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Saturday, 26 May 2018

Review | My Salah Mat- Interactive Prayer Mat

Since having my daughter I'm amazed at how much children pick up from watching and following you. My daughter is only 12 months but my heart melted the day she sat on my prayer mat and went into sujood after watching my husband and I praying.

My daughter doing sujood when I sat her on my prayer mat
Prayer is such an integral part of our religion and is the first thing that we will be questioned about. It's what our day revolves around and is one of the things that brings us closer to Allah. This is the reason why a lot of parents encourage their children to pray from a young age. It's natural for children to imitate their parents in prayer so why not encourage that curiosity and eagerness by teaching them and guiding them to pray with this patent pending, interactive prayer mat.

I've been following My Salah Mat on instagram and was intrigued by the prayer mat so I jumped at the opportunity to review it for you guys.

My Salah Mat
The prayer mat is made from a waterproof and fire resistant material that easily folds away. It's bright and colourful, which makes it look fun and appealing to children.

It plays in 7 different languages English, French, Arabic, Turkish, Malasian, Indonesian and Urdu. Simply touch the globe picture to change the language. I found this to be an incredible feature for a new product, as most interactive children's toys only come in one language.

There are 36 touch sensitive keys that teach children about all aspects of prayer, from Wudhu and intention to the shorter surah's and what to say in each step of  salah.

The touch pads around the outside are the steps for 2 rakat of salah, each touch sensitive key will explain what each step is, recites the sayings in Arabic and translates it into English (or whichever language you're using it on). This is great because most adults don't know the meaning of what they say in prayer, translating it into English means you understand what you're saying which helps you mean what you say, giving you a stronger connection with Allah in your prayer.

How to use the mat

When you use the mat for the first time I would recommend you sit with your child(ren) and press each key around the edge of the mat so that you go through the steps of salah and get a chance to talk to them and help them understand each step before you start the prayer.

The mat has brightly coloured pictures to show your child where to place their feet at the start and their knees, hands, nose and forehead through the prayer.


You can select how many rakat's and which prayer time you require at the top of the mat (so 2 for Fajr, 4 for Dhuhr etc).

When you stand with your feet on the feet key, the prayer will start. There are visual reminders about each step around the edge of the mat, with illustrations on which position comes next. At the beginning (and depending on your child's age) it would be helpful to follow an adult as well.

When your body part touches the corresponding sensory pad for the step the mat will automatically move on to the next step.

At the end you can press the du'a key pad and the mat will recite a short du'a at the end of your salah along with the English translation.

The du'a key also includes common everyday du'as like the du'a for sleeping, waking, entering a masjid etc.

You can easily turn the volume up or down to suit your needs by pressing the speaker key pad.

Your child literally needs to stand for prayer and the mat will guide them along the prayer just like an adult guiding them and reciting out loud.

Age range

The interactive prayer mat is aimed at children aged 3+

As we know that children start imitating you in prayer as soon as they can move, aged 3 a child is able to understand simple words, phrases and start learning du'as and surah's. I feel like some of the features are too complex for a child aged 3 as they may not understand all the words, phrases and explanations. For children aged 3-5 in my opinion the mat is useful to show them where to place their body parts but they will require more adult supervision and guidance.

Aged 6-7 and above is a suitable age to start talking to and explaining each step, this is the best age to use the features around the edge of the mat.

Packaging

The 'My Salah Mat' comes in a bright, colourful box with cartoon characters and clear writing, it looks like a children's toy and I can imagine children will get excited receiving the mat as a gift because it's very visually appealing.

Free Activity Book


On top of all the features the box includes a free activity book. The book is high quality and includes salah related problem solving games and a colouring page. It includes common du'as, illustrations and guide on how to perform wudhu and salah. It translates all the Arabic into English and is great as a reference for everything Salah related.

Even the 1 year old wanted to see what all the fun was about
The last page in the book also shows how to use the salah mat with pictures and a flow chart.

Price

Retailing at £44.99 some people may feel the price is a little high, however, in my opinion it's a very reasonable price because the mat is an investment. It's durable and long lasting so can be passed on from one child to the next once your child has mastered praying on their own. Remember this is an investment in your child's Akhirah. When you think of it like that it's not a high price to pay all and would make an amazing gift that keeps on giving.



Trial run

As my daughter is too small to use this mat I went to try it out on my friends 3 year old 'Safa'. As soon as she saw the colourful box she was so excited and was literally jumping up and down with joy, she couldn't wait to see what's inside and start using it.


When we opened up the mat and expliained what it was to her she wanted to start using it straight away, like I had thought initially a lot of the features were a little bit too complicated for her to understand but she loved placing her hands and feet in the positions required, as she gets older, the other features can be introduced to her.


As soon as she stood on the mat, with our guidance she started to follow the steps, I found that it's best used on a solid surface and the body parts need to be accurately on the touch sensitive key for it to recognise you've moved on to the next step, sometimes it didn't pick up the next move but after a little adjusting it picked up the movement. This may have been because we had opened and folded the mat quite a few times, it is recommended you don't fold the mat too much as it can break the circuit, best to leave it flat as much as possible or fold in the same way as it was folded in the box.

The feedback from Safa's mum was that it would be amazing if the mat spoke in a children's voice as that would help her relate to it more and she would be even more interested in it. I would love to see the recitation of the surah's improved so that children can learn to recite the short surah's directly from the mat with correct tajweed.


And Safa's feedback? 'I want one in pink!'

Would I recommend this product?

I would definitely recommend this product to all parents who want to teach their children to pray in a fun and exciting way rather than as a chore or out of fear.

In fact my husband and I were so impressed with the mat that we will be buying one for Safa for Eid inshaAllah and to say thank you for being part of this review. We can think of a dozen other people to buy this for as a gift as well.


Final words

In a world where technology is taking over homes, children are more interested in toys that are interactive, in iPad's and phones that react to the child's touch or movement this interactive educational prayer mat would feel right at home. Children will have fun playing with the mat and without realising it they will be learning to pray salah as it's fun, like a game.

Creaters of My Salah Mat have given my lovely readers a discount code, enter 'ihijabi12' to receive 12% off your purchase.

To purchase this interactive prayer mat please click here

Please note these are my honest opinions based on my experiences with the product. Although I received the mat complimentary gift for my daughter I wanted to review it in full so that you can buy this with piece of mind knowing I had tried it and loved it.

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