日本におけるイスラーム

その歴史と普及、そして国内団体

Prof.Dr.サリーフ・マハディ・アルサマライ

イスラミックセンター代表

2009

 

 

イスラミックセンター・ジャパン

〒154-0041 東京都世田谷区大原1-16-11

電話:03-3460-6169

ファックス:03-3460-6105

E-mail:info@islamcenter.co.jp

URL:http//islamcenter.or.jp

 

序文

イスラームの光はアラビア半島から生じ、イラク、イラン、アフガニスタン、インド亜大陸へと東方へ広がり、それからマレーシアそして中国やフィリピンなどの遠方まで広がりを見せた。長い時間をかけ広がり続け、世界の異なる地域へと到達したが、日本へは19世紀の終わりになるまで到達しなかった。

実際、日本のムスリムと非ムスリムは同様に、何故イスラームがそんなにも遅れて到達し、中国やフィリピン到達した時代に日本に到達しなかったのだろうと不思議に思う。この論文では、50年の日本で過ごした私の生活と50年に及ぶ研究に基づき、時代ごとのそれぞれの事柄におけるあらゆる情報を記述することによって日本のイスラームの年代記を紹介したい。この仕事は網羅的であるとは言い張れないが、この主題の他の著作はより包括的な研究をきっと提供するだろう。私はこの仕事、これによって完全なるアッラーのご満悦を求め、アッラーに慈悲を祈り、そして私のムスリム兄弟たちの許しを請う。

サーリフ・マフディ・アルサマライ

E-mail: Salihsamarrai@yahoo.com

1900年以前の時代

1868年から始まった明治時代として知られている日本のルネッサンスの時代から始めよう。アジアにおいてたった2つの国、すなわちオスマーン帝国と日本が独立を謳歌していた。両国は西洋諸国からの圧力を受けるようになると、両国間の良好な関係を確立することを決め、お互いの国を頻繁に訪問し合うことを始めた。両国同士の訪問で最も重要な訪問は、1890年オスマーン・シャー司令長官率いる600人以上もの船夫と兵士を運んだエルトゥールル号に乗りやって来たアブデュルハミトⅡ世(1876~1909年治世)による日本への使節団であった。日本の天皇に謁見し、日本における任務を成功のうちに修めた後帰国の途に着いたが、船がまだ日本の領海内にあったとき、強烈な台風が船を転覆させた。スルターンの弟を含めた550名以上もの乗組員の命が奪われた。

強風は船体の両側を激しく揺さぶった。そして生存者は2隻の日本の船によってイスタンブールまで運ばれた。この事故の殉教者たちは事故現場に埋葬され、事故の現場から遠く離れていない場所に博物館が建てられた。日本人とトルコ人は、政権の断続的な変化にもかかわらず、今日に至るまで5年ごとに事後現場でこの事故の追悼を行っている。

故郷に帰る生存者を乗せた船には、トルコ人殉教者の家族のための寄付を立ち上げた野田寅次郎という若き日本人ジャーナリストが乗っていた。野田はイスタンブールに旅立ち、寄付金をトルコ当局に手渡した。そしてアブデュルハミトⅡ世にも謁見した。アブデュルハミトⅡ世は野田に、イスタンブールに滞在し、オスマーン帝国の将校たちに日本語を教えることを依頼した。野田がイスタンブールに滞在していた時、野田にイスラームを紹介した英国のリバプール出身のイギリス人ムスリムのアブドッラー・ギロームに出会った。トルコの当時の文献が示す通り、野田は長い議論の末、イスラームが真実であるという全面的な確信に至り、イスラームを受け入れ、アブドゥルハリームという名を選んだ。事実、アブドゥルハリーム野田は最初の日本人ムスリムと考えられるだろう。この後すぐ、集めた寄付金をトルコにいる殉教者の家族のもとに届けるために、山田というもうひとりの日本人が1893年にイスタンブールを訪れた。野田のイスラームへの改宗に引き続き、2人目の日本人がイスラームを受け入れた。山田はハリールもしくはアブドゥルハリールと改名した。山田は数年仕事をしながらイスタンブールに滞在し、故郷に戻った後死ぬまで、トルコとの友好な関係を保持し続けた。

イスラームを受け入れた3人目の日本人はアハマド有賀というクリスチャンの商人であった。有賀は1900年にインドのボンベイを訪問した。モスクの美しい光景は有賀を惹き付け、モスクの中に入っていきイスラームへの改宗を宣言した。この頃東京、横浜、神戸には数人のインド人ムスリム商人が住んでいた。彼らは日本で最初のムスリムコミュニティであると考えられている。

1900年から1920年の時代:

いくつかの文献が示しているように、スルタン・アブデュルハミトの外交使節のひとりであったムハンマド・アリは、横浜にモスクを建設する計画で1902年に日本を訪ねたが、計画は成功しなかった。

スルタン・アブデュルハミトの使節の一人であるトルコ人軍人ペルテヴ・パシャもまた、日露戦争(1904~05)を調査するために日本を訪れた。彼は2年を日本で過ごし、オスマーン皇帝に謁見し、トルコ語で3冊の本を著作した。(私は最初の2冊をアラビア語に翻訳した。)

日露戦争の後、日本人がイスラーム及びムスリム世界に興味を示しているというニュースが報道機関に舞い込んだ。そのニュースは日本人をイスラームに呼びかけるムスリムたちを奮い起こさせた。

著名なエジプト人の学者アッバース・マフムード・アルアッカドは、エジプトの将校の何人かはロシアに対する日本の勝利に非常に感銘を受け、自ら志願して日本軍に従軍し、後に彼らの子供たちを生む日本女性らと結婚したと言及している。彼らの何人かは故郷に帰り、一方他の何人かは日本に留まった。有名なインド人学者カーリー・サルファラズ・フセインもまた1905年の終わりから1906年の始にかけて日本を訪問し、長崎と東京でイスラームについての講演を行った。1905年にはロシア人ムスリムの捕虜のために大阪に初めてのモスクが建設された。

1906年には、日本が正しい信仰を選ぶために様々な宗教間を比較する会議が東京で開催されるというニュースがムスリム世界に伝わった。このニュースはまた、熱心なムスリムをこの会議に出席するために日本に旅立たせた。

エジプト人のシャリーア(イスラーム法)法学者でアズハル大学を卒業したアリ・アフマド・アルジャルジャーウィーは、この会議に出席することを求めた。そして彼は『日本の旅』という題名の本を書いた。アルジャルジャーウィーは中国人のスライマーンとロシア人のムフリス・マフムードそしてインド人のフセイン・アブドゥル・ムニームらと協力して、東京でイスラームを宣教するための団体を結成し、結果として1万2000人の日本人がイスラームに帰依するに至った。

2,3年後、ムスリム旅行者そしてロシア出身のイスラーム宣教師として有名なアブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームムは、1909円に来日し、アルジャルジャーウィーの主張を否定した。この主張は、日本で5年間(1909~1914)滞在したインド人の知識人ムハンマド・バラカートフにも否定された。事実、私(著者)自身も今まで数年間、アルジャルジャーウィーが日本を訪問したかしなかったかという事実の発見に努めているが、アフジャルジャーウィー著作の本以外にその趣旨でのどんな明白な証拠も見つかっていない。

アブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームは、1909年に来日し、6ヶ月間日本に滞在し、その間、いく人かの日本人と出会い、大臣から農民に至るまで交流した。彼のイスラーム活動の結果、多くの若い知識人や高官やジャーナリストらがイスラームを受け入れた。彼は中国・韓国・インドそしてサウジアラビアのヒジャーズ地方にも訪れ、オスマーン語による千ページの長さも及ぶ本を書き上げた。本論文の作者は、この本をアラビア語に翻訳し改訂した。現在印刷中であり、インシャーアッラー、まもなく出版されるだろう。

事実、アブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームは署名な旅行家であり、イスラーム宣教師であり、政治家であり、文士であり、博識な学者であった。エジプトの故アブドゥル・ワッハーブ・アッザーム博士は、アブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームが書いた著作はイブン・バットゥータの著作よりも遥かに素晴らしいと言及している。ムハンマド・ラジャブ・バイユーミー博士が記事で言及したように、雑誌『アルアズハル』において出版された。

ムハンマド・バラカトッラーはインドのボパール出身で、彼も日本を訪れ、東京外国語大学でウルドゥー語を初めて教えた人物だった。彼もまた、『イスラーム同胞愛』というイスラーム系雑誌を発行し、3年間(1910~1912)たくさんの日本人のイスラームへの改宗の管理を務めた。実際のところ、私は彼の雑誌は2巻しか見つけることができなかったが、日本におけるイスラームの初期の始まりを確実に記されている残りの刊の発見に依然として努めている。

アフマド・ファドリはエジプト人将校で、日本に滞在し、1908年に日本人女性と結婚した。ファドリはアブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームと出会い、彼と親密に仕事をした。ファドリはまた、6ヶ月の間バラカトッラーと共に親密に働き、バラカトッラーの雑誌の製作を手助けした。事実、ファドリは1911年にアラビア語で『日本発展の背後の秘密』を書き、『日本人の魂』をアラビア語に翻訳した。ファドリはアブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームと共に早稲田大学を訪れ、彼の3時間に及んだイスラームの講義を翻訳した。アブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームは、早稲田大学の1000人の中国人の中の39人がムスリムで、彼らはアラビア語でも題目のある『イスラームの目覚め』というイスラーム雑誌を中国語で出版していたと言及している。

ハサン秦野はバラカトッラーを通してイスラームを受け入れた。そして1981年に『イスラーム兄弟』という名の挿絵入りの雑誌を刊行した。秦野は1912年にもうひとつの雑誌『イスラーム』を日本語と英語で刊行した。私はこれら2つの雑誌のたった1冊分しか発見できなかった。

巡礼をした日本人初のムスリムは、オマル山岡であった。山岡は1909年にアブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームに同行して聖なる地へ、そしてその後イスタンブールに向かった。

フランスの雑誌『La Monde Musulmanムスリム世界』は1911年に発行され、中国に住む2人の日本人がイスラームに帰依し日本に帰国し、彼らの母国でイスラームを広めることを決意したという数々の報道を提供した

1920年から1930年にかけての時代

日本人は、領土拡張主義者として、経済的、文化的理由から、ムスリム世界により興味を持ち始めた。聖クルアーンの意味は日本語に翻訳され、イスラーム社会が構築され、イスラームとオリエンタリストの書物が書かれた。

ロシアの共産主義体制から逃れるためにタタール人ムスリム移民が、当時日本に入国し始めた。そして彼らの多くが、最終的に東京・名古屋・神戸に移住した。1924年に巡礼した第二の日本人ムスリムは、故田中逸平であった。田中は中国にいた時イスラームを受け入れた。オマル三田は聖クルアーンを日本語に翻訳したことでよく知られている、三田もまた中国でイスラームに入信した。

ウマル山岡はエジプトを訪れ、1924年にアズハル大学に行った。アズハル大学の礼服を着た山岡の一枚の写真が撮られた。その写真の中で山岡はまるでインドネシアかマレーシアの偉大な学者の一人であるかのように見えた。

1930年から1940年の時代

アブドゥル・ハイィ・クルバーン・アリーはタタール人ムスリムの宗教指導者になり、日本の内外で配信されたタタール語のイスラーム雑誌『Yapan Makhbari』を出版した。彼はまたアラビア文字の印刷所を設立し、そこでイスラーム書籍はタタール語で印刷された。クルアーンもまたこの印刷所で印刷された。この聖クルアーンは共産主義体制前のカザンの町で数年前に出版されたものだった。彼はまた日本当局との関係を強化し、日本当局の援助と支持で1938年に東京に最初のモスクを建設する何とか建設するに至った。モスクの落成式に出席したVIPらには故ハーフィズ・ワフバ、故アブドゥル・アズィーズ・アルサウード王の代理として在ロンドンのサウジアラビア大使、イエメンからはサイフ・アルイスラーム・アルフサイン、後にエジプトの外務大事となりその後エジプト共和国の副大統領となる在日本エジプト領事のマフムード・ファウズィーなどがいた。本論文の著者はこの時取撮られた写真と共にスピーチとその翻訳を今もなお保管している。

アブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームは1933年に再来日を果たし、クルバーン・アリーと日本のムスリムコミュニティの事務を協力して運営した。そこで彼によってイスラームに改宗した若い軍人たちは、後にこの国の重要な地位を占めた。彼は1944年に亡くなるまで日本に滞在した。

インド出身の指導教授であるヌール・アル=ハサン・バルラースは、来日して1932年から1949年まで東京外語大学にてウルドゥー語の教授に任命された。バルラースのイスラーム活動に積極的に活動し、ウルドゥー語で『日本のイスラーム』の記事を多数執筆した。私の現在の仕事はこれをアラビア語に翻訳することである。実際に私は1997年パキスタンのカラチでバルラースの息子に会い、孫ともカラチ、パキスタンのイスラマバードそしてサウジアラビアのリヤドで会った。

