Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims around the world. Ramadan is observed by fasting from sunrise to sunset, praying, giving charity and practicing generosity. Taraweeh prayer is one of the things that makes Ramadan nights so special. For the entire month, many Muslims gather together at night after breaking their fasts to pray at the mosque and listen to and reflect on the recitation of the Quran. While this is a beautiful opportunity for many, it may also be a very overwhelming. Offering a sensory-friendly Taraweeh Prayer is a solution for sensory overload.
What is sensory-rich about Taraweeh Prayer?
It’s important to understand why Taraweeh prayer may be challenging for some people. Taraweeh prayer can be a sensory-rich experience. Sensory-rich means that an environment or experience is multi-sensory, or stimulates more than one sense. Sensory-rich environments often contribute to sensory overload.
One sensory-rich aspect of Taraweeh prayer is the large crowd that gathers together. Regardless of whether or not you have sensory sensitivities, being around new people in an unfamiliar setting can be uncomfortable or overwhelming. Often times, people stand close enough to be brushing shoulders against one another. This can be difficult for people of any age who experience sensory overload. Before and after prayer, people in the mosque often have catch up with one another. The sound of chatter from every direction can also be overwhelming. Additionally, bright lights further contributes to sensory overload.
How to create a sensory-friendly Taraweeh prayer experience
Mosques can use a few simple, effective strategies to create a sensory-friendly Taraweeh experience.
Develop a sensory-friendly environment
Follow the steps below to create a sensory-friendly environment in the mosque for your community.
- Avoid fluorescent lights.
- Reduce noise.
- Provide scent-free spaces.
- Avoid clutter.
- Offer comfortable seating for those requiring chairs.
- Provide unscented prayer mats.
Offer sensory toys and tools
It is important to know that people have different sensory preferences.
Sensory-friendly toys and tools will help create an environment that is a good fit for your community. For instance, consider offering the toys and tools below in the form of a sensory kit or individually. You can offer them at the entrance of the mosque so people can grab them as they enter!
Provide a quiet space
Another important step is to provide a quiet space that people can access when they feel overwhelmed, stressed, or overstimulated. For example, this can be done in a separate room of the mosque. Moreover, if you’re able to make this room sound proof, it will be very appreciated by your community. Consider adding some comfortable seating, fidgets, books, weighted lap pads and quiet activities.
Share resources and information
Lastly, your community may really benefit from receiving more information about sensory-friendly environments and why they’re important. Another excellent resource that families would appreciate are sensory stories. These stories can be used to help prepare children for what to expect at the mosque. This will ensure they have a comfortable and safe experience!
Find more resources:
- Five Steps to a Sensory-Friendly Ramadan
- Host a Sensory-Friendly Iftaar Party
- How to Manage Sensory Overload at the Mosque
- Host a Sensory-Friendly Eid Party
- Five Steps to a Sensory-Friendly Eid
- How to Offer a Sensory-Friendly Eid Prayer
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