He wanted to make flying mats, but then decided to work was something that was more functional. UK-based designer Soner Ozenc did not have to look too far. A devout Muslim, he designed a prayer mat that lights up when placed facing Mecca. It’s a prayer mat with compass – a digital one.
Traditionally, Muslims use prayer mat with compass to determine the direction of face Mecca (Makkah) for offering their prayers.
Muslims, and there are 1.6 billion of them, praying towards the same point (Qibla) is considered to symbolise their unity.
Soner’s prayer mat, called EL Sajjadah (EL is Electro Luminescent and Sajjadah is prayer mat), lights up when it is placed in the direction of Mecca.
With Muslims praying five times a day, this gadget, which is lightweight and durable, could come handy for millions of Muslims around the world.
“A prayer mat is the only product required during the 5-times-a-day prayers,” says the Turkey-born developer on a webpage set up on Kickstarter, to raise funds for to take the idea into commercial production.
“Its main function is to provide a clean and isolated platform for the prayer. With the unique patterns on its surface, it also aims to bring the atmosphere of a mosque wherever it’s taken.”
“The patterns on a prayer mat tell you the story of life. Green is the holy color of Islam. Black is the color of Kaaba.”
The digital mat can either be plugged into the wall or run on rechargeable batteries.
The digital mat, which marries traditional mat with digital features, has been six years in the making, and now at a stage where it can be produced.
Soner has chosen to raise funds using KickStarter website, an online all-or-nothing funding platform. “Which means that if we cannot reach our target goal of $100,000 until 14 August, EL Sajjadah will not be realised.”
Those providing funding support of $500 or more will be the first one to get EL Sajjadah (expected retail price $625).
While going to print with this article, the idea had received 80 backers and raised $34,000, about a third of its goal.
The mat was displayed in New Yorkâ€™s Museum of Modern Art as part of an exhibition in 2011, and the museum then bought a copy of it for permanent collection.