So far I am enjoying Ramadan. Moving more slowly, not rushing anything, paying attention. Its nice.
To help pass the time during the day I have been reading a lot, including online news and information on Ramadan and Islam. And one of the articles I came across was a piece questioning how Islamic apps and other technology are impacting the community. The author wondered if Islam was becoming too commercialized – and was all of this putting Islam and special times such as Ramadan in danger of becoming exploited like Christmas.
Currently I don’t live in the most Muslim friendly environment and the Islamic community where I live is primarily German speaking. I know my German should be better than it is. I can speak restaurant-,shopping-, take out-, and taxi-German – but I cannot hold a conversation.
The point of all this is that I have had to find other means to learn about Islam, learn my prayers and begin learning Arabic.
And I have to say for me, the abundance of information available via apps and online has been a life saver. Alhamdulilah! Apps on Islamic topics are fantastic, and they are typically free or at a very low cost. (Though I realize this still assumes you can afford a smart phone and computer. I am blessed.)
What I have learned on apps:
- Prayer times that can be adjusted depending on where you are – great for those who travel
- Direction of the Quibla from a compass in the app
- The prayers themselves of course. I found I needed a few apps to complement each other along with YouTube videos so that I could learn the pronunciation and proper movements.
- Qur’an apps where I can listen to its recitation while seeing the words in Arabic, the transliteration and the English translation
- The Arabic alphabet: essential for those beginning from scratch. I unknowingly started with a few apps to learn to read the Qur’an that assume you know the Arabic alphabet already.
As for the internet:
- As mentioned above, sometimes you have to see how prayer is done and YouTube is fantastic for this
- Muslim news and community sites – Muslim Village.com is one of my favorites
- Free web sites with the full Qur’an and many Hadeeth
- Muslim clothes shops – of course!
- Amazon.com to find loads of books on Islam
- And – of course – Facebook, Word Press and other social sites to connect with the Ummah around the world
I also would hate to see Islam and Ramadan become too commercial but I am very grateful for the modern technology that has facilitated my learning. (Though I try to always double check information with a trusted friend — just to be sure.)
I realize apps and the internet are not essential and people learned what they needed since the birth of the religion without technology. But I, for one, find it a blessing.
What do you think? And if you have a favorite app or web site, please share!