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Platform providing culturally-sensitive therapy support to Muslims wins the inaugural Continuum Spark Award.

Ruh Care, an online directory of Muslim mental health professionals created for people seeking Islamically-aligned therapy, came first place in the inaugural Continuum Spark Award. The platform, launched in 2021 by Toronto-based Omar Khan after his own struggles with mental health during the pandemic, received a US$100k cash investment as well as $50k worth of branding and consulting support.

Ruh Care was selected from a group of eight finalists following a shark tank-style final hosted by the Qatar Foundation at GMW Doha, an international networking event run by the Global Muslim Workation Network, a subsidiary of LaunchGood.

In second place was Deen Developers, a UK-based nonprofit that  brings together Muslim technology-for-good entrepreneurs. And third, was ImamAI from Kazakhstan, a generative AI mobile application providing users on-the-go information about Islam and faith practices. The people’s choice award went to humanitarian translation tool, Tarjimly.

“Winning this award is a significant milestone for us,” Khan, 26, told Philanthropy Age. “Every dollar we’re receiving is an Amanah (trust) for us. We are excited to scale our impact even further.”

Khan, a former IBM product manager, who co-founded Ruh Care, a social enterprise, with Humeyra Nur Celebi, a Turkish psychologist, said the plan was to use part of the prize money to develop IoS and Android applications for the platform. They would also scale up their marketing ahead of launching into five US states with large populations of under-served Muslims, he said.

“Every dollar we’re receiving is an Amanah (trust) for us. We are excited to scale our impact even further.”

Omar Khan, co-founder and CEO, Ruh Care

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Omar Khan (centre) with the Collective Continuum Board Members: Azim Kidwai, Talha Yesilhark, Ziver Birg, Muhammed Yesilhark. (L to R)

The Continuum Spark Award was an initiative of Collective Continuum, a group of Muslim impact investors focused on seeding humanity-centric start-ups. The idea behind the competition was to change the narrative around how social enterprises are funded and to demonstrate the value of impact investment and venture philanthropy.

To be eligible to enter the Spark Award, ideas needed to be tech-based, scalable, financially sustainable, and capable of delivering significant social impact to humanity, as well and bringing people closer to God.

Muslim-focussed crowdfunding platform Launch Good helped to promote the competition, which attracted more than 500 expressions of interest and 330 formal applications from around the world from 28 different countries.

Of these over a third (38 percent) were nonprofit start-ups, and 44 percent of came from female founders and co-founders.

Entries ranged from back-of-the-napkin ideas to fully-operational award-winning concepts, run by a diverse mix of NGOs, social enterprises, for-profit companies, and volunteers.

From the 330 entrants, judges made a longlist of 50, followed by a shortlist of 20, and then the final eight, who hailed from the US, the UK, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, and Kazakstan, were selected based on interviews with industry leaders and public votes.

All eight finalists will receive branding and consulting support from Peter Gould, a renowned creative leader, who advocates for “heart-centered design” to create “meaningful cross-cultural understanding”.

“It’s easy to feel pessimistic given what’s happening in the world right now... But I’m now feeling incredibly inspired and optimistic about our future."

Tahseen Omar, co-founder, Deen Developers

Collective Continuum board member Muhammed Yesilhark, who helped judge at the Shark Tank in Doha, said he had not previously been on a judging panel where the entries were presented in such a professional manner. 

“It was extremely difficult to choose a top three,” he said. “And in-fact, all eight were winners because they will all receive the training from Peter Gould.”

Dubai-based Yesilhark said Ruh Care came top based on its benchmarking scores for various categories such as strength of business model, scale of impact, and long-term sustainability.

“They had an extremely clear use-case to support Muslims who require mental health support but who don’t want to speak to people outside of their faith,” he explained. And he added: “We also felt the scale and longer-term impact of Ruh Care was significant, because when you support one person who is struggling, you uplift the whole family.”

Read more about Ruh Care

Ruh Care

Founders: Omar Khan, Humeyra Celebri
Location: Toronto, Canada
The problem: A lack of mental health support for Muslims.
The solution: An online therapy platform aligned with Islamic values.

Launched in 2021, Ruh Care is a mindfulness application providing Islamically-aligned and culturally-sensitive support to Muslims via an online therapy platform.

Never before has it been so urgent for the world to prioritise mental health. The triple impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, anxiety over climate change, and ongoing geo-political conflict, is taking a toll on people of all ages and all backgrounds.  

Studies show that Muslims tend to use mental health services less than other groups. This is due to the stigma attached to mental illness within Muslim communities, as well as the lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate services providing mental health care to people of Muslim faith.

Ruh Care, which is run as a social enterprise, was launched by Omar Khan, after his own struggle during the pandemic to find a mental health resource with which he could connect on a spiritual level.

“There is a global rise in mental health issues in our community, but also an increased adoption of telehealth, and growing openness to seeking professional mental healthcare,” says Toronto-based Khan, who used to work at IBM. “So now is the best time for our solution.” 

Ruh, which means soul or spirit in Arabic, provides a global directory of muslim mental health care providers, and offers access to online video or phone therapy for Muslim individuals, couples, and children eight and upwards. 

