By Hussain Khan, M.A. (Tokyo) – firstname.lastname@example.org
MSA in Japan holds annual forum in Osaka.
Osaka (August 19, 2008): An Islamic awakening in the Muslim intelligentsia can be seen in that Doctorate and Post-doctorate students in Japan from several Muslim countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia,Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine and others gathered here for 3 days to attend an annual conference of Muslim Students Association, Japan (MSAJ).
It was held here during the Obon holidays in Japan on August 15, 16 and 17th August in Chisun Shin-Osaka Hotel. the conference was attended by 280 foreign Muslim delegates from all over Japan and 130 local Japanese from near about Osaka areas.
Two Professors, Esam Hamed Ai-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 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 and their number 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. Every student is given around $1500 with cheap housing facility. This 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 among themselves, and have built Mosques around different Universities all over Japan, costing from a minimum of $250, 000 to $450,000 each. So far they have completed building 8 beautiful mosques in different parts of Japan. It is continuing to build or 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.
|A Kobe Mosque.|
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 political independence from Western imperialism. But during the period under the colonial tutelage, they were impregnated with the poison of anti-Islam Western education and its 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 into 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 changed 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 Islam than their previous generation, which was brought up under Western colonial rule over their countries. The 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.
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 and the intelligentsia that their deliverance lies in this world and in the hereafter in their seriousness in following the teachings of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (s). This Islamic awakening among the Western educated Muslim intelligentsia is a sign of hope for the Muslim revival and renaissance in 21st century.