Ramadan Mubarak! It’s that time of the year for the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims: Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting in commemoration of the revelation of the Holy Qu’ran. Whether you’re beginning Ramadan on May 15 or 16, one thing is certain: Ramadan is a time of reflection, self-restraint, learning, charity and spiritual renewal. Over the years, I’ve shared my own Ramadan experiences and reflections. My overall objective with Ramadan has been to delve a bit deeper into Islam and my understanding of it, and also to be adopt a more efficient and productive lifestyle as a Muslim. As a result, I’ve come across a number of resources and more recently, apps, which have added so much value to my Ramadan experience and life in general. Struggling with the demands of modern life and trying to find the balance to maximize your time and effort during Ramadan 2018? The apps featured in this article – each used by me – may come in handy.
Google Play store lists Muslim Pro as the “Most Popular Muslim App in the World” with over 50 million downloads and over a million reviews (it has 4.7 out of 5 stars!). The Muslim Pro app is one I’ve used for a while. First, the free version, and eventually, the premium / paid version. I love it because it literally has all the tools you need for daily living as a Muslim. Call it your every day, must-have Islamic app. Here are some of the features which could be particularly useful this Ramadan:
- Prayer Times, Qibla, and Halal Places: Gone are the days when you would have to carry a print out of prayer times to know the exact minute you could break your fast and partake in Iftar. With Muslim Pro, you not only have it on your phone, you also get notifications for each prayer, complete with the athan (call to prayer). Traveling or not praying at home? You can use Muslim Pro to find a Mosque near you and the compass feature to help you determine the prayer direction towards Mecca, the Qibla. The Halal Places feature also indicates which restaurants and eateries in your vicinity serve halal food.
- Quran: There are numerous Quran apps available – others I’ve used include Quran Majeed, Quran Explorer and iQuran – but I’ve come to appreciate the Muslim Pro Quran – it is not only well-designed, but also offers translation and transliteration, audio recitation (in various languages), and a color code. You also get to track your reading progress with colored Tajweed (reading rules) and can sign up for a daily Quranic verse. Read something that really resonates with you? You can bookmark it, tweet it, share it, or write a note about it – all within the app. How’s that for efficiency and staying accountable on your Quran learning goals?
- Daily Inspiration & Greeting Cards: In previous years, I would have to do a Google search to find some Islamic inspiration. Now, there’s a bunch to choose from on this app, all beautifully designed and ready to share. And let’s not forget those Ramadan Mubarak & Eid greeting cards; which I should add, you can customize.
- Duas & 99 Names of Allah: Ramadan is a good time to memorize a dua or two, and learn some of Allah’s 99 names. MuslimPro provides both with translation, transliteration, and audio recitation so you actually know how to pronounce what you read. Winning. Oh, and did I mention the customizable digital prayer beads (tasbih)? Yeah.
- Community & Makkah Live: What are hundreds of Muslims reflecting on or praying about? The Muslim Pro community allows you to pray for other people, put forth prayer requests, or simply interact with others. Take it a step further and check out the live video feed from Mecca.
- Fasting Tracker: This year, a fasting tracker has been added; a great addition especially for us ladies who generally miss a few days due to our periods. Now, it’ll be easier to make them up without relying on memory.
I came across the Ramadan Legacy app in 2016 and was immediately hooked. By far, it’s my favorite. Besides its clean design and interface, it does a good job of providing many useful tools for a seamless experience: an interactive planner, tracker, community, learning resources, and a donation feature. Not surprisingly, it is the “World’s First Fully Featured Ramadan app” with over 300,000 downloads and has only gotten better over the years. Here are its standout features:
- Interactive Planner: The interactive planner allows you to map out and track your goals for the month, including the number of days fasted, Taraweeh prayers observed, Quran readings, and daily prayers completed. The planner also includes a knowledge card with Quranic verses, hadith (Prophet Muhammed sayings) and other Islamic insights to aid you on your journey of discovery. There are also prompts on good deeds you can perform.
- Legacy Board: As Ramadan progresses, it can be easy to forget just how you’ve come. The “Legacy Board” on the Ramadan Legacy app gives an overall view of your accomplishments throughout the month.
