Airborne prayers problem solved for tech-savvy Muslims

Apr 06, 2012 by Martin Abbugao

As a frequent flier and devout Muslim, businessman Abdalhamid Evans always comes up against the same challenge in the air: when to say his prayers.

Muslims are required to pray five times a day at certain hours, but this schedule becomes complicated when crossing various at thousands of metres above sea level.

"I usually don't pray when I am in a plane," said Evans, the London-based founder of a website that provides information on the global halal, or Islam-compliant, industry.

"But lately I have been thinking that it is probably better to do them in the air than make them up on arrival," he told AFP.

The problem may be solved for travellers such as Evans thanks to an innovation called the Air Travel Prayer Time Calculator, developed by Singapore-based Crescentrating, a firm that gives halal ratings to hotels and other travel-related establishments.

Launched earlier this month, the takes data such as prayer times in the country of origin, the destination city and in countries on the flight path and uses an to plot exact prayer hours during a flight.

Current programmes only allow to find their prayer hours according to their position on land, and the absence of any tools that can be used to calculate during a flight has compromised many travellers .

"I knew there was lot of frustration among the travellers on this issue, but nobody had really attempted to solve it," Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen told AFP in an interview.

Before embarking on a trip, a Muslim traveller can now go to the in the Crescentrating website and input their departure airport, and destination.

The calculator then comes up with the prayer times set either in the local time of the airport of origin, the destination city or the country that the aircraft is flying over, which the traveller can then email to themselves to access later.

Fazal said his team plans to develop a mobile app that will also point users in the direction of the Islamic holy city of Mecca, to which Muslims must face when they pray, based on the flight path.

Muslim travellers have welcomed the tool. "It's good for long-haul travelling," said Shiraz Sideek, a vice president at the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank who travels almost a dozen times a year.

"When you cross different times zones in an airplane, you have a problem of timing when to pray," he told AFP from Abu Dhabi. "The application sounds like a very unique thing and very useful."

Indonesian airline industry executive Sabry Salahudeen agrees that there is a potentially big market for the new tool.

"I've been in the airline industry for the past 20 plus years... To my knowledge I don't think anyone has come up with anything like this," said Salahudeen, vice president for airport operations and aircraft procurement at Pacific Royale Airways, a soon-to-be-launched premium airline in Indonesia.

As more Muslims travel around the world, services catering to their needs are expanding, industry players say.

In 2010, Muslim spent $100 billion, or about 10 percent of total global travel expenditures, according to Crescentrating's Fazal. This is projected to increase to 14-15 percent of the global total by 2020.

The World Tourism Organization last year estimated that an additional two million Arabs will travel overseas within the next twenty years, raising their region's total of outbound tourists to 37 million.

While it is still early days for the Air Travel Prayer Time Calculator, potential customers say mobility is important.

"If it becomes a smartphone app .. it could prove to be a popular idea," said Evans.

Explore further: UN study: Cellphones can improve literacy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Observing Ramadan? There's an app for that

Aug 11, 2010

(AP) -- The most ancient traditions of Islam are going high-tech, with a slew of modern offerings for those observing the holy month of Ramadan, which begins this week.

Google launches Flight Search

Sep 13, 2011

Internet giant Google launched a flight search tool on Tuesday in a potential challenge to online travel services.

A book of common prayers

Dec 04, 2008

In times of economic distress and plenty, ninety percent of Americans pray, more than half of us once a day or more. We pray for big things—to stay healthy, to keep our jobs, and to strengthen our relationships. And we ...

TripAdvisor rapped by British advertising watchdog

Feb 01, 2012

Travel website TripAdvisor was censured by Britain's advertising watchdog on Wednesday and warned that it must not claim that all of its user-generated reviews are from real travellers.

Recommended for you

UN study: Cellphones can improve literacy

21 hours ago

A study by the U.N. education agency says cellphones are getting more and more people to read in countries where books are rare and illiteracy is high.

Gates-funded student data group to shut down

Apr 21, 2014

The head of a student data processing organization says it will shut down in the coming months following criticism that led to the recent loss of its last active client—New York state.

Four questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

Apr 19, 2014

Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers.

User comments : 0

More news stories

SK Hynix posts Q1 surge in net profit

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc said Thursday its first-quarter net profit surged nearly 350 percent from the previous year on a spike in sales of PC memory chips.

FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes.

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.