Salah, also called salat and namaz, is one of the Five Pillars in the Islamic faith and an obligatory religious duty for Muslims. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times every day at prescribed times. When they do this, they must face Mecca, towards the Qiblah. In this ritual, one stands, bows, and prostrates oneself, and concludes sitting on the ground. During each posture, one recites or reads certain verses, phrases, and prayers.
Anas Abou Allaban, a student of electrical and computer engineering at Northeastern University got intrigued by a speech recognition tool that helps Muslims recite their daily prayers. He was attending Muslim Hacks, an event in California where participants share technology and solutions to build products for people practising Islam.
Allaban thought the idea had legs, so he teamed up with the engineer from Twitter and the Stanford doctoral student who had devised it. He found that Muslims have been looking for this tool. They named their tool, Tarteel.io, which has grown into a start-up company, and was recently accepted into MassChallenge, a global business accelerator program for companies in their early stages. Tarteel.io works through a database of verse recitations they’ve collected from both professional reciters and ordinary Muslims. They have collected over 70,000 total verses, 6,000 of which are unique verses. Through this database, Tarteel.io follows users as they recite their prayers and offers corrections for any pronunciation errors.
With more than 1.7 billion Muslims around the world, and 3.45 million in the United States alone, according to the Pew Research Center, Allaban says he believes in the application’s potential to help even a small percentage of Muslims. For that they are connecting with mentors and making sure that they set a proper business model in place.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman