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24 Mihrab = Niche

Posted on 6th May, 2021

24 Mihrab = Niche

 

When Muslims perform the prayer (salât), whether as a congregation or alone, they always face towards Mecca (see post 20). In mosques the directions of prayer (qibla) is marked by a niche called a miḥrâb. This is an arch, often finely ornamented, set in a wall of the mosque. The imam, or leader of the prayer, will stand in the mihrab, facing Mecca himself, while the congregation will form lines behind him. The lines are sufficiently distanced to allow those who are praying to prostrate and touch the floor with their foreheads. Within the lines, however, the worshippers are close to one another – social distancing during the COVID pandemic has been particularly difficult for Muslims and some mosques have preferred to remain closed for safety reasons.

In the mosque (masjid – literally “the place of prostration”), at least in the prayer room, the women are separated from the men, either in a gallery or behind a veil. Some mosques have a separate prayer room for women.

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