- Reflections: One of the unique elements of Ramadan is the fact that it brings together virtually the entire global Muslim population. With the app’s “Reflections” feature, you can share your Ramadan insights and experiences with other app users and engage with them (in your locality and globally) using both text and photos. Web links can also be shared. In a nutshell, Ramadan Legacy puts the virtual community in ‘umma’.
- Content Stream: A lot of content is shared during Ramadan – from video sermons, to Quranic verses, and guidance on practices. Over the years Ramadan Legacy has steadily built up its ‘Content Stream’ feature, making it a one-stop shop of sorts for some of the essential knowledge and information. Some of its key content include duas (prayers), a Quran guide, nutrition tips, tips for Muslim women, and – to my great pleasure and relief – fitness tips! They even provided a free video series on how to have a meaningful Ramadan.
The crazy thing? The Ramadan Legacy App is entirely FREE. You can download it on the Google Play Store (Android) or the App Store (iOs). Sign up using your Facebook profile or create an account. Give it a go and let me know what you think.
My 10 Nights
Generosity is a major fixture in Islam, as Muslims are encouraged give out charity or Zakat on a frequent basis, and especially during Ramadan. In fact, charity-giving and compassion for vulnerable people is the third pillar of Islam. My 10 Nights is an automated Islamic charity-giving platform with a simple goal: to help Muslims make the most of Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) and ensure that they don’t miss the blessed night – worth more than a 1,000 months – whenever it may be. During the last 10 nights of Ramadan, many Muslims seek out The Night of Decree, when the Holy Quran is said to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and when destinies are written for the coming year. The thing is, nobody actually knows when exactly that night is. My 10 Nights helps take the guesswork out, by automating donations throughout the last 10 nights. I used My10Nights in 2019, and it was seamless. I would receive an email each time my donation was made on my behalf (always at night).
All you need to do is: sign up with your email and a debit card; select a charity you would like to donate to (currently available for five countries); pick a cause you want to support or simply opt for Zakat; indicate how much in total you would like to donate; and choose a schedule for the final 10 nights – donate each night or only on the odd nights (when the likelihood of it being Laylatul Qadr is said to be higher). According to their 2019 report, over US$ 5.4 million was donated by over 50,000 Muslims in over 95 countries. This year, you could be one of them! Read their report here for a more detailed breakdown.
This next one isn’t an app, but is a useful resource nonetheless: Productive Muslim. The website offers tons of resources to guide you through Ramadan and living life as a Muslim. I’ve used their articles and videos for Ramadan in the past and it’s great to see they are still creating topnotch and useful content. They cover everything from preparing for Ramadan to overcoming procrastination and figuring out which foods will give you the most energy. Their Ramadan videos also offer great insights and tips as does their podcast. You can also follow them on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
Hadith Of The Day
I follow Hadith of the Day mainly on Twitter and Facebook. Despite what their name suggests, they provide more than just daily hadiths. Their website features a variety of inspirational and Islamic content including, get this, halal travel. You’ll also find good information on things like zakat (alms giving), dealing with strained relationships, and of course, Ramadan. The good news? They have a dedicated app where you can access all their content – 9 years worth! Download for iOS and Android.
I started using this app in 2013, I believe. It’s essentially a library of prayers. What I appreciated about it was the calm interface and clean design, and the fact that it offers an audio recitation for each dua in addition to translation, transliteration and reference. The app hasn’t been updated since 2015, but it is still relevant and a good option for learning important duas. I learned Ayattul Kursi with it. Unfortunately, it is only available for iOS and costs USD 0.99 (about 5 GHS). Download myDuaa here. An alternative for Android which I came across (have not used) is the Dhikr & Dua app which boasts over 260 authentic duas from the Quran & Sunnah, also with audio recitation. Let me know your thoughts if you end up trying it out.
That’s it. Some innovative and essential Islamic apps to help you make the most of Ramadan. Wishing all Muslims a meaningful and productive month.
Know of any other useful Islamic or Muslim apps and resources? Comment below.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.