As Islam is one of the most widely practised religion in the world, the demand for products that are halal, meaning they were made and can be used in accordance with Islamic rules and values, continues to increase. Digital services are no exception.
A Malaysian tech firm claims to have developed the world’s first mobile and desktop browser that is compliant with Islamic values. The browser we are talking about is SalamWeb, available on Android, iOS, Windows and macOS. The multilingual browser with a simple interface was introduced earlier this year. Hajjah Hasni Zarina, the Director General of SalamWeb Technologies said:
Salam Web was founded with a vision to provide a safer, private and ethically-sensitive online experience……This means that harmful content is filtered out and visits to pornographic or inappropriate websites are forewarned with a harmful content ahead alert
Features and how it works
The browser runs on the Chromium open source software so it feels like you are using the normal Google Chrome browser, only that you can’t access some stuff.
Among other features, SalamWeb has a clock showing prayer timings as per your geographical location, a compass indicating the direction that a Muslim must face while praying and signals warnings when you try to open a website that may be forbidden according to Islam’s teachings.
In order to respect and uphold the fundamentals of Islam, the browser filters search options and allows users to classify websites as appropriate, neutral and inappropriate. Before accessing an “inappropriate” website, a red warning message appears (as shown below) on the screen and leaves the user with an option of continuing to the non-recommended website or return to the start.
The browser also has an application called “SalamSadaqah” for offering zakat, a form of alms-giving to share your wealth with the poor. For every search carried out through SalamWeb, the company claims that it will make a donation to charitable causes.
Is it for Muslims only?
No doubt that with over 1.8 billion Muslims in the world or 24 per cent of the global population, the startup is certainly set to exploit a huge niche market. Inadvertently, the browser could turn out to be much more than a niche product since anybody who wants this kind of browsing experience can just download the brower from Google Play store or Apple app store and use it. So yes it can be used by anybody. To some extent the browser could spur the use of the internet by some Muslims who shun it on the pretext that they are exposed to content that’s contrary to their beliefs.