Islamic Lifestyle 

Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organisation launches lifestyle app for Shariah-compliant content

| 13 December, 2017
 Yosi Winosa
Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organisation launches lifestyle app for Shariah-compliant content
Girls take a photograph before prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia September 12, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside. Image for illustrative purposes only.

JAKARTA - Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah, has launched a mobile application for Shariah-compliant content to expand its da’wah penetration and improve young Indonesians’ halal lifestyles, Gatot Triyanto, its program director told Salaam Gateway.

Called Muvon, the mobile application was developed by local company Digital Media Corp and will have features including streaming of programmes from television stations, video on demand, citizen journalism, online shopping, bill payment facilities, a job finder, as well as a location search engine for schools, universities, mosques and hospitals.

The app is currently in beta and all features are scheduled to start functioning in March next year.

“This application is part of our da’wah. Inside, it features Muhammadiyah Television (TVMu), as well as other television stations like Aljazeera and ABC,” Triyanto told Salaam Gateway.

Muhammadiyah Television (TVMu) is a pay-TV channel launched in 2013 on the occasion of the organisation’s 101st anniversary.

Triyanto said that Muhammadiyah has not counted TVMu’s number of subscribers but that the channel is viewed nationally.

SHARIAH-COMPLIANT

All content available on the Muvon app will have to pass a set of Shariah criteria that is currently being developed by Muhammadiyah scholars, said Triyanto.

Live-streamed television channels, for example, will first be assessed for their Shariah compliance before they are picked for the app.

Triyanto cited the example of the app’s online shopping platform, PasarMu, that will only sell halal products, including from Muhammadiyah’s in-house cooperative.

“Basically we use filters in this ‘over the top’ technology. For example if in the future we provide content from Amazon or Netflix, we will select them based on Shariah principles,” he said.

An ‘over the top’ service provides content over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution avenues such as cable television channels and brick and mortar shops.

Muvon’s other features includes BillMu for payment of utilities and internet bills as well as zakat.

The app’s citizen journalism section will allow users to upload their content, including videos and vlogs. These will first be viewed by Muhammadiyah that will have the final say on whether or not they can be uploaded to the app for public consumption.

“We also want to empower the younger generation as they make up a large proportion of the Muslim population. Lifestyle has become more important for Indonesia’s middle-class citizens (25 percent of total population) so we want to improve the halal lifestyle among Muslims," said Triyanto.

Not all features on the app will be available for free. Users of BillMu, said Triyanto, will have to pay a fee as the service will be offered in partnership with mobile telecommunication service provider Indosat Ooreedoo.

Before the launch of Muhammadiyah’s television channel in 2013, Islamic da’wah content has been primarily supplied by mainstream national television channels.

Muhammadiyah counts 60 million Indonesians as members, according to Triyanto, although it is widely believed to be smaller in size than Nahdatul Ulama that is estimated to have a membership of around 60 million.

(Reporting by Yosi Winosa; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim)

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