Women in Japan have been playing an increasingly important role in the Japanese Mosques. They have been quite active in helping propagate Islam to not-yet-Muslims and guide new converts in the ways unique to them. How can we, the Muslim men, help make the Japanese mosques become more women-friendly?
Most of the Japanese Muslim women converted to Islam because they had to embrace the religion before getting married with their mostly foreign-born Muslim migrant husbands.
With the passage of time, these women have become increasingly vocal in their roles in the Mosques in organizing many Islamic studies and other community and cultural activities.
Indeed, there are many aspects of the role of Muslim women in Japan. However, in this article, we will Inshallah, discuss their role with a special reference to the Mosques in the country.
- Women`s participation on the Mosque boards. Although, they are not directly a part of the board in their local mosques, they have taken on various important roles to handle many dawah and other cultural activities
- Female attendance at Friday prayers and other events related to Mosques is still limited in most of the Masajid in Japan. In fact, most of the mosques do not have a separate place for Muslim women to pray or perform other activities independently according to their own free will
- Women-only programs at Mosques. Some mosques have started organizing women-only study programs specifically targeted to the Japanese Muslim women. These events are mainly organized by relatively more knowledgable Japanese women who, in most cases, converted to Islam relatively long time ago, trained themselves via self-study programs or other similar means and, now, are ready to pass on the acquired knowledge to other aspirant women leaders in the Muslim community in the country.
- Many of the Muslim women are not trained to perform dawah and other related activities. However, they can easily organize other cultural activities quite effectively.
- A possible reason why more women are not very active in the Muslim community is that their husbands either do not encourage them to be a dynamic part of the Muslim community due to their own lack of Islamic knowledge
- Unfortunately, many women became Muslims because they had to get married to a Muslim. . So, they do not take their religion too seriously and keep on indulging in many of the activities which they had been doing before entering Islam
How can we make women better trained to serve the cause of the Muslim community in their respective locations?
- One way could be to organize tarbiyat or training programs for women specifically,
- Encourage their husbands to bring women to the masajid
- Educate their husbands about the true and vibrant role of the Muslim women in a growing Islamic society
- Make partitions or arrange separate rooms for the women to perform their activities. However, many of the mosques are too small to accommodate Muslim women separately on various occasions including Friday prayers, Saturday study programs etc.
Global halal food industry is said to be worth over $600 billion. Japanese food and tourism companies are slowly starting to tap into this huge market for halal food and other halal consumer products for the Muslims all over the world. As the Japanese population is aging, both the public and private sectors have started thinking of ways to offer halal products to the Muslims living in Japan and elsewhere.
The recent surge in the demand for halal food products in japan is attribbuted to the following .
- Muslim population in the country is slowly but steadily increasing
- Muslim consumers are becoming vocal
- More and more Muslims are visiting japan for business, studies or other purposes
- Due to the sluggishness of the domestic Japanese economy, Japanese food companies are trying to grab
Recently, a member of parliament approached few Muslim organizations based in Tokyo to get basic information about the concept and find out ways Japanese companies could cater to the necessities of the Muslims living in the country. A non-profit organization recently planned to hold the first-ever halal food fair in Fukuoka.
The 13th Annual Quran Recitation Competition in Japan was held at the Arabic Islamic Institute, Tokyo on Monday December 31, 2012.
The event started at 1:30pm and ended at 1am (1st Jan 2013). This event was organized by Japan Islamic Trust, Masjid Otsuka, with the cooperation of the Arabic Islamic Institute, Tokyo, and was sponsored by The Holy Quran Memorization Organization, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (بجدة لهيئة العالمية لتحفيظ القرآن الكريم ا رابطة العالم الإسلامي) along with some local businesses.
The basic aim of the competition was to strengthen the link among the Muslim community members in Japan with the Quran, to help increase the knowledge of, and love for the Quran, to help develop interest in the Quran recitation, to motivate memorizing, reciting and reviewing Quran, and to help develop skills in reading and reciting the Quran, and invite Muslims to engage in a great religious activity on the new year`s eve.
Although, the event has been taking place for the past 13 years, however, the number of participants this year, was incredibly huge. More than 134 children participated in the competition. Last year, there were around 80 participants from all over Japan.