高名なインド人学者でイスラームの宣教師であるアリームッラー・スィッディーキは東京で何回かイスラームについての講義をした。アリームッラー・スィッディーキは、行きたい場所の世界中を旅し、多数のイスラミックセンターを設立した初期の旅行家でイスラームの宣教師のひとりであった。私は彼が1936年に東京の中心である銀座のオリオンホテルで、イスラームにおける女性の地位についての述べた彼の講義のコピーを持っている。

この時期、1935年にインド人ムスリムらが神戸にモスクを建設した。そして故ファイルーズ・ジャパンワラーがモスクの建設にあたって惜しみない財政貢献をした。私は1995年にデリーで彼の息子に会い、彼の父親に敬意を示し彼の額にキスをした。タタール人ムスリムもまた同時期に名古屋にモスクを建設した。

日本はまた、中国の一部であった東トルキスタン興味を示し、そしてこのような理由からムスリム指導者らと学生らを日本に招いた。彼らの中には、1938年から1953年まで東京モスクのイマーム職を務めたアミーン・イスラーミーがいた。彼はその後、サウジアラビアのターイフに移住し、それからジェッダに移住し、そこでアナウンサーとして働き、その後サウジの巡礼大臣として働いた。彼の子供たちはまだジェッダに住んでいる。

故ムスタファ・小村はもう一人の日本人指導であり、彼もまたこの時期にイスラームに改宗した。小村はイスラーム活動における重要な役割を果たし、東トルキスタンと中国の行政区の雲南のムスリムらと緊密に活動した。戦後、小村は公式に認められた二つのイスラーム協会を設立した。したがって小山は、日本当局から公式な登録を取りつけた最初の日本人ムスリムであった。これは、日本において文字通り非常に難しい仕事であった。小山はまた、何十人もの日本の学生をパキスタンやマレーシア、そしてサウジアラビアに送った。そして小山は、サウジアラビアの聖マッカでのオマル三田の日本語への聖クルアーンの意味の翻訳活動に参加した。そして日本のイスラームの歴史に関する広範囲に及ぶ百科辞典を執筆した。(これは我々が英語に翻訳した。)

この時期、多くの日本人ムスリムが巡礼をし始めた。数年後、日本人巡礼者である故サーリフ鈴木は、日本人巡礼者らを特別に世話する習慣があった故アブドゥル・アズィーズ・アルサウード王に面会するという名誉を与えられた。ヌール田中は1934年に二回目の巡礼をした。

実際に、サウジアラビアの聖マッカの世界ムスリム連盟で、かつて働いていたサイイド・アル=アームーディーは私に次のことを教えてくれた。30年代半ばムフシン・ジャーバーン・ウーグルー氏、クルバーン・アリー氏の義理の兄弟がサウジアラビアを訪ね、故ファイサル・ビン・アブドゥル・アズィーズ王にターイフで個人的に面会し、日本におけるムスリムの状況を王に説明し、援助と支援を求めたということだ。

署名なレバノン人実業家であり文士であるアブドゥル・ラフマーン・クリーラートもまた、ブラジルからの旅路の後、家族と共に日本にやって来て定住した。そして彼は日本のムスリムらに沢山の援助を与えた。アブドゥル・ハーディー・デビス(有能なビジネスマンだった)を年長者に抱えるデビス家もまた日本に移住した。デビスの従弟、故フォアード・デビス、そしてデビス家の全員が日本のムスリムとイスラームの援助に多大なる貢献をした。

1940年から1950年の時代

シェイフ・アブドゥッラー・トゥーガーイ(イスラームへの宣教師としてのアズハル大学の使節)は、1941年に日本に到着した。そして日本に六ヶ月の間だけ滞在し、第二次世界大戦の間連盟国に対する連合国側に加わったエジプトに帰っていった。日本がまだ静かな頃、ウマル林氏にアラビア語を教えていた。林はサウジアラビアのリヤド在のアラブ石油会社の代表者を何年も務める年配の日本人ムスリムのひとりだ。そしていまだに日本ムスリム協会で活動している。

有名なレバノンの株トレーダーであったアブドゥル・カリーム・タッバーラは、1941年に日本に滞在した。彼は熟練した日本語言語学者と日本人研究の類学者への道で失敗した後、日本の先住民であるアイヌ民族の持つシンボルと謎めいた文字を解読した。それから彼は東京で開かれた記者会見にこれらのシンボルと文字の翻訳を提供した。

日本は第二次世界大戦に加わり、アジア地域を占領した。そして日本は、中国やマレーシア、インドネシア、フィリピンからのムスリムらと接触する機会があった。

そして優秀な日本人らが、イスラームを受け入れた。マレーシアでイスラームに改宗したウマル五百旗、故アブドゥルムニール渡邊、故サディク今泉、故ファルーク長瀬、須田そして松林などである。

アブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒームは、日本専門の体表的なタタール人学者で、1944年に亡くなり、東京郊外の多摩ムスリム墓地に埋葬された。

日本が戦争に負け、3百万人の日本人が日本に帰国した。そしてその中にはアジアでイスラームを受け入れた者たちが含まれていた。

ヌール=ル=ハサン・バルラースは、古い切手を売り、パキスタンに帰国するため自分と妻の切符を買った。私は以前横浜の学校で勉強したという82歳の彼の息子に会った。

1950年から1960年の時代

オマル山岡、オマル三田、アブドゥルムニール渡邊、サディク今泉、オマル五百旗そしてムスタファ小村を含む数名の日本人ムスリムが集まり、1953年に日本初のムスリム協会を設立した。(日本ムスリム協会)

タブリーグ運動のメンバーは、1956年と1960年の間にパキスタンから日本に入国し始めた。タブリーグの最初のグループは1956年に日本を訪問した。そして私は、このグループの生存しているたったひとりのメンバーであるシャビール・アフマドとラホールで会った。彼らは日本を4回訪問し、私は1960年の4度目の来日の際、彼らに同行した。これらの熱心なムスリムらは、オマル三田・ムスタファ小村、そしてアブドゥルカリム斉藤やハーリド川端、オマル川端博士、ザカリーヤ中山、アリー森、そしてアミーン山本などの新たにイスラームに入信した者たちなどの日本人ムスリムのイスラーム精神を蘇らせた。最後の4人は、4つの主な日本列島の1つである四国で、偉大で指導的なイスラーム宣教師であった。サディク今泉はラマダーン磯貝、スバイル鈴木、スィディク中山そしてユースフ井守などを含む日本人数人をイスラームへと改宗する手助けをした。

この期間中、有能な宣教者が現れた。すなわち故アブドゥル・ラシード・アルシャドである。彼はタブリーグ運動のメンバー出身のパキスタン人技師で、また聖クルアーンを全て暗記していた。彼は日本政府の奨学金訓練派遣で、1959年に日本を訪れた。彼は3度目のタブリーグ使節団に加わり、ハーリド木場を含む多くの日本人を改宗させた。私が日本に住むことを勧めたのがまさにアブドゥル・ラシード・アルシャドであった。それは故アブドゥル・ハサン・アリー・アンナドウィーが彼のパキスタンへの訪問した際(そこで私はラヤプール(ファイスラバード)で農業学の勉強をしていた)、私が彼にアブドゥル・ラシード・アルシャドに紹介された後だった。アブドゥル・ラシード・アルシャドが日本から帰国した際、私は1959年、タブリーグ運動の年次会議の際、ラホールからそれ程離れていないラーユンドで彼にあった。彼は私を日本に行くよう勧めてくれた。そして彼は言った。日本とは1つの果樹園のようなものであり、そこは立ち入り可能で容易に摘み取ることのできる熟れた果実で溢れている、そしてイスラームに改宗した幾人かの者たちの性質は預言者様(彼に平安あれ)の教友達(サハーバ)の性質に似ていたと。

60年代初頭、アブドゥル・ラシード・アルシャドは、聖メッカとマディーナ間の電話回線を設置する計画を監督した。そして1961年日本にいた私は、オマル三田が聖クルアーンの日本語翻訳に取り掛かったとことを彼に知らせた。私は日本で、オマル三田と約一年間同じ部屋に住んでいたのだ。アブドゥル・ラシード・アルシャドは世界ムスリム連盟に連絡を取り、オマル三田とムスタファ小村を聖マッカに呼び寄せた。そして彼ら3人は、聖クルアーンの意味を日本語に翻訳するチームを形成した。アブドゥル・ラシード・アルシャドは1964年(またはおそらく1965年初期)、聖マッカと聖マディーナの区間、自動車事故で亡くなった。オマル三田とムスタファ小村も同乗していたが、事故から生還し、聖クルアーンの翻訳を出版した。

この時期にムスリム信仰を受け入れた主な日本人ダァイー(イスラームへ呼びかける者)は、故アブドルカリーム斉藤教授であった。斉藤は、タブリーグのグルームによってイスラームに改宗した。彼は拓殖大学で働き、多数の日本人の若者がイスラームを受け入れるための道を開いた。実際私たちは、60年代、この改宗者たち全員をエジプトのアズハル大学に送った。そして70年代には、彼らを、アラビア語習得とイスラーム研究のためサウジアラビアに送った。現在彼らのなかの数人は、日本の大学でアラビア語を教え、他の数人は大企業で働いている。そして他の数人は、ハーリド樋口・アミーン徳松、日本ムスリム協会の会長であったヤヒヤ遠藤らのように、初の日本ムスリム組織である日本ムスリム協会を経営している。

1960年から1970年の期間

トルコ、パキスタン、インドネシア、アラブ世界(私自身を含めて)などの異なるムスリムの国々からの外国人ムスリム学生は50年代終わりから60年代初めに日本に到着した。そして彼らは日本に、初のムスリム学生協会を設立した。この協会の管理委員会には、インドネシア出身のザハル博士、トルコ出身のムザファル・オゼイ、日本出身のアフマド鈴木、パキスタン出身のアブドゥルラフマーン・シッディーキ、そしてアラブ出身のサーリフ・マフディ・アルサマライらがいた。[3]

ムスリム学生らは日本ムスリム協会とともに「ダウア」合同委員会を設立した。日本側代表は、オマル三田、アブドゥルムニール渡邊、そしてアブドゥルカリム斉藤だった。そして学生側代表は、アブドゥルラフマーン・シッディーキ、ムザファル・オゼイ、サーリフ・マフディ・アルサマライだった。この委員会の数々の活動が実行は次の通りである。

1.オマル三田著のイスラームについての小冊子を出版し、イスラーム理解のためのアルマウドゥーディー氏の著作の翻訳し出版した。

2.ブラザー・ファルーク長瀬は『イスラームの声』という隔週会報の出版に助力した。

3.アルアズハル大学への日本人ムスリム青年らの派遣、そして集中入学準備訓練コースを設立した。

4.タブリーグメンバーが日本を去った後、すべてのダアワ(布教)活動を引き継いだ。

5.サウジアラビアやクウェート、また故アブドゥルカリム斉藤からの資金により、山梨県塩山に初のムスリム用の墓地を購入した。その後墓地は、日本ムスリム協会名義で登録された。

6.委員会はアブドゥルカリム斉藤教授をムスリム氏世界に紹介し、斉藤は最初にイラク、それからエジプト、サウジアラビア王国、そして他の多くのムスリム諸国を訪問した。

7.委員会は1965年に日本の西南に位置する四国の徳島に、初のイスラミックセンターを発足した。しかし一年しか継続しなかった。

8.在日初クウェート大使アルサニーゥ氏の援助と支援によって、1965年に東京に初のイスラミックセンターが設立された。センターは約一年続いたが、クウェート大使が日本を離れたことにより支援が途絶えた後閉鎖された。

在日サウジアラビア大使であった故アルマンクール、ムハンマド・バシール・クルディー氏、サラーフ・アルフサイニー氏(故アルハッジ・アミーン・アルフサイニー氏の息子で、後にエルサレムのムフティとなった)、彼らは東京のサウジアラビア大使館に勤務し、日本の我々のイスラーム活動に多大な支援を与えてくれた。実際、アルマンクール氏は、様々なイスラーム活動のため、あらゆる機会に多額の寄付を援助してくれた。

インドネシア人学生もまた日本の首都の中心、モスクから遠くないところに巨大な住宅を持っていた。そこで我々は、特にイード=ル=フィトルの祭りなど様々なイスラーム行事を執り行ったものだった。彼らはそこで美味しい食べ物を振る舞い、大きなパーティーを執り行った。そこには、ムスリムらと日本当局者高官ら、そして日本の国会議員までもが出席していた。このパーティーはインドネシア語で「アルハラール ビルハラール」と呼ばれた。

この期間の第三部は、ほとんどの学生が帰国した後、イスラーム活動は結果として衰退を目撃した。優秀で類まれな宣教者、サイイド・ジャミールは日本を訪問した。彼はパキスタン政府の会計主任であり、カラチで聖クルアーン暗誦協会の理事長であった。彼は前任者が始めイスラーム活動を引き継ぎ、拡大していった。彼は日本語でイスラームに関するいくつかの論文を発表した。彼の活動は韓国をも含んでいた。

