Message on Wheels: This Is How ‘Word of God’ Is Being Spread In Kashmir These Days

Zafar Aafaq

SRINAGAR

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Message on wheels. (Photos by author)

There is a peculiar sightseeing these days on roads in Srinagar that catches your attention. You can find a white colour library van on the road that you walk or drive upon everyday, spreading message of Islam. The library van has come up on roads some four months back.

The van carries copies of Quran and electronic devices like pen drives and date cards loaded with Islamic literature in audio-visual form.

An LCD screen apart from sign boards adorn the side panels of the van, which has been dressed up in the Indian city of Kanpur, display the name of the Surah (chapter) or an audio clip in the playlist.

People stop. Some enquire, and leave. Others take along a memory card or a pen drive or a copy of Quran with them. The retailing, distribution operations of the moving religious library is managed by a couple of boys.

This Dawah initiative named as “Quran for all” has been started by True Message Foundation of Siraj Ul Uloom — an institution for Islamic teachings based in Srinagar.

“Abundant copies of the Holy Quran are stalled for distribution. Though a copy of Quran lies on shelves in every home but number of readers is declining. We aim to create a climate of Quran reading and understanding,” says Owais Ahmad, one of the boys at the library van.

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At the library, The Quran is available in both textual and audio visual form. “We wanted to make use of technology for good purpose so that word of Allah will reach even to the illiterate people.”

The audio form of translations is available in more than two dozen languages that are spoken in Indian subcontinent. In Kashmiri, the translations of well-known cleric Mirwaiz Moulana Mohammad Yousuf Shah are available at the moving library “to make understanding Quran easier for the locals”.

Apart from recitation of Quran, the audio and videos of a teacher teaching a small boy—how to read Quran, and life history of Prophet Mohammed (SAW) is also available in these electronic devices.

Owais claims around 200 pieces of electronic data devices are distributed and sold among the seekers.

“For non-Muslims, data devices are free of cost,” Owais says. “To Muslims we sell on no profit, no loss basis.”

Owais says tourists visiting Kashmir have been showing great response and curiosity to know about Islam.

Presently, two such vans are roaming on roads of Kashmir. “We have a schedule and travel to different districts according to the schedule to spread the message of Islam,” he says.

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