A new technological wonder is taking the Muslim world by storm: a cellular phone designed for Muslim believers is proving to be a big hit.
With the new gadget, worshippers are able to listen to chanted Quran verses, be summoned to prayers on time, and get an indication of the exact prayer direction they must face - the holy Saudi city of Mecca.
The service, which proved hugely popular in several Muslim countries, will hit the shelves in Holland starting next Monday. The device will help God fearing Muslims rid themselves of some common worries: Not only does the phone ring whenever it is time to attend prayer, it also automatically switches to "vibrate" mode while prayer is in session.
Religion vs. technology
Cellular and Internet technologies have become issues of great concern in the Muslim religious world in recent years. It was lately reported that public pressure was being applied in the Gulf countries and Mauritania against Third Generation mobile phones. These gadgets enable users to take pictures and take part in chats, with Many Muslims worried that these features might encourage women to have affairs with men, or that women could be secretly photographed.
Many in Mauritania, who want the cell phones banned, claim that the cellular companies are not only after higher profits, but that they also aim to create "a mass culture of shallowness" amongst youth.
Arabic-language newspaper "al-Quds al-Arabi" published in London also reported recently that many Mauritanians demand cellular phones with cameras not be sold to female teens, because of fears the young women might use the phones to initiate romantic relationships with men.