As COVID-19 pandemic forces more services to go online, a new virtual app called ImamConnect aspires to give Muslims spiritual coaching, counseling, khutbahs, and fatwas.
Billed as “the world’s first online marketplace for Muslim services”, the application came as more mosques closed their doors due to the pandemic, leaving many Muslims without direct contact with their imams, Religion News Service reported.
The platform, designed to be an “Uber for imams”, allows Muslims to log on to find not just one imam but a crowd of co-religionists.
Muddassar Ahmed, one of the founders of ImamConnect, said he launched the platform “to address a pressing concern — how young Muslims can get access to carefully vetted Muslim faith-based services from the religious to the nonreligious.”
Ahmed added that he views ImamConnect as a social enterprise as much as a business that is designed to help build new links within the Muslim community.
“The individuals ImamConnect seeks to support are ‘unmosqued,’” said Ahmed, “and tend not to go to their local mosque for these services but still need faith-based expertise.”
By bringing Muslims together, Saeed Khan, an expert on American Muslim communities at Wayne State University, said, “ImamConnect may signal the move towards building a similar sense of community in other aspects of Muslim life.”
ImamConnect is part of a growing trend to provide more services and products to Muslims online.
Muslims spent some $220 billion on online entertainment and other virtual content in 2018, a figure that is expected to reach $309 billion by 2024, according to figures compiled by Salaam Gateway, an Indonesian think tank.