New Musallah App Helps Muslims Find A Place For Prayer

Apr 21, 2015 at 12:00 PM ET

Five times each day, observant Muslims must perform salāt, or obligatory daily prayers, and finding a suitable place can prove tricky for those who don’t have dedicated spaces available. But thanks to the development of the new Musallah app, users can locate prayer spots close to them.

Musallah, which literally means a place where prayer is performed, was founded by Rashid Dar, a student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and his wife, Nushmia Khan, a producer at Inc. magazine after they found themselves regularly struggling to find convenient spots to perform salāt.

“It starts to feel less like a blessing and more of a burden,” Dar told the Muslim Observer. “At times I’ve prayed in the dressing rooms of H&M, with music blasting everywhere and a mirror directly in front of me, and I can’t tell you my heart is entirely into that prayer.”

The app, which partners with locals mosques, churches, synagogues and private businesses to utilize their available space, was funded within a month via a Kickstarter campaign that raised $14,861 in seed money.

Users are encouraged to tip—if it’s a business—and rate their experiences, which Dar and Khan think will help create a dialogue of what makes a great prayer space, as well as bring traffic to secret spots around the city. The duo is also creating stickers to alert passersby to underutilized locations, and make the city friendlier to Muslims.

“This is something we’re really excited about,” adds Dar. “When people are walking around the city, they might find a musallah they didn’t even know about.”

For the moment, Musallah will focus on spaces in Manhattan, with a beta release later this month. But from the solid public support it’s received, Dar and Khan hope the app will eventually be available across the country.

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Musallah app finds Muslims prayer spaces (Muslim Observer)