Saudi Arabia has announced that it is in the process of creating a phone application that will allow worshippers to monitor and rate sermons and prayers in mosques. This initiative has been envisioned not only to allow people to know how long a sermon might go on for but also to know the quality of what is being preached. The announcement of this sermon-rating app comes days after the launch of Watani, an app that allows Saudi citizens to rate any government service, from healthcare to sports and recreation, as reported by Sabq, a local online newspaper.
According to BBC News, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, Abdul Latif Al-Sheikh, explained that the sermon-rating app will allow for the monitoring of mosques, with the length and quality of sermons "assessed by the minute and second.” However, the details of how the monitoring will be conducted still remain unclear. It is said that perhaps the task will fall on regular attendants and that the rating will be done on a number of criteria related to the work of preachers the mosque.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, Abdul Latif Al-Sheikh
As Saudi Arabia works on fulfilling the objectives of its Vision 2030, a nationwide plan to diversity the Kingdom’s economy and modernize its society, this app can be viewed as a crucial tool to not only incorporate technology into people’s daily lives but to also ensure that the Vision aims are met with regards to moving Saudi Arabia towards the more moderate Islam of its past. The Kingdom is slowly introducing reforms into the very fabric of its society, some of which have been instigated by an ongoing debate on how best to move Saudi Arabians away from preaching and sermons that aim to steer them towards "foreign, partisan" thoughts or problematic groups.