非常に有能なエジプト人教授、故アリー・ハサン・エルサムニー教授もまた日本にやってきた。エルサムニーは1963年から1978年の間、東京外国語大学そして他のいくつかの日本の研究所においても、何千もの日本人学生にアラビア語を教えた。一流の教授らはエルサムニーに相談をし、彼らはエルサムニーの膨大な知識から益を得た。日本の天皇は彼のアラビア語とイスラーム文化の分野における貢献を評価し、彼に功労勲章を与えた。70年代の間、故アブドゥルカリム斉藤、アリー・ハサン・エルサムニーそしてこの論文の著者は、毎週日曜日の午後東京モスクにとどまり、日本の人々によるムスリムの信条についての質問に答えたものだった。

当時の東京モスクの2人のイマーム、故ミフターフッディーンとアイナーン・サファー、そして神戸モスクの当時のイマームであったカルキー師は、タタール人ムスリム移民であり、日本のムスリム共同体に多大な貢献をしたことも忘れてはならない。

この期間中、共同イスラーム会議によって行われた総合的なダアワ(布教)活動の財政的支援の主な源は、アブダッラー・アルアキール氏と、故アブドゥルラフマーン・アルドウサリー氏を通してクウェートからであったということを強調したい。アルドーサリー氏は、故アブドゥル・ラッザーク・アッサリーフ・アルムタッウア・アルキナーイ、そしてシェイフ・アブダッラー・アリー・アルムッタウアその他多数のムスリム慈善家らの寄付を立ち上げた。我々は日本のイスラームとムスリムらに与えられた貢献に対し、彼らに豊かにに報酬が与えられるようにと至高なるアッラーに祈る。

70年代:1970年から1980年の期間

サウジアラビアの故ファイサル・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ国王は、1970年に日本を訪問し、韓国からのムスリム代表者らを含む日本人ムスリムの代表者らに面会した。それから日本ムスリム学生協会の代表であるアブドゥル・バーシット・アッシバーイー博士は、機会を掴み、リヤド大学で教授をしているサーリフ・マフディ・アルサマライ博士を日本でのダアワ(布教)活動の手助けをするために日本に派遣してほしいとサウジ国王に懇願した。そして1973年、サウジ国王は快くこの要望を受け入れた。彼のイスラームとムスリムたちへの貢献に対し、アッラーが彼に豊に報酬をお与え下さいますように。

故ファイサル国王はまた、オマル三田が着手した聖クルアーンの日本のへの翻訳事業を管理していた。そしてファイサル国王は、在日本サウジアラビア大使館にこの事業に多額な金額を割り当てた。そして大使館がこの翻訳書が絶版になる度に毎回必要なだけの額を支払うように命じた。オマル三田は翻訳書の序論で、1970年夏サウジアラビアのリヤドにて、アフマド鈴木氏とサーリフ・マフディ・アルサマライ博士が翻訳作業の最終校正で彼を手伝ったことに言及している。

1971年から1972年の間、サイイド・ジャミールが日本と韓国においてイスラーム活動に貢献した。1973年、教育大臣であった故ハサン・アルシャイフによって補佐されたファイサル国王は、ダウア(布教)活動の手助けのためにこの論文の著者と他6名、日本人のハーリド木場(日本人)、東京モスクを建設した故アブドゥル・ハイィ・クルバーン・アリーの息子アサド・クルバーン・アリー、アブドゥル・バーシット・アッシバーイー博士(エジプト人)、アリー・アルズビー(シリア人)、アブドゥルラフマーン・シッディーキ(パキスタン人)そしてムーサ・ムハンマド・ウマル(スーダン人)を日本に派遣した。彼ら全員が日本の大学で勉強し、日本における主なイスラーム活動を引き受けた。このチームは、ダアワ活動で活発な他の日本人らと外国人高官(聖クルアーンを日本語に翻訳したオマル三田、アブドゥルカリム斉藤、アリー・ハサン・エルサムニー、マトルーブ・アリー・そしてアイナーン・サファーなどの)が協力して初の統合イスラミックセンターを設立した。我々は、ファイサル・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ国王を補佐した故シャイフ・ハサン・ビン・アブダッラー・アルシェイフのイスラミックセンター・ジャパンの様々な活動と日本のイスラーム布教活動の有益な支援において費やした多大な努力をここに言及することを忘れてはならない。故シェイフ・アブドゥル・アジーズ・ビン・バーズもまたこの点において重要な役割を果たした。事実、この二人の人物が日本のイスラーム布教の運命の形成を手助けした。どうかアッラーが彼らの努力に報いて下さいますように。

イスラミックセンター・ジャパンは、日本の歴史において危機的時期に設立された。それは、すなわち1973年から数年続く石油ショクであった。石油産出国の大部分がイスラーム教であるということで、日本人はイスラームに関心を持ち始めた。このセンターの設立は、100年もの間ダアワ(布教)活動に従事してきた全ての者たちの夢であった。一方、我々がその著作を読んだ、日本を訪れダウア活動に従事した全ての者たち(アブドゥル・ラシード・イブラーヒーム、ムハンマド・バラカトッラー、そしてヌール・ル=ハサン・バルラースなど)が、日本人ムスリムと日本語が流暢なムスリムらが日本国民のために日本語で本を出版し人々をイスラームに呼びかける場所となるイスラミックセンターが日本で設立されることをいつも夢見ていた。

1.イスラームに改宗した多数の日本人らがイスラミックセンター・ジャパンを頻繁に訪れるようになりました。

2.同センターは、イスラームに関する何冊もの書籍や小冊子を出版し、日本語の雑誌「アッサラーム」を刊行した。

3.同センターのダアワ(布教)活動は、北から南に至るまで国全体を網羅し、イスラームは北海道に到達し、初めて新たな支部が沢山の都市に開設された。

4.同センターはサウジアラビア王国とエジプトにイスラーム研究のために学生たちを派遣した。

5.1976年同センターは、インドネシア人コミュニティとムスリム学生協会と同様に、数々の日本の都市のイスラーム協会などを含む12の協会の様々なイスラームの取り組みを調整するための初の議会を設立した。

6.同センターは1977年、聖マッカのムスリム世界連盟と東京の中央大学(ハリード木場を先頭とし)が協力のもとイスラーム法(シャリーア)に関する初のシンポジウムを企画した。このイベントには日本の天皇の伯父、数名の最高裁判所のメンバーそして300人の日本人弁護士らが出席した。同センターはまた、聖マッカの世界ムスリム連盟の総秘書であった故ムハンマド・アリー・アルハラカーンが出席した。このシンポジウムは3日間続き、議事録はアラビア語と日本語英語で発表され、いまだに続く「シャリーア」に関する数多くの研究への道を切り開いた。

7.この議会は、莫大な発行部数の日本の代表的な新聞各社とイスラミックセンター・ジャパンとリヤド大学の協賛のもと、東京や他の日本の諸都市の数千人が出席した文化的シンポジウムを企画した。これらのイベントには、リヤド大学の学長であるアブドゥル・アジーズ・アルファッダ博士とタウフィークアッシュシャーウィ博士が出席した。

8.この会議は、アフマド・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ・アルサウード殿下とサウジアラビア内務省副大臣、そして聖マッカの世界ムスリム連盟の支援により、1976年に始まったハッジ(巡礼)旅行を企画した。

9.1975年、故ハサン・アルシェイフ閣下は議会を訪問した。イスラミックセンター・ジャパンは、日本にイスラームの知識を提供し、アラビア語とイスラーム文化を日本人に教えるために東京にアラブ・イスラミック研究所を設立して欲しいと閣下に要望した。閣下はその件を、リヤドにあるイマーム・ムハンマド・ビン・サウード大学に委託し、大学側はアブダッラー・ビン・アブドゥル・モフシン・アルトルキー学長を通して請け負った。アラビア語とイスラーム文化を教えること、そしてたくさんの学生がイスラームに改宗することによって何千もの日本人に大きな利益をもたらしたこの偉大な文化的建物の建設を彼が監督した。サウード・アルファイサル皇太子は、東京にアラブ・イスラミック研究所を建設するためにサウジアラビア大使館の敷地とそのすべての建物を提供した。サウジ君主であったファハド・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ・アルサウード国王は、この研究所建設の計画に1千万ドルを助成し、そしてもう百万ドルを建設完成のために追加した。アッラーが彼の魂を祝福してくださいますように。

10.     この時期より前に我々は、新たにイスラームに改宗した人の数は1000名から3000名の間という数字をはじき出していたが、後に一万人を超える改宗者の数を数え始めた。イスラームの目覚めは、日本の人々の間に広がっていた。イスラームはかつて回教と呼ばれた。しかし現在は「Isram」(イスラーム)と呼ばれている。(日本語ではLの文字を持たないので代わりにRで代用している。)

この時代と後の時代の日本におけるイスラーム活動の主な財政的・文化的援助は、ほとんどがサウジアラビア王国と政府及び国民、そして聖マッカの世界ムスリム連盟、カタール、アラブ首長国連邦、クウェート、オマーン、(アズハル大学を代表して)エジプト、そして日本に多くのイスラーム宣教師を派遣したリビアからのものであった。我々は、日本におけるイスラーム活動に多くの必要な援助を提供してくれた、数多くの人々についてお話したい。初代在日カタール大使であったハマド・アルハージリー氏。アルハージリー氏は、イスラミックセンター設立の時期に初めて財政的援助を我々に提供してくれた。そしてカタールのシャリーア(イスラーム法)裁判所の所長であったシェイフ・アブダッラー・アルアンサーリー氏、アラブ首長国連邦シャリーア裁判所所長の故アブドゥル・アジーズ・アルムバーラク氏、シャルジャの故アブドゥッラー・アルマフムード氏、サウジアラビアのアブドゥルラフマーン・アルドウサリー氏、故アブドゥル・ラッザーク・アルサリーフ・アルムタッワー氏、故アブドゥッラー・アッリ・アルムタッワー氏、シェイフ・ユースフ・アルハッジ氏、そしてクウェートのアブドゥッラー・アルアキール氏である。

1980年から2009年の期間

80年代初頭、ハーリド・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ国王は、イスラミックセンター・ジャパンの事務所の建物を建設するための土地を寄贈した。ナーイフ・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ皇太子及びアフマド・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ皇太子は、この素晴らしい文化的建物の建設のスポンサーとなった。そしてこのセンターは主要なイスラームの知識の源となり、教授や学生、ジャーナリストや報道関係者、そして一般市民が頻繁に訪れるようになった。このセンターは現在でもその中心的役割を担い、そして常に発展し続けている。

1985年、ナーイフ・ビン・アブドゥル・アジーズ皇太子がイスラミックセンターを訪問し、1986年にはアフマド・ビン・アブドゥル・アジーズ皇太子が訪問した。両者ともセンターの様々な活動に財政的・道徳的援助を施してくれた。アッラーが彼らの努力について彼らに最良の報奨をお与えになりますように。

日本のイスラームの存在の歴史における最も大きな発展は、80年代半ば、即ち日本に入国し始まったムスリム移民の大規模な殺到に始まった。彼らのほとんどは、インドネシア、パキスタン、バングラデッシュ、インド、スリランカ、イラン、アフガニスタン、アフリカ、トルコ、そしてアラブ世界からであった。彼らは皆生計のために日本にやって来た。彼らは日本女性と、彼女たちの改宗の後に結婚し、結果的に彼らは永住権を手にした。

彼らのなかの幾人かは日本国籍を授与され、子供たちは出生によって日本人となった。これらの移民たちはモスクや礼拝所を建設し、ハラール食品のレストランやハラール食品の店を開いた。彼らの家とモスクは新しい日本人改宗者を啓蒙し、崇高な原理と実践を彼らに教えるための場所とした。

1986年東京モスクは同じ場所に再建設されるため、日本のムスリムらが落胆するなか取り壊された。建設段階でいくつかの障害に直面した。しかしながら崇高なるアッラーのお助けとイスラミックセンージャパンの継続的努力、そしてトルコ及び他の国々の敬虔なムスリムたちのお陰で、オスマーン建築様式の東京モスクの建設は2000年、ついに完成した。この素晴らしいモスクは、イスラームに興味を抱く日本の人々の訪問を受け続けている。トルコの宗教省がこの建設業務のほとんどを取り仕切った。イスラミックセンター・ジャパンを含め日本内外のムスリムらは、このモスク建設の費用に対して3分の1の資金を集めた。そしてそのほとんどを我々イスラミックセンターが集めた。トルコ宗教省は現在も東京モスクを管理している。

日本の西南に位置する古い神戸モスクにイスラーム文化センターに役割を果たす付属の建物を拡張した。再びフアード・ダビス氏を通しダビス家がその建設費用のほとんどを支払った。この拡張は、事実上日本のこの地方におけるイスラームの知識と啓蒙のもう1つの源となり、十分な役割を果たした。

