Musallah Blogin which we document our journey towards making prayer easy for all
The photo above is from a small musallah on a farm in Sheikhpura, Pakistan.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum all, and Ramadan Mubarak!
Rashid here. It’s been some time since we last gave an update, and we more than owe everyone a peek under the hood here at Musallah – such as how we’re doing, and where we plan to go from here.
After the campaign ended, Nushmia and I sort of stared at ourselves in disbelief. Did we really just raise nearly $15,000 from the internet? For an idea that hadn’t really been implemented yet? We did, and we now had a huge responsibility on our shoulders. You see, a huge part of putting on our Kickstarter campaign in the first place was simply to see if we weren’t crazy, i.e. that others felt that guarding the prayer had become a problem that required a better solution. The answer we got was a resounding, global YES. It was now upon us to gather a team and start building what we hope will be an outstanding product.
Throughout our campaign, we didn’t just get monetary support. Dozens and dozens of folks emailed us offering up their skills, time, and expertise. And so a lot of our time over the last few months has spent getting to know a lot of you who reached out, and figuring out how we might be able to include as many people as possible given our needs and capabilities. This took a lot of time, I even met a few of you who were passing through New York City.
For those of you who I haven’t gotten back to yet, keep your eyes on your inbox for a message from me inviting you to a Slack channel for those interested in being able to check in with us and acting as a sounding board for our ideas as we develop the product.
So where are we on the development of the app itself? Well, it took some time, but we’re happy to announce that we’ve begun the application development process with a great team of folks with a proven track record of success in user interface design, user experience, coding mobile apps, social media engagement, and more. But while our incredible technical and design team is working, and while the code is simmering and gaining flavor, there’s still more work on my end to do. After sending out your Kickstarter gifts (!! soon !!), this work falls into two baskets: a) finding new musallah hosts in Manhattan, and b) raising more money ahead of a public launch in the next few months.
What this whole experience has taught me so far is that the internet is an incredible tool, one that allows us to expose ourselves to so much more of the human experience than we might otherwise have had the chance to partake in. At the same time though, when doing so, it becomes easy to forget that companies and causes and initiatives – all of them are composed of individuals.
Musallah, therefore, would not be what it is right now without everyone’s incredible levels of support, as well as the team of talented professionals and volunteers who are working to ensure that it becomes a reality. Something I tell everyone I meet about Musallah is that whether we succeed or fail is all in the hands of God, nothing we can do can make success or failure more or less likely. All we can do is try, and we owe it to ourselves to try our absolute best.
Prayer is what the Muslim community is built upon. After the shahada, it is perhaps that action which most binds us together with billions across the world as a community. If Musallah can help strengthen that bond even a little bit, it’s already a cause worthy of working towards.
I look forward to continue sharing the journey of Musallah with you over the coming months in sha’ Allah.
Rashid, Nushmia, and the Musallah team. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s face it – for those of us with busy lives outside of the home, finding a place to squeeze in a quality prayer – one of full presence and a contentment with Allah – is extremely difficult. A lot of us are able to discreetly run out to an empty stairwell or the break room when the time to pray comes, but even then, we’re acutely aware that anyone could walk in on us at any time, at which point we would have to proffer explanations as to what exactly we were doing prostrating behind the vending machine (“I was looking for my keys. I dropped them back here. Yeah.”). Many others skip their prayers at work, hoping to make them up when they get home. Still others may have dropped salah from their lives altogether.
Does it always have to be this way? Might we be underestimating the extent to which the prayer has become nothing more than an empty discharging of a duty for so many due to the unrelenting pace of modern life?
Many others have noticed the need for people to have a place to reflect. Many out there have been pushing for meditation rooms to be put in food courts, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals & airports as a way to combat alarming trends such as obesity. One caretaker in a California hospital, upon seeing Muslim families “praying in a hospital parking lot, or laying out a plastic bag to create a clean spot on the lobby floor” realized that there needed to be designated places where people can go and take care of their spiritual needs.
Finding a place to pray/meditate is probably more a problem for Muslims than it is for most other groups, given that our din requires of all of us to pray multiples times throughout the day. It’s not a choice for us, it is an obligation that we lovingly carry out for Allah [s]. In many locales and countries (such as Britain and other major urban centers around the world), Muslims form a kind of critical mass that, if mobilized, could absolutely ensure that we have prayer spaces, or musallahs, conveniently located nearby for whenever duty called.
We want to make the case that we can and absolutely should push for dedicated musallahs in as many places as possible – in restaurants, offices, hotels, airports, hospitals, schools, the list goes on. Muslims ought to realize that no space is “inappropriate” for a musallah. Historically, Muslims have always understood this. The idea that all musallahs should be in masjids is a very recent one. Here’s a salient example – a musallah we found in a field in a small farming village outside of Sheikhupura, Pakistan.