Technology at the Masjid

Photograph of Qur'an-recitation pen

A young woman holds a Qur'an-recitation pen and the booklet that comes with it.

Pens that Recite: Religious Technology

The people of the masjid also used specialized religious pieces of technology. For example, a digital prayer clock in the men’s prayer space functioned the same way as the prayer-time app. The clock gave the current time, along with times for each of the five salat prayers that day, plus the time for ishraq, an optional prayer that may be performed around sunrise.

A particularly striking piece of religious technology was Qur’an-recitation pens. These electronic “pens” came with plastic booklets, each printed with a section of the Qur’an. When tapped on the page, the “pen” played a recording of recitation of that particular line of the Qur’an. These pens allowed people who could not read Arabic to study the Qur’an, as well as helping them learn to read it. Hodan, a middle-aged woman who used Qur’an pens at the masjid, said:

I read the Qur’an, and there are those pencils that you tap on the kitab [book, Qur’an] and it reads it to you. If I don’t understand something, I go to the imams and they explain it to me.

The pens, Hodan’s teenage daughter told me, are made in Mecca and used all around the world.