Eid Mubarak from Japan

Published: November 9, 2011
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Tokyo Camii is a mosque which was built by the Turkish community who emigrated from Kazan (Russia) in 1938. PHOTO: KANZA AZEEMI

Nothing is better than Eid falling on a Sunday when you are in a country where the day is not an official holiday. For me this was my first Bakra Eid away from home. I was dreading it. I knew I would feel homesick and the six other Muslims in my dorm shared the sentiment.

We decided to stick together and keep busy. First things first, we had to decide where to go to offer Eid prayers. Our three options were: the Islamic Centre, Tokyo Camii and Otsuka Mosque.

Over the past two months, we (the Muslims in my dormitory) visited Otsuka mosque several times. On many occasions we have been accompanied by our non-Muslim friends interested in Islam. They have always been welcomed warmly and have been given the Holy Quran, or other books about Islam as presents.

We ended up deciding on Tokyo Camii, a beautiful mosque which was built by the Turkish community who emigrated from Kazan (Russia) in 1938.

We arrived there early and saw a blend of different nationalities. Everyone was dressed in their best attire to begin their Eid with prayers. Volunteers at the gates were ushering people to their respective places. People were coming with families and friends. We could see a gathering of Turks, Japanese, Bengalis, Africans, Indians, Moroccons, Egyptians, Arabs, Uzbeks, Indonesians, Algerians, Iranians, Malaysians and Pakistanis etc. It was the beginning of a truly multicultural and multilingual Eid.

Soon after, we sat quietly listening to the khutba (sermon). Surprisingly, it was offered in Turkish, Japanese and English. In Pakistan, no khutba is said to be complete without a part in Arabic. However, this was clearly not the case in Tokyo Camii. It was more important that people understood what was being said rather than entangling the whole community in the complexities of religious issues in a language they didn’t understand.

After the prayers and sermon, we were all invited to a magnificent feast. Rice with mutton curry, Börek, salad and mashed potatoes, followed by the Turkish sweet, baklava, and Turkish tea were served. The comfortable setting where the food was served provided a valuable opportunity for everyone to interact with each other. Muslims from different countries and talked of their national issues. Most people offered their condolences for those who lost their loved ones in the earthquake in Turkey on October 23, 2011.

When they discovered I was Pakistani they wanted to know how country was actually doing, what we think of our leaders, what the youth of Pakistan was doing to bring about change and how hopeful we were that this change would actually take place.

They asked us how difficult life is; they asked if the wives and mothers are worried about their husbands and sons returning home safe from work; they asked us how freely girls can go out alone during the day or night.

All questions were followed by:

“May Allah help your country and its people and mine too.”

The most appropriate end to a conversation, I believe. It also showed their concern for other Muslim countries in the world, regardless of their colour or race.

The Eid event at Tokyo Camii carried on for the whole day. The Turkish administrators did a commendable job of providing everyone with joyous moments and a memorable Eid in Tokyo.

Kanza Azeemi

Kanza Azeemi

An exchange student in Waseda University, Tokyo, studying Liberal Arts and teaching English. She is interested in social development specifically in the education sector.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • zalim singh

    @ Kanza Azeemi

    It also showed their concern for other Muslim countries in the world, regardless of their colour or race.

    why not the whole human race? why just muslims?

    In Hindu prayers, we sign off asking god- “sarwa jan sukhino bhavantu” which means pleading with god to keep all the human kind happy. This will keep people from not harming people of other religions.Recommend

  • Rashid

    One of the most refreshing writings I have read at ET! Simply beautiful…Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Its is amazing to know that people who were bombed to be annihilated in the past century, live and love to let others live with joy and peace. Even if hit by calamities like tsunami and earth quakes Japanese citizens are to be acknowledged and appreciated by their attitude of understanding other races, cultures and faith. The world need to know what truly is way to live by Japanese. The rising sun clearly, opens their minds. God bless JapanRecommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Excellent insight from Japan thanks to the author. Job well done!! Eid MubarakRecommend

  • malik

    Even after going to Japan, you still keep talking ‘me, my religion, my Islam’ etc. You were happy when Japanese invoked the name of Allah to please you.

    Please tell how Japanese cope with their religion in their daily lives. Do you think there are chances for spreading Islam among Japanese population? Is the field ripe for Tableeghi and Dawaa activities? What do you think we should learn from them? What aspect you liked from their religion?

    What is the point of going abroad if you refuse to open your mind? Recommend

  • Tahir Naeem

    I spent my Eid in Japan, too. Hah! I could’ve written something like this too. Late realization. Haha ^_^

    Awesome photography and a great article! Recommend

  • Parvez

    You are extremely fortunate to be studying in a country that all other countries should learn from. Just being exposed to the ‘Japanese experience’ must be rewarding in itself.Recommend

  • Azeemi Agha Mansoor

    My nice Niece!
    Eid Mubarak… and thanks for sharing such memorable moments.
    We also felt your absence here, but be sure, this is for a great cause…. i.e. LEARNING.

    I would like to endorse your words
    “It was more important that people understood what was being said rather than entangling the whole community in the complexities of religious issues in a language they didn’t understand. [Ref: Khutba (sermon) in Arabic].”

    May Allah bless you all.
    RegardsRecommend

  • Kashif Nawaz Shaikh

    Nice Blog, we need more of these so that people can see lighter side of things also.

    I agree that all Muslims do care about each other specially in other countries which is a good sign for Muslims around the world.

    Keep spreading good artilces and words, they will help.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Miss Azeemi,
    In pakistan also any sermon fridays or Eid are giving in Urdu or any local languages and then they read the Khutba which should be in arabic.Recommend

  • ADEL AZIM

    THIS IS IN BY NOW TIME MORE TIME AED MBARK FORM CO ENGLAND .Recommend

  • ayesha

    The Arabic part is supposed to be in Arabic only. The other part is not restricted to any language according to Islamic doctrine.

    The difference maybe because Japanese Muslims might not be following the Hanafi school of thought which is predominant in Pakistan.Recommend

  • nayak

    So when there will be Protest Organized against Hentai and those barely dressed girls?
    they are More danger than they look.
    wish you look at this side too.Recommend

  • http://fahadrnk.wordpress.com/ Fah

    beautiful mosque.. eid mubarakRecommend

  • Cynical

    Time for Japan to be worried.
    Philipines,Thailand are case in point.Recommend

  • Dante

    Wow that makes me want to visit Japan even more. I have always been interested in both Japan and South Korea. Some day I’ll definitely go there <3Recommend