UK mosques turn hi-tech for dawn prayers solution

Birmingham Central Mosque presented the data to local mosques, and they agreed to adhere to the new standardised timetable from May this year.

By: PTI | London | Updated: November 7, 2016 5:54 pm
UK mosques, mosques, hi tech mosques, OpenFajr project, astronomy cameras, news, latest news, world news, international news Merali bought an astronomy camera with a dome that captures a 360-degree view of the horizon and mounted it on a rooftop, using image processing to cancel out light pollution.

UK mosques have turned to technology for help working out the exact time for dawn prayers, a problem faced for centuries. As part of a Birmingham-based project expected to be replicated across the UK, mosques used astronomy cameras and crowdsourcing to work out when Muslims should mark ‘fajr’ –
the first prayers of the day at first light, ‘The Times’ reports.

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Shahid Merali, a general practitioner and founder of the OpenFajr project, told the newspaper: “During Ramadan we noticed in one local mosque people were still eating as their time of dawn hadn’t set in, while next door they had started fasting and were performing morning prayers, while in another worshippers would already have prayed and gone home to bed or to work. “The lesson was about collaboration and consensus through open data. It’s like a blueprint for enabling community cohesion.”

The break of dawn, around two hours before sunrise, differs across the UK, but even neighbouring mosques currently vary by up to 45 minutes in marking morning prayers. This is due to the use of different formulae to calculate the time at which the first rays of sunlight spill over the horizon in their area.

The problem has now been solved in Birmingham, where around 150,000 Muslims from diverse Islamic denominations now adhere to a synchronised local timetable as a result of the OpenFajr project. Merali bought an astronomy camera with a dome that captures a 360-degree view of the horizon and mounted it on a rooftop, using image processing to cancel out light pollution.

It took a photograph every 60 seconds either side of dawn every day for a year. Around 25,000 images were uploaded online and circulated to more than 170 local mosques and scholars and also to experts at the University of Cambridge and HM Nautical Almanac Office, asking them to choose which image captured first light each day.

For overcast days, statisticians filled in the gaps based on data from clear mornings. Birmingham Central Mosque presented the data to local mosques, and they agreed to adhere to the new standardised timetable from May this year. The OpenFajr project will be replicated in London and Peterborough, with hopes to extend it further.

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  1. S
    Shoaib Malik
    Nov 7, 2016 at 1:37 pm
    All riots in India in which tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children were brutally murdered hundreds were raped were carried out Hindus only -lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;1. Sikh Genocide by Hindus - 1984lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;2. Muslims Genocide by Hindus - 1947 - till date (Meerut, Mumbai, Godhra, Jammu and Kashmir, Muzaffarnagar)lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;3. Christians Genocide by Hindus - 2008 (Kerala, Kandhamal)lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;It's not surprising that Hindu religious texts like Mahabharata teach terrorism and promote killing of even unarmed or innocent men.
    Reply
    1. S
      Shoaib Malik
      Nov 7, 2016 at 3:33 pm
      Did your gaw maata commanded you to drink gaw mutr from her well behind her?
      Reply
      1. S
        Shoaib Malik
        Nov 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm
        Hinduism is $ex and satanic worship.
        Reply
        1. S
          Shoaib Malik
          Nov 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm
          Hindus and u are madars!
          Reply
          1. S
            Shoaib Malik
            Nov 7, 2016 at 2:57 pm
            Hindus are like haramzadays born and not knowing who their father is. That's why someone from outside had to name them to give their filth an ideny. The foreigners even cleansed Hindus of many evil Hindu practices like Sati, homo$exuality and girl-child killings (still prevalent in many parts in India like Haryana, Punjab). Instead of thanking them, Hindus call them firangi and detest them!
            Reply
            1. S
              Shoaib Malik
              Nov 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm
              Hindus must really introspect into their culture and beliefs and ask themselves are their millions of gods really worthy of worshipping? It's better for them to turn to other religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or at the very least turning Atheists rather than continuing devil worship and devil practices.
              Reply
              1. S
                SalarAP
                Nov 7, 2016 at 3:46 pm
                But Islam preaches universal brotherhood and does not preach hatred against any religion.
                Reply
                1. M
                  Michel Pells
                  Nov 7, 2016 at 2:10 pm
                  Allah is a fiction.
                  Reply
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