cats and their Muslim humans who just would like some peace and quiet
May 6, 2021 4:00 AM   Subscribe

Muslim prayer rugs tend to be rectangular. Cats love bounded areas. You can see where this is going: "the biggest trial in prayer is not the devil, but cats" [translation from Malay. The thread is mainly in Indonesian and Malay, but I trust the visuals are sufficient]. As the second Ramadan in COVID season swings around, many families have to adapt and commit their taraweeh/terawih prayers at home. Last year, a similar thread went viral, with Muslims sharing their compromise prayer rugs for their kitties. Muslims really do love felines. Per Dr Stephennie Mulder in her twitter thread: 'Cats hold a revered place in Islam', so much so it was worth commenting on by Europeans during the time of the Ottoman Empire.
posted by cendawanita (40 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
 
One of my kitties really likes to sleep on my laptop because it's both rectangular and warm. If I don't remember to close the lid at night, she will curl up on the keyboard and cause the machine to overheat and power off.

We have come to an awkward arrangement where when it's time for me to work, she will relocate to a nearby fluffy towel which is under a desk lamp that has the only incandescent lightbulb in the house. Usually just turning on the lamp is enough to get her to move, but sometimes I have to spend a little extra time brewing my tea while I'm waiting for her to decide that it's time to get up.

I don't doubt the story about cutting a sleeve off instead of disturbing a sleeping cat. Cats are special.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:46 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


That kitten crawling up the woman!!!!!

In the researcher's Twitter thread someone linked this which I thought was really lovely.
posted by schroedinger at 4:51 AM on May 6 [8 favorites]


Yeah that thread made me cackle but also glad my cats aren't human climbers, though I've had to gently roll one away from my rapidly approaching forehead.
posted by cendawanita at 5:02 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


The mini prayer rugs for cats!

I don’t remember where, but I saw someone point out in this context that cats are social animals who pick up on the household routine. They probably don’t understand prayer per se, but they understand that there are particular times when their humans kneel on these specific mats, and they want to be part of this activity. Getting them their own mini-prayer-mat makes them feel included without being in the way.

(Tangentially, there is also this classic Tumblr post about freedom of religion for cats.)
posted by snowmentality at 5:02 AM on May 6 [12 favorites]


Cats hold a revered place in Islam

Cats hold a revered place among right-thinking people everywhere.

I swear that neither of the cats in my household wrote this post.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 5:37 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]


Cultural differences exist, but videos of cats being cats are universal. This made me laugh a lot. I’m glad the people who recorded these were willing to share.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:40 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Reddit > r/islam comment > What did the Sheikh do with the cat in the mosque:
...From the next day on, whenever he entered the mosque to teach he would give the cat something to eat from his own food. More cats started to come, to the extent that after some time whenever Imam Dardir entered Masjid al-Azhar more than two hundred cats would surround him and stay at his feet. May God have mercy on him.
And upon all feline staff members. Our house is pwned by three cats, and they’re enough.
posted by cenoxo at 5:43 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Awwwww! This is exactly the quality content I needed today. Thank you!
posted by rednikki at 5:48 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


The social-context-clue-drive for cats is very much a thing. When we gather as a family for evening prayer, the cat wanders in, without fail, to take her place in the circle.
posted by jquinby at 6:03 AM on May 6 [14 favorites]


This happens every time we pray! Sometimes the cat will join in prayer but usually they just sit or lie there until they need to be moved out of the way.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:04 AM on May 6 [14 favorites]


I saw someone point out in this context that cats are social animals who pick up on the household routine. They probably don’t understand prayer per se, but they understand that there are particular times when their humans kneel on these specific mats, and they want to be part of this activity.

Yep. Our cat responds the same way to my family's yoga mats. She's taking advantage of the fact that her family are low down on the floor and at an optimal height for petting cats. I mean, why else would someone be down on the floor?
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:21 AM on May 6 [11 favorites]


My cat loves me doing yoga at home too! I think I’ll get him a tiny yoga mat.

Thanks for the adorable post!
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 6:32 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Prayer rugs for cats made my day! Thanks for this post.
posted by medusa at 6:33 AM on May 6


It also doesn't hurt that you're getting down to their level and stretching out in interesting ways. My wife can attest that this applies equally to Zoom yoga classes.

ah, as can several of you
posted by Naberius at 6:37 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


I love that the one cat is too chonky for its prayer rug and the other one who loves on the girl's head every time she bows down to pray. Man, cats are the best.
posted by Jess the Mess at 6:43 AM on May 6 [8 favorites]


I love cats so much. They're at once completely familiar and totally foreign. And without a doubt sentient, intelligent, and rife with feels. Now I have to go pet our little furry alien friends.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:04 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


This explains a lot.

