The mihrab is a niche in the qibla wall that indicates the direction of Mecca; because to its significance, it is generally the most beautiful component of a mosque, richly ornamented and often enriched with Qur'anic inscriptions (see image 4). The imam stands before this monument during prayers.
Mosques were originally built without any decoration at all. But as time went by, people started decorating them with flowers, trees, and other objects which have no religious meaning. This practice arose because there was not much money for building activities so individuals covered their own structures or those of others with stonework and paint. As soon as monotheism was established, new laws were created regarding worship places. According to one of these laws, Muslims should not construct anything else but rather use existing buildings. So, they extended the use of decorative elements already present on sites themselves considered holy.
There are three main reasons why mosques are decorated with flowers: 1 to honor God; 2 to mark the beginning of prayer; 3 to indicate the end of prayer. For example, after a battle or a successful hunt, the first thing people did was to pray for peace and success in future endeavors. They also decorated their mosques with flowers to show gratitude to God for saving them from danger.
Flowers are also used to mark the beginning and ending of prayer because they represent purity and holiness.
The mihrab is a niche or other mark made on a mosque's qibla wall. The qibla wall is the wall that faces Mecca, indicating the right direction of prayer. In a mosque with multiple qibla walls, you would know which one was intended for prayer by its being marked with an icon or symbol to indicate where Muslims should face during prayers.
The most common symbol used for marking the qibla is a black dot within a white circle, but other symbols are also used.
In a mosque, the word "mihrab" is often used as a general term for any area on the qibla wall that indicates the direction of Mecca. But the term has other meanings as well. It can also refer to any indication or marker used to direct people in religious practices; for example, a priest directing worshippers inside a church or synagogue toward a particular part of the altar or bimah (from which rabbis lead services).
Finally, the term mihrab refers to the part of the mosque's structure that directs believers toward Mecca during prayer. This may be a recess cut into the qibla wall in which there is space for a lamp or candle, or it may be a small door or window through which sunlight or moonlight enters at certain times of day or year.
MHryb maharib (Persian: mhrbh, mihraba) is a semicircular niche on a mosque's wall that shows the qibla, or the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. The "qibla wall" is thus the wall on which a mihrab appears.
The word mihrab itself means "niche" or "cavity". Thus, a mihrab is a niche on a wall where a Muslim can pray facing in the right direction (i.e. toward Mecca).
The term maharib refers to the rows of stone or marble slabs placed in front of the walls of old mosques to enable congregants to prostrate themselves on their backs with their faces toward the holy city. These are usually located outside in an area known as an arabah (plural for 'area').
In modern times, air-conditioning has made it unnecessary to provide special places for prayer outside; however, some mosques may have separate areas for men and women, where those who wish to offer prayers together may do so.
There are two types of mihrabs used in mosques today: optical and electronic. In the early days of Islam, all mosques had physical mihrabs because it was impossible to accurately align oneself with the qibla using compass and straightedge.