Abrar Al-Heeti is a young staff reporter at CNET News and in this op-ed, she declares that she’s glued to her smart-phone for all the obvious reasons but one that may not be so obvious to some — her phone enables her stay on top of her religious obligations as an observant Muslim.
As she says, “I pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan and read the Quran. I rely on an app called Muslim Pro, which pings me every few hours with prayer reminders. It even features a compass that points me in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest site in Islam toward which all Muslims pray. The app’s “Verse of the Day” gets me to (virtually) open up the Quran each night.”
Ms. Al-Heeti makes the point that religious apps can also express s a person’s sense of identity and culture such as the Islamoji app which features characters wearing hijab (with diverse skin colors). “It fills a void in the pop culture space where Muslims haven’t had extensive representation,” says creator Sakeena Rashid. “I wanted the app to be something that Muslim youth would see and feel, in a sense, validated. I thought it was important for them to be able to see something that looked like them and was for them.”
Ms. Al-Heeti concludes her piece, saying that in “between snaps of cats and Facebook posts about high school reunions, I get nuggets of wisdom about the importance of faith. Prayer notifications are humbling reminders of what’s really important, even if I’m binge-watching celebrity videos or selecting the perfect Instagram filter.”