Last updated: February 22, 2022
I love all kinds of tech tools, especially those that have a certain geek factor. What I’m presenting today is actually something new and quite sophisticated (if it really works because mass production is still pending): the world’s first smart educational Islamic prayer carpet.
Sajdah is the name of a smart prayer rug (سجادة ذكية). It can work as an educational tool that guides Muslim converts and young adults through the ritual prayer and can help adults memorize verses of the Qur’an – thanks to the integrated LED screen!
This can be helpful during night prayers or the hourly long praying sessions in Ramadan. Sajdah, as the company writes on its website, may also help elderly Muslims with dementia remember their prayers.
The company behind Sajdah
Frankly speaking, when I first read about this project of Thakaa Technologies, I had some doubts. The company is a startup based in Qatar (Qatar Science and Technology Park) that specializes in the design and manufacturing of smart hardware products.
Some days ago, the company announced that the funding goal had been exceeded by more than 200% https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-business-religion-920ea5da34fa624137b0fd6ce06d44bc. The company has raised some $36,000 to develop the product. I guess that everything is set now, and they will start producing the prayer rug.
When and where to get it
Order should be accepted later in 2021. This new gadget is also quite an expensive device and definitely not affordable for anybody.
- Price: around 600 US-Dollars (as indicated in the funding campaign)
- Mass Production: Oct 2021
- Shipping: December 2021
What is Sajdah capable of?
The company Thakaa has uploaded a video to their website which shows how the smart prayer rug works.
- Learn prayer recitations & postures at your pace; Sajdah guides you through the entire process of more than 25 prayers.
- New Muslim converts may feel overwhelmed at the beginning of their journey as the prayer ritual is, in fact, quite complex. They are afraid of reciting the verses in the wrong order or not remembering prayer movements correctly. Sajdah can help here as it shows you the correct movement and the text one should say.
How the e-prayer rug works
The interface and settings of the smart prayer rug are linked to the user’s phone (Android, Apple) or an Apple Watch via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The app can already be downloaded (Sajdah Smartphone App) and works like a remote control for the smart prayer rug.
The Sajdah app shows the correct prayer times anywhere in the world and has instructions for how to pray correctly which is handy for Muslim converts and young people. So even without the prayer rug, the app may be helpful for Muslims and non-Muslims who want to learn how praying works in Islam.
Do Muslims need to pray on a carpet?
It became a custom and trademark of Muslims to pray on a beautifully crafted prayer rug. It is related in the Hadiths Sahih al-Bukhari 379; Sahih Muslim 513: https://sunnah.com/muslim:513b that the Islamic Prophet Muhammad used to pray on a khumrah. What is that?
A Khumrah (خُمرةٌ – with the vowel “u” as خَمْرة with “a” denotes alcohol) is a small mat made of palm leaves that is big enough for the face, on which a worshiper may prostrate to protect himself from the heat or coldness of the ground. Furthermore, it is related that Muhammad prayed on palm mats (حَصِير), carpets (بِساط), but also on animal pelts (فَرْوَة). Muslims just need to take care that there is nothing written or printed on the rug that may violate Islamic rules (e.g., faces, etc.)
According to scholars, there is nothing wrong with putting verses of the Qur’an on a clean ground if a person wants to recite it – that is why the developers of the tool Sajdah say that all features comply with the laws of Shariah.
The root s-j-d (سجد)
Of this root, eight forms occur 90 times in the Qur’an.
The Arabic verb يَسْجُدُ / سَجَدَ (Masdar :سُجُود) is used to express to kneel (with the forehead touching the ground; رَكَعَ), to prostrate oneself. Depending on the context, it can also denote to worship in the sense of خَضَعَ (to surrender; to submit to something).
From this root, we can derive two important Arabic words:
- The word مَسْجِدٌ: mosque. The place where one performs the act of سُجُودٌ.
- The word سَجّادة (plural: سَجّادات or سَجاجيدُ) which means carpet, rug; prayer rug (سَجّادةُ الصَّلاةِ).
Excursus: The root سجد and its connection to the prayer bump Zabiba (زبيبة)
The prayer bump on the forehead, called Zabiba (زَبيبة), is quite common in Egypt and other Arab countries. Zabiba literally means raisin. It is said to be a result of repeated contact of the forehead with the prayer rug during daily prayers.
One of the first and probably most famous bearer of a Zabiba was the Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat.
It is a controversial topic as the Zabiba became a trend also among men who most probably could not have acquired it naturally due to their young age. Furthermore, the idea of the Zabiba as a measurement of one’s devoutness becomes questionable when only men have a Zabiba. Muslim women, who regularly pray, usually don’t have a visible Zabiba.
The general idea of a sign on the forehead relates back to a verse of the Qur’an (48:29) which contains the root سجد:
مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ ٱللَّهِ ۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ مَعَهُۥٓ أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى ٱلْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ تَرَىٰهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرِضْوَٰنًا ۖ سِيمَاهُمْ فِى وُجُوهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ ٱلسُّجُودِ
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating (in prayer), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) pleasure. Their sign is in their faces from the effect of prostration (i.e., prayer).Qur’an, sura 48:29
picture credit: company website getsajdah.com; wikimedia