“Lazy ah, the mosque is too far.”
This excuse is now invalid for Muslims with the launch of a new carpooling app called Terawhere (yes, it’s a play on the word “terawih”).
For the uninitiated, “terawih” prayers are performed by Muslims during Ramadan, which is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. While it is possible to perform these prayers at the comfort of your own home, this prayer is encouraged to be done in a mosque congregation.
Launched last Friday (May 26) – the eve of Ramadan – the app allows Muslims to hitch a ride to the mosque for free, making going for Terawih prayers a little bit more convenient.
The app is the brainchild of 15 Muslim youth coders – also known as MSociety – and according to their Facebook page, the app has received “amazing support with more than 40 rides” within a span of two days since its launch.
According to back-end developer Abdul Aziz, 22, the app aims to address two problems: to help people with mobility issues get to the mosque conveniently, and to reduce parking congestion at the mosque.
Project manager Mohamed Faruq Mohamed Rasid, 26, added that the app promotes bonding within the community. “It allows users to meet new people and build bonds with their neighbours who are also heading for evening prayers.”
How Does It Work?
Through the app, drivers can offer a ride, and passengers can book available rides.
It leverages location services to see who is nearby and potential passengers can view nearby offers and reserve a seat. Passengers who book a seat will be able to identify car through information such as the car’s license plate number and the vehicle colour.
The app can also direct the drivers or passengers to the location of the nearest mosque or prayer room.
On top of that, there is no payment fee for both the passengers and drivers – it is completely free, fuelled by the goodwill of drivers who volunteer to drive, saving riders money from taking public transport or getting a private-hire ride.
“The initiative is not about making money. It is just a volunteer effort for Ramadan,” said Aziz. “If passengers feel like they want to tip the driver, or help the driver with the cost of gas, that is up to them.”
Each offer involves just a one-way ride to or from the mosque. When the driver’s car is full, the offer will no longer show up on the app and passengers in the area wouldn’t see the offer anymore.
However, co-developer Tengku Hafidzuddin, said that it is not inconceivable for some parties to arrange transport home as well, as noted by Berita Harian.
Fostering The Spirit Of Sharing This Ramadan
Singapore’s Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim praised the app’s simple yet effective interface, saying that it solves many problems, as well as emphasises the importance of community building at a time of great importance for Muslims.
“There are a (few) more improvements they have to make, but I think the idea of carpooling and sharing, especially during Ramadan, is certainly a wonderful idea, not only to save the environment but also to build communities,” he told reporters on Monday.
The app is currently available for download for Android phones only, but it will soon be extended to iOS platform mid-Ramadan. You can download the app for free here.
Featured Image Credit: Terawhere’s Facebook page