Users can either search for their own therapist via a profile directory of more than 570 Muslim therapists across 16 countries, or complete a form that matches them to a suitable practitioner within 48 hours. The platform, which is still in its soft launch phase, has already received 130 requests from patients to be matched with therapists.

“Our hope is that we can really make exceptional mental healthcare accessible for our Muslim community that is also grounded in our Islamic values,” says Khan


Read more about Deen Developers

Deen Developers

Founders: Tahseen Omar, Muntasir Syed, Alamin Shahidul, Ibrahim Javed, Umar Gora
Location: London, United Kingdom
The problem: A lack of resources for Muslim technology entrepreneurs looking to address global issues.
The solution: A community and network providing Muslim technology-for-good entrepreneurs with access to resources, expertise, mentorship, and funding.



Since its launch in 2019, Deen Developers has been tackling community issues head-on by encouraging skilled Muslims to contribute above and beyond their day jobs. A UK-registered nonprofit, it brings together founders, technology experts and creatives for social good and to make a positive impact in the world. 

“Our vision is to nurture a driven community of talent that collaborates and leverages technology to solve real-world problems,” explains Tahseen Omar, a co-founder.

“The timing is right because as second and third generation Muslims, we have the luxury our parents and grandparents didn’t have because they were busy laying the groundwork,” he adds. 

Deen Developers, which is run by a group of volunteers, organises hackathons (competitions to solve problems in collaboration with leaders in the field) and build-athons (co-working for those already committed to solving a problem).

The group also runs Forge, a 12-week accelerator programme for Muslim founders, offering grants, mentorship, workshops, networking, and access to investors, and it hosts a platform called Notice, where community members can advertise causes requiring tech support, and tech talent can volunteer their time. 

“Entrepreneurship is really important and Muslims make up only three percent of founders so we are really proud of our work at Forge,” says Omar.

Every year, Deen selects one initiative to be a ‘Flagship Build’ and receive dedicated resources to help bring that product to market.

Currently, they have more than 10,000 community members, have hosted 20 in-person events, and have backed 18 start-ups. Deen receives grant support from foundations and partners with corporates to sponsor some of its meet-ups and events.

Founder: Arth

Read more about Imam AI

Imam AI

Founder: Arthur Muratov
Location: Astana, Kazakhstan
The problem: Limited access to Islamic leaders like Imams or Muftis.
The solution: A generative AI resource that provides access to information on Islam, sourced from the Quran, hadith, and trusted websites.

Imam AI is a generative artificial intelligence (AI) application that serves as a personal virtual Imam on your phone. It caters to anyone interested in learning about Islam or delving deeper into the religion.

App features include Quran FAQs, virtual prayer sessions led by an Imam, reminders for prayer times, a Qibla compass, a halal restaurant finder, custom notifications, and a chat function with a virtual Imam.

The app utilises AI to provide information from a database of 50,000 hadith, the Quran, and trusted websites in four languages: Arabic, English, Kazakh, and Russian.

Access to Islamic leaders like Imams (those who lead prayers) or Muftis (Islamic scholars) can be limited, especially in areas where there are not many mosques. This, combined with the challenge of identifying trustworthy sources of information online, led to the launch of the Imam AI app.

“We observed a gap where many people, entangled in the pace of modern life, found it challenging to seek and receive immediate and reliable Islamic advice,” explains Imam AI’s founder Arthur Muratov. The idea, he says, is to “make Islamic guidance accessible to everyone, everywhere”.

The app, which is still in Beta and free to use, has already had more than 4,400 downloads and received ratings and reviews from users in 20 countries.

“For Muslims, consulting an Imam or Mufti is not a rarity but a beautiful aspect of continuous learning and seeking clarity in their faith journey,” says Muratov.

The second stage of the app’s development will focus on ensuring reliability of the AI-generated information, as well as guidance developing guidance for users on contemporary Islamic practices such as halal investments, principles of Islamic banking, and halal travel.

“We hope to make Imam AI a more versatile and valuable resource for users seeking guidance in various aspects of modern Islamic living,” says Muratov.

On Deen Developers, Yesilhark said the judges had been impressed with the nonprofit’s ability to bring together like-minded and talented young Muslims to find innovative solutions to social challenges.

And on Imam AI, which was created by 19-year Arthur Muratov, Yesilhark said: “There’s no other word but incredible. To have come up with the idea for the app and launched it in just a few months, he’s just an incredible mind and one day could become a billionaire and change a billion lives.”

Muratov, a computer science student, told Philanthropy Age that he was humbled to have been recognised by the judges and he was looking forward to developing Imam AI to enhance its functionality and expand its reach.

Tahseen Omar, one of Deen’s five co-founders, said he had been inspired by the “incredible talent” they had met through the Spark award. “It’s easy to feel pessimistic given what’s happening in the world right now,” he said. “But I’m now feeling incredibly inspired and optimistic about our future as an Ummah.” (community).

The other three judges in the shark tank in Doha were Azim Kidwai, a board member and head of partnerships at Collective Continuum, American Muslim entrepreneur, Chris Blauvelt, who is the CEO and founder of, and Rashid Dar, a programme officer, at the John Templeton Foundation.

Kidwai, who is also a trustee of the National Zakat Foundation, said the scale of the response had been impressive given that it was only a pilot, and he said it showed the appetite for innovation, as well as the need for funding, within the global Muslim community. - PA