Kamal Ali created the world’s first educational interactive prayer mat for children; My Salah Mat. The prayer mat guides young Muslims step by step through prayers in a fun way. The idea came after seeing his infant son struggling to take part in daily prayers, Kamal used his background in product design to create a solution. With pre-recorded keys that reveal prayer times, how to do Wudu, and recite Surahs and Duas this prayer mat has proved immensely popular selling in over 24 countries.
Kamal graduated from BA (hons) Fashion Design in 2005 before studying an MA in Product Design and a PGCE. Read more below!
What was the development process behind My Salah Mat?
I developed the interactive prayer mat because I saw my son struggle with learning how to pray. When I could not find any existing products then I decided to design and develop something myself. I decided to go through with the process of manufacture and commercialisation because I saw how much it helped my child, and I wanted other children al over the globe to benefit too.
I would advise that when designing or developing a product, think about how your product will help your audience. When you design something that solves a problem for others, it will surely be successful. My success is primarily due to my creative knowledge and experience. I was able to learn business skills, but if I didn’t have the creativity skills that I acquired from USW and Bath Spa University then I wouldn’t have reached this position without help.
Creativity is the key driving force for everything that I have done. I design from a selfless perspective, and I am driven to help others rather for the reward rather than for any monetary benefit.
What hopes do you have for the future?
The aim and goal is to break into new markets, such as Malaysia and the Middle East. There are over 2 billion Muslims in the world, and we aim to make an impact on this population.
We aim to develop more educational products and I have another idea currently being developed that I believe can also be granted a patent. I would like to see My Salah Mat have bases in other countries and grow all over the world.
What have been some career highlights?
Since leaving USW, I have achieved a Masters in Product Design, a PGCE that gave me the opportunity to teach locally, nationally and also at an international school in Cairo. I have worked with design firms in Hong Kong and I am the founder of Hajj Safe, a company that designs and makes products for people travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj, the biggest religious pilgrimage on earth. I am the proud inventor of My Salah Mat. the world’s first Interactive Prayer mat, which can now be found in over 30 countries with an approved Patent. To date, we have reached over 70 Million people through our social media platforms. This reach has been a result of the innovation of the product.
My salah Mat has been featured on TV including the BBC. We have articles on many platforms, including the BBC and walesonline. We were finalists for an award – Global business of the year.
Our Patent has been accepted after 5 years of hard work and we have our brand trademarked in over 15 different countries as well as global design rights.
What motivates you to get up in the morning and pursue your career?
My family is my main motivation, my wife and my two beautiful kids. I want them to have the best of this world. The knowledge that my product is now helping thousands of children and adults around the world to learn and practice their prayers is also a huge motivation.
I have now invented the world’s first Interactive prayer mat and we have been granted a Patent. This is a significant milestone in my design career that all began at USW.
My faith is also the most important part of my life. I think that if you believe in something, truly believe it then conviction is everything. The work I do touches the hearts and minds of people. Learning to pray can be an emotional journey, finding ones way through life and truly connecting with the Creator of all things.
When people are finally able to pray, with the help of this tool then they are overwhelmed with gratefulness. My product has made their learning journey easier and more comfortable and consequently, we receive many positive and grateful messages from people who have used our products. These messages certainly get me out of bed.