The prayer rug has a very strong symbolic meaning and traditionally taken care of in a holy manner.  The prayer rug is traditionally woven with a rectangular design, typically made asymmetrical by the niche at the head end. Within the rectangle one usually finds images of Islamic symbols and architecture.  In some cultures decorations not only are important but also have a deep sense of value in the design of the prayer rug.                                                                                  

A prayer rug is characterized by a niche at one end, representing the mihrab in every mosque, a directional point to direct the worshipper towards Mecca.  Many rugs also show one or more mosque lamps, a reference to the Verse of Light in the Qur’an.  Specific mosques are sometimes shown; some of the most popular examples include the mosques in Mecca and Medina.

During prayer the supplicant kneels at the base of the rug and places his or her hands at either side of the niche at the top of the rug, his or her forehead touching the niche.  Typical prayer rug sizes are approximately 2.5 ft × 4 ft (0.76 m × 1.22 m) - 4 ft × 6 ft (1.2 m × 1.8 m), enough to kneel above the fringe on one end and bend down and place the head on the other.