名古屋では、新たなモスクが、第二次世界大戦の間に取り壊された古いモスクの建て替えを行った。そして建設過程は、慈善家のパキスタン人商人アブドゥル・ワッハーブ・クライシー氏が監督し、2つの(マッカとマディーナの)聖モスクの総務所長であるサーリフ・ビン・アブダッラー・ビン・ハミードによって落成式が執り行われた。このモスクは、イスラーム教育と崇拝行為に熱心に従事する地元のムスリムたちの会合の場を提供した。アブドゥル・ワッハーブ・クライシー氏はまた、遠く離れたモスクからムスリム子女の学校を設立した。アッラーが、彼のイスラームとムスリムらに施した奉仕に対し彼に報酬をお与えくださいますようにパキスタンやバングラデシュやアフリカ出身の兄弟たちによって設立されたモスクは、実際数多く存在する。一ノ割にあるタブリーグ運動のメンバーによって設立されたモスクに加え、彼らに関連した他のモスク、パキスターン・ジャマアート・イスラーミーのメンバーによって建てられたこれらのモスク、スルターン・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ皇太子の多額の寄付を受け取り、ウマル・ビン・アブダッラー・アルスバイル師(聖マッカのモスクのイマーム)によって落成式が執り行われた大塚モスク、元工場であった戸田モスク、そして伊勢崎モスク。イスラミックセンターは日本の全てもモスクのリストを所有しており、モスクの地図と住所と一緒にしたリストを出版する予定である。日本ムスリム協会の兄弟たちは、彼らの新たな本部の購入を許可したアブダッラー・ビン・アブドゥル・アジーズ国王からの多大な寄付を受け取った。

日本の首都東京でムスリムたちを結び付けていた東京モスクの取り壊しから生じた悲しみの感情にもかかわらず、このモスクの取り壊しは祝福であった。完全なるアッラーはより多くのモスクや礼拝所が建設されるためにムスリムの数を急激に増やし、ムスリムたちを激励するより良い「代わり」をお与えになった。最初の「代わり」は、東京のアラブ・イスラーム学院だった。そこでは2度のイードの礼拝や、日に5回の礼拝の間崇拝者たちのための広い部屋を提供した。至高なるアッラーが、ここの管理委員のメンバーの努力に対し良き報酬をお与え下さいますように。インドネシア人兄弟もまた、インドネシア大使館と学校の礼拝場を多数の崇拝者に提供した。イランとマレーシアの兄弟たちも同じ目的のために大使館を利用した。日本の新しいモスクを建設したのはタブリーギーの信奉者たちであった。それから残りのムスリムらがそれに続いた。事実、イスラミックセンター・ジャパンは日本の北と南両方のより多くの学生とより僅かなムスリム商人がいる地域に場所を借りるための費用を半分負担した。東京からそれほど遠くない神奈川県に位置する海老名モスクは日本で最も現代的なモスクを代表している。その建設費用は100万ドルだったが、ムスリムらは神奈川県以外からはわずか1ペニーも集めなかった。

イスラームダアワの最近のセンターのひとつは、皇太子アブドゥルアジーズ・ビン・ファハド・ビン・アブドゥルアジ-ズ・アルサウードが東京の周辺の八皇太子に建設したタウヒードモスクである。このモスクは、サウジアラビア王国によって支援された一連のイスラミック計画を代表している。至高なるアッラーは、彼らがイスラームとムスリムらに与えた奉仕に対し良い報酬をお与えになりますように。

ここ最近の何年かで、仙台、筑波、福岡、京都などに新たにモスクが建設された。これらの新しいモスクはほとんどが短い期間で建てられたといっても過言ではない。

この期間でもっとも重要なイベントの一つは「日本とムスリム世界間の関係と日本における100年のイスラーム歴史」に関するシンポジウムが開催されたということである。このシンポジウムは2000年にイスラミックセンター・ジャパンとジェッダのイスラーム諸国会議機構(OIC)との共催で執り行われ、2つの聖モスクの守護者であるファハド・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ国王、聖マッカのムスリム世界同盟(MLW),ジェッダのイスラーム開発銀行(IDB),ムスリム青年世界集会(WAMY),そしてクウェートの国際イスラミック慈善機構からの寛大な寄付を受け取った。このシンポジウムや、近隣・関係諸国のムスリムの70人の代表者が出席した。その中には、サウジアラビアのイスラーム業務(寄付やダアワ導きに関する)大臣シェイフ・サリーフ・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ氏もいた。このシンポジウムは数多くの日本人知識人や著名な日本人教授が出席し、ムスリムも非ムスリムも同様に貴重な研究に貢献した。日本の外務省の代表者を含む様々な代表らが研究に貢献し、スピーチを行った。東京内外の様々なイスラーム団体からの代表者らも同様に出席し、シンポジウムの成功を助けた。このシンポジウムは3日続き、この期間は日本でイスラームの存在を目立たせた。日本の政府関係者、特に外務省はこのイベントを暖かく歓迎し、日本とムスリム世界間の深い関係のための同様な活動を計画することを開催者に要求した。一方、日本の外務省は後に、日本とムスリム世界間の関係に関するシンポジウムをほとんど毎年開催した。東京のアラブ・イスラーム学院は同じやり方で従った。

この期間もまたイスラミックセンター・ジャパンと世界ムスリム青年会議(WAMY)と協して年次イスラームキャンプを企画した。これらの活動はアブドゥルアジーズ・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ・アルサウード皇太子からの豊富な財政的援助と精神的支援を受け取り、そして殿下からこのイベントの代表に選ばれたシェイフ・サアド・ビン・アブダッラー・アルブリーク師の知識と指導から益を得た。実際シェイフ・サアド・ビン・アブダッラー・アルブリーク師は、20年間非常に活発であった活動を総合コーディネーターのアブドゥルカリム斎藤教授の死で終えてしまったイスラーム団体間の企画会議の仕事を、キャンプの期間中再開させるという主要な役割を果たした。実に350人の日本の様々な地域からのムスリムの代表者らはこの議会を復興させる取組みの書類に調印した。日本の著名な学者で聖マッカのムスリム世界同盟の設立委員会メンバーであるハーリド木場は、イスラミックセンター・ジャパンの所長のひとりは議会の総合コーディネーターに任命された。

日本のムスリムらの主な心配事のひとつは、特に彼らの数が劇的に増えた後では、彼らの死者の埋葬であった。日本ムスリム協会で我々の兄弟の管理のもと塩山霊園の一つの墓の価格は1万5000ドルであった。無料で死者を埋葬できる東京近郊地域のひとつの土地購入を考えた故、彼らは日本のムスリムコミュニティのメンバーから寄付を集め始めた。

その後故ファハド・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ国王から、土地の購入に必要な額の70万ドルの寄付が寄せられた。新たなムスリム霊園委員、特にその責任者でありパキスタン人実業家として横浜のムスリム実業家たちの間でよく知られていたミヤーン・アフターブ氏もまた、数々のイスラームプロジェクトを金銭的に支援していた。彼は、この国で唯一公式に登録された宗教団体であるイスラミックセンター・ジャパンの名のもとにこの霊園の土地を正式に登録することを要望した。そして唯一の公式宗教団体は、霊園を設立要求の権利を持つ唯一の団体であった。イスラミックセンター・ジャパンはその要望を受け入れ、ムスリム霊園設立のための土地を所有するために委員会と共に活動した。

イスラミックセンターは同様に、日本人導師として有名なハッジ・ムハンマド澤田の指導のもと43人の日本人ムスリム(マ)で構成された自費による大巡礼を監督した。彼らとともにシェイフ・ニメトゥッラー・ユート師とアブドゥルラフマーン・シッディーキ氏を送った。センターはまた、1999年に二つの聖モスクの守護者により始められた大巡礼旅行を手配した。会議によって企画された最近の巡礼旅行は、アブドゥルアジーズ・ビン・ファハド・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ・アルサウード殿下によって多額の金銭的援助を増大され行われた。至高なるアッラーが多大な援助と支援のため彼らに良い報酬をお与えになりますように。2008年には日本から200人もの彼らの出費によりハッジが執り行われた。

日本における現在のムスリムの存在

日本のムスリム、日本人そして居住者、最北の島北海道から台湾の近隣の南の小さな島沖縄まで、そして東に位置する東京から西に位置する金沢・島根・鳥取まで日本全体を多かれ少なかれ網羅している。我々は日本のムスリムらを次に述べるカテゴリーに分類することが可能である。

1.日本人ムスリムたち

彼らは、次のように分類される。

a.日本人ムスリム所有の団体、それは下記の通りである。

・日本ムスリム協会:日本ムスリム協会は、第二次世界大戦以前に既にムスリムであった者たちに加え、インドネシアやマレーシアそして中国で改宗したのちに日本に帰還した初期ムスリムたちによって1953年に、設立された最初の主要なイスラーム協会である。

イスラーム大学であるアズハル大学、マディーナにある大学そして聖マッカのウンムルクラー大学の卒業生らは、協会で活躍し現在理事長であるアミーン徳増(アズハル大学卒)、そしてヤヒヤ遠藤(マディーナのイスラーム大学卒)も協会のメンバーであり、ヌールッディーン森(聖マッカのウンムルクラー大学卒)もまたそうである。

・北海道イスラミックソサイエティー(アブダッラー新井氏)

・京都の日本イスラーム友好協会(アリー小林氏)

・大阪のイスラミックダアワ協会(アブドゥルラヒーム山口氏)

・奈良のイスラミック協会(ムハンマド中村氏)

・大阪・京都のムスリマ協会(ゼバ久米氏)

・東京のアラブ文化協会(ジャミーラ高橋氏)

b.ムスリムの学生を含む日本人と在留外国人ムスリムの合同団体

このタイプは、多くの数があり日本各地に広がっている。少し例を挙げるならば、日本の南西に位置する徳島にあるハーリド木場氏の運営する協会がある。木場氏はまたイスラミックセンター・ジャパンのメンバーでもある。アブドゥルジャッバール前田教授の運営する九州東南の宮崎にあるイスラーム協会、ムハンマド佐藤氏が活躍するムスリム学生協会、そして仙台イスラミック協会とイスラミックセンター・ジャパン、そしてムルタダー倉澤教授はイスラミックセンター・ジャパンのディレクターのひとりであり同時に名古屋大学教授である。

c.個人

イスラーム活動の点ではこれらの各個人は等しいと推測される。彼らは日本人ムスリムの大多数を代表している。彼らは日本で15以上のウェブサイトを運営している。そこで日本人にイスラームを紹介している。次に挙げるのが(少ない例ではあるが)その個人である。

・四国のスライマーン浜中氏(浜中氏はウェブサイトとモスクを所有している)

・小杉教授(京都大学)。小杉教授は主要なテレビ局、NHKに何度も出演している。また会議や講義の数々にも貢献している。

大波教授(京都大学工学部)。彼は聖クルアーンの日本語訳を自身のウェブサイトで立ち上げている。

故田中史郎教授は、京都外国語大学にかつて勤務しており、聖クルアーンを暗記していた。

・ヒシャーム黒田教授(新潟国際大学)は多くの本を著し、故ジャアファル井筒の生徒のひとりであった。

・アシュラフ安井氏(日本学院のアラビア語講師

日本のムスリムの状況は、聖マッカ時代のムスリムたちの状況に比較的似ている。新しいムスリムたちは、アラビア半島の様々な都市や村々、そしてオアシスに散らばっていた。彼らの幾人かは信仰を隠し、一方他の幾人かは信仰を公に宣言した。彼らがマディーナに移住するまで拷問と害を招いた。

日本のムスリムの数は何人かという一つの疑問がここに挙げられる。その答えは、この国ではムスリムの信頼のおける調査がないということだ。実際100のイスラーム団体が存在し、100を超えるモスクと礼拝所があり、たくさんの日本人がそこでほとんど毎日のようにイスラームに入信している。

加えて、1700万人もの日本人が毎年旅行者として日本を出国する。彼らの数人はムスリム国や欧米の国々で、イスラームに入信している。彼らはイスラーム書籍を注文するため我々にオンラインで接触し、我々は彼らの要望をすぐさま受け入れている。ある日本人ムスリマが一度我々にクアラルンプールからE-mailを送ってきた。メールには50人の日本人男女がイスラームに興味を持っていると書いてあり、我々に日本語によるイスラーム書籍を彼女に送るように要望した。日本人ムスリムらは約10万人以上と推測される。一方外国人ムスリムの数は30万人以上だと推測される。しかしながらこの数字は観測者らが様々な観点から見てはじき出した異なる見積による大雑把な概算でしかない。この数字は価値に値しないが、日本のムスリムの数は増加の一途を辿り、しかも日本人は世界の他のどの国の人々よりもイスラームに近い。事実日本人はこの宗教に敬意を払い、そしてイスラームは日本人の永続する理想と伝統を確証していると信じている。

2.ムスリム移民

・日本にやって来た初期のムスリムらは、独立前のインド亜大陸出身の者たちであった。

彼らは19世紀の終わりに日本にやって来て、東京、横浜そして神戸に定住し、そこで商売に従事した。彼らは1935年神戸に初の常駐モスクを建設した。このモスクは隣接する教会を破壊した第二次世界大戦、そして同じ教会を2度目に破壊した1995年の大地震を耐え忍ぶという時代の試練に耐えた。