The Chief Guest of this mega event was the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Japan, Dr. Abdulaziz A Turkistani. . He lauded the efforts made by the kids and their parents and teachers to memorize Quran. He further expressed the hope that more and more children will participate in the competition in the coming years.
Japan Islamic Trust (JIT) plans to hold even bigger events in the future as well.
Br. Aquil Siddiqui has been an active member of the Muslim community in Japan for more than four decades now. He has played a vital role on countless occasions to promote Dawah activities to the non-Muslims and helping the needy regardless of their religious affiliations.
Recently, Br. Aquil Siddiqui and Japan Islamic Trust organized a reach-out program to feed the homeless in the metropolitan Tokyo area. Tokyo Shimbun, a famous daily in Japan highlighted his social-welfare activities on their pages as mentioned below.
Muslims have a tremendous responsibility in Japan where Islam is not the dominant religion. Although, ordinary Japanese people have been exposed to Islam and Muslims for quite some time now, it was not until the late seventies and eighties in the 20th century, when, in the wake of economic bubble in the country, Muslims from many different parts of the world migrated to Japan to improve their economic lot.
As the majority of these Muslims, have, by now, established their businesses or have been engaged into meaningful jobs for quite some time now, they have been finding ways to assimilate themselves and their families into the larger fabric od the Japanese society. The past two decades have seen these Muslims making conscious efforts in building and maintaining religious and community institutions, such as masajid, schools (to a lesser extent) and after-school learning programs as these Muslims are likely to remain in this country instead of returning to their native lands. Muslims living in Japan have the following responsibilities to fulfill while living in the country.
- Educate our children, the future of Islam in Japan who are not as much exposed to Islamic learning environment as you were while being a kid. We need to establish Islamic schools and other religious and community institutions where children could get education according to fundamentals of Islam without having the fear of being corrupted from the ills of Japanese society while accepting the good points of the culture.
- Give proper time to your family as they do not get as many chances to entertain themselves as you get while working and living most of your day-time outside your home
- Take care of the not-yet-Msulims by giving Dawa`h to them as it is your moral and religious obligation to pay back for what you have been getting from the society and the culture.
- Take care of new Muslims by giving them advice, supporting their financial needs if they desire so and, above all, giving them the moral support they need as they have just left their families and are at a loss how to spend their time productively and thus become an active member of the Muslim community.
- Provide an environment where non-Muslims and new Muslims alike can contact for advice, info and help. Various Muslim organizations and masajid could establish special “hotlines” in this regard.
- Leave the personal identities you may have inherited from your respective countries and cultures back home and unite under the umbrella of one Muslim Ummah which is color-blind as its members are respected only on the basis of their taqwah and not the on the personal wealth they have accumulated over the years.
- Be an active part of the Muslim community in Japan by participating in the programs, activities and projects being organized by the Muslim community as a whole
- When you are in a minority, you are sitting at a melting pot as far as your Iman is concerned. So take care of your Iman by joining hands with the other members of the Muslim community in the country.
- Move closer to a Masjid as it will help you establish your prayers on regular basis instead of praying at home or, worse yet, totally ignoring them.
- Make the Muslim community bigger as they will support you and your kids in the long run
- Attend to the needs of your neighbors who are sick and do not have means to earn their living properly.
Please let me know if I have missed any thing. I look forward to hearing from you about this.
JapaneseMuslims.com plans to establish a “FEATURED PERSONALITY” program at its web site. The objective is to have a monthly(Inshallah) in-depth profile and showcase (including a picture where available) of one Muslim personality living in Japan who has contributed to the welfare of the Muslim community in Japan in one way or the other. Believe me, it could be YOU or someone else who you think has been quite active in the Muslim community in Japan.
We are planning to showcase the first such personality very soon Inshallah by interviewing him. You are invited to nominate a great personality who you think should be featured in these pages due to his or her outstanding contribution to the Muslims living in Japan. You could give us the names of as many people as possible, but in all cases, we need you to provide us with reasons and justification for your nominations (a paragraph or two will do).
In your submissions, please provide the following information regarding the personality.
Your Name: Your Contact Information (address, telephone #, email address, etc.) The nominee: Name: Contact Information: Organization: Profession: Justification: Please email completed nomination forms to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you very soon while we prepare ourselves to interview these personalities.