Spiritual Engineering Project (1)

Reading the Qur’an Pages Electronically ©


The objective of this project is to design an electronic device to display the Muslims’ holy book (the Qur’an) and allow the reader (reciter) to move to the next page, the previous page, or jump to a specific page using a small remote control.

Muslims perform obligatory prayers (fardh salah) every day plus additional optional prayers (sunnah salah).

Details of Muslims’ salah and how it is performed can be found in this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salah

In the prayers (salah), the Muslim recites the first chapter of the holy book (the Qur’an) followed by other passages (verses) from the holy book (the Qur’an).

In the obligatory (compulsory) salah, the Muslim must recite memorized verses from the Quran (and not allowed to carry anything during the salah).

However, in the additional optional prayers (sunnah salah), the Muslim recites the verses that follow the first chapter (Al-Fatihah) from a printed version or an electronic version of the holy book (the Qur’an). This means the Muslim can carry the holy book and flick its pages during the salah. This is proven to be difficult especially if he/she wants to recite multiple pages.

This project eliminates the need to carry the holy book (either printed or electronic) or flick through its pages. This is done with the help of a small remote control with buttons to display the pages of the holy book moving forward or backward with a push of a button during the prayer.

This will improve the quality of the salah and help the Muslim to concentrate and elevate his/her spiritual experience during the salah.

I built my first prototype early in 2019 and used it every day during my optional prayers. Now it is nearly finished. 

With the start of 2020 and the declaration of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Pandemic, I thought that this project would have been very useful during the lockdown rules and the closing of Mosques and not able to do prayers in congregation. 

More importantly in Ramadan the voluntary/optional prayers are increased.  This project would have been a great aid to get Muslims to these optional prayers at home, especially for those many people that do not memorise the Quraan.


The holy book (the Qur’an) is available in many forms, in printed forms, on computers, on smart phones, on tablets, etc.  However, not all forms are easy to use during the salah.  Finding the best way to solve this problem took some thinking especially when the aim is to reduce any distractions during performing the salah.

All forms of the Qur’an must be authenticated to make sure that it is exact text as the original Quraan.

Research showed that no technology was available that resembles this design approach. This made it worthwhile to pursue this project to find solutions for the challenges facing the project.

Some of these challenges were:

  • Which Single Board Computer (SBC) to use?
  • Where to get the Qur’an pages?
  • Which file format to use (PDF, images, presentation, word, etc.)?
  • How to display the pages?
  • How to control the pages?
  • Which remote control to use?
  • How to make it economical (low cost) to produce?
  • Can this be mass produced? 
  • Cost benefit Analysis.
  • Who is the target audience for this paper? And what action if any do you want them to take ?

Design description

After reviewing the available Single-Board Computers (SBC), The Raspberry Pi (Rpi) was found to be the best choice as it has Linux operating system, USB ports, HDMI port, Wi-Fi, enough memory and python programming language which is relatively easy to use.

The design is based on 4 main components: The CPU, the remote control, the power supply and a display (screen): 

  • The CPU is based on a small Single-Board Computer (SBC) Raspberry Pi version 3 model B.
  • The display can be an old computer monitor, a TV, or a projector with an HDMI port or VGA port.
  • 2-button remote control may be used for “Next” and “Previous” page control. However, the selected remote control has 4 buttons to allow for ON/OFF display button and a button to enter a specific page number or shut down.
  • The DC power supply provides the DC voltage suitable for both the SBC and the remote control.

The following block diagram show the circuit components and connections.

Block Diagram

The pages of the holy Qur’an were based on “Mushaf-Almadina” that is published by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is widely used all over the Muslim world.

The pages of the holy Qur’an were extracted in image (JPG) format which was easier to display and manipulate than a PDF or any other format.

The current time, plus the Gregorian date and the Hijri (Lunar calendar) date are displayed at the bottom of the page for information. This was added at a later stage of the program. The Hijri (Lunar) calendar is important for Muslims as it helps keeping track of important Islamic dates such as the beginning of Ramadan and Haj (Pilgrimage) dates, etc.

In the first prototype a wireless door-bell circuit was dismantled and used a remote control, however a wireless 4 button remote control, readily available in the market was later used as it allows for 4 different functions to be programmed with easy interface to the SBC.

Parameters Configuration file:

Program parameters such has screen size, pages files location, Hijri date adjustment, dates display, were defined in the program itself

Configuration file (started with parameters definition in program file).

Configuration parameters are currently stored in a configuration file which is edited outside the program.

