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Muslims pray and worship in a mosque. Just inside the porch or entrance, there is usually a storage area where believers can put their shoes in preparation for ritual washing and prayer. Further in is an empty plain room that has no religious decoration as Muslims believe these to be blasphemous as Allah is wholly spirit.The worshippers sit down on the floor to pray - it doesn't matter where as here everyone is equal. A corner in the wall shows the direction that believers should face (towards Mecca.) Some mosques have a thin tall tower called a minaret minaret from which an official (a muezzin) calls Muslim worshippers to prayer at the prescribed ritual times of the day (five times.)
Women pray separately from the men for reasons of modesty and concentration, but often pray at home.
A timetable of prayers gives worshippers a schedule for the day, which in some countries affects the work and routine of the entire population as the prayer cycle is over fourteen hundred years old and is a deeply embedded tradition.
For Muslims, praying is a very spiritual experience and connects each believer to all the other Muslims in the world, and to those who have said the same prayers back through time. Muslims should place themselves in the right frame of mind, soul and body in readiness for prayer. A set of ritual movements helps worshippers to prepare for this, as they believe that if they are not totally concentrated on Allah, then the prayer has little value. They must present themselves with the right attitude for prayer and there is an emphasis on concentration and prostration. Believers can pray when they are away from the mosque, such as when travelling,but they must still be ready to pray at the prescribed time. Many, therefore, carry a special prayer mat and make themselves aware of the direction of Mecca.
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