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Muslim washing rite goes hi-tech

[ 2010-02-02 11:23]     字号 [] [] []  
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A Malaysian company has invented a machine it says will help Muslims purify themselves before prayers without excessively wasting water.

The ornate, green-colored machine comes with automatic sensors and basins to reduce water usage during wudu, an Arabic word used to describe the act of washing the face, arms and legs before prayers.

The wudu preceeds the five daily prayers Muslims are obligated to perform. There are more than 1.7 billion Muslims in the world, with the majority in Africa and the Middle East where water supplies are scarce.

The machines will be available in the next six months and cost $3,000-$4,000 a piece. AACE Technologies, the company behind the machines, is counting on rich countries in these two regions snapping them up.

"Saving water is a motivation for people to adopt this system rather than the conventional methods, where there's a lot of water wastage," AACE Chairman Anthony Gomez said at the product launch in the Malaysian capital.

The device, which also emits recorded Koranic verses, is 1.65 metres (5 ft 5 in) tall, and only uses 1.3 liters (0.3 gallons) of water compared to the conventional methods which usually involve leaving faucets running for the duration of the washing ritual, which can last for several minutes, Gomez said.

"During the Haj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca), two million people used 50 million liters of water a day for wudu. If they introduce this machine they are saving 40 million liters per day," he said.

The machine took two years to develop at the cost of $2.5 million.

Muslims heading for prayers in mainly Muslim Malaysia had mixed feelings about the high-tech, but pricey, invention.

"The idea is good and it is built in line with Islamic teachings. But water in this country is cheap, so it is still not worthwhile to have this machine," one muslim office worker said.

But a tourist from neighboring Singapore, which has little water supplies, said the machine would help conserve natural resources.

"Nothing is impossible. Of course we are trying ways and new products, those that can save mankind, those that can save nature," Azman Mohamed Noor said.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Muslim washing rite goes hi-tech

Muslim washing rite goes hi-tech

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for China Daily for one year.