Common Acts of Religious
Excessiveness (Ghuluww)
Regarding “Prayer Rugs” Posted on October 29, 2013 by admin
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Mercilful…
Allaah says, addressing the Jews and
Christians with a stern admonition that
Muslims are required to also heed and
live by: ﻻ ﺏﺎﺘﻜﻟﺍ ﻞﻫﺃ ﺎﻳ ﻢﻜﻨﻳﺩ ﻲﻓ ﺍﻮﻠﻐﺗ “O people of the Book! Do not go overboard in your religion!” [1] His Messenger (may Allaah raise his
rank and grant him peace) said: ﻮﻠﻐﻟﺍﻭ ﻢﻛﺎﻳﺇ ﻥﺎﻛ ﻦﻣ ﻚﻠﻫﺃ ﺎﻤﻧﺈﻓ ﻮﻠﻐﻟﺍ ﻢﻜﻠﺒﻗ “Be warned against ghuluww (religious excessiveness) , since that which destroyed the people who came before you was ghuluww!” [2] To help fulfill this Prophetic order, this
series of brotherly reminders highlights
some everyday manifestations of
religious excessiveness that Muslims
may commonly fall into, so that we can
be on guard against them and warn others of them. Obsession with Prayer Mats, Rugs,
and Carpets The narrations found in Saheeh al-
Bukhaaree and elsewhere, describing
the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank
and grant him peace) praying on a khumrah [small mat] and a haseer [large mat] show the permissibility of praying on other than the bare
ground. A few of the scholars held the
opinion that the prayer may only be
offered on the bare ground, so these
narrations are a proof against their
position. They do not provide a proof for the one who takes this action as part of
his Religion, since the Companions did
not take this as a religious
matter. Rather, they understood it to be
permissible, and thus prayed on mats,
bedding, clothing, etc. whenever it made sense, for example: In the extreme heat
to protect oneself from the heat of the
ground. Furthermore, the scholars have stated
that it is better for a person to pray
directly on the ground if he is
able. Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
said: The ahaadeeth and the aathaar
(narrations from the Prophet, may
Allaah raise his rank and grant him
peace, and the Companions) show that
they used to prefer placing their
foreheads directly on the bare ground if they were able, and when necessary,
like in extremely hot weather and the
likes, they would pray with something
between them and the ground, using
something they had with them: a part of
their clothing, turban, or cap… [3] However, if someone still holds that
these narrations prove the legislated
nature of praying on what people today
call “prayer rugs”, then we can look
again to Shaykh al-Islaam (may Allaah
have Mercy on him) who responded to this argument from a number of angles: 1. The Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) did not pray on them consistently, rather he prayed on them only occasionally, and
for a reason, like the extreme heat or the likes. [As opposed to those who make it their Religion to pray on them
all the time.] 2. That which the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace)
prayed upon was small in size, just big enough for one’s prostration or
slightly larger, unlike the full-body sized
“prayer rugs” the people have. 3. The Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) did not pray
on them thinking to protect himself from
najaasah (impurities), or just to be sure
of the purity of his prayer area, as the
people who do not pray except
on “prayer rugs” do. 4. It is not something the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and
grant him peace) told the
Companions to do, and thus they used to pray directly on the ground. So if it
was recommended or “Sunnah” to do
it, then they would have done it. 5. The Prophet’s masjid (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) had
a dirt floor, and while he had access to
the mats, bedding, and other things
mentioned in the narrations, he did not take any of these things into the