・  ムスリム移民の第二世代はタタール人、カザントルコ人から構成されており、20世紀初頭に共産主義体制から逃れるために来日した。彼らは神戸にインド人ムスリムらと一緒に生活し、名古屋にモスクを建てた。このモスクは第二次世界大戦中に破壊された。彼らは1938年に東京モスクを建設し、東京モスクでは故アブドゥル・ハイィ・クルバーン・アリー師によるイスラーム活動が先導された。我々は、これらの移民たちが日本に最初に定住したムスリムコミュニティを代表していると断言できる。彼らのうち若者の多くはトルコやヨーロッパそしてアメリカに移住し、彼らのうちほんのわずかが日本にいまだ留まっている。

・  インドネシア人とマレーシア人ムスリムらは、日本に定住したムスリム移民の第三のグループである。彼らとタタール人ムスリムらとの間に競技場の論争が起こった(インドネシア人とマレーシア人はシャーフィイー学派に従い、一方タタール人らはハナフィー学派に従っている)。この論争は、タタール人ムスリムの指導者であった故アブドゥル・ハイィ・クルバーン・アリー師が、マッカの聖モスクのイマームであったアルマスーミー師にこの論争に関する手紙を書かせることとなった。そしてアルマスーミー師は『日本国へのスルターンの贈り物』という題目の論文にて返答した。この論文は30年代に出版された。この論文は、何度も再版され、いまだに配布されている。インドネシア人もミュにティは、日本で最も大きなムスリムコミュニティであり続けている。彼らは東京に学校やモスクを持っており、これらの建物は、ムスリムたちが東京モスクがなくて寂しい思いをしていたときに重要な役割を果たした

・  最も大きな移民団は、過去の世紀の80年代以降続いているものである。これらの移民らは様々な国籍から成っており、彼らは日本人ムスリマと結婚した後に日本に定住した。この移民形態に関する新たな傾向は、主にインドネシアやマレーシア、フィリピンやアラブ世界出身のムスリマらと、改宗の後の日本人男性の結婚である。最近の結婚のひとつには、日本人男性の改宗後のロシア人ムスリマとの結婚を含んでいる。

3.ムスリム諸国からやって来たムスリム学生たち

日本にやって来た最初のムスリム学生は中国人であった。約40人のこれらの学生らは1909年に早稲田大学で勉強した。そして『イスラームの目覚め』というアラビア語のタイトル持つ中国語のイスラーム雑誌を発行した。旅行家で著名なダァイー(宣教師)であったラシード・イブラーヒームの息子であるアフマド・ムニールを含む3人のオスマーン帝国の学生らが1919年早稲田大学にやって来た。第二次世界大戦中インドネシアとマレーシアから沢山の学生が来日し、彼らの幾人かは、広島に投下された原子爆弾により殉教し、幾人かは生き延びた。実際に私は数年前に、これらの原子爆弾の犠牲者に面会した。タタール人移民の子供たちは、日本の学校に通い日本の大学で勉強した。彼らのなかにはアルティンバーイ博士やアルハッジ・タミーム・ダール・ムヒート博士とその妻、ラマダーン・サファー氏とアサド・クルバーン・アリー氏がいた。彼らは過去の世紀の40年代のイスラーム団体を設立した。

ムスリム学生の大多数は、50年代の第二次世界大戦後にこの国に来始め、依然増加の一途をたどっている。これらの学生のほとんどが、インドネシア、マレーシア、パキスタン、バングラデッシュ、アラブ世界、トルコ、イランそしてアフリカからやって来た。彼らは日本人ムスリムと日本永住の他のムスリムらと協力して、礼拝や集会のための場所に加え書店とハラール肉を販売する店を含んだホールを借り、各都市にイスラームの共同社会を形成した。

実は、私は、預言者(彼にアッラーの)の民族であるアラブ以外の全てのムスリム民族がモスクを建設したという事実をいつも残念に思っていた。そしてついに、アラブ人ムスリムたち(ほとんどがエジプト出身者)が、彼ら滞在している東京郊外の新三郷にムサッラー(礼拝所)を設立した。彼らのうち25人と他の学生らは2000年に巡礼を行った。他の国籍の多くの学生がこの年巡礼を執り行った。

4.イスラーム諸国からの研修生たち

イスラーム諸国からの沢山の数の研修生が来日し、数週間から一年日本に滞在した。これらの研修生たちはどこでハラール食品が手に入るのか、そして礼拝時刻についても知る必要があった。彼らの多くはまた、イスラームについて尋ね、メールやファックスで書籍や数々の質問の答えの提供を我々に求め、そして我々はすぐに求めに応じた。これらの研修生たちは日本人にイスラームを紹介するのに大きな役割を果たした。そしてこの国におけるムスリムとしての純粋な彼らの存在は、日本人がイスラームについ何を教えるきっかけとなっている。特に彼らがイスラームの教えに則って生活することを探求し、実践していた場合には。

5.ムスリムのビジネスマンと観光客

日本とムスリム世界間の商業的関係はかなり古く、そして現在でも続いている。日本人にイスラームを紹介するのに大きな役割を果たしている沢山の数のビジネスマンと観光客は、毎年この国を訪れている。我々のイスラミックセンター・ジャパンは、日本語のイスラーム書籍や冊子を専門に取り扱っており、日本の全てのイスラーム団体、学生、専門化、ビジネスマン、観光客などのために必要なイスラーム資料を提供している。また新しく来た人々にも、モスクや礼拝時間、ハラール食品そしてイスラームの集いについての必要な情報を提供している。

注釈

ここに再び日本人が崇高な性格と善い性質を体現していると強調しておこう。事実日本人はイスラームについて知るとそこに日本社会が持ち合わせている思考に適合するのを見出す。至高なるアッラーが彼らの導きを望めば、彼らはイスラームに改宗する。日本人が、昔の日本の将軍であった侍から根本的は性質を受け継いでいると文献にある。

一人の若者が、イスラームを勉強し、改宗したいと我々にメールを送ってきた。彼は彼の信仰告白の前にどのようにどのように礼拝をするか学ぶべきだろうか?割礼は義務なのだろうか?ムスリムの医師だけが処置できるのだろうか?そうでなければ、近所のどんな病院でも割礼の準備が整っているのだろうか?

また、他の女性は、大学に論文を提出するためにイスラームについて研究して、イスラームは素晴らしい宗教であることがわかったと、我々に手紙を書いてきた。彼女はまた、彼女の大学の学生を「科学的方法」でイスラームに導きたい言っていた。「私は豚肉の禁止が衛生に関係があることを知っています。それからもしイスラームに現代科学で立証されているどんな科学的事実が存在するならば、大学の学生たちをイスラームに呼びかけることが可能だろう」と彼女は言った。

ムハンマド・ダーウードに関して言えば、彼はエルサレムとガザを2年前に訪問し、イスラームが好きになった。彼が日本に帰国した際、よく知られた日本人イスラーム宣教師シスター・ゼバ・久米に接触した。シスター・ゼバは彼にイスラームを教え、彼は最終的に改宗した。私はここにシスター・ゼバは、イスラーム活動において100人、いや1000人の男性に値するであろうということを言っておかなければならない。

オスマーンは京都大学2年生である。彼はトルコに1週間訪問し、イスラームに恋に落ちた。彼は日本に帰国すると、シスター・ゼバ久米から手に入れたイスラミックセンター・ジャパンの本を読み、後にイスラームに改宗した。

ファーティマ・中曽根は、英国のベッドフォードで勉強している若い女性だ。彼女は以前クリスチャンであった。彼女は、イスラームについて話しかけてきたパキスタン系英国人ムスリマと友人となり、イスラームに改宗した。彼女は英国滞在であるが、現在顔を覆うベールを身につけている。

他の女性はアメリカから我々に聖クルアーンの翻訳を送って欲しいと電子メールを送ってきた。我々が彼女にアメリカにおけるムスリムコミュニティについて尋ねると、彼女は100人の日本人女性の一人であったが、彼女だけがムスリマであり、彼女は自分の住む地域にモスクが建つのを楽しみにしていた。彼女はまた電子メールのなかで、彼女があるアメリカの大学で音楽療法士の教授をしていると言及していた。

ロシア人のビクトリアさんは、日本国内から我々にメールを書いてきた。彼女は利子(リバー)を避けるため、お金を預けるイスラーム銀行をさがしていたので、我々はパキスタン国立銀行の住所を彼女に送った。我々はまた、彼女と電話で話し、彼女が東京から遠くないところに住み、日本人ムスリムと結婚していることがわかった。我々は感嘆して彼女に言った。70年の共産主義体制の後で、一人のロシア人ムスリマが利子(リバー)の扱っていない銀行に預金したいと望んでいることを我々が見ることになろうとは、と。我々は彼女にセンターの出版物と共に、日本人の夫が読むことができるように聖クルアーンの日本語翻訳本を送ると、彼女は我々にそれらのお礼を言ってきた。

シェイフ・ニメトゥッラー・ユートは、まだ建設段階にあった東京モスクに、ある朝隣人の一人をイスラームに呼びかけ、イスラミックセンターの電子メールアドレスが記されているアルマウドゥーディーの『イスラームとは何か』という本を彼女に渡した。後に彼女は我々に次のように手紙を書いてきた。「私は東京モスクの近くで育ちました・・・日の入り前に東京モスクの輝くドームの光景が本当に心を奪われていたものでした・・・私はこのモスクが取り壊される時とても悲しい気持ちになりました。新たなモスクが建設中の今、私は本当に嬉しい気持ちでいっぱいです。」彼女は、天国の象徴であると日本人が信じている緑色の背景でこの電子メールを書き記した。このような事例はイスラミックセンター、アラブ・イスラーム学院、東京モスク、神戸モスクや他のイスラーム団体すべてにおいて日々起きている。

日本で沢山のイスラーム団体が新しいムスリム達の訪問とイスラームの生活様式について学ぶ機会を与えている。イスラミックセンター・ジャパンは、イスラームのための灯台であり、イスラームについて何でも知りたいと望む者誰でも、また日本にやって来たムスリムたちをも導き支援している。我々のウェッブサイトは容易にアクセスできる。サーチエンジンにて「islamcenter.or.jp」という文字を入力した者は誰でも、即座にたどり着ける。我々は、迅速に質問や要望に返答する。我々は受け取った全てのメールを保存し、我々の迅速な返答に感謝するすべての通信相手らについても保存している。

西セントラル・ワシントン州のシアトルからあるアラブ人学生が我々に、大学でイスラームに興味のあるたくさんの日本字がいるので日本語で書かれたイスラームについての本を送ってほしいと、我々に書いてきた。彼は同様に、日本人女性の学生が日本に戻って数冊のイスラームの本を彼女の住所に送ってくれと、手紙にて言及した。我々は即座に聖クルアーンの日本語翻訳版と数冊のイスラームの本を彼と日本人女学生の両方に送った。返信で、彼は我々の迅速な対応に感謝し100万人のムスリムのなかに一人あなたのような仕事をする人がいると述べた。

我々のイスラミックセンター・ジャパンは、日本で最も古いイスラミックセンターのひとつであると同様に、日本政府やメディア、大学、学校や宗教団体などからよく知られており、この国におけるイスラーム知識の主要な源を成している。我々は完全なるアッラーが、我々にアッラーの宗教に招く機会を与えて下さったこと、そしてムスリムのウンマ(共同体)のためにこの代表的役割を果たしていることに対し感謝している。我々に援助と支援を与え、我々の仕事に助力してくださった全ての人々に対しても我々は感謝している。預言者ムハンマド(彼の上に平安あれ)は言った。「アッラーがあなたを通してひとりの男を導くことは、赤い駱駝よりもあなたにとってより優れている」(※赤い駱駝は、当時人々が所有したいと望む最も貴重な財産であった。)他の伝承では次のように伝えている。「それはこの世界全体よりも優れている。」

第2世代のムスリムたち:その諸問題と未来

日本のムスリムが直面している最も重要な問題は、国際結婚(外国人ムスリム男性と日本人女性、外国人ムスリマと日本人ムスリム男性)で生まれた第二世代の子供たちのことである。してその子供たちは、一般的に日本人ムスリムである。日本の教育は義務であり必須であるが、何千ものムスリムの子供たちがイスラーム的環境における教育を必要としている一方で、日本にはイスラミックスクールが一つも存在しない。もし我々がイスラーム的教育を必要としている彼らに何も供給しないならば、彼らはこの非イスラーム社会に、確実に溶け込んでしまうだろう。実際何が起きているのかというと、あるパキスタン人かバングラデッシュ人の男性は、日本人の妻と子供たちを彼の祖国に教育目的で送り、そしてそれらの国々と日本との大きな経済と社会相違が原因で様々な問題が表面化し、夫婦の決裂を招いている。それゆえ、この問題を解決することは重要である。

