I was with my friend having Iftar in Tokyo one Ramadan evening, and then came the time for Maghrib. We stood up, took some paper napkins from the table, and went out to the corridor to pray (using the paper napkins as makeshift sejadahs). Another time came, and I and my friends were out shopping, and we immediately searched for a nearby clothing shop where we could use their changing rooms to pray in. This was Maghrib as well, where the time was tight between Maghrib to Isha, so we had to make haste before we missed the prayer.
Oh, those were the times of my early conversion years as a new Muslim! Travelling was an entirely new and different experience right after converting to Islam because there was a whole new set of things that I had to take note of and be careful about, as compared to the years when I was a non-Muslim. From finding halal food to making sure I had a clean space to pray my 5 daily prayers with ease, these were a few priorities that kept me on my toes during my travel- but most importantly, I was always finding myself having to be alert regarding the time to pray.
I found myself ALWAYS mentally calculating always how many hours I had before the prayer window ended. This meant the remaining time for me to wrap up my current activity and find a spot or mosque to pray. However there were times when I lost myself in the fun of the moment, and before I knew it. Oops! It was just 10 minutes before the next prayer and I still hadn’t completed the previous, astaghfirullah! Has this ever happened to you?!
Before long I learned to utilize the tools around me- prayer apps, I mean- to plan my time. Here are some of the features I look out for while downloading my prayer apps to find the one that best serves my prioritization for time:
Setting up a countdown timer before the next prayer.
This was so helpful in helping to give me an extra reminder that the prayer time is going to end soon. I prefer the ones that allow me to customize the timing window, so it gives me ample time to prepare.
Having visual indicators to show the remaining time.
I’m a very visual person, so I love things that show information to me immediately and clearly, as and when I need it. Things like watch face with the time of the next prayer written on it, or even better, little bars that become smaller and smaller and finally turn red as the next prayer time arrives… these are some small but effective tools that I must say are rare but extremely useful for us travellers who need to always be alert about the time.
EXTRA BONUS: an app with a widget on the home screen, or watch face!
You need this. Full stop. This gives you the prayer time ON THE SPOT, instead of having to swipe through the phone and wait for the app to open, or worse, wait for ads to pass, having a widget on the main Home screen of your phone lessens the painful waiting process.
These days are not like the ones in past. We have a truckload of apps, tools and smart devices to arm us with the ability to plan our prayer times well during travel. And TAKVA has developed the duo Qiblawatch with Masjidhub because we know the priorities that come with prayer, and we know what works well to help us plan our time better and without fear of missing our prayers anymore.
Check out TAKVA’s Kickstarter campaign for QiblaWatch and Masjidhub here and make your ability to schedule prayers with ease, lead to your success in this world and the next, insha'Allah!