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Addition of A New Chapter in the History of Dawah Islamiah in Japan







By Hussain Khan, M.A. (Tokyo)



Osaka: Islamic awakening in Muslim intelligentsia became clear when Doctorate and Post-doctorate students in Japan from several Muslim countries like, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine and others gathered here for 3 days to attend the annual conference of Muslim Students Association, Japan (MSAJ). It was held here during the Obon holidays in Japan on 15th, 16th and 17th August in Chisun Shin-Osaka Hotel. It was attended by 280 foreign Muslim delegates from all over Japan and 130 local Japanese from near about Osaka areas.


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{(1) In the first row from the left is Dr. Esam Hamed Al-Abdul hafidh, Guest Speaker from WAMY, Saudi Arabia; Next to him is Mr. Haroon Qureshi from Otsuka mosque, Tokyo; next to him is Mr. Ahmad Jalal, President, MSAJ, Kita Kyushu, Program Manager of the conference; and the last person in the 1st row is the ex-General Secretary MSAJ for the year (2007-2008), who presented report of last year activities of MSAJ; (2) In the picture in middle, President of MSAJ, Osaka, Dr. Adel M. El-Kelesh, Chief organizer of the conference, is giving a present to Hotel Chef for preparing delicious Halal foods during 3-days of conference. (3) In the 3rd picture on the right, first person on the left in suit in 2nd row is Dr. Abdel-rehman Mohammad, who was the President of MSAJ for 2007-2008; 2nd person in the first row is Dr. Amjad from Palestine, President, MSAJ, Kanazawa University branch; next to him is Guest speaker Prof. Mohammed Al-Bbatairy, from Saudi Arabia and the last person in the first row is Mr. Mohammad Sato, a Japanese Muslim for last 30 years and President of Sendai Mosque and Islamic Center.) }

Two Professors, Esam Hamed Al-Abdul Hafidh and Mohammad Al-Bbatairy, well-versed in Islamic subjects were invited from World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), Saudi Arabia and one, Dr, Samir El-Shaikh, Professor of Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University, Cairo. They gave 5 lectures in Arabic and English during the 3-day conference on various Islamic topics, as requested by MSAJ, and answered questions from the attendants satisfactorily.

Two separate sessions were held for Non-Muslim Japanese. These were attended by 130 Japanese people. The morning session of about one and a half hour was devoted to lectures in Japanese language by a non-Muslim lady Prof. Aisa Kiyosue and by the Islamic Japanese scholar, Mr. Sulaiman Hamanaka. The 2nd session was devoted to Posters, showing important features of Islamic history and Islamic teachings.

There is a very strong Muslim Students Association in USA as well since long. Students of lower and higher levels are both included in it. But MSAJ does not have any lower level university students. This is the difference between the two. Japanese government has changed its policy. During the Fifties and Sixties, it used to offer scholarships to under-graduate students. But during the last few decades, it stopped scholarships for the under-graduates. Now all scholarships are given to doctorate and post-doctorate students only. Some Muslim governments and private institutions also are giving such scholarships. Recently, His Excellency Shah Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is said to have awarded scholarships to 200 Saudis to study in Japan. In this way, the number of highly-educated Muslim students has increased tremendously during the last few years. Now hundreds of such students are attending almost all universities all over Japan, specializing in several technical subjects. Their scholarship amount is barely sufficient for them to stay in Japan with their families and children.

It has suddenly increased the percentage of highly-educated Muslim residents in Japan. It is a new phenomenon for Islam in Japan and is an addition of a new chapter to the history of Dawah Islamiah in Japan. MSAJ has collected huge sums, mostly from the Muslim businessmen and car exporters and from among themselves, and have built Mosques around different Universities all over Japan, costing from a minimum of $250, 000 to $450,000 each. Dr. Abdel-rehman Mohammad, ex-President MSAJ until last week has informed that MSAJ usually has a campaign for specific mosque after they collect 60% of the total cost for the project, however most of donation was collected from car businesses.


So far they have completed building 8 beautiful mosques in different parts of Japan. It is continuing to collect funds from all Muslims to financially support building of one or two additional mosques each year in some part of Japan where there is no mosque in the city or near the university.

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{(1) Dr. Magdi Khaleel, ex-President, MSAJ (2006-2007) in picture 1 from the left; (2) Dr. Abdel-rehman Mohammad, ex-President (2007-2008) for current year and General Secretary, Japan Muslim Peace Federation, Tokyo, in picture 2 from left; (3) Dr. Ashraf A. Ewis, M. D., Ph. D., President, MSAJ newly elected for current year (2008-2009) and Mr. Saeed Zafar (Pakistan), General Secretary, newly elected for current year, Founder of newly constructed Mosque, worth $250,000 in Oita City,; (4) Mr. Haroon Qureshi, representing Otsuka Mosque, Tokyo with Dr. Khaled, President MSAJ, Niigata; Translator of Imam-e-Kaaba speeches in Toyama and Niigata and Mr. Mohammad Matsumae, a Japanes Muslim for over 20 years, visited Liya and Medina for Islamic studies in the last picture 4 from left.}

So far mostly Pakistani and a few Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan or Burmese Muslims, settled as businessmen of used cars or some other professions have built 40 to 50 mosques in various areas of Japan during the last two decades. After the emergence of MSAJ, this trend is now changing. Now MSAJ has started taking lead in such matters.

After the dissolution of Ottoman empire and the end of the two Great World Wars, Muslim countries started getting rid of the Western imperialism and struggled successfully to gain political independence. But during the period under the colonial tutelage, they were impregnated with the poison of anti-Islam Western education and its hollow but apparently glittering civilization. Most of the Muslim intelligentsia had lost faith in divine guidance for the social, economic and political ills of the modern civilization and confined their faith within the boundaries of mosques and madressahs only. A lot of them became secular and lost interest in 5-times prayers or even in weekly Jumah prayers. Ataturk was the first culprit who started secularization of a Muslim country, Turkey, and tried to change its Islamic character to imitate West and its degenerated civilization. Political leaders in most of the newly independent Muslim countries are still not much interested in implementing Islamic Shariah in their own countries.

The phenomenon, like the emergence of MSAJ, gives hope in this regard. Highly educated class of Muslim countries, as represented by MSAJ, shows that the future leaders in Muslim countries will be more serious for adopting Islamic teacings in their private and public lives than the previous generation, which was brought up under Western colonial rule over their countries. The present generation of Muslim youth and the intelligentsia that has been brought up in independent Muslims societies is becoming more and more Islamic than their previous generation under Western slavery. This is a matter of concern and a big headache for the Western intellectuals like the American author of renowned book "Clash of Civilizations", who is worried about the Islamic awakening of the Muslim youth and the increasinging number of people attending mosque prayers.

The forced creation of the Jewish state, Israel, after thousands of years by the active support of the West and the anti-Muslim attitude of the West with regard to Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya and etc. has also served as an eye-opener for the Muslim youth. These developments have generated a conviction in the minds and hearts of Muslim intelligentsia all over the world that their deliverance lies in this world and in the hereafter in their seriousness in following the teachings of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). These signs of Islamic awakening among the Western educated Muslim intelligentsia is a ray of hope for the Muslim revival and renaissance in 21st century.

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