イスラミックセンター・ジャパンは現在日本初のイスラミックスクール設立を考えている。既に東京モスクの隣の土地を購入した。そして以前この国にモスクを建設することへの躊躇の障害を取り除いたように、この国におけるイスラミックスクール建設の躊躇の障害を取り除くために、その土地にイスラミックスクールを建設する予定である。もし我々が第二世代の子供たちに関心があるならば、彼らが我々よりも遥かに上手に日本の人々にイスラームを紹介している。何故なら彼らは日本人であり、彼らの言語もまた日本語だからだ。そしてこれら二つの要因は非常に重要である。我々は、スルターン・ビン・アブドゥルアジーズ・アルサウード皇太子がこの学校建設の土地購入のために彼の慈善団体が援助を与えてくださったことに感謝している。同様にジェッダのイスラミック・ディベロップメント銀行に建設費用の3分の1の援助にも感謝している。

感謝の辞

最後に、日本のムスリムとイスラーム拡張のためにサウジアラビア王国が行った、そして現在も行っている援助に対し深い感謝の意を表したい。事実、日本におけるイスラーム事業の大部分は、サウジアラビア王国によって植えられた祝福された芽である。我々は同様にアラブ湾岸諸国と他のアラブ諸国の日本のムスリムらの援助に対し感謝したい。

それから私は、イスラーム文化に関心を持ち、何の西洋の影響を受けずに事実に基づき偏らずに日本人にイスラームを紹介しようと努めている日本の学術関係者と教授たちに感謝したい。我々は板垣教授や片倉教授、小松教授夫妻、後藤教授、その他の指導的学術関係者及び大学教授らにも感謝することを忘れてはならない。同様に日本政府の日本のムスリムらに完全なる自由と彼らに対する心遣い、そして日本とムスリム世界の深い理解のための尽力に対し感謝している。特に、ムスリム個人及び団体への全面的協力の快諾に対し前外務大臣河野氏及び警察関係者に感謝を申し上げたい。そしてまた、イスラームの言葉に誠実に耳を傾け、敬意を示し出版物を受け取る日本の人々にも感謝したい。実際、国内における外国人のなかでムスリムが最も穏やかであり問題が少ないという研究が日本政府により行われている。

全ての賞賛はこの世界の主であるアッラーにためにあり。

サーリフ・マフディ・アルサマライ

Email:Salihsamarrai@yahoo.com

1.ズハイル博士は現在ジャカルタのアズハル大学テクノロジー学部の学長であり、インドネシアの前大臣であった。彼は多額の資金を1998年東京モスク再建設のために寄付した。

2.アハマド鈴木氏はアズハル大学卒業者の一人である。彼は日本人ムスリム第二世代に属す。彼の父と母方のおじはムスリムである。

3.現論文の著者。

サムライ(日本の武士階級)の特徴

サムライの特徴は、1978年3月4日に、金沢(韓国の反対に位置する日本海に面する)のムスリム青年協会の主催による会議において、ムーサ・ムハンマド・ウマル博士によって言及された。この協会は、故ムスタファ小村氏の生徒であった100人の日本人ムスリム青年から形成されていた。故ムスタファ小村氏は聖クルアーンの日本語への翻訳において故オマル三田氏を助け、日本におけるムスリムの歴史の莫大な百科事典を著した。彼は、自分の生徒たちをサウジアラビア王国やパキスタン、カタールに派遣し、現在彼らは大学や企業及び日本全国にわたる自由貿易商の地位についている。我々ムスリムは、彼らに接触し続ける義務を怠ってきたことを認めようムーサー博士はいまだにイスラミックセンター・ジャパンのディレクターの一人であり、在日本スーダン大使である。

サムライについて

・サムライは好意を忘れない。

・サムライはアルコールや女性、過食を慎む。

・サムライは両親を敬い、従い、両親が彼らに何をしたとしても、苛立ってはならない。

・サムライは朝晩、手と足を洗う、彼らはまた温かい風呂に入り、体を清潔に保つことを好む。

・サムライは、関わりのないことに決して没頭せず、それについて話すことさえしない。

・サムライは修行や武術の訓練に関心を抱く。

・サムライは慈善行為と好ましい行為に従事することに関わること、受け入れ難く間違った行為を避ける義務があると心得る

・  サムライは策謀する者を恐れず平安を保ち、人々を恐れない。

・サムライは、学業と知識の習得に興味を持ち、時間を無駄にしない。

・サムライは、威厳ある生活に導き、他人を害せず、他人から独立している。

・サムライは、悪い仲間と付き合わない。

これは、サーリフ・マフディ・アルサマライ博士が、故バキール・バルク氏から受け取った文書の写しである。バルク氏はトルコのアンヌールグループのリーダーの一人であり、ジェッダのサウジアラビアラジオのトルコ語放送のアナウンサーを長年務めている。

 

 ISLAM IN JAPAN

HSITORY, SPREAD, AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE COUNTRY

 

 

 

Prof. Dr. Salih Mahdi S. Al Samarrai

Chairman

Islamic Center- Japan

2009

 

 

 

 

ISLAMIC CENTER-JAPAN

1-16-11, Ohara, Setagaya-Ku,

Tokyo 156-0041, Japan

Tel: 0081-3-3460-6169 Fax: 0081-3-3460-6105

E-mail: info@islamcenter.or.jp

URL:http//islamcenter.or.jp

 

 

 

Introduction:

The light of Islam emanated from the Arabian Peninsula and spread eastwards to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Indian sub-continent, then to Malaysia and reached as far as China and Philippine. It continued spreading for a long time and reached different parts of the world but reached Japan only towards the end of the nineteenth century. In fact, Japanese, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, feel wonder why Islam was so delayed and did not reach Japan at the time it did reach to China and  Philippine. In the present pamphlet, I would like to present a chronology of Islam in Japan, writing whatever information I have about each point in time, based on fifty years of my life which I spent in Japan and fifty years of research. The present work does not pretend to be exhaustive, but different writings on the subject will certainly provide a more comprehensive study. I hereby present my work, seeking the good pleasure of Almighty Allah. I pray to Allah (S.W.T.) for His Mercy and I beg my Muslim bothers for forgiveness.

Dr. Salih Mahdi S. Al Samarrai

Email: Salihsamarrai@yahoo.com

The Era before 1900: 

With the beginning of the era of Japanese Renaissance, known as the era of Meiji, started in 1868, only two countries in Asia enjoyed independence, namely the Ottoman Empire and Japan. As they both came under pressure from Western countries, they decided to establish friendly relations between them and consequently they started to exchange visits. The most important of these visits was the mission sent by Abdul Hamid II (reigned 1876-1909) to Japan on board Al Togrul ship which carried more than six hundred officers and soldiers led by admiral Uthman Pasha in 1890. On the homeward journey, after the mission was successfully accomplished in Japan and meeting Japanese emperor, a fierce hurricane fell on the ship while it was still in Japanese waters, causing the death of more than 550 people including  the Sultan’s brother. The disaster deeply moved both sides and the survivors were carried on board of two Japanese ships to Istanbul. The martyrs were buried at the site of the accident and a museum was set up not far from the accident site. Japanese and  Turks still celebrate this event until today at the same site of the accident every five years despite successive change of governments.

Along the ship with the survivors going home, a young Japanese journalist by the name of Shotaro Noda who raised donations in Japan for the martyrs families, left for Istanbul, handed these donations to Turkish authorities and even met Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who asked him to stay in Istanbul and teach Japanese to ottoman officers. During his stay in Istanbul, he met Abdullah Guillaume, an English Muslim from Liverpool, Britain who introduced Noda to Islam. Quite convinced after a lengthy discussion that Islam is the truth, Noda embraced Islam and chose to be named Abdul Haleem, as Turkish document at back of the present pamphlet shows. In fact, Abdul Haleem Noda could be considered the first Japanese Muslim. Soon afterwards, another Japanese called Torajiro Yamada went to Istanbul in 1893 to give donations he had collected back home to the martyrs families in Turkey. Following his conversion to Islam, being the second Japanese person to embrace Islam, he changed his name to Khaleel, or maybe Abdul Khaleel. He stayed in Istanbul several years doing business and kept friendly relations with Turkey after coming home until his death.

The third Japanese person to embrace Islam was a Christian merchant by the name of Ahmad Ariga. He visited Bombay, India in 1900. The beautiful sight of a Mosque there attracted his attention, he went in and declared his conversion to Islam. During this period, a number of Indian Muslim merchants lived in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe, they are considered to be the first Muslim community in Japan.

PERIOD FROM 1900 TO 1920:

Muhammad Ali, one of Sultan Abdul Hamid’s envoys, visited Japan in 1902 with the intention of building a Mosque in Yokohama, as some documents have revealed, but he was not successful.

A Turkish general Pertav Pasha, an envoy of Sultan Abdul Hamid, also visited Japan to monitor the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). He spent two years there, met  Ottoman emperor and authored a three volume book in Turkish which I translated the first two volumes into Arabic language.

After the Russo-Japanese War, news came in the press that Japanese showed interest in Islam as well as in the Muslim world, prompted Muslims to call Japanese for Islam. Abbas Mahmoud Al Aqqad, a prominent Egyptian scholar, mentioned that some Egyptian officers were so impressed by Japanese victory against Russian forces that they volunteered to serve in Japanese army and later on married Japanese women who gave birth to children. Some of them returned home while some others stayed in Japan. Qari Sarfaraz Hussein, a famous Indian scholar, also visited Japan towards the end of 1905 and early 1906 and gave lectures on Islam in Nagasaki and Tokyo. The first Mosque was built in Osaka for Russian Muslim prisoners in 1905.

News in the Muslim world also announced in 1906 that a conference is to be held in Tokyo in which Japanese would conduct a comparison between various faiths in order to choose the right one. This news also prompted enthusiastic Muslims to travel to Japan to attend the conference.

Ali Ahmad Al Jarjawi, an Egyptian Shahriah lawyer and a graduate from Al Azhar University, claimed that he had attended the conference and wrote a book titled The Japanese Journey. Al Jarjawi, along with Chinese Sulaiman, Russian Mukhlis Mahmoud and Indian Hussein Abdul Munim, formed a society in Tokyo to call to Islam resulted that embraced 12,000 Japanese Islam.

Two or three years later, Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim, a Muslim traveler and noted caller of Islam from Russia, came to Japan in 1909 and rejected  the claims of Al Jarjawi. This claim was also rejected by an Indian intellectual Muhammad Barakatullah who stayed in Japan for five years (1909-1914). In fact, the present author has for some years until now been trying to find out if Al Jarjawi really visited Japan or not, and has not found any tangible evidence to this effect, apart from the book written by Al Jarjawi.

Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim came to Japan in 1909 and stayed there for six months, during which he met a number of Japanese people, ranging from ministers to peasants. As a result of his Islamic activities, many young intellectuals, officers, and journalists embraced Islam. He also visited China, Korea, India, and Hejaz, Saudi Arabia, and wrote a thousand page long book in ottoman language, which the author of the present work translated and revised into Arabic language. It is in the press and will come out soon, inshaa Allah.

In fact, Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim was a prominent traveler, a caller of Islam, a politician, a man of letters and an erudite scholar. The late Dr. Abdul Wahhab Azzam of Egypt, mentioned that the book Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim had authored was far better than Bin Battutah’s book, as Dr. Muhammad Rajab Bayyumi mentioned in an article published in Al Azhar magazine.

Muhammad Barakatullah, from Bhopal, Indian, also visited Japan and was the first to teach Urdu in the University of Foreign languages in Tokyo. He also issued Islamic Fraternity, an Islamic magazine, for three years (1910-1912), and managed to convert a large number of Japanese people into Islam. In fact, I have managed to find only two issues of his magazine, and I am still trying to find the rest as they certainly reflect the early beginning of Islam in Japan.

Ahmad Fadli, an Egyptian officer, stayed in Japan and married a Japanese lady in 1908. He met Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim and worked closely with him. He also worked

closely with Barakatullah for six months and helped in producing his magazine. In fact, Fadli wrote The Secret behind the Japanese Progress in Arabic in 1911 and translated the Soul of Japanese into Arabic. He also visited Waseda University along with Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim and translated one of his lectures on Islam which lasted for three hours. Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim mentioned that there were about one thousand Chinese at Waseda University of whom thirty-nine were Muslims who published “Islamic Awakening” an Islamic magazine in Chinese which also bears the title in Arabic.

Hasan UHO Hatano, who embraced Islam through Barakatullah, published an illustrated magazine named Islamic Brotherhood in 1918. He also published another magazine “Islam” in both Japanese and English in 1912. I have not found a single issue of these two magazines.

The first Japanese Muslim to perform pilgrimage was Umar Yamaoka in 1909, who accompanied Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim to the holy lands and then to Istanbul.

French magazine La Mound Mousol Man also published in 1911 some news to the effect that two Japanese people who were residing in China  embraced Islam, and then returned to Japan, determined to spread Islam in their home country.

PERIOD FROM 1920 TO 1930:

The Japanese became more interested in the Muslim world for expansionist, economic, and cultural reasons. The meaning of Holy Qur’an was translated into Japanese, Islamic societies were set up, and Islamic and Orientalist books were written.

