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New Islamic search engine enters market

Taqwa.me will be launching internationally by early August

A screenshot of Taqwa's homepage features an artistic background.
A screenshot of Taqwa's homepage features an artistic background.

Taqwa.me, a ‘conscious' search engine, is expected to officially launch by early August.

The search engine, which had a soft launch in May this year to gain early user feedback, aims to have 5 million users in less than a year.

"As we grow so does our ability to be able to support Muslim communities around the world as we will be denoting a large amount of revenue to set up schools, build medical facilities, aid support and build mosques, this has been a personal goal behind the concept of the project," Taqwa CEO Kerim Nu'man told ITP.net.

Despite having a low-profile so far, Taqwa still gets 50,000 queries a day from people in Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Australia, United Kingdom and others. Once officially launched, that number is expected to go up, and will be promoted through regional operations in Dubai, as well as Singapore and Seattle.

Taqwa, which is explained as 'right conduct', 'piety', 'guarding oneself' in the Qur'an, is the latest entrant to the ‘halal' search engine market, following in the footsteps of I'mHalal which launched last year.

"Taqwa.me encourages discussion, openness, and freedom of speech, as we deter ourselves from dictating content such as I'mHalal.com. Our users determine if content is perceived as Haram or Halal socially, but scientifically or religiously it could hold an educational value to the user on whatever grounds," Nu'man explained.

In such situations, Nu'man believes the ‘Halal' and ‘Haram' ratings on search results will play a key factor, allowing users to choose what content should be filtered.

Queries on Taqwa currently return image and video results, along with web, news and Twitter results.

There's also an artistic streak in Taqwa, with the engine displaying Muslim-inspired art on its homepage. The company hopes to have 365 different art pieces from 365 different artists around the world featured on their homepage.

In the end though, Taqwa isn't concerned about competition from I'mHalal or even Google to a great extent.

"The search market is very fierce, but you have to couch that with the servicing of a targeted Muslim market worldwide.  The Muslim population worldwide is somewhere north of 1.4 billion, and is greatly underserviced," said Nu'man. "Statistics show that 75% of search users use more than one search engine; we'd be happy with being the primary or secondary search engine of the Muslim community."