With the introduction of the iPhone and the Android series of phones, it seems almost everyone carries a smartphone nowadays. One great feature of smartphones are applications that can be downloaded for various uses. "Apps", as they are known to most people, can be such things as games, workout buddies, and travel tools, just to name a few. There is an app for almost every kind of topic out there. There are also many religious apps that can be very useful. In this article, we will mention some of the useful religious apps I have come across for the iPhone.
For the sake of brevity, and also due to the author's lack of knowledge about other smartphone platforms such as Android and Blackberry, we will only mention iPhone apps. People who know about useful Islamic apps on other platforms can certainly share their knowledge in the comments. Also, many apps are on multiple systems, so some of the apps mentioned here may be on other platforms as well.
AlQuran by Sayed Samed
A Qur'an app is a must for any Muslim, and this is one of the better ones I have tried. Many Qur'an apps are hard to navigate, but this one makes it easy while offering tons of features. You can look up any verse from any chapter instantly, with the Arabic text and English translation appearing right away. You can also download the audio of any Sura by a number of reciters, including AbdulBasit AbdulSamad, Mishary Alafasi, Saad Al Ghamadi, among many others. You can even download the audio and then follow along as the program scrolls through the chapter with the audio in the background, though downloading some of the longer Suras does take some time. There is also a helpful reference section which tells you the verses that refer to various topics, such as Wudhu, Taqiyya, Imamate, and Khums. A commentary to these verses would be helpful though. Overall, it is a very handy and easy-to-use Qur'an app with some minor drawbacks.
Nahjul Balagah by ECNET Solutions INC
Any follower of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), or any seeker of knowledge for that matter, needs to have this app. It is a very simple, no-frills app that is similar in layout to most of the published Nahjul Balagha books out there. Starting the app takes you right to the table of contents, which starts with a short introduction of Nahjul Balagha. The next link goes right to the list of over 200 sermons by Imam Ali. You can easily browse the list and click on whichever sermon you would like to read. The next section contains the different letters of Imam Ali, and the third section lists the many wise sayings of Imam Ali found at the end of Nahjul Balagha. Most of us are used to seeing these sections, but this app also contains a section called misconceptions, which discusses various claims against the compilation of the book and refutes them. It is a very simple to use app that makes it easy to look up the wisdom of Amirul Mo'mineen.
Islamic Compass by the Islam Pray Institute
Another must-have for any Muslim is a good Qibla app for those times we need to do prayers on the road. There are many Qibla locator apps out there, and the biggest complaint about them is that they are very inconsistent and sometimes outright wrong in the direction they give. As far as consistency, I have tested this app in places on different days, facing different directions, etc., and it has always been consistent. Also, a number of scholars I have talked to have said it is accurate after playing with it. It lines up with the Qible directions of every mosque I have been to. Though no app can be considered perfect, this one is definitely one of the more accurate ones. The app also has a list of prayer timings for the day along with an Adhan alarm clock you can link to the prayer times, which is a nice touch.
AlQibla by Hussain Khan
This is another good Qibla app that has prayer times and an adhan alarm clock as well. Though it can take a little longer to find the Qibla compared to the Islamic Compass, it does seem to be accurate in its measurements. There is also a wider selection of Adhan recitations to choose from, including Shia recitations. This app also gives the current Islamic date, which is a great touch. And unlike Islamic Compass, this one is available for free.
IslamicLib by Sayed Samed
This app says it is a "free Islamic library with thousands of books" in various languages. Though I have not confirmed the actual number of books, there are a large amount of full length books in this app in languages such as English, Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and Spanish. Considering English books only, there are a good number of great books to download from great scholars such as Imam Khomeini, Ayatollah Mutahhari, and Sayyid Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr just to name a few. Though it does not have the options of a Kindle, it is also fairly easy to read, as you can change the font size and it will remember your last page read, so you can start reading from where you left. Overall, this is a nice app for having a large amount of famous books to refer to, though nothing can beat sitting down with an actual Islamic book!
Shia Duas by duas.org
When looking for any type of supplication, most people start their search with duas.org. It is only natural that they would create an app for the same purpose. This is an easy to use app that lists many famous duas, such as Du'a Kumayl, Du'a Tawassul, Du'a Mashlool, Du'a Ahad, and Ziyarat Ashura, just to name a few. Clicking on a supplication takes you straight to the Arabic text, but there are also options to read it in English or in transliteration form. The best part is that you can click the audio and it will come up right away without having to wait for a download. A very useful app. It does not have an exhaustive list of du'as by any means, but it looks like they are coming out with updates. Also, it does not seem like it takes full advantage of the iPhone display, as the Arabic text is not crystal clear.
iDuas: A series of apps with supplications and recommendations for different occasions. So far they have apps for Muharram, Ramadan, and Thursday nights. Dua Kumayl: A simple app with line-by-line presentation of this wonderful supplication. Jenan: An Arabic app containing Qur'anic verses, supplications, and Ziyarats, as well as recommendations for various occasions.
These are just some of the useful apps available for the iPhone. Hopefully there will be new and innovative apps continuing to come out in the future. Due to brevity, we could not review each and every app, but if you know of more great apps, please share them below!