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How Sumiya Faruq built Taqva, the Islamic YouTube

While the majority of children today are born with gadgets loaded with raunchy music and sensual dance videos, 25-year-old Sumiya Faruq wants to change the way kids are growing up.

Meet the Hyderabad-based entrepreneur and founder of Taqva — the single largest video repository of Islamic content, who is fast replacing irrelevant music and inappropriate videos with faith reviving content, inspiring the younger generation to honour integrity, morals, values, ethics, and principles to adopt righteous behaviour.

Started as a way to help toddlers and kids of the digital era to find a safe online audio-visual zone, and to shield young minds from exposed danger of inappropriate video content that has now overtaken creative online space with distracting adverts, and illicit pop-ups, Taqva was created to provide virtuous online space for families and children, where scholarly erudition of faith, etiquettes and mannerisms are being taught at the forefront, gradually but firmly establishing reverential consciousness of God.

Realising the monumental threat to the 21st-century children being exposed to explicit online content, Sumiya recalls the earlier times where the online space was still non-existent.

“During my childhood, my parents used to have a collection of cassettes and CDs containing Islamic content. We used to exchange and share these collections with friends and relatives. Over time, this practice changed as the content was being available and accessible by anyone on the internet, thanks to content sharing websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. But unfortunately, these sites are like a jungle. You can find any and every type of content on there and it’s possible for a person watching Islamic videos to get lost in that jungle and get into “haraam”/ forbidden zone. Even the advertisements on these channels could be distracting and often have forbidden content.”

“Internet has become a huge jungle where kids might soon end up learning things that are completely inappropriate for their age,” says Sumiya Faruq, who also holds a Masters degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science & Engineering.

Taqva, a video-aggregation platform of beneficial videos was created to jeopardise the great peril of early exposure to illicit websites. Created and curated with the assistance of volunteers from various parts of the world. Taqva comes with the ability to link the best of videos from content sharing websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, etc.

The videos are suggested by a group of enthusiastic volunteers who analyse the Islamic videos’ quality of content, such as the content’s suitability, reliability, and authenticity, along with various other important parameters.

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“There are various categories of Islamic videos on Taqva such as — Quran recitation, Tafseer, Hadiths, Islamic reminder videos, Prophetic stories, Inter-faith debates, Revert stories, Islamic cartoons for kids, etc” adds Sumiya.

However, Taqva’s major USP is the Kids section, which is a huge collection of Islamic cartoons for Kids. It is one of website’s most viewed sections — a testimony that its audience love it.

Gaining a popular momentum, Sumiya and her team are making their online presence felt by marketing their brand using social media as their marketing tool. Taqva is available and active on major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, as “TaqvaOfficial” added Sumiya who has created a niche of her own with her brainchild — Taqva, which is an exclusive one-stop destination for all Islamic Videos.

Today, Taqva has become the YouTube of Islamic videos. “Currently, we are reaching to 50,000+ users and have over 20,000 active followers on Social Media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest. Our Target viewership for Taqva is definitely, all the Muslims across the globe — and of course, many non-Muslims too! We want Taqva to be the go-to website for Islamic Videos” says Sumiya, who believes is an “Islamic” video hub.

“It has been designed to be intuitive, easy to use and clutter-free. Also, it’s Ad-free and all the videos are neatly categorised into several relevant categories making it easy for users to browse Islamic content says Sumiya excitedly. The Taqva team also curates posts based on Islamic quotes, mainly from the Quran and the Hadith (authentic sayings of the Prophet), featured videos and shares them on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

“We are not biased towards any particular school of thought. We fundamentally believe that there is only One Islam, the religion completed by our Prophet” she further explains.

With Taqva, this determined entrepreneur is sure to influence and change the way Muslim families are engaging with online platforms. The enterprising youngster who also works full time at a Multinational corporation as a software engineer aims to extend her team of dedicated volunteers, to help identify and list the best of Islamic content being produced in various languages across different countries.

“By 2020, we envision Taqva to become the largest video repository of Islamic Content reaching to millions of Muslims across the world,” she adds.

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