Entering page numbers is currently done through the python shell using a keyboard. This will be updated to use Graphical User Interface (GUI) to enter parameters and change settings. The GUI will also allow shutdown.

The program remembers the Current page to allow the readers to continue reading from where they stopped.  The current page will not be lost if the program stopped or if there were an unexpected shutdown.


The first prototype has been working for more than a year and was used every day.

Bugs were fixed when they appeared. Functionality and ease of use has been continually improving.

The second prototype is being built and will be given out for field test.

Packaging still to be finalized to find the best way to assemble all the components in a presentable, easy to install, and reliable box.

Some pointe worth explaining:

Cost Benefit:

A costbenefit analysis is a process used by businesses to analyse decisions. The business or analyst sums the benefits of a situation or action and then subtracts the costs associated with taking that action.

The cost of the project is in an extended (Personal) document (including parts lists, cost of parts, cost of development, cost of testing, etc.) This will be used when or if it is going to go to mass production (see below).

However, at this stage, Cost benefit analysis may not be applied to this project. The Spiritual benefit is great but cannot be measured , and based on this fact, the monetary cost must be brought down to encourage many people to use it. 

Can this be mass produced?

Yes. However, this is a stage that needs market research and estimate of possible sales per year, to be able to approach a manufacturer that is welling to produce it and make profit.

Roll out plan is one of the points that depend on the market research and the manufacturer’s capacity to meet the estimated demand.

Who is the target audience for this paper?

This paper is meant for everyone, the public, technical, non-technical, Muslims and non-Muslims.

Hopefully, it is not too technical for everyone to understand and have enough technical details to interest a technical person.

Future development:

Image projection, hologram, etc.

Multiple users and ease of switching between users.

Copyright © 2018-2021, Mohammed A. Helal, all rights reserved

Spiritual Engineering

We will show them Our signs in the Universe and in their own souls, until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not sufficient as regards your Lord that He is a witness over all things? Fussilatt [41:53]

Spiritual Engineering: Introduction

I started my university years in 1967 at the Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University. I loved Science and mathematics but did not know which field to specialize in.  I liked electronics and this was the field I chose.

At the Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, Cairo, EGYPT,  there was an amateurs group called ( جمعية هواة اللاسلكي و الإلكترونيات ) Radio and Electronics Amateur Society (https://helals.net/REAS/Radio&Electronics_Society01.html) which was formed in the 1960s to encourage students to think outside the box and to be innovative, in addition to learning new technologies with hands on practical approach to design, testing, packaging and presentation.

The group aspired to excel in the field of engineering to help the community and the country at large and improve the lives of people around them.

I joined the society in 1969 during my year 2 at the faculty of Engineering. With the members of the society, we used to stay duringthe summer holiday at the Society laboratory in the faculty of Engineering. It was spiritually motivating as we believed we can do big things.

Every year, the members start with making a big list of projects to implement some of the theories studied during the year. Projects allocated to individuals or teams of two. The Components sourced mainly from scrap electronic devices to reduce cost.

At the end of the summer holiday, the best designs were displayed in a Science exhibition/show. Initially it was just for the faculty students, however the following years the Society was able to display sophisticated state-of-the art designs that attracted the attention of the minister for Science at the time who opened one of the exhibitions.   The Media (TV and printed paper) were also interested. The Society and its members and their projects appeared on TV and in Al-Ahram newspaper (the most popular News Paper in Egypt).

Amongst the projects that I can remember: A digital calculator using electrical relay logic, a digital clock, a working TV showing all its components on a flat board, etc. 

The verses on the top of the page are my inspiration to be become a good engineer connecting my work as an engineer to my religion, to my spirituality.

I have always maintained that any success I have made, in my studies, registering few patents and winning the Australian design award in 1992, was a gift from Allah (our Lord). This spirituality through my working life helped me to realise that there is unlimited knowledge and we must keep learning and look at the Lord’s signs and learn from them.

Australian Muslim Times article (4 September 1992)

The following is a list of patents:

https://patents.justia.com/patent/4237385 (Control of power supply)
https://patents.justia.com/patent/4246529 (Current integrating battery charger)
https://patents.justia.com/patent/4977353 (Communication system for single point emergency lighting)
https://patents.justia.com/patent/5154504 (Communications and testing for emergency systems )
https://patents.justia.com/patent/5192897 (Electronic high frequency controlled device for operating gas discharge lamps)

After Retirement, I thought to continue to be active in the line of Engineering Spirituality and started some projects which will be published when finished.

Some of the Society’s members during the early 1970s