LAHORE, PAKISTAN — To help keep Muslims praying in mosques safe from the spread of coronavirus, Impact BBDO and BBDO Pakistan have collaborated to introduce an innovative modification in the ubiquitous personal prayer mat to encourage social distancing.
Traditional prayer mats – or the jaanemaz – are about 70cm wide, and used in mosques where Muslims pray next to each other with their shoulders practically touching. To build social distancing, this newly designed prayer mat is a 180cm wide with a message imprinted amongst its motif that reminds worshippers to maintain a safe distance.
An initiative of Reckitt Pakistan as part of their movement to keep Pakistanis healthy, the mat, printed on sustainable and cost-efficient non-tearable paper, can be easily rolled up or folded and used several times. The design on the mat borrows from traditional Islamic art geometric motifs that gradually spread out through the width of the mat. Urdu calligraphy on either side of the design remind people that “The decision to maintain this distance is one of safety.” (The Urdu words for “decision” and “distance” are separated by only one alphabet).
Pakistan is currently bracing itself for a fourth pandemic wave. Rising numbers point to a rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. While the government has issued SOP notices to protect the public, including social distancing, most people ignore directives. The Social Distancing Prayer Mat was launched at an ideal time: at the annual Eid festival, which is marked with prayers attended by millions.
Head of Marketing for Reckitt, Mr. Humayun Farooq, said “Dettol has and always will be a symbol of protection against disease and illnesses for people to carry out their daily routine in a safe, hygienic way. In line with this promise, the Social Distancing Prayer Mat introduced by Dettol was yet another inspirational tool for people to carry out their routines (such as offering Eid prayers in mosques) in the safest possible way while reminding them of the SOPs especially considering the 4th wave of COVID-19. This initiative fits right in with Dettol’s larger Hoga Saaf (Safe) Pakistan movement which has been relentlessly working towards a cleaner, healthier, and safe Pakistan since 2017.”
The newly designed mat has now been used across Pakistan, in some of its largest mosques. It has been endorsed by the Council of Islamic Ideology in the country and has been supported by government officials and ministers. A landing page includes an open-source file to be downloaded by any printer anywhere in the world to utilize the design: the mats are planned to be used in Egypt, India, and other countries with a large Muslim population.