties as a Muslim.

3. Mosque (Significance of Architecture)




Research ----


"Architecture." Architecture. NA. November 9, 2009. http://www.sfusd.edu/schwww/sch618/Architecture/Architecture.html

"Expressing an Islamic Identity in the West." The Muslim Almanac. Gale Research, 1996. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/History/

"Mosques of the World." Sacred Sites at Sacred Destination-Explore sacred sites, religious sites, sacred places. 2009. November 9, 2009. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/sacred-sites/mosques.htm

Online Image. Sacred Sites at Sacred Destination-Explore sacred sites, religious sites, sacred places. November 10, 2009. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/sacred-sites/mosques.htm

Online Image. Sacred Sites at Sacred Destination-Explore sacred sites, religious sites, sacred places. November 10, 2009. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/sacred-sites/mosques.htm

Research strategy
For the first website (Architecture), we typed "mosque" into Google, and chose a website that seemed like it had the right information for this project. We also tried to find websites that ended in .org, .edu, .gov, etc. We tried to exclude the websites that we knew are unreliable (like Wikipedia) and we chose websites that were supposed to be informative and unbiased. We found the second website (Sacred Sites) the same way, and even though one of the websites ended in .com, it provided reliable, good information.
For the database, we went to the Gale Research Database and typed in "mosque." We looked at the titles and tried to find some that had certain words (expression, significance, etc.).

Research notes
Parts of a Mosque
  • Minbar-a pulpit where the imam addresses the people
  • Mihrab-a niche in the wall that lets the people know which direction to worship
  • Minarets-towers that are for decoration and used to be where worshippers were called from
  • Ablution fountain-a fountain where the people wash before praying
  • Domes-decoration and on the inside they have mosaics of geometric designs
    • Geometric art so there is no idolatry
  • Arches-decoration(?)
  • Inner courtyard-meditation
  • Mosques incorporated culture from the places they are located (to get more followers?)
  • Show wealth and power
  • Where Muslims pray

  • Masjid (prostration)
  • Muslims use them to pray in morning, midday, afternoon, sunset, evening
  • Muezzin- calls worshippers to prayer from a minaret (tower)
  • No non Muslims allowed- privacy
  • Not all mosques technically mosques
Important because it brings people together-PILLARS
Very strict religion and important to the people, so the mosques are taken seriously

  • Reflect the culture of the specific location of the mosque
  • Often elaborate and fancy
  • Look Islamic (incorporates traditional Islamic art/design)
  • Meetings are held there-weddings, lectures, etc.
  • Place of community for Muslims
  • Follow customs of where they are located


A mosque is a building where Muslims can pray. It could be compared to a church for Christians, or a synagogue for Jews. However, Muslims do not believe a mosque is an holier than any other place on Earth; it is just a central meeting place to practice the religion of Islam. The majority of mosques are elaborately decorated, and reflect the culture of Islam as well as the culture of the specific location of the mosque. Also, they are built to suit the customs of the community or country they are a part of. Most mosques contain a minbar, which is a platform where the imam, or the leader of the mosque, addresses the people of the mosque. Another popular aspect of mosques is the mihrab, which is an alcove that point towards the direction of Mecca, which is the holiest city in Islam, and it is located in Saudi Arabia. Muslims are supposed to pray facing Mecca, so the mihrab lets the people know which way to face while worshiping God. Minarets are common in mosques. Muslims used to be called to pray from minarets, and they also function as decoration on the building. An ablution fountain might be found in/near a mosque. The ablution fountain is where Muslims are supposed to wash before they pray. Some mosques also have an inner courtyard, which greatly separates the mosque from the outside world. The courtyard should be very peaceful so people can meditate. Lastly, mosques may have domes on the outside. These are for decoration, and on the inside of the domes, there can be geometric mosaics. No mosques contain idols, or pictures or statues of people, because Islam states idols cannot be worshiped in the place of God. Therefore, geometric art is popular in mosques because it is decorative but cannot be mistaken for a false idol.

The mosque is of great significance to the religion of Islam. It brings people together and creates a sense of community. The five pillars suggest that people should pray every day and be faithful to their religion. Muslims help accomplish this by going to a mosque at least once a week, and paying homage and showing respect to their God. The mosques are elaborately decorated, which shows the time and effort that the Muslims put into making it beautiful. The mosques are taken seriously in Islam, and there is to be no disrespectful behavior while in a mosque. This helps to keep order and organization in the religion of Islam, because people know the significance of their church and how it is directly related to God. In the mosques, anyone who is not a Muslim is not allowed in the holy place. This helps keep the mosque worthy and powerful in the eyes of the people, because it makes them feel as if they have their own personal connection with God. The fact that everyone around them feels the same way about God and their religion also helps them to stay focused on their prayers and religious teachings, knowing that there isn't anyone in the mosque that would criticize what was happening. These people would just be a further unnecessary distraction. The mosque is very significant to the religion of Islam, and without it, there would be many people who would not feel the connection with God.