A new form of electronic muezzin to call British Muslims to prayer has been launched via the Internet.
Muslims are obliged to pray five times a day -- at sunrise, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night -- and these times vary both with the changing seasons and according to location. Traditionally British mosques have supplied members of their congregation with tables showing the varying times of prayer for that locality.
For some time, Muslims have been able to buy a digital watch which, when set for the particular locality, will beep at each of the five times of prayer. The watches also include a prayer compass to show the direction of Mecca, which Muslims face while praying.
The new service is for those with cell phones with access to the Internet. The free service offers a text message that appears on the phone screen reminding them when it is time to pray.
It is run from Preston, England, by 31-year-old Bihal Patel and two of his five sisters. The Website address is www.patelscornershop.com.