Photo Series Documents the Wonderful and Odd Places Muslims Pray

‘Places You’ll Pray’ photo series aims to be a bridge to understanding Islam’s salat for non-muslims.

The salat is one of the most important aspects of Islamic life. The salat is a prayer that is done five times a day, which involves reciting of Quran verses in various postures, standing, kneeling and prostrating. The salat is held very dearly by Muslims, so much so they often must pray in public areas to avoid missing the correct time for prayer. This raises serious problems for the community, especially in America where it is now found that being a Muslim is harder than ever.

For Sana Ullah, an American-born Muslim in Florida, the rise of intolerance towards Islam, and the religion's requirement for adherents to pray five times a day, seemed like the perfect way to battle Islamophobia. The 24-year-old journalist started an Instagram account and asked Muslims all over the world to post pictures of the unusual places they pray.

For Muslims, who are generally supposed to pray in mosques or at home, 'unusual' can translate into meaning anything like a library, a public square, or even on top of a mountain while on a trek. Ullah believes there is nothing as beautiful as the 'faithful' offering their prayers regularly, despite all odds, at the most unusual places.

"A worker praying the Isha (evening prayer) in a warehouse in #Manama, #Bahrain." Photo shared by @f_algosaibi. #PlacesYoullPray

A photo posted by Places You'll Pray (@placesyoullpray) on

The Muslim-American hopes her project, Places You’ll Pray, will be a bridge to understanding. She believes the main reason why there is so much misunderstanding of the Muslim community is the lack of dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. Ullah hopes by posting pictures of Muslims praying peacefully, a whole new image will be created in the minds of people who believe Islam is a violent religion. This would lead to questions, comments and discussions where doubts can be cleared, misunderstandings resolved, and conflicts reduced.

The project also aims to help non-Muslims understand why they pray in public. For Muslims, prayers are scheduled. This means they cannot choose the time for prayer. Because of this, when it's time to pray, they simply do, no matter where they are. The lack of adequate mosques or private prayer spaces force them to pray in public.

Seen praying on highway 1 in Atlantic City, #California. Photographer was asked to be kept anonymous. #PlacesYoullPray

A photo posted by Places You'll Pray (@placesyoullpray) on

Seen praying before her hospital shift in San Diego, #California-USA. Photo shared by @ejafari_safari. #PlacesYoullPray

A photo posted by Places You'll Pray (@placesyoullpray) on

As for now, the project seems to be going great. Ullah says she has received a lot of messages from non-Muslims already, and her attempt at building bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims is bearing fruit

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