The month of Ramadan is upon us and for Muslims it’s a time for fasting and spiritual reflection.
If you need help to track your spiritual journey and to focus on other important aspects of the holy month, look no further than your smartphone.
There are plenty of apps and services designed to aid users during Ramadan, including the option to use eWallets at Ramadan bazaars and donate to selected mosques.
Almost all the apps are available for both Android and iOS devices – we’ll indicate if it’s not.
No cash, no problem
You can go cashless at Ramadan bazaars with the Boost eWallet app. Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO of Axiata Digital Services, said that the number of Ramadan bazaars using its eWallet grew from around 20 last year to more than 40 this year.
“When we launched this cashless feature at Ramadan bazaars last year, we spent a lot of time educating both consumers and merchants,” said Khairil.
“This year, we had more merchants coming to us to ask if they can use the Boost cashless payment system at their stalls.”
The bazaars that support the eWallet are mostly concentrated in the Klang Valley and there is one each in Senawang, Seremban and Klebang, Melaka, and three in Penang.
Three that support Boost in the Klang Valley are in Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Kampung Pandan in Kuala Lumpur, as well as Puncak Alam Fasa 2 in Selangor. Check out Boost’s Facebook page for an updated list.
“They told us they no longer have to spend a lot of time dealing with cash especially while handling food items,” he said.
However, the downside, said Khairil, is that not all buyers have gone cashless.
“Once merchants adopt a cashless method, they want to see all their customers use it as well. However, the reality is one person will use an eWallet and then the next two or three customers will still make payments with cash,” he said.
“Our merchants still have to maintain a physical cash box somewhere just to handle cash payments. So they’ve been asking if it’s possible to go completely cashless and we’re definitely looking into that.”
On top of that Boost also has a list of mosques for users to make donations to via the app, including Masjid Darul Taqwa Kampung Bakol in Sarawak, Taman Taming Jaya Mosque in Selangor and Taman Impian Emas Mosque in Johor.
If you are visiting the popular Kampung Baru Ramadan bazaar in Kuala Lumpur, you can pay for buka puasa meals with the Touch n’ Go eWallet.
“For us at TNG Digital, our aim has always been to better connect with the community by making technology more inclusive, in a way that will benefit users and merchants alike,” said TNG Digital CEO Syahrunizam Samsudin.
The company claims merchants from about 400 stalls will be accepting payments via its eWallet app.
Get it delivered
Muslim customers who prefer halal- only food delivery services can check out Bungkus by Honestbee, which is certified by Jakim.
The riders will only take deliveries from merchants with a halal certification and their delivery box is never used to carry non-halal items.
However, do note that the company will impose a one-hour “pause” on its delivery service from 7pm to 8pm to give its riders time to break fast.
If you are planning to order, you should plan ahead and avoid the peak hour, said Honestbee Malaysia country manager Afzan Lutfi.
“Based on past Ramadan trends, I would say the peak hour is between 5pm to 6pm which is when we’ll start to see a spike in the number of people ordering food,” he said.
Meanwhile, Foodpanda is offering its food delivery service with no delivery fee from 6pm to 6am. So if you’re looking for a hassle-free way to prepare meals for sahur or during buka puasa, try out Foodpanda.
However, the availability of restaurants will depend on your area and some will require a minimum order of RM20.
Grab is also extending the hours of its food delivery service to 2am in the Klang Valley to cater to more customers looking for post-buka puasa or pre-sahur meals.
But if you prefer to eat out then you can purchase entries to Ramadan buffets at selected hotels in the Klang Valley via the Honestbee app – users can purchase these for up to four people at a discounted price.
“We understand that Ramadan is a time for people to get together to eat with family and friends,” said Afzan.
Need more Ramadan buffet recommendations? Check out Kuali’s list of hotel buka puasa buffets – in some cases it even suggests what’s the best food at the buffets. Alternatively, you can browse for Ramadan recipes like a colourful platter of jewelled rice pilaf, serunding daging and even 10 different food items you can make with dates.
Or if you prefer an app, try Cookpad which is free and allows users to discover and share recipes with each other.
The app is especially useful for those who want to save a little on eating out during the Ramadan month while also improving their cooking skills.
You have the option of choosing from a large collection of user-submitted recipes like rendang and kuih that are commonly served during the Ramadan month.
Or you can simply use the search bar to look for specific meals to make.
Each recipe has a list of required ingredients, a step-by-step guide on how the dish should be prepared, and pictures of what the dish is meant to look like.
The app also has a social feature for users to interact with the recipe author by commenting, liking or sharing the post.
Keep in mind that to find recipes from local users, you will need to set the app location to Malaysia.
However, something that tends to happen during the Ramadan month if you are not too careful is overeating when breaking fast.
So it is important that you track how much you are eating based on your body size and for that you can use the free MyFitnessPal app.
The app will take into account your weight, height, and activity level before recommending how much you should eat to maintain, gain or lose weight.
After that just use the app to track your food intake – it has an extensive list of food, including local ones – so you know if you are still within your calorie limit.
If you are the type that likes charting your progress, check out Ramadan Legacy, an app that lets you note down the number of days fasted, prayed, pages of the Quran read, and other good deeds done.
The aim of the app is for the user to look back at the end of the Ramadan period to discover areas that can be improved upon the next year.
The app also offers notifications on prayer times, and has a Kiblat direction finder, knowledge hub with reading resources, social media feed from other users, and an option to make journal entries.
The knowledge hub contains useful resources like an introduction to what is Ramadan, guide on reading the Quran and a collection of Doas or prayers, as well as nutrition and fitness info.
The Ramadan Legacy app is available for free without ads, but users will have to make an account to use it.
Keep in mind that the app will not automatically set the correct start and end date for Ramadan – users will have to manually set them themselves in their profile section.If you prefer an app with a complete Islamic calendar and the entire Quran, download the Athan: Ramadan 2019 & Al Quran app.
Athan also has a mosque finder based on your location, an option to let your phone play the Azan when it’s time for prayers, and additional reading resources.
Users can utilise the app to set reminders for prayer times and join discussions with members from an online community.
The app is available for free with ads, which can be removed for RM16.99.Or maybe you are looking for something for your kids, in which case check out My Ramadan App which aims to teach kids to be diligent about fasting.
The app helps the child to track his or her fasting throughout the month with stickers – it may sound trivial but it could be just the thing to keep the child motivated.
As you can create multiple profiles, parents can join in the fun and track their progress too.
The app also includes prayers that kids can listen to and memorise so they can recite them. The app also has My Tarawih and My Surah charts for tracking prayers.
This app, however, is only available for Android devices.
Another app for kids is Kids Dua Now for children and it’s for learning prayers based on age.
The prayers are divided into three age groups – one to four, five to eight and nine to 12.
The type of prayers include Ramadan specific ones like Keeping Fast and Breaking Fast, as well as for other daily situations like For Knowledge, When Angry and Before Sleeping.
Kids can read the prayers or hear them being read by clicking on the Play button.