masjid to pray on them. [4] Furthermore, it could be added: 6. The Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) did not used to place one mat upon another, as the “prayer rug” fanatics do, placing
their rug on top of carpet or another rug
or layer of carpet. 7. He did not have pictures of the Ka’bah, other masjids, colored
designs, Allaah’s Names, etc. on the mat he used occastionally, unlike that of
the “prayer rug” fanatics. Instead,
he would keep such visual distractions
away from his prayer area, as he
returned a garment that had markings
on it for one that did not in order not to be distracted in his prayer, and it is
reported that Ibn ‘Umar used to
remove visual distractions (like swords
and mus-hafs) from the qiblah direction
in the masjids. 8. He did not have the pride that would keep one from placing his
face on the bare ground, as he used to prostrate directly on it, even when it
was moist and remained on his
forehead. Those obsessed with prayer
rugs could never imagine doing such a thing. Muslims today may often unnecessarily
delay their prayers to search for a so-
called “prayer rug”, while the
Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and
grant him peace) declared the entire
earth as a place of purification and prayer. [5] They may also pay large amounts of
money for special imported “prayer
rugs” thinking them to have some
benefit or special significance related to
piety. ACTION PLAN to Shun Excessiveness Here are a few steps to help those who
have become attached to “prayer
rugs” wean themselves: -1- Keep your house clean, and make some prayers in your house without
any additional rugs or mats. -2- The next time you go out to the park when it is prayer time (and there is no
masjid nearby), simply pray at a clean
place at the park, like at a clean, grassy
area, the kind of place you would sit
down to have a picnic. Put your forehead
directly on the ground, no problem. -3- Think of other uses for the “prayer rugs” – like: coffee table covers, office
chair cushions, eating mats, or
even welcome mats. They are not
“holy rugs” that must be revered. If
you are worried about disrespecting
images of the Ka’bah or other masjids, then cut them up into pieces so the
images are not clear, and use them for
rags. And Allaah knows best. Written by: Moosaa Richardson ST Archives – Originally
published: 06-26-2005 FOOTNOTES: [1] Soorah an-Nisaa’ (4:171) [2] Collected by Ahmad (1/215), an-
Nasaa’ee, Ibn Maajah, and others. Al-
Haakim (1/466) graded it saheeh
(authentic) according to the conditions of
al-Bukhaaree and Muslim. See: Silsilat
al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah (#1283). [3] Majmoo’ al-Fataawee (22/172)] [4] Summarized from Majmoo’ al-
Fataawee (22/175-179) [5] Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim collected
the following hadeeth: ﻢﻟ ﺎﺴﻤﺧ ﺖﻴﻄﻋﺃ :ﻲﻠﺒﻗ ﺪﺣﺃ ﻦﻬﻄﻌﻳ ﺐﻋﺮﻟﺎﺑ ﺕﺮﺼﻧ ﺖﻠﻌﺟﻭ ،ﺮﻬﺷ ﺓﺮﻴﺴﻣ ﺍﺪﺠﺴﻣ ﺽﺭﻷﺍ ﻲﻟ ﺎﻤﻳﺄﻓ ،ﺍﺭﻮﻬﻃﻭ ﻲﺘﻣﺃ ﻦﻣ ﻞﺟﺭ ﺓﻼﺼﻟﺍ ﻪﺘﻛﺭﺩﺃ ﻲﻟ ﺖﻠﺣﺃﻭ ،ﻞﺼﻴﻠﻓ
ﻞﺤﺗ ﻢﻟﻭ ﻢﻧﺎﻐﻤﻟﺍ ﺖﻴﻄﻋﺃﻭ ،ﻲﻠﺒﻗ ﺪﺣﻷ ﻥﺎﻛﻭ ،ﺔﻋﺎﻔﺸﻟﺍ ﻰﻟﺇ ﺚﻌﺒﻳ ﻲﺒﻨﻟﺍ ﺖﺜﻌﺑﻭ ﺔﺻﺎﺧ ﻪﻣﻮﻗ ﺔﻣﺎﻋ ﺱﺎﻨﻟﺍ ﻰﻟﺇ “I have been given five things that were not give to anyone before
me: I have been given victory (over
my enemies in battle) before
reaching them by a month. The (entire) earth has been made for me as a place of prayer and purification, so when the time for prayer comes upon anyone in my Ummah let him pray wherever he is. The spoils of war have been
made halaal (permissible
provisions) for me, and they
had never been made halaal for
anyone before me. I have been given (the right of)
intercession. A prophet used to be sent to his
people specifically, while I
have been sent to all of
humanity.” This is the wording of al-Bukhaaree.
Copied From Albani’s website, May Allah grant him with jannah.


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