Innovation That Matters

The design on the mat is based on traditional geometric motifs used in Islamic art and includes the phrase: "The decision to maintain this distance is one of safety," written in Urdu calligraphy. | Photo source Impact BBDO

Prayer mat helps mosque-goers socially distance

Health & Wellbeing

The mats are around 180 cm wide to keep worshippers farther apart and are made of sustainable, “non-tearable” paper

Spotted: On Fridays, Muslims pray in the mosque, offering special congregational prayers. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, gathering close together in large congregations has been unsafe, especially as traditional prayer mats, which are around 70 cm wide, put worshippers almost shoulder to shoulder. In response, cleaning brand Dettol, in collaboration with ad agencies Impact BBDO and BBDO Pakistan, has designed a larger, COVID-friendly prayer mat. 

The new mats are larger, around 180 cm wide, to keep worshippers farther apart. They are also made of sustainable, “non-tearable” paper. The mats can be used several times or disposed of for safety. The design on the mat is based on traditional geometric motifs used in Islamic art and includes the phrase: “The decision to maintain this distance is one of safety,” written in Urdu calligraphy.  

In addition to the mats being handed out for free in mosques, and available for purchase, the mats are also available as an open-source file for anyone to download and print. Dettol’s prayer mat initiative includes an online video that emphasises the need to socially distance during prayer. The mats have been endorsed by Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology. 

Ali Rez, regional ECD at Impact BBDO, has explained that, “The brief is always in line with what Dettol is trying to achieve as a larger goal: to help build a healthier, safer, and cleaner Pakistan … With the current fourth wave of the pandemic in full force, the need of the hour was to locate an area in which we could make a difference in terms of providing protection to those who need it.” He adds that the inspiration to include text came from a feeling that, “the most effective way to make the mat work would be to include both visual and verbal cues.” 

All over the world, innovators are working on ways to help people practice social distancing while still engaging in normal, everyday activities. Some of the innovations that we have covered recently include socially distanced outdoor seating options and public transport redesigned to allow socially distanced travel

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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