The Tatar Muslim emigrants then started entering Japan fleeing Communist rule in Russia and most of them ultimately settled in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kobe. The second Japanese Muslim to perform pilgrimage in 1924 was the late Ippei Tanaka who had embraced Islam when he was in China. Umar Mita, the well known translator of the meaning of Holy Qur’an into Japanese, also embraced Islam in China.

Umar Yamaoka visited Egypt and went to Al Azhar University in 1924. A photo was taken of him in Al Azhar University gown, in which he appeared as though he is one of the venerable scholars of Indonesia or Malaysia.

PERIOD FROM 1930 TO 1940:

Abdul Hay Qurban Ali emerged as a religious leader of Tatar Muslims and published Yapan Makhbari, an Islamic magazine in the Tatar language which was distributed inside and outside Japan. He also established a printing house with Arabic letters, in which Islamic books were printed in Tatar language. The Qur’an was also printed in this printing house. This Holy Qur’an had been printed a few years before in the city of Kazan before the Communist rule. He also strengthened his relations with  Japanese authorities and managed through their assistance and support to build first Mosque in Tokyo in 1938. Dignitaries who attended the inauguration of Mosque included late Hafiz Wahbah, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in London on behalf of late king Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Saif Al Islam Al Hussein from Yemen, Mahmoud Fawzi, consul of Egypt in Japan who later became Egyptian foreign minister and then vice president of the Egyptian republic. The author of the present work is still keeping the speeches and their translations as well as the photos which were taken on the occasion.

Abdr Rasheed Ibrahim visited Japan for the second time in 1933 and worked closely with Qurban Ali in managing the affairs of Muslim community in Japan. In fact, Japanese officers whom he converted to Islam later occupied important positions in the country. He stayed in Japan until his death in 1944.

Noorul Hasan Barlas, a leading professor from India, came to Japan and was appointed a university chair of Urdu in the University of Foreign Languages in Tokyo from 1932 to 1949. He actively participated in Islamic activities and wrote a number of articles on “Islam in Japan” in Urdu, which the author of the present work, translated into Arabic. In fact, I met his son in Karachi, Pakistan in 1997 as well as his grandsons in Karachi, Islamabad, Pakistan and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Alimullah Siddiqi, a renowned scholar and caller of Islam from India, also visited Japan and gave a number of lectures on Islam in Tokyo. Alimullah Siddiqi was in fact one of the first travelers and caller of Islam who traveled world widely and established many Islamic Centers, wherever he went. I still have a copy of the lecture he gave on the position of women in Islam which he delivered in Orion Hotel in Ginza in the heart of Tokyo in 1936.

During this period, Indian Muslims founded a Mosque in Kobe in 1935, and the late “Firooz Japan wala”, made a handsome financial contribution towards its building. I also met his son in Delhi in 1995 and kissed his head in memory of his father. Tatar Muslims also built a Mosque in the city of Nagoya.

Japan also showed interest in East Turkistan, which is part of China, and for this reason it invited Muslim leaders and students to Japan. Among them “Ameen Islami” who held the position of Imam in Tokyo Mosque from 1938 to 1953. He then left for Taif, Saudi Arabia, then to Jeddah where he worked as a broadcaster and then in the Saudi Ministry of hajj. His children are still in Jeddah.

The late Mustafa Komura, another Japanese leader, also embraced Islam in this period and played a major role in Islamic activities and worked closely with Muslims in East Turkistan and Yunnan, a province of China. After the war, he formed two Islamic societies which were officially recognized, hence being the first Japanese Muslim to obtain official registration from the Japanese authorities, which was literally an extremely difficult task in the country. He also sent scores of Japanese students to Pakistan, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia and took an active part in translation of the meanings of Holy Qur’an to Japanese in Makkah Al Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, and authored an extensive encyclopedia on the history of Islam in Japan, which we translated into English.

During this period, a large number of Japanese Muslims started performing Hajj. A few years later, late Salih Suzuki, a Japanese Hajj, had the honor of meeting the late King Abdul Aziz Al Saud who was in the habit of giving special care to Japanese pilgrims. Noor Tanaka performed Hajj for the second time in 1934.

In fact, Syed Amoudi who used to work in Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, informed me that Mr. Muhsin Japan Uglu, Mr. Qurban Ali’s brother in-law, visited Saudi Arabia and personally met the late King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz in Taif in the mid thirties, explained to him the situation of Muslims in Japan and sought his help and support.

A Noted Lebanese businessman and a literary person Abdur Rahman Qulelat also came to Japan along with his family after a journey from Brazil and settled in Japan. In fact, he gave a great deal of assistance to Muslims in Japan. The DEBIS family, including their eldest member Abdul Hadi Debis, who was a big businessmen, also settled in Japan. The latter’s cousin, late Mr. Fuad Debis, as well as the entire Debis family made huge contributions towards the assistance of Muslims and Islam in Japan.

PERIOD FROM 1940 TO 1950:

Sheikh Abdullah Togai, Al Azhar University envoy as a caller to Islam, arrived in Japan in 1941 and stayed in Japan for only six months, and went back to Egypt which joined the Allies against the Axis during the Second World War. While still in Japan, he taught Mr. Umar Hayashi Arabic language. Hayashi is one of the elderly Japanese Muslims who work for a long time as a representative of Arab oil company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and still active with Japan Muslim Association.

Abdul Kareem Tabbarah, a famous Lebanese stock trader, lived in Japan in 1941 deciphered the symbols and mysterious writings owned by the Ainu Tribes, the aboriginal inhabitants of Japan, after skilled Japanese linguists and anthropologists failed to do so. Then he provided a translation of these symbols and writings during a press conference which was held in Tokyo.

Japan joined the Second World War and occupied parts of Asia, affording Japanese the opportunity to come into contact with Muslims from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippine. Prominent Japanese persons embraced Islam, includingUmar Yukiba who converted to Islam in Malaysia, the late Abdul Muneer Watanabe, the late Sadiq Imaizumi, the late Faruq Nagase, Suda and Matsubayashi.

Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim, the leading Tatar scholar of Japan, passed away in 1944 and was buried in Tama Muslim graveyard on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Japan lost the war and three million Japanese returned to Japan including those who embraced Islam in Asia.

Noorul Hasan Barlas returned to Pakistan after selling ancient stamps and used the money to buy tickets for himself and his wife. As I mentioned earlier on, I met his 82 year old son who had previously studied in Yokohama school.

PERIOD FROM 1950 TO 1960:

A number of Japanese Muslims including Umar Yamaoka, Umar Mita, Abdul Muneer Watanabe, Sadiq Imaizumi, Umar Yukiba and Mustafa Komura gathered and set up the first Muslim association in Japan in 1953 (Japan Muslim Association).

Members of Tablighi movement started entering into Japan from Pakistan between 1956 and 1960. Their first group visited Japan in 1956, and I managed to meet Shabir Ahmad in Lahore, the only surviving member of this group. In fact, they visited Japan four times and I accompanied them in the fourth time in 1960. Those zealous Muslims revived the spirit of Islam in Japanese Muslims, such as Umar Mita, and Mustafa Komura, and converted new persons to Islam, such as Prof. Abdul Kareem Saito, Khalid Kiba, Dr. Umar Kawabata, ZaKariya Nakayama, Ali Mori, and Amin Yamamoto. The last four were the greatest and leading daees (callers to Islam) in Shikoku Island, one of the four main islands of Japan.Sadiq Imaizumi helped convert a number of Japanese persons to Islam including Ramadan Isozaki, Zubair Suzuki, Sideeq Nakayama, and Yusuf Imori.

During this period a prominent daee (caller to Islam) emerged, namely the late Abdur Rasheed Arshad, a Pakistani engineer from the Tablighi movement, who also knew the whole Holy Qur’an by heart. He visited Japan on a training mission at the expense of  Japanese government in 1959. He joined the third Tablighi mission and managed to convert a number of Japanese to Islam, including Khalid Kiba. It was actually Abdur Rasheed Arshad who encouraged me to come to Japan after I was introduced to him by the late Abul Hasan Ali Al Hasani Al Nadvi whom I met during one of his visits to Pakistan where I was studying agriculture in Layallpur (Faislabad). Upon Abdur Rasheed Arshad return from Japan, I met him in Raiwind, not far from Lahore, in 1959 during the annual meeting of the Tablighi movement. He used to encourage me to go to Japan, saying that it was like a blooming garden, full of ripe fruits where I could only go in and readily pick fruits and that the character of some converts to Islam was similar that of the Prophet’s companions (SAHABA).

In the early sixties, Abdur Rasheed Arshad supervised the project of setting up the telephone line between Makkah Al Mukarramah and Al Madinah Al Munawwarah and I informed him while I was in Japan in 1961 that Umar Mita embarked on the translation of meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese. In fact, I shared the same room with Umar Mita for approximately a year. Abdur Rasheed Arshad approached World Muslim League, Makkah Al Mukarramah which called Umar Mita as well as Mustafa Komura and the three of them formed a team to translate meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese. Abdur Rasheed Arshad died in a car accident between Makkah Al Mukarramah and Al Madinah Al Munawwarah in 1964 (or maybe early 1965) while in the company of Umar Mita and Mustafa Komura who survived the crash and managed to publish translation of Holy Qura’n.

Of the leading Japanese daees (callers to Islam) who embraced the Muslim faith during this period was the late professor Abdul Kareem Saito. He was converted to Islam at the hands of the Tablighi groups. He worked at Takushoku University and paved the way for scores of Japanese youth to embrace Islam. Actually, we together sent all these converts to Al Azhar University, Egypt, in the sixties and to Saudi Arabia in the seventies in order to master Arabic language and study Islam. Now they are teaching Arabic language in Japanese universities and working in companies, and some of them, such as Khalid Higuchi, Amin Tokumatsu, Japan Muslim  Association’s president and Yahya Endo, are running Japan Muslim Association, the first Japanese Muslim organization.

PERIOD FROM 1960 TO 1970:

Foreign Muslim students from different Muslim countries, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Arab world (including myself) etc. arrived in Japan at the end of fifties and beginning of sixties, and they set up the first Muslim Student Association in Japan. The managing committee of the association included Dr. Zuhal[1] from Indonesia1, Muzaffar Uzay from Turkey, Ahmad Suzuki [2] from Japan, Abdur Rahman Siddiqi from Pakistan and Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai, an Arab. [3]

Muslim students set up a da’wah joint  Board with Japan Muslim Association (Umar Mita, Abdul Muneer Watanabe, and Abdul kareem Saito who represented Japanese side) and (Abddur Rahman Siddiqi, Muzaffar Uzay and Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai who represented students). The Board carried out a number of activities including the following:

  1. It published booklets on Islam written byUmar Mita and translated and published Al Maudoodi, towards understanding Islam.
  2. Brother Farooq Nagase assisted the publication of fortnightly The Voice of Islam newspaper.
  3.  It sent Japanese Muslim youths to Al Azhar University and organized intensive preparatory training courses.
  4. It undertook all da’wah activities after the Tabligh members had left Japan.
  5.  It purchased the first graveyard for Muslims in Enzan (Yamanshi prefecture) with a handsome amount of money contributed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as some money from the late Abdul Kareem Saito. The graveyard later registered in the name of Japan Muslim Association.
  6.  The board introduced Professor Abdul kareem Saito to the Muslim world, first, he visited Iraq, then Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and many other Muslim countries.
  7.  The board inaugurated the first Islamic Center in Tokushima city, southwestern Japan, in Shikoku Island, in 1965 but it witnessed only one year of operation.
  8.  It inaugurated the first Islamic Center in Tokyo in 1965 with the help and support of Al Sanie, the first Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan. The Center lasted for one year and then closed down after the support was stopped following the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s leaving the country.

Late Al Mangoor, Saudi Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Muhammad Basheer Kurdi, Mr. Salah Al Husaini, (the son of the late Al Hajj Amin Al Husseini, the then mufti of Jerusalem) who worked in Saudi Arabia Embassy in Tokyo gave tremendous support to our Islamic activities in Japan. In fact, Mr. Al Manqoor would provide us with a generous amount donations on various occasions to support the different Islamic activities.

Indonesian students also had a huge residence in the heart of the Japanese capital, not far from its central Mosque, in which we used to celebrate the various Islamic events, particularly Eid Al Fitr festival. They would prepare a massive celebration with delicious food which would then be attended by Muslims and senior Japanese officials and even Japanese members of parliament. The celebration called AL HALAL BIL HALAL in Indonesian.

In the third part of this period, after most of the students had gone back home, and their Islamic activities witnessed a decline as a result, another eminent and unique caller to Islam by the name of Syed Jameel visited Japan. He was the chief accountant in Pakistani government and the president of Holy Qur’an Memorization Society in Karachi, Pakistan. In fact, he started from where others had left off and expanded the Islamic activities which started off by his predecessors. He also published some treatises on Islam in Japanese, and his activities included Korea as well.

