A very pertinent question that we face in this modern day and age is the dichotomy between tradition and modernity; can they coexist, without cancelling each other out? If yes, then how, you may ask, does one reach a balance between modern science and technology being culturally sensitive and innovative simultaneously?
Our apps at VentureDive serve to reinforce a basic tenet of Islam that has existed since Islam first came into being; Islam is not just for the olden times but for all times to come. As years passed, Muslim communities around the world managed to balance the traditions of Islam with the modernity of their contemporary time, and it is no different for us in the 21st century. The increasing use of mobile technology, rather than traditional print media or even desktop digital platforms, is used to source information and to organise our lives to further facilitate this balance.
That said, we understand the importance of being culturally sensitive and we strive hard to maintain that balance. Prayer, which underpins the Islamic faith, is common across all Muslim communities and we hope that our core product “Athan” appeals to individuals from diverse backgrounds worldwide. Our primary target market is the global Muslim community, but given the breadth of information we have regarding Muslim-owned schools, organisations, businesses and mosques, our service is used by individuals of all faiths for any number of purposes.
You see, the digital revolution has changed the way we interact – as friends, as colleagues and as consumers. For example, marketing is no longer about simply reaching out to consumers, but to also engage with them and turn purchasers into advocates. Information is more readily available, consumers are more discerning and there is greater emphasis on user generated content and authenticity. Social media has created a platform where people all over the world with shared interests can interact with each other regardless of physical distance.
Here, it is imperative to differentiate between innovation in religion, which ventures away from established tradition, and using technological innovation to help maintain a balance between fast-paced modern life and the aforementioned established tradition. Our focus is firmly on the latter, for instance, the ability to play the athan (Muslim call to prayer) within our app is a natural extension of it being broadcast via loudspeakers on mosque minarets, which itself was an evolution of a muezzin (person appointed to recite the call for prayer) climbing to the top of the minaret himself. Many of our users who live in countries where the athan is not broadcasted publically have expressed happiness at simply being able to hear the call to prayer five times a day.
This ability to create global ‘communities’ has parallels with the objectives of many Islamic traditions. The utilization of the Internet and associated technological innovations to provide information and, perhaps more importantly, to bring communities together is a trend that will only continue to grow and is certainly something innovators should take note of.
Lastly, contrary to popular belief, these religion themed inventions and apps enhance devotion. Our endeavour is to bring aspects of Islam into the Information Age, and Islamic Finder is dedicated to providing accessibility of information. Before the dawn of the Internet, many people would print outs for the month’s prayer times and carry it on their person – we are offering the same functionality in a more sophisticated and digitized package. It is the same intention as that of developers who offer digital copies of the Quran so devotees can carry it with them at all times. It is also important to remember that the use of technology is completely at the discretion of the individual. Technology is not essential to practice Islam, but we hope that our products help those individuals who want to use our offering to enhance their devotion.