Clearly what I need is a cat-sized zabuton to remove some distractions during zazen.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 7:08 AM on May 6 [8 favorites]


... is this why my cat will sleep on a rectangular pillow but not a round one?
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 7:09 AM on May 6


Oh my god, I've been so homesick this Ramadan, and this thread has made me feel so much better. Thank you cendawanita <3
posted by unicorn chaser at 7:25 AM on May 6 [15 favorites]


We literally only have the area rug in our house because of the cat. She is arthritic and elderly, and playing on our hardwood floors is impossible for her, so we're on our second cheap IKEA rug (she wore out the first one what with claw-sharpening, hair, and general barf).
posted by Peach at 8:30 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


*salutes* General Barf...
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:51 AM on May 6 [21 favorites]


In the researcher's Twitter thread someone linked this which I thought was really lovely.

This video makes a strong case for the universality of the "come here and I'll pet you" gesture. I wouldn't even have had to know the video was cat-themed to figure out what that teacher was doing.
posted by Orlop at 9:09 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I saw someone point out in this context that cats are social animals who pick up on the household routine.

My shy little cat seems to have figured out that on Sunday mornings, I go to online Quaker worship, and will therefore sit very still for a solid hour. She takes advantage of this to come sit with me, knowing I won't make any alarming sudden movements.
posted by Orlop at 9:12 AM on May 6 [14 favorites]


Thank-you I needed this dose of wonderful cuteness today. :)
posted by Hutch at 9:37 AM on May 6


I think it's only natural that cats and humans should find such close connections with each other.

Both are highly intelligent, highly evolved creatures, and both believe that they are the pinnacle of God's creation.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:08 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


[translation from Malay. The thread is mainly in Indonesian and Malay, but I trust the visuals are sufficient]

Cats are a universal language - and these are all wonderful!

Unfortunately, I don't think t'fillin and cats would be quite as compatible (what with the tangliness).
posted by jb at 11:00 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Cats hold a revered place among right-thinking people everywhere.

Tombili, meet Hodge
posted by BWA at 12:03 PM on May 6


Our cat joins us for zazen every morning, either lounging near us or walking back and forth in front of us (thanks, cat).
posted by Lexica at 12:40 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


(Tangentially, there is also this classic Tumblr post about freedom of religion for cats.)

well, as stated in the chapter Al-Baqarah, '"there is no compulsion in religion' lol, though fwiw in conventional Muslim thought it's held that all creation submits to God (ie are 'Muslim') and everything they do is worship anyway and only humans have the free will to choose otherwise. Anyway, what that meant to me was basically registering surprise when I learned in mainstream Christianity (right?) there's a whole deal about animals not having souls and not meant for heaven. one of the small surprises for me all right (the biggest one is still which son Abraham sacrificed was apparently not an agreed matter hahaha).
posted by cendawanita at 2:13 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


Tape squares represent the possibility of a box

I love this so much.
posted by scratch at 2:36 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Prayer mats for cats is exactly what I needed to see today. Thank you.
posted by Night_owl at 2:39 PM on May 6


in conventional Muslim thought it's held that all creation submits to God (ie are 'Muslim') and everything they do is worship anyway and only humans have the free will to choose otherwise. Anyway, what that meant to me was basically registering surprise when I learned in mainstream Christianity (right?) there's a whole deal about animals not having souls and not meant for heaven.

Interesting, I did not know that about Islam - that's precisely the issue that drove me away from Christianity when I was a petulant teen. Of course animals have souls!
posted by Jess the Mess at 3:34 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]




Ooh, thank you for that article, jenfullmoon.
posted by Lexica at 4:51 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


I saw this post yesterday and was tempted to click through hurriedly on my bus ride home, but I'm glad I saved it to go through leisurely with my coffee this morning.

I'm not a religious person myself, but I love humanity finding joy in the world, and this is primo the world is good content. Thanks for posting!
posted by the primroses were over at 4:23 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]




Shayāṭīn!
posted by meehawl at 7:44 AM on May 10


So during the virtual Eid prayers this morning the imam took longer in the sajdah (the part of prayers where we're crouched on the ground) than I usually do and one of my cats started grooming me and then she wanted me to reciprocate!
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:56 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Well, did you reciprocate? That's the polite thing to do.
posted by jb at 11:13 AM on May 13


Not while praying! When we were finished my son, who was watching, immediately picked her up and started petting her.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:40 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


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