Looking at today’s apps to help build a future of more powerful, fast, well-designed and open Islamic apps.
Software Today Doesn’t Work
Software and technology have great power to improve our lives. They can save us time, make our work easier, or help us do things we couldn’t before. Countless apps1 have become key parts of our daily life.
But usually, the biggest and most used apps we have are broken.
It’s not that they don’t work—they usually excel at their job! The problem is that they are designed to do a job that breaks us, society and humanity as a whole!
Whether by calling to addiction or harming mental health, pressuring users to spend money, aggressively pushing advertisements, or selling personal user data—our apps work more against us than for us.
The State of Islamic Apps
Any area of life can benefit from good software. For the Muslim community, wonderful apps can (and do) help in lots of things: prayer times, qibla direction, mosque locations, Quran reading – to mention basic things.
Many of these apps today have made life-changing impact, may Allah reward those who make them. But there’s still a lot more to do—Muslims need more excellent apps, apps that improve their lives while being:
- Powerful - it should perform its function well and completely. An app should never be inaccurate, unreliable, or inconsistent.
- Fast - if an app takes one hour to load each time you open it, it’s not good no matter how good its features may be.
- Well-designed - an app should be elegant, clear and delightful to use with a thoughtful interface.
But there’s also one other quality needed to complete an Islamic app:
“Open software”2 is software that is transparent. It is when the owners of an app share their entire work instead of only an end product. This means anyone can read the original code that builds the app, to check exactly what it does and how.
From this, beginners can read the software code and learn from it. People with the right skills can volunteer their time to build new features for the app. Others can take an existing open project as a starting point and create something even better on top of it!
This is a beautiful way to work together and create the best apps possible. It also helps make the software independent of any one person or group. This also prevents any future project from wasting effort doing what’s already been done.
In one line, open software puts people back in control of their software, and stops software from controlling them (and/or their devices).3
Introducing Sufone for Islamic Apps
Based on all the above, I want to introduce to you Sufone in the name of Allah.
Sufone right now is an idea for us to gather around and work together to help fulfill the great need Muslims have for Islamic apps. It is not a registered organization, foundation or company—yet, inshaAllah.
But Sufone is not a theory—it’s a new name and fresh start for something that has already worked in real life. Sufone already operates two apps that strive to be powerful, fast and attractive: Qawl and Layl. Both these apps are completely open. A few members of the community have already helped improve them.
At Sufone, I am working to improve these two apps, and also developing new exciting projects. But there’s a lot of work to do. Tasks include coding, reading user requests, designing, preparing media assets, and much more!
Now, it’s time to aim higher and grow these projects together. I kindly invite you, and people of all backgrounds and skills to come and help if you want to help make the next generation of Islamic apps.
Whether it’s your programming expertise, design skill, public relations experience, or any other skill, we want you and your talent! Whether you are an expert in your work or still learning the ropes, there’s lots to do!
You can read more about Sufone’s principles on its website, explore our software projects on GitHub, or email me about how you would like to take part. Telling friends and family about Sufone, its apps, and its ideas is a big help too ❤️.
You can also stay updated on all this by joining my personal monthly email below, where I share the latest updates on Sufone and more. Be with us on this exciting journey 😊!
This article uses the words apps and software interchangeably for convenience and ease of reading. ↩︎
I use the phrase open software to refer to free software – free as in freedom of speech, and not monetarily. Technically speaking, open software is very different from free software. But outside of a tech context, I’ve found using the phrase “open software” and then defining it leads to a better understanding. ↩︎
—January 30, 2021 Updated February 1, 2021