Ramadan goes hi-tech in 2014 as axiom spotlights popular trends
Tech-savvy individuals are using the latest smartphone apps to help keep the faith during Ramadan and share their experiences with the world.
With the ongoing social media hype, Ramadan will go digital as observers use their mobile phones to commemorate the holy month with a modern twist. Programmers have recognized this demand and are continuously developing a medley of Ramadan specific apps to help users stay in tune with religious proceedings.
“The widespread use of social media consumption has added another dimension to Ramadan, making the information observers are looking for instantly available and placing it at their fingertips,” said Faisal Al Bannai, axiom CEO. “Not only do social media programs allow users to share and extend the spirit of the holy month, but sophisticated apps also help observers practice Islam in many ways, either by listening to the call to prayer, reading verses from the Holy Quran in many languages, or following a Ramadan calendar,” he added.
With a mobile penetration rate of roughly 200% and a smartphone penetration of 51% in the UAE, the use of these gadgets to stay up to date on various religious and cultural traditions is inevitable. According to a study by The Online Project, social media consumption in the region increased by one-third during Ramadan last year. The study showed that Facebook activity increased by 30% during the holy month while the number of Twitter engagements grew by 33%. However, the peak time that people engaged with these social networks varied significantly between countries.
In the UAE, the most popular time that users engaged with Facebook during Ramadan was 7pm while for neighboring Saudi Arabia, the peak time was 10pm. Similarly, the highest Twitter use was reported in the UAE at 6pm and in Saudi Arabia between 4pm and 5pm. The study also found that posts were increasingly positive during and after Ramadan as opposed to before Ramadan.
“By allowing members of the community to share their experiences, these social media platforms are in effect enhancing the collective spirit of the holy month,” Mr Al Bannai said. “Whether it is tweeting about their endurance to fast, posting photos of their suhour gatherings on Instagram, or updating their Facebook status to reflect a delectable iftar meal they enjoyed, users are making the most of the endless possibilities of smartphone applications,” he added.
Muslim Pro and Salatuk, which allow users to track prayer times are among the most popular apps that can be found on the Google Play and the App Store, both having recorded millions of downloads. Ramadan 2014, a calendar that displays prayer times for a variety of countries across the globe, has already recorded more than 100,000 downloads with figures expected to soar in the coming weeks.
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