The significant features in the prayer area of a mosque

When a Muslim prays, there are many significant features which are located in the pray area. For example, the dome which is located normally above the prayer area symbolises the universe which Allah created and over which he rules. Some mosques may have 4 minarets and a dome, but the significance of the dome allows the circulation of air and it also amplifies the human’s voice or chant, normally being the sermon.

Also the circulation of air may help in hot countries as the worshippers need to concentrate whilst saying their prayers and the heat may affect them. But the amplification of the human voice due to the dome helps them to hear the sermon when he speaks and this plays a major part in why a dome is directly above the prayer area. The interior of a mosque is also very beautiful as well as the exterior, as the walls maybe laid with precious materials and the carpets are beautifully patterned to look like individual prayer mats… However there are some things which are very common to all prayer areas in mosques.

The area for prayers is obviously very sacred and therefore plenty of space is needed as it is a place for prostration. Because this is the case, there are no chairs in the prayer area and no furniture is needed apart from minbar.

The minbar is a stand or platform in which the imam delivers his khutbah, speech or sermon, at Salat-ul-Jumu’ah, Friday Prayers. This minbar usually has 3 steps and this symbolises the humility before Allah, and the equality with his fellow Muslims. Sometimes even, there is a special seat for the imam though. One other aspect which makes the prayer area and design of the building so immense is the qiblah wall which contains the mihrab.

The mihrab is a niche, a sort of alcove, which shows that this is the quiblah wall, the wall indicates the direction of the Ka’bah in Makkah and the Ka’bah is supposed to be the oldest place of worship in the world as it was built by Adam and restored by Ibrahim.

One significant figure in the prayer area, well the whole area of the Mosque, is the fact there are no pictures, statues or images anywhere. This is because from the very beginning, Islam has been against idolatry and when Muhammad rode into Makkah in 629CE, he destroyed the idols of wood and stone in the Ka’bah and this was an important moment.

So instead of statues and pictures, decorative patterns are used and sometimes they are even made of mosaic tiles and precious stone. The patterns always tend to be abstract, geometric or taken from plant life, but this is done deliberately. The more two-dimensional the Muslims make the mosque patterns, the better, as in this way there is no risk of an image becoming an object of worship in place of Allah. Often though, the patterns are decorative designs made of calligraphy with declarations in Arabic which are the very words of Allah from the Qur’an.

Explain how salah (prayer) might affect the life of a Muslim

In Islam, prayer may affect the life of a Muslim by a big margin and this is because it always keeps a Muslim in remembrance of God.

What this means is that as 5 prayers are required to be said every day, a Muslim will always have God in their mind as they have to converse with God 5 times in a day and this will lead to them never forgetting him. When a Muslim prays to God, the prayers are always answered, in good or bad way, and this will affect them a lot as it shows that God can really make a difference to their life and that, the more they pray to him, the more God will listen to their requests and problems. This does not necessarily mean that he will answer more of their problems but it does mean that they become 1 step closer to God meaning they become much more spiritual and more uplifted by the words in the Qur’an.

By praying, it also affects a Muslim because it shows that they are worshipping and respecting Allah and that he is way above their comprehension and he is the All-Mighty and Omnipotent. This shows that Muslims recognise Allah as something way above their level and that he is the most powerful being in the universe. Although Muhammad is perfect, he is the perfect exemplar for a Muslim and does all the goodly deeds but even Muhammad, is way below the powerfulness of Allah.

Another way in which prayers affect the life of a Muslim would be the fact the more they pray to God, the more they unveil from the spiritual world and the better life they will have when it comes to them dying and passing their soul onto the spiritual realms of Allah. By praying it helps their soul become more developed and kindly and in this way makes their soul much more peaceful for when it comes to the next world after they die.

Praying may also lead to a Muslim being less detached in life. In this way, it makes them less attached to material objects and makes them concentrate more on Allah, the Qur’an and the most perfect exemplar for a Muslim, Muhammad. The more Muslims pray, the more they appreciate life and are more grateful for what Allah has given them in spiritual terms as oppose to material things.

Another way in which prayers may affect the life of a Muslim is that it is a time where they are able to put all their problems in life out of their mind and concentrate on Allah, the greatest of all. By praying, a Muslim will have an opportunity to have a break from such problems which occur in their life and relax a little. In this way, it helps a Muslim calm down a little and because 5 prayers are to be said everyday, they are constantly calmed down meaning prayers are quite useful for Muslims to say. When they meditate, they concentrate only on the fact that they are worshipping Allah and no more, and this shows the relaxation of a Muslim’s mind and the concentration being put into it.

One last reason why prayers may affect Muslims is because it makes them stronger in their faith to defend themselves against spiritual and material difficulties. If they are strong and pray and keep Allah in their mind always, they will always have the power to uphold the difficulties they face much easier as they put their trust and faith in him. When prayers are said, they’re may be many things included in it but help is always a major factor. By praying, a Muslim can be helped so much as Allah will give them the willpower and the more they pray, the stronger the will they seem to get.

‘Prayer is the most important of the Five Pillars of Islam’

Do you agree? Give reasons to support your opinion and show you have thought about different points of view

In response to the quote above, I think this topic is very debatable and they’re many reasons as to why this statement could be true or false in different points of views. Because of this, I will explain why this has so many different opinions.

Some people may say that yes, prayer is the most important and this is due to it being the most consistent because of the pillar being carried out everyday, it therefore shows the importance of it. Some people may say that, if this pillar is carried out all the time, surely it must be the most important because pilgrimage is not carried out every day and neither is fasting etc whereas praying is a daily part of a Muslim’s life. Another reason why someone could agree with this quote is because prayer really puts someone into a conversation with God, and as it’s a routine, it makes a person more spiritual as he/she will talk to God every day. With other pillars it doesn’t really involve talking to God as much as prayer, as prayer is purely conversations with God and that’s it.

Despite this, people may also disagree with this quote and this is because people will say that although prayer has a lot of significance, so does other pillars like sawm, in which makes a person more appreciative of life and makes a Muslim remember the time when Allah looked down with special favour on humanity. People will say that although prayer is very consistent ,it may not change a Muslim’s life, as a Muslim may make it their daily routine, but not bother putting full concentration into it everyday therefore making it pointless to even carry out.

Now for Muslims, they will completely disagree in response to this quote and this is because in Islam, they believe all 5 pillars are equally the same. If the Islam faith is to be held and kept in it’s best condition, all Muslims should treat every pillar equally, so that the faith can be upheld properly and that no pillar has a bigger significance than another. In the Qur’an it does not state that prayer (salah) is the most important, therefore it should not be made the most important, but be made equally important as oppose to any other pillar (zakah, hajj etc).

Now in my opinion, I’m not quite sure what to say. I believe that prayer probably has the bigger significance as it keeps a person in conversation with God every day, making them more spiritual and making them a better person but I do think that if the Qur’an says all 5 pillars should be treated in the same way, then that should be done, as the Qur’an should not be changed for different people, as it’s already been written and cannot be changed no more. I think if someone wants to be a Muslim, they must follow what’s there and not make their own rules up to satisfy themselves.

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