Srinagar: Saut-ul-Islam, Kashmir’s first Islamic radio station, was launched online in December last year with a video of famous vocalist Zubair Salafi singing a Nasheed in the radio station’s studio. Muhammad Aamir, founder director of Saut-ul-Islam, told Kashmir Reader that the radio has been established with an intention to provide Islamic guidance to Kashmiri youth.
“The main aim of our radio is to connect youth with Islam and its teachings. Our motive is to address contemporary issues confronting the society, particularly issues of youth, in the light of the Quran and the Hadith in an entertaining manner,” Aamir said.
He said that the idea of a radio station came to his mind because of the way people talked of the ‘degeneration’ of youth in Kashmir, without doing anything about it.
“I heard a number of youths singing jingles of local radio FM stations. Majority of them were crazy about FM radio. A section of society then makes a hue and cry that our youth have become rogues. The idea struck my mind of an all-Islamic radio station where, apart from the halal entertainment, youth would connect to Islamic teachings. Thus Saut-ul-Islam was born,” said Aamir, who is also the chairman of Islamic Global School (IGS) in Rajbagh.
Aamir said that he consulted his friends and like-minded people on his idea of an Islamic radio station. “A consensus was made that given the psychology of our youth, the radio station would be an effective way to reach them and bring them closer to Islam,” he said.
Aamir said he had applied to the government department for the desired radio frequency for the station. “We have made two applications: one for Android users and another for IoS (Apple) platforms. On a single click we would be available for our listeners with varied programmes. There is an option in our radio app called ‘Ask us’. We will have Islamic scholars responding to listeners’ questions,” Aamir said.
Referring to this special feature, he said, “Our prophet (PBUH) was a great psychologist as he would provide answers to every visitor coming to him as per his/her psychological needs. We would try to do the same.”
The radio’s programmes will include lectures on Dars-e-Hadith and Dars-e-Quran by a set of known Islamic scholars. “Apart from that, social issues, like the importance of nikah (marriage) in life, delay in marriage, widow re-marriage, second marriage, etc, would be discussed and suggestions given within the ambit of Quran and Sunnah,” Aamir said. Panel discussions would be arranged where scholars from different school of thoughts would be invited and they would present their views on an issue, Aamir said.
Faheem Mir, a post graduate student, said that initiatives like Saut-ul-Islam would provide a new dimension to Islamic culture in Kashmir. “This radio station may help our society to quench its religious thirst and at the same time integrate people with modern technology,” Mir said. His colleague, Fazil, added, “It is a novel initiative. There are many FM stations but something specific to religion wasn’t seen before in Kashmir.”
Aamir, who is also chairman of a group called Islamic Fraternity (IF), said that Kashmiri youth have been hesitant to come forward with their talents due to lack of a proper platform.
“Now that we have come up with a platform, we would make all efforts to utilise it in a meaningful manner. For summers we have plans for a programme similar to Indian Idol in which Kashmiri youth would be invited to showcase their talent,” Aamir said.
He said that Saut-ul-Islam was being run by a group of volunteers who come from different professions. They donate a portion of their salary every month for the infrastructure of the radio station.
“Yesterday, a friend of mine came here and asked about our activities. He was so happy to see the station that the day after he sent a desktop to our office,” Aamir said.
The station was to be inaugurated after Eid-ul-Fitr last year, but due to the uprising it was postponed till December. “We have started recording programmes and our first video was uploaded recently. It received scores of likes and was appreciated by the many people who wish for an alternative space in Kashmir,” Aamir said.