I am sometimes concerned about whether I would be able to practice my religion as frequently or as well without technology. Would I read the Qu’ran as frequently if it wasn’t online? Would I be able to understand, pronounce and recite verses if it wasn’t for the translations and transliterations on quran.com? Would I be able to remember to pray at the right times without the notifications that pop up on my phone screen? How would I know which direction to face while praying without the Qibla function on my Athan app? It is a little surprising just how much I rely on technology to do something as spiritual as praying or reading and understanding holy texts, and yet these tasks would be so much harder for me to perform without it.
There’s an app for literally everything and anything you can think of, including practicing your religion, and in highly specific and helpful ways. Although we tend to think of religion and science as separate, if not opposed, these religion apps highlight a powerful intersection between faith and technology, helping people to focus on certain aspects of their religion and perform specific tasks. Here are some examples of interesting apps with a religious focus:
Equanimity aims to help with Buddhist meditation. It includes a meditation timer, along with a journal function for logging and recording thoughts and reflections after meditation sessions. It encourages daily meditation by generating charts and graphs to show how regularly you’re meditating and for how many hours. What’s great about this app is that Equanimity also works in the background while you’re using other apps.
This app not only provides you with a digital rosary, but it also allows you to build your own digital rosary from different bead and chain options. The rosary is animated, and you slide the beads down to proceed to the next prayer. The app also comes with prayers, in English, Spanish, French and Latin, and marks your place in the prayers.
Kosher Near Me helps users locate Kosher restaurants and stores in over thirty countries. The app also allows users to view and write reviews. In certain locations and for certain establishments, you can even use the app to order kosher food online.
This app allows users to virtually light candles for each day of Chanukah, guiding users as to which way to light the candles and how many to light. In addition, the app provides prayers for Chanukah in both Hebrew and English, along with the transliterations. Users can also listen to traditional songs and audio recordings of prayers.
Muslim Pro provides users with prayer times and the call to prayer—but that’s not all it does. It includes the complete Qu’ran, with translations and audio recordings. Not only can Muslim Pro locate the Qibla, but it can also locate halal restaurants and mosques nearby. And it has an Islamic calendar, providing users with a variety of helpful features all within one app.
Puja: A Virtual Hindu Temple (Android Only)
This virtual simulator for the Hindu ritual of pujas also includes information about 21 of the deities. The app provides the user with information about the significance of various puja tasks, but most importantly, it allows the user to perform the tasks digitally through the app, such as offering flowers or burning incense.
Word Alert: Daily Bible Verses sends verses from the Bible to users every day. The app sends them as notifications, so that they appear right on your phone screen, and you can read them without opening the app. Also, users can program when to receive the alerts. This app is configured for iPhones iPads, and Apple Watches, so there’s really no way you’ll miss your verse of the day.
Zabihah is primarily an app for locating halal restaurants, but it can also find markets and mosques nearby. The app also helps users discover special offers, discounts and coupons from nearby halal restaurants. Users can see and submit reviews, check hours and prices, get directions and share restaurants with friends.