Is it allowed to pray on soft surface and on cloth or carpet?

I read somewhere from TabarAni(needs verification) that Abdullah ibn Masood refused to pray or prostrate on anything but the earth

Majma’ al-Zawa’id by, Volume 2 page 57 Hadith 2272:

وعن أبي عبيدة أن ابن مسعود كان لا يصلي أو لا يسجد إلا على الأرض‏.‏

“Abu Ubaidah narrates that the companion Ibn Mas’ud never prayed or prostrated except on the soil”

I also got these quotes(unverified) Hazrat Ibn Tayyimia said:

Praise be to the Lord of the Worlds, as for the Salat on the prayer mats on which the Salat Performer prays, that is NOT from the Sunnah of the SALAF of Muhaajireen or Ansar and Nor from the Sunnah of Tabi’een after them; on whom is the blessing/favor of Allah on the promise of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh&f) BUT INFACT all of these people PRAYED in the MOSQUE on SOIL. Not even One of them ever took a PRAYER MAT / CARPET to pray on for their Salat. And it is narrated from Abdul Rahman ibn Mahdi:

When the CARPETS/PRAYER MATS (first) came to Madinah then Malik ordained about confiscating them (or forbade people from using them) and then it was said to him, that is Abdulrahman ibn Mahdi.

So He said: And Truly Know! that verily the CARPET / PRAYER MAT in OUR mosque is a BI’DAH (Innovation). And (this is) in the Sahih (tradition) from Abi Sa’eed al-Khudri in the tradition of Eitikaaf al Nabi (s)”

Mujmoo al Fatawa by Ibn Taymeeya Volume 22 page163 Online Link: http://arabic.islamicweb.com/Books/taimiya.asp?book=381&volume=22&page=163

I also found some unverified quotes from Ahle Hadith scholars Shawkani and Wahiduzzaman who cringed the idea of praying on cloth or a soft surface.

So what was the practice of Sahaba in this issue?

3 Answers 3


According to Shia Islam prostration is accepted only is done on earth or something that can be considered part of earth. So if it is hard or soft is not important. But from what it is made is important. Somethings like leaves of plants, wood, stone, soil and such things that are from earth are accepted. Parts of planets are considered from earth also. Cotton is considered part of earth too. So if the mate is made of cotton (although most of Shia scholars consider prostration on cotton Makruh) or leaves of planets like leaves of dates tree is part of earth and so it is accepted. Also the mat prophet SAWW used for prostration was made of leaves of dates tree. Prostration on soil of Karbala is highly recommended and has many great divine rewards.


prostration rules on WikiFeqh


There are plenty of references in the hadith literature where the prophet himself, and those following him, prayed on a mat; Sahih Muslim alone dedicates an entire chapter on the permissibility thereof.

While I don't know of any evidences where the prophet explicitly used a mat in the masjid itself, neither do I know of any evidences to explicitly discourage it therein. Without evidence to the contrary, there's no reason to believe that it would be forbidden inside the masjid where it's clearly permitted outside the masjid.

  • None of the hadith seem to indicate the size of the mat. As there are narrations(unverified) of people using small mats\bricks for prostration .SO that it can be done on a hard surface of the mat. And many of the mats used today (In India)are made of thick and soft material .@go
    – user940
    Mar 6, 2013 at 9:47

In my opinion if the rug has no image on it is alright, we can prey on it, I am curious about this that why such people are dividing Islam in very small matters instead of wasting our time in such small matters we should work on how to bring all Muslims together there is no Sunni Shia Wahhabi or etc. was Prophet Muhammad sunny Shia Wahhabi Salafi Sufi or he was only Muslim this is a huge issue that we should work. On it and bring all umah together and prey all in 1 Muslim mosque when all are together than such small matters will be solve easily Muslim brothers and sisters in Islam

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