I'm sure most of us are familiar with the prayer mat (janamaz for my Urdu peeps, Sajadah for my Arab folk). I was in elementary school when a Pakistani friend came over. for a play-date. My family wasn't really practicing then, and me being young myself, I never really made all my prayers... however, Maghrib was the 1 prayer that was always prayed in jama'ah in my home. My father lead us in salah and after he completed the fard he left for his bedroom to make his sunnah, so did my mother. My friend and I sat there discussing... I dunno.. probably Barbies or something haha.
Her eyes glanced over to the prayer rug my dad had prayed on... my mothers... and then mine... and her eyes bulged out and she let out a huge gasp. She ran over the folded over the top right orner of the 3 mats. She sat back down next to me and that's when I realized hers had been folded back the whole time we were talking.
I scrunched my eyebrows and she said, "OMG, don't you guys know when you don't fold the janemaz Shaytaan prays on it!!!! If you're not gonna put it away then you have to fold it! DUHHH!"
I was shocked, ashamed... how could I not know this? After that for years I'd remember to fold the mat over if I didn't put it back in the closet.
This wasn't the only situation I've heard 'shaytaan praying' applied to.
At the masjid during evening classes, for some reason some little boys were praying on the girls side (they're supposed to pray on the mens side, even though they're little kids).
After salah the following conversation took place between the mini Pakis, I shall translate:
"Where's your topi (kufi)?!"
*feels head* "Oh nooo... I left it in the gari (car)!"
"Stupid!!" "OMG, I'm gonna get gunnah (sinned) and when hafiz sahib (respectable term for HAFIDH, who in this case is also their teacher) comes I'm gonna get in trouble.."
"Yeah cuz you didn't make namaz with your topi so the whole Maghrib shaytaan was making namaz on your head!"
It was when I heard this I realized... ISN'T THAT A GOOD THING? Shaytaan praying... isn't that what we've wanted for so many centuries? haha. Ahh.. and another time something similar is mentioned is when the Qur'an is left open without being read... some say then the shaytaan comes and reads the Qur'an!!
Now this is something I only hear among Desis (Pakistanis, Indians & Bangladeshis). So far I've only heard those two specific scenarios for him making salah: when the prayer mat is left unfolded (even a small part of the corner) and when a boy prays with his head uncovered.
Now I'm assuming they mean shaytaan comes and makes a mockery of salah, not actually following the Imam and suddenly playing the good guy for a little. I don't know who came up with this and how.
The only reason I can think of this nonsense being used it just for respect I guess. Maybe some people feel since a person lays down their prayer mat to offer salah, it shouldn't be left open for someone to just walk by without caring and stepping on it, or for kids to come by and run around and play on it. However, people walk all over the musalla when their in the masjid, so I don't see how a separate mat is any different. Some people also put these rugs on their walls as decoration. Then what, shaytaan prays on the wall? I went to someones house and even though they did have it up on the wall, the right corner was stitched down lol. When it comes to boys wearing their kufis I guess it's a way of scaring small students into covering their head..?
Desi culture intrigues me... mainly the bizarre unnarrated ahadeeth people come up with which seems to be hammered into the minds of just about every young Desi child. Despite not being able to provide a source for their quotes (other than their parents and grandparents and so on told them), they cling onto these sayings tightly.
I'm sure for people unfamiliar with these weird sayings within Desi culture, it sounds straight up bonkers/hilarious to hear something like this.
The only related issue which is true when it comes to shaytaan within the ranks of salah is when the gaps are not filled during jama'ah the jinns pass through them. What do they do? I don't know... mock us? File their nails? Jumping jacks? Allah knows best!
Anyway, the next time you hear someone tell a kid shaytaan will pray on their uncovered head or shaytaan will pray on their prayer mat... please break the truth to them gently..