22 July 2005

Hi-tech Islam


First-time visitors to mosques are often struck by the relatively modern timepieces found there. You might walk into the Sultan Ahmet Camii, built in the early 17th century, to find a clearly 20th century grandfather clock.

The reason for this is that it's important to know the correct times to pray, and if modern technology can give you a more accurate prayer time, then you use it.

Another bit of essential information is the direction towards Mecca (qibla). In mosques, the direction is clearly indicated by the mihrab, but when you're elsewhere, how do you know which way to face? Now, Soner Ozenc (I wonder if that shouldn't be "Özenç"), a Turkish artist, has created a high-tech solution to this ancient problem. (Hat tip to World Changing for pointing me to this.)