Not the only Arabic web startpage player: Google launched Ramadan Gadgets for iGoogle, Does Google understand Islam?

11 Sep, 2008

Note: Dear AC readers, Sorry I have not updated AC for few days, as I was busy with some business and private matters.

iGoogle, is an Internet startpage that lets and customize your web experience, you can add valid feeds from websites/blogs across the web, arrange them in boxes inside a page, add more pages with more feeds boxes, and customize the themes and backgrounds. At the same time you can add gadgets or tools which are small application that can be used right inside iGoogle and are developed by Google it self or by third-party developers. iGoogle is available in English, Arabic among other languages.

Google’s recently launched Arabic Ramadan gadgets include: Zakah calculator, Quran verses, Ramadan food receipts, prayers time, count-down times, Today’s’ advice, and 2 Ramadan theme.

Google & understanding Islam.

iGoogle’s  Zakah calculator gadget lets you  calculate your Zakah  after entering your balance such as your bank, cash, bonds and stocks,  and gold . Zakah is the third of the Five Pillars of Islam. Zakah aims to provide social justice and pureness for all Muslims. The iGoogle Zakah gadget was developed by vitemultimedia from Beirut, Lebanon, but it was endorsed by Google, in which Google says  in this page (Arabic link, also see pic bellow) that this tool is used to calculate the amount of Zakah al Amual that is obliged during the month of Ramadan , which is inaccurate statement from Google, and is a miss understanding of Islamic ruling of Zakah. The only obliged Zakah during Ramadan is Zakah Al- Fitr, which is required at the end of the holly month.

google\'s ramadan   adwords Ad

igoogle  ramadan gadgets ad

Zakah of `Eid Al-Fitr that is required before the end of Ramadan. It is obligatory on the head of the household. It is like a toll obligation per member of the household, at the value of 2.24 kg of wheat, rice of a similar basic staple on the land. Here the “Nisab” is just having food of the day and any extra to give away. According to Dr. Monzer Kahf

While Zakah El Amual is eligible once “Haul” and “Nisab” has been reached. “Nisab” is the minimum amount liable to Zakah. Which are applicable to items such as savings, gold jewelry, and merchandise.“ Haul” on the other hand is which is the passing of one full lunar year  right from the day it the property reaches  the “Nisab”, So while some Muslims might have their Zakah Amual eligible during Ramadan based on those two factors, it is not necessarily the case for others, as any day of the year might be someone’s Zakah Amual’s eligibility.

The tool also does not mention any thing about the “Haul” or “Nisab”, and does not provide which currency it base the calculation on. Moreover it seems not accurate, I used it and used Al-Islam website’s Zakah calculation tools ( an Islamic website directed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da‘wah and Guidance) to calculate Zakah for glod,  but I got different outcomes !

Google we appreciate you entering the Arab world with great initiatives, and while I take into consideration your Arabic team is small and is growing now. I advise you to ask for advice of Muslim scholars when you have anything related to Islam, so you won’t be in any embarrassing situation.

The Other iGoogle’s Ramadan Gadgets.

The other Google’s Ramdan Gadget is Quran verses, which allows you to enjoy Quran verses from Al-Eman website, where you can read, listen and download Quran verses from many Quran readers. But the problem that to play the Quran you need to have Real Player.

Ramadan Recipes gadget provides you with fresh food Recipes to eat during Ramadan, this gadget is provided from The woman’s vortal from Maktoob.
Prayer- time gadget, shows the prayer times according to the country you chose. This gadget is developed Ahmed N., Amgad Z., and Ahmed G. from Google Inc.
Count down timer gadget provides you with countdown times to key events in every Ramadan day.
The last gadgets is today’s’ advice gadget which is also provided from Maktoob.

Google’s Ramadan’s iGogole Arabic special Ramadan offering include choosing 2 background themes  that has the look and feel related to Ramadan . Though I could not locate them from iGoogle page after I added the gadgets.

Other Arabic  Internet Startpage Players

Google is not the only one who is offering an Arabic internet start page, AC reviewed here few days ago Saudi Telecom’s (ST) m3com  startpage which was developed by matkoob’s  out sourcing  division , in which it  will only be a matter of time before Maktoob launches its own startpage (They only need to copy and paste m3com code), the other 2 players are Seamler (Arabic link) and the Arabic version of Netvibes.

Seamler is still in beta and is only Available in Arabic. This site has almost all the features of iGoogle, but it seems that its developer has not done much since a long time, especially in terms of fixing some bugs.


Netvibes takes the lead as one of the best Internet startpage, its Arabic version beats iGoogle with its additional easy to use options and features, and with its social features from its Ginger such as profiles and sharing with friends and my public custom start page that you can offer to the world to read and subscribe to. (You can see my public netvibes page here. )

Netvibes Arabic UI

Though Netvibes comes short compared to iGoogle, in the available number of arabaized gadgets, widgets or tools. Google’s answer to Netvibes social sharing features is with gadgets sharing with friends and the
public such dairy’s gadget,   where you can customize what you are doing. iGoogle is also better than Netvibes in terms of the quality of UI’s Arabic language . In this area I see Google has become better than last year where I have read on a couple of its sites some funny Arabic  with many vocabulary and grammar mistakes ,  however this  problem is understood with Netvibes since its arabaization is based on voluntary crowed sourcing.

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  1. Nokia Releases New Free Ramadan Applications 2009 On Nokia’s Ovi Store  |  August 11th, 2009 at 12:34 PM #

    […] step by Nokia and I hope that other International Brands will follow the path. Last Ramadan  Google launched special gadgets for the holly month but with some mistakes about the understanding of what Zakah is in Islam. (At that time Google was forming its Arabic […]

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