Weekend Reflections: Prayer Time at the Mall

Everything comes to a complete standstill when it’s time for prayer in Saudi Arabia. Businesses close down and the employees either go to the nearest mosque to pray or meet up with a group like this. There are five daily required prayers each day in Islam. The first is at daybreak, then another at around noon, then mid-afternoon, late afternoon, and evening. This is an open area of a large mall where men pray. Mall employees and men shoppers come here to pray when the call to prayer is sounded. You can see the large red carpet that is rolled out for prayer and can probably accommodate a few hundred when it is fully rolled out. There is also a women’s prayer area not far from the men’s area. Some malls provide a separate enclosed room for women to pray in so they are not out in the open.

Check out other blogs featuring photos of reflections at Weekend Reflections.


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Architecture, Buildings, Culture, Life, Middle East, Photo, Religion, Saudi Arabia and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Weekend Reflections: Prayer Time at the Mall

  1. DANISH says:


    Just to say thanks to this nice post and picture, Jazak Allah and Happy Ramadan to all.

    Best wishes
    Danish Hussain

  2. Chiara says:

    A very striking photo! Thanks!

  3. Melli says:

    Oh wow! How is it you were able to be there to catch this shot? I’m going to have to go read your other blog! This positively fascinates me!!! Oh, GREAT reflection, by the way!

    • Although it is legal to take photos in public in Saudi Arabia, many Saudis, especially women, are extremely averse at the mere sight of a camera. So even though I take my camera with me almost every time I step out the door, I do try to be discreet. This shot was taken in a huge and popular shopping mall in Jeddah. The shops all close down during prayer times, but shoppers can remain in the mall itself. Many pray, others sit and wait, and others walk around. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thérèse says:

    Very informative picture and comments!
    The Coran is very useful to read to better understand.

  5. VioletSky says:

    What a lovely shot.
    Am glad you didn’t get caught!
    How long do these prayers last? this seems a lot of effort, so I’m thinking I was wrong in assuming they were only a couple of minutes.

    • First there is a call to prayer sounded. That is the signal for everyone to go and do the mandatory ritualistic cleansing before one prays. This cleansing is called wudhu, and it takes about five minutes . The men begin to gather and wait for the second call which is about ten minutes after the first call to prayer. There is a prayer leader that eveyone follows. The prayer itself only takes about five minutes. So all in all, the entire process takes maybe ten minutes. If you miss praying with the group, there is an acceptable window of time when one can do the prayer. If one misses the prayer altogether, it must be made up later as soon as one is able.

  6. James says:

    That’s a nice looking and very interesting picture. I’m wondering why some malls don’t want women praying out in the open?

    • Great question, James, and the answer is simple. When Muslims pray, they do so in a very specific series of physical movements, including bending over at the waist with hands on the thighs, down on the floor with kness bent sitting on the feet, and then bowing over from there with the forehead to the floor, as the rearend goes up in the air. Also Muslims always face towards Makkah when praying. It would be inappropriate for any man to see a woman from behind in any of these positions. When family members pray together, the males are always shoulder to shoulder in the front line and then the women are in line behind the men. Another issue here in Saudi Arabia is that most Saudi women wear the veil over their faces. When women pray, faces are not supposed to be covered.

  7. Kathy says:

    This is an outstanding shot! I bet you were thrilled when you saw the image. I love everything about it, the color, the reflections and most important the glimpse into another culture that is unfortunately very misunderstood. Wonderful capture!

  8. Vogon Poet says:

    An amazing picture of reflections and contrast. It doesn’t matter if you took this sideways, it’s still a great image!

  9. This is such a culturally interesting snap! I think you’re becoming a expert “discreet” photographer! Bravo! I’m fascinated by the “nuggets” you show us thru your lens!

  10. SandyCarlson says:

    An amazing photo.

    Reminds me of the RC nuns in the next town who shape their lives by their devotion and their commitment to the land. Prayer and work cannot be separated.

  11. This is an amazing shot. Such a powerful image, and a great reflection. Happy new year!

  12. Diane AZ says:

    A fascinating look at another culture, and the image is spectacular!

  13. awarewriter says:

    Even without the wonderful reflection this would be a powerful image.

  14. Eileen says:

    Awesome reflection and thanks for the info about the prayer time.

  15. Julie says:

    The glory of this group coming together to be as one, Susie. The clarity of the reflection, and the towering panels of glass echo the glory to God purpose of the group. I will add you to my regular side-bar, if i may.

    Once again, I wish you health and happiiness as you journey into twenty ten.

    • This photo turned out so much better than I could have ever hoped. I was trying to be very discreet as I was walking by, and I just pointed it over in that direction sideways and down low without even seeing the image on the screen. I was astonished when I saw the image on my computer! I would be honored to be on your sidebar – thank you. Wishing you all the best in this new year that is upon us.

  16. Dina says:

    A great picture. I like looking at it and thinking about it.

    And, it would also be great for the “Weekend Reflections” meme at http://newtowndailyphoto.blogspot.com/ if you’re interested in contributing.

  17. dave@costaricadailyphoto.com says:

    Fascinating. Thank you again for educating us about such a different culture.

    It was a pleasure to meet you during 2009, and you have our best wishes for 2010.

    • Meeting you, Julie, and Sharon was definitely a high point of my year! I feel so blessed to be part of such a wonderful worldwide blogging community of truly nice people. Happy New Year!

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