<p>A minaret is a slim tower which is a distinctive traditional feature of a mosque, though they vary in height, style, and number. Minarets may be square, round, or octagonal, and they are usually covered with a pointed roof. They were originally used as a high point from which to make the call to prayer (<a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-nikah-2004439" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1"><em>adhan</em></a>).</p><p>The word derives from the Arabic word for &#34;lighthouse.&#34; </p><p>Many mosques are decorated with a dome rooftop, particularly in the Middle East. This architectural element holds no spiritual or symbolic significance, and is purely aesthetic. The interior of a dome is usually highly decorated with floral, geometric and other patterns.</p><p>The main dome of a mosque usually covers the main prayer hall of the structure, and some mosques may have secondary domes, as well. </p><p>Inside, the central area for prayer is called a <em>musalla</em> (literally, &#34;place for prayer&#34;). It is deliberately left quite bare. No furniture is needed, as worshippers sit, kneel, and bow directly on the floor. There may be a few chairs or benches to assist elderly or disabled worshippers who have difficulty with mobility.</p><p>Along the walls and pillars of the prayer hall, there are usually bookshelves to hold copies of the Qur&#39;an, <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/when-handling-the-quran-2004549" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">wooden book stands (<em>rihal</em>)</a>, other religious reading material, and individual prayer rugs. Beyond this, the prayer hall is otherwise a large, open space.</p><p>The <em>mihrab</em> is an ornamental, semi-circular indentation in the wall of the prayer room of a mosque that marks the direction of the <em><a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/qiblah-direction-of-makkah-for-prayer-2004517" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">qiblah</a>--</em>the direction facing Mecca which Muslims face during prayer.<em> </em>Mihrabs vary in size and color, but they are usually shaped like a doorway and decorated with mosaic tiles and calligraphy to make the space stand out.</p><p>The <em>minbar</em> is a raised platform in the front area of a mosque prayer hall, from which sermons or speeches are given. The minbar is usually made of carved wood, stone, or brick. It includes a short staircase leading to the top platform, which is sometimes covered by a small dome.</p><p>Ablutions (<em>wudu</em>) are part of the preparation for Muslim prayer. Sometimes a space for ablutions is set aside in a restroom or washroom. Other times, there is a fountain-like structure along a wall or in a courtyard. Running water is available, often with small stools or seats to make it easier to sit down to wash the feet.</p><p>During Islamic prayers, worshippers bow, kneel and prostrate on the ground in humility before God. The only requirement in Islam is that prayers be performed in an area that is clean. Rugs and carpets have become a traditional way to ensure the cleanliness of the place of prayer, and to provide some cushioning on the floor.</p><p>In mosques, the prayer area is often covered with large prayer carpets. Smaller prayer rugs may be stacked on a nearby shelf for individual use.</p>Rather uninspiring and purely practical, the shoe shelf is nevertheless a feature of many mosques worldwide. Muslims remove their shoes before entering a mosque, to preserve the cleanliness of the prayer space. Rather than dumping piles of shoes near the door, shelves are strategically placed near mosque entrances so that visitors can neatly organize, and later find, their shoes.