New Michigan-made prayer app launches to help the Muslim community

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—- Omar Al-Ejel is the creator of a new free application called, “Athan Utility.” The app reminds Muslims of their prayer time and helps them figure out the specific direction of Islamic prayer. 

“I think it’s my duty to use my engineering skills and my experience of IOS programming to give back to the community which raised me,” Al-Ejel said. 

Al-Ejel is a Michigan-native and started coding when he was 15-years-old. Currently, he goes to school at the University of Michigan and studies computer science engineering. Due to his Muslim background, Al-Ejel wanted to create an easy way for people to globally access prayer times. 

“The solar moon is what we call Zuhr, the sun is at the highest part of the sky,” Al-Ejel stated,  “this can all be calculated with a mathematical formula as the qibla.”

Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca, it’s Islam’s holiest city. In that specific area, is where the Ka’ba is located, a building at the center of Islam’s most important mosque. Now, Al-Ejel says people can use his application based on their location and the sun’s coordinates. 

Plus, the application is translated into four other languages other than English. This includes Turkish, Urdu, French, and Spanish. 

The app also entails; a 3D moon you can spin around with your finger, an athan progress bar and timer, an athan timetable, and a solar graph. 

Yousef Khalil is a student who lives in East Lansing. He found out about the application from an acquaintance and uses it each day. 

“Everyone has been dealing with more anxiety, and especially having to deal with the college semester, and the pandemic it’s not easy,” Khalil stated, “but the app reminds me of the constant notifications, and reminds me to stop and reflect.”

However, the application’s target audience is not only Muslim-based. This app can be also be used as an astronomical application.

“We all have different forms of prayer,” stated Khalil, “a different form of reflection, no matter what the religion is, or even if we’re not religious, we all have our forms of reflection.”

Al-Ejel suggests people can use it to keep track of their day. 

“Anyone can benefit by just knowing the sun’s position in the sky because that really dictates everyone’s lives,” Al-Ejel suggested, “everyone has to sleep, and everyone has to move their life around. 

Al-Ejel mentioned he wants people to know their user data is secure, and they can download the application on the app store for an iPhone or iPad by searching, “Athan Utility.” 

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