Dear Ali: When I leave the UAE someday I would like to take a prayer carpet with me to show my family and friends. I'm thinking I would like to hang it on the wall. Is this proper, do you think? In no way do I wish to show any disrespect to anyone's religion even after I've returned home. FL, UAE
Dear FL: It all depends on context. It's about how and where you display it, and what type of prayer carpet it is.
There are ones that have God's name or the holy mosque of Kaa'ba or Jerusalem on them. Some have Islamic and arabesque designs and some don't have any Islamic symbols. So hanging the last one wouldn't lead most people to react negatively, and it can pass as a regular carpet. But the ones with the Islamic symbols are where we have to be careful.
No one can stop you from buying a prayer carpet, and we are aware many people may want one for the floor or to hang. Is it wrong from an Islamic point of view? There is no one solid answer, because it all depends on the context of what the piece is, where it will be displayed and how it will be handled. In the Emirates I know many expat friends who purchase a holy Quran and a prayer carpet and display them in their living room or on a bookshelf. Some Muslims believe it’s fine to own such pieces because there could be a chance that you will start to embrace Islam, and having a prayer carpet or a translated holy Quran will help to raise awareness about our faith.
Just make sure you handle these pieces the right way - the holy Quran must always be on top of a bookshelf, and no other books or object should be placed on it. Also, you should not use the prayer carpet for anything but praying.
Other Muslims will object to non-Muslims owning a prayer carpet if your house has items that are forbidden in Islam, such as alcohol, pork, pornography or even loud music.
Some Muslims might be pleased and proud that you have a prayer carpet, as it conveys your awareness and appreciation of Islam. But after a while, they might associate this with other pieces you have, such as a Buddha statue or whatever else you display, and their feelings might change.