DOHA QATAR – Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis was in the process of paying tribute to the martyrs of the Christchurch massacre by introducing Sajdah when a data breach scandal raided the air. A popular Muslim prayer timing app was accused of selling user data to brokers who then sold it to the US military. Through this incident and many similar, Khamis reached the conclusion that apart from hurdles in prayers, Muslims also face a significant challenge of privacy protection.
Currently, the world faces the hard choice of availing excellent services on apps or protecting their personal information. A new scandal of a particular app having sold user data to a marketing company emerges every now and then. But Muslims probably face the issue more than any other community. Since 9/11, Muslims have been facing secret unwarranted surveillance on numerous occasions. The painful part is that our own Muslim app inventors also play a role in this betrayal. To help his fellow Muslims even more, Khamis created an ad-free Sajdah companion app with a high level of privacy protection.
The privacy dilemma
Muslims are not an exception to the prevailing problem of data selling and uncalled marketing. In fact, they might be more susceptible to privacy invasions due to the high volume of the data shared. While many apps promise to secure a prayer slot in the mosques, others offer daily prayer reminders. Muslims are asked to share their location, names, emails, phone numbers, location, daily activities, and much more to receive the promised services. However, the result is either a spam-filled inbox or stalking by unknown entities in the name of security checks and counterterrorism.
Given Islam’s teachings of guarding our sanctity and that of others, where do we stand today? Are the app creators themselves adhering to the religious, ethical principles that they promote on their apps?
Recent relatable events
Our holy book, the Quran, teaches us to maintain privacy at all costs. ‘Do not spy on one another’ (49:12); ‘Do not enter any houses except your own homes unless you are sure of their occupants’ consent’ (24:27). Hence Muslim app developers should have been the first to uphold privacy ethics. However, the opposite seems to be true.
Apparently, Muslims are the most vulnerable group of people whose information is excessively exploited. Recently, there was a massive scandal involving an app called Muslim Pro that reportedly sold data on millions of users to the US military. Another betrayal of trust.
The aforementioned disclosure sparked uproar amongst the Muslim community. It wasn’t entirely surprising, given the Muslim community was well aware of the problems they are experiencing. Islamophobia, anti-Muslim assaults, and covert US Defense Force surveillance are just a few of the problems that the Muslim community is dealing with.
Despite this, several inquiries into the accusations have begun. The app creators, on the other hand, maintain that the charges are baseless and are merely defamatory propaganda. It’s only a matter of time until the perpetrator is identified.
How Sajdah sets an example
In the midst of the chaos, Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis introduced Sajdah, which sparked a ray of optimism. This is an app-controlled educational prayer mat created in memory of the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings. The ad-free Sajdah mobile app will, in fact, greatly reduce the challenges that new Muslims and children experience, as well as address the matter of privacy protection.
Over time, the Sajdah app has been optimized and improved significantly. So far, the features it offers include:
- The app contains 14 different prayer guides with step-by-step assistance (more prayers will be added soon).
- The guides are currently available in English and Arabic (more languages will be added soon).
- The prayer guides also include images for the correct praying postures.
- When connected with the prayer mat’s LED screen, it can help users read and memorize the Quran while praying.
- The app can also be used to control the pace of the guides, chapter transitions, and font.
- You can hear the Adhan in the voice of your choice five times a day.
- It also has an accurate Qibla finder.
- It shows accurate prayer times for every country.
- Displays Hijri date with the English date.
However, the most praiseworthy and respectable thing is the app’s ad-free experience and privacy protection.
“We developed the Sajdah mobile App for an ad-free experience with a promise to not sell customer data without their permission. It’s the perfect digital companion for keeping up with prayers, with more than 14 different prayer instructions, a Qibla direction, and accurate prayer times available at the touch of a few buttons.” The Co-founder and CEO, Mr Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis, proudly promises.
Usually, app users have to compromise between three difficult situations. These are: not receiving optimal service by avoiding data disclosure, supplying data and compromising privacy (while being assaulted with adverts), or paying a premium for an ad-free experience. On the other hand, Sajdah will seek your permission to use your data to better their services and respect your refusal. Excellence and convenience are usually unattainable concurrently, but Thakaa Technologies has done it.
Mr Saleh and Mr Abdul Ali, the Co-founders of Thakaa Technologies, realized that current Muslim apps were doing more harm than good. By congesting the apps with unnecessary ads, the fundamental goal of encouraging a distraction-free prayer. To make matters worse, some apps secretly sell the data to other entities. Therefore, he invented a one-stop-shop app that meets all your prayer needs free of cost.
“While developing Sajdah and its mobile app, We observed that several prayer applications were flooding their platforms with adverts, diverting the user from the core purpose, and many others were even selling users’ data,” says Mr Abdul Ali, the co-founder and chief growth officer of Thakaa Technologies.
He continues by emphasizing, “That is why we decided to develop the Sajdah app as the ideal benefit-oriented solution by delivering an ad-free experience with guaranteed privacy and data security.”
Amazingly, there is no secret retention or trading of data in the case of Sajdah. In fact, customers can enjoy an ad-free without worrying about their data.
Download the Sajdah Mobile App-
In conclusion, Muslim innovators like Mr Saleh deserve the utmost respect for maintaining such high professional standards and staying firm on the Islamic principles regarding privacy. He showed the world that a Muslim app should first uplift Islamic ethics before preaching them to the world.
To report any issue or error in the story, please email us editor [at] qatarstalk [dot] com.
Disclaimer: The views, opinions, and all other content mentioned in this article are of the guest author/contributor, and they do not represent the views of QatarsTalk.com in any way.