"I got an idea! Celtic Music! It's soothing, it reminds us of the grandieur of nature, which makes it Islamic." We were brainbusting for a proposed concert.
"Afiq, tu bukan Islamic. Datang pun dari.... dari mane?" Husna said quietly, clearly unintimadated by my outburst spring of ideas.
"Mmmm' not sure. Around the Scandinavian countries, some say Ireland."
"Dari Western countries. Islamic la sangat." She turned her back and browsed into one of her music folders in her laptop. She selected one MP3 file entitled Saif.
It begins with a percussion intro, followed by a unfamiliar setting of tenors, reciting arab poems with more rigor than flow. I frowned. "Is it about, I don't know... War?"
"Haah, bestkan?" Her eyes shone with expected anticipation.
"Tak. Ada yang lain?"
She browsed into another set of music folders, this one is entitled Zanji and selected one of the tunes.
"It's a zanji. I heard zanjis all the time in Syeds' weddings." I remarked.
"Tulah Islamic." She pressed.
"The music has to be in arabic to be Islamic?"
"Haa.... tak semestinya, Yusof Islam nyanyi dalam bahasa inggeris apa.."
"The singers has to be a Muslim for the song to be Islamic? That song, Tapak Sulaiman by -what's her name- is Islamic because she's a Muslim?"
"Bukan bukan. Macam mana nak cakap ar... Camni la, Afiq dengar dulu IKIM dalam kereta, lembutkan hati dulu lepastu datang dengar balik, okay?"
And so I did, for the past 4 days. 91.4 fm. IKIM dot FM, Assalamualaikum siape di talian?
"Nurain berapa tahun?"
"Nurain sebelas tahun."
"Biler Nurain mula berpuase ye?"
"Ada pengalaman yang menarik tak waktu berbuka, terponteng ke..."
"Puasa saye penuh alhamdulillah."
"Jadi bukak puase dengan mak ayah la, seronok tak?"
"Sorry ayah saya dah meninggal."
Aiyo, spot on man! I didn't care. I left it on for three days. Like any station, there were songs I hated and some I particularly enjoyed but what I couldn't stand is the concept the station is trying to ostend. It is close to straight-up complacency and the context is mostly kampung-like. Repent! Repent! Repent! is the message and "Syurga! Syurga! Syurga! is the mission.
Which makes me wonder: I thought this is a radio show for Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia not Institute of Let's Repent Together and Not Go to Hell.
There were no open discussions on other religion, philophies or understanding of sects and tariqat. In short, in my short 4 day period, I didn't learn anything that could possibly make me love Islam more than I do. And what if a non-muslims were to hear it? Will they be able to understand Islam better? And it's in malay, shouldn't it be in English for it to be compelling to a broader audience?
I met her again, Husna, and told her I've been listening to IKIM for 4 days.
"Yeke? So macam mane? Dah lembut hati?"
"Lembut hati untuk apa?"
"Untuk menerima lagu lagu Islam."
I didn't get angry because I knew, deep inside me that doing so will only make me become contrary. In this case, I'll hate Nasyid because of her generalization of music. I kept quiet and walked away, switching on my MP3 player. Ironically, the first song that was randomly played was Can I Go Now? by Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Tak Gune Punye Minah!