The late Prof. Dr. Ali Hasan Al Samni, a highly qualified Egyptian professor, also came to Japan and taught Arabic to thousands of Japanese students in colleges of foreign languages as well as in other Japanese institutes from 1963 to 1978. He was consulted by leading professors in Japan and benefited from his vast knowledge. The Japanese emperor conferred the order of merit on him in appreciation of his services in the field of Arabic language and Islamic Culture. During the seventies of the past century, the late Abdul Kareem Saito, Ali Hasan Al Samni and the author of the present pamphlet would stay in Tokyo Mosque in afternoon of every Sunday to reply to the queries posed by the Japanese people about the Muslim faith.

It is worth mentioning that the late Miftahuddin and Ainan Safa, two Imams of Tokyo Mosque, as well as Mr. Kalki, the then Imam  of Kobe Mosque, who were amongst Tatar Muslim emigrants, also rendered great services to the Muslim community in Japan.

I would also like to stress here that during this period the main source of financial support of the general da’wah activities conducted by the joint Islamic Board came mainly from Kuwait through Mr. Abdullah Al Aqeel and the late Abdur Rahman Al Dosari who used to raise donations from Muslim philanthropists, most popular of whom were the late Abdur Razzaq Al Salih Al Mutawwa, Al Qinai, and Sheikh Abdullah Ali Al Mutawwa and many others. We pray to Almighty Allah to reward them abundantly for the services they rendered to Islam and Muslims in Japan.

The Seventies: PERIOD FROM 1970 TO 1980:

The late King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia visited Japan in 1970 and met a number of Japanese Muslim delegates including Muslim delegates from Korea. Then Dr. Abdul Basit Al Sebai, the president of “Muslim Student Association in Japan” seized the opportunity and requested the Saudi monarch to dispatch Dr. Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai, professor at Riyadh University, to Japan to help da’wah work in Japan, and he kindly granted the request in 1973. May Allah reward him abundantly for his services to Islam and Muslims.

The late King Faisal also supervised translation project of the meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese which was undertaken by Umar Mita, and he allotted a large sum of money to this project with Saudi Arabia Embassy in Japan, ordering that the Embassy in Tokyo pay every necessary amount whenever the translation was out of print. Umar Mita mentioned in the introduction to this translation that Mr. Ahmad Suzuki and Dr. Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai assisted him with the final revision of the translation work in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the summer of 1970.

During 1971 and 1972, Syed Jamil continued the Islamic work in Japan and Korea.

 In 1973, King Faisal assisted by late Hasan Al Shaikh the minister of education dispatched the author of the present work to help the da’wah activities in Japan along with six other persons, namely Khalid Kiba (Japanese), Asad Qurban Ali, the son of the late Abdul Hay Qurban Ali who founded Tokyo Mosque, Dr. Abdul Basit Al Sebai (Egyptian), Ali Al Zubee (Syrian), Abdur Rahman Siddiqi (Pakistani) and Musa Muhammad Umar (Sudanese). They had all studied in Japanese universities and had undertaken major Islamic activities in Japan. This team set up the first integrated Islamic Center in collaboration with other Japanese and foreign dignitaries who are active in Dawah, such as Umar Mita who translated the meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese,  Abdul Kareem Saito, Mustufa Komura,  Abdul Muneer Watanabe, Tamim Dar Muhit, Umar Daraz Khan, Ali Hasan Al Samni, Matloob Ali and Ainan Safa. We must not forget to mention here the great efforts made by the late Sheikh Hasan bin Abdullah Al Sheikh who was a great help to King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz in this respect and helped support the various activities of Islamic Center-Japan and Islamic da’wah in Japan. The late Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz also played a major role in this regard. In fact, these two men helped shape the destiny of Islamic da’wah in Japan. May Allah reward them for their efforts.

Islamic Center-Japan was established at a critical stage in the history of Japan, namely the oil crisis in 1973 and the following years. The Japanese people started to show interest in Islam, as most of the oil exporting countries were Islamic. The establishment of this Center was a dream of every person who had been engaged in da’wah activities for a hundred years. In fact, all those who had visited Japan and engaged in da’wah activities whose writings we have read, such as Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim, Muhammad Barakatullah, and Noorul Hasan Barlas, were always hoping that an Islamic Center be set up in Japan where Japanese Mup dir=”LTR” align=”center”Alimullah Siddiqi, a renowned scholar and caller of Islam from India, also visited Japan and gave a number of lectures on Islam in Tokyo. Alimullah Siddiqi was in fact one of the first travelers and caller of Islam who traveled world widely and established many Islamic Centers, wherever he went. I still have a copy of the lecture he gave on the position of women in Islam which he delivered in Orion Hotel in Ginza in the heart of Tokyo in 1936.slims and anyone fluent in Japanese would call people to Islam and publish Islamic books in Japanese for the Japanese citizens.

  1. Islamic Center-Japan was frequented by huge numbers of Japanese who embraced Islam.
  2. The Center published numerous books and booklets on Islam in Japanese and issued Assalam  magazine in Japanese.
  3. Its da’wah activities covered the entire country from the north to the south, and Islam reached the northern island of Hokkaido for the first time and opened new branches in a number of cities.
  4. It sent Japanese students to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt for Islamic studies.
  5. In 1976, it set up the first council to coordinate the efforts of the various Islamic societies which numbered at that time twelve societies including Japanese Islamic societies in a number of Japanese cities as well as Indonesian community and Muslim Student Association in Japan.
  6. It organized the first symposium on the Islamic Law (Sharee’ah) in 1977 in collaboration with Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah and Chuo University, Tokyo on the initiative of Khalid Kiba. This event was attended by the uncle of the present Japanese emperor, members of the High Court and three hundred Japanese lawyers. It was also attended by the late Muhammad Ali Al Harakan, the general secretary of Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukrramah. The symposium lasted for three days and its proceedings were published in Arabic, Japanese and English and paved the way for numerous studies on the Sharee’ah which are still going on.
  7. The Council also organized a number of cultural symposia which were attended by thousands of people in Tokyo and other Japanese cities under the auspices of major Japanese newspapers with wide readership in collaboration with Islamic Center-Japan and Riyadh University. These events were attended by His Excellency Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Fadda the rector of University of Riyadh and His Honor Dr. Tawfiq Ash Shawi.
  8. The Council also arranged for hajj missions which began in 1976 through the generous financial assistance of His Royal Highness Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Vice Minister of the Interior of Saudi Arabia and the generous hospitality of Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah.
  9. When His Excellency the late Hasan Al Sheikh visited the Council in 1975, Islamic Center-Japan requested him to establish an Arabic Islamic institute in Tokyo to provide an Islamic knowledge in Japan and to teach Arabic and the Islamic culture to Japanese people. He referred the matter to Imam Muhammad bin Saud University, Riyadh which undertook, through it’s the rector, His Excellency Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsin Al Turky, to supervise the setting up of this lofty cultural edifice which has greatly benefited thousands of Japanese people by teaching them Arabic, Islamic culture and winning many of them to the fold of Islam. His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal gave up the site of the Saudi Arabia Embassy and all its premises in Tokyo to build Arabic Islamic institute, Tokyo whose inauguration we still celebrate. King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Saudi monarch, contributed ten million dollars towards the construction project of the institute and added another million dollars for its completion. May Allah (S.W.T.) bless his soul.
  10. Before this period, we used to put the number of new converts to Islam between one thousand and three thousand people, but after that we began counting them by tens of thousands. Islamic awareness was spread among Japanese people. Islam used to be locally called Kaikyo but now it is called Isram, as Japanese language does not have L letter which it is replaced with R instead.

Towards the end of this period, the late Syed Jameel, a noted caller to Islam, came to Japan for the second time and carried out his final Islamic da’wah activities in Japan, accompanied by Sheikh Nimetullah Yurt who is still at the top of da’wah activities in Japan.

The major financial and cultural assistance for Islamic activities in Japan during this and later periods came mainly from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, government and citizens, and Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saltanate Oman, Egypt through Al Azhar University, and Libya which dispatched many callers of Islam in Japan. We mention of the numerous people who provided much needed assistance to Islamic activities in Japan, Hamad Al Hajiri, the first Qatari Ambassador to Japan who provided us with the first financial assistance during the establishment period of the Center, the late Sheikh Abdullah Al Ansari, president of Sharee’ah courts in Qatar, the late Abdul Aziz Al Mubarak, President of the Sharee’ah courts in United Arab Emirates, the late Abdullah Al Mahmoud in Sharja, the late Abdur Rahman Al Dousari of Saudi Arabia, the late Abdur Razzaq Al Salih Al Mutawwa, the late Abdullah Alli Al Mutawwa, Sheikh Yusuf Al Hajji, and Abdullah Al Aqeel of Kuwait.

PERIOD FROM 1980 TO 2009:

In the early eighties King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz donated a land for the purpose of setting a building office for an Islamic Center-Japan. Their Royal Highnesses Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz and Prince Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz sponsored the construction of this magnificent cultural edifice which became a major Islamic source of knowledge frequented by professors, students, journalists, media members and the public at large. The general public visiting center either embraced Islam or enquired about it. The Center still plays its central role and is continuously improving.

His Royal Highnesses Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz visited the Center in 1985 and so did His Royal Highness Prince Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz in 1986. Both of them extended financial and moral support to its various activities. May Allah (S.W.T.) reward them for their efforts.

The greatest development in the history of Islamic presence in Japan started in the mid eighties, namely the massive surge of Muslim emigrants who started coming in Japan, mostly from Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa, Turkey, and the Arab world. They all came to Japan to earn a living. They married Japanese women after these embraced Islam and were consequently granted permanent residency. Some of them were granted Japanese citizenship and their children were Japanese by birth. These emigrants built Mosques, prayer halls, halal food restaurants and halal products shops and turned their homes and Mosques into centers for enlightening new Japanese converts in Islam and teaching them its sublime principles and practices.

In 1986 Tokyo Mosque was demolished to the dismay of Muslims in Japan, in order to rebuild it in the same site. The construction phase met with a number of obstacles. However, with the help of Allah (S.W.T.) and with Islamic Center-Japan’s continuous efforts and the support of well wishers of Muslims of Turkey and other countries, the construction of Tokyo Mosque was finally completed in 2000, following Ottoman architectural style. This splendid Mosque has ever since been visited by Japanese people who have queries about Islam. The religious Affairs Presidency in Turkey supervised most of the construction work. Islamic Center-Japan with Muslims in Japan and elsewhere had raised about one third of money towards the construction costs, and our Islamic Center-Japan raised most of it.  The Turkish Religious Affairs Presidency is now in charge of running Tokyo Mosque.

An extension was also added to the ancient Kobe Mosque to act as an Islamic cultural center in southwest Japan, and again Dabis family, through Mr. Fuad Dabis, paid for most of the construction costs. This extension virtually represents another source of Islamic knowledge and enlightenment in that part of Japan and plays its role in a most efficient manner.

In Nagoya a new Mosque was built replacing the old Mosque which had been destroyed during the Second World War, and the construction process was supervised by the well known philanthropist Pakistani merchant Mr. Abdul Wahab Quraishi and was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. Salih bin Abdullah bin Humaid, the general president of the affairs of Two Holy Mosques. This Mosque provided a meeting point of the local Muslims who engaged in matters of Islamic education and worship. Brother Abdul Wahab Quraishi also set up a school for Muslim children not far from the Mosque. May Allah reward him for the services he rendered Islam and Muslims.

Mosques set up by brothers from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Africa are in fact numerous. In addition to the Mosque founded by members of the Tablighi movement in Ichinowari and their other Mosques, we find those built by adherents of  Pakistani Jamaate Islami, Otsuka Mosque which received handsome donations from His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz and inaugurated by His Eminence Dr. Umar bin Abdullah Al Subayel, Imam and orator of the Holy Mosque in Makkah Al Mukarramah, Toda Mosque which used to be a factory, and Isesaki Mosque. We also find many Mosques founded by African brothers. In fact, the Center has a list of all Mosques in Japan and will publish it along with Mosques maps and addresses. Brothers in  Japan Muslim Association received generous donations from His Royal Highness King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz which allowed them to purchase their new headquarters.

In fact, the demolition of Tokyo Mosque was a blessing in disguise for despite the feeling of sadness which resulted from the demolition of this Mosque that used to unite Muslims in Japanese capital Tokyo, Almighty Allah provided better alternatives that encouraged Muslims, whose numbers had dramatically increased, to build more Mosques and prayer halls. The first alternative was Arabic Islamic Institute, Tokyo which provided ample room for worshippers during the five daily prayers as well as the two Eid prayers. May Allah (S.W.T.) reward its management committee members for their efforts. The Indonesian brothers had also taken in large numbers of worshippers in the prayer hall of their embassy and school. The Iranian and Malaysian brothers used their embassies for the same purpose. Indeed, it was the Tablighi adherents who were the first to found new Mosques in Japan, then the rest of Muslims followed suit. As a matter of fact, Islamic Center-Japan had borne half the expenses for renting halls in areas where there were more students and fewer Muslim merchants both in northern and southern Japan. Ebina Mosque in Kanagawa Prefecture whose location is not far from Tokyo represents the most modern Mosque in Japan. Its construction cost one million dollars but Muslims did not raise a single penny outside their prefecture.

One of the last center of Islamic da’wah to be founded in the country was Toheed Mosque which His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud built in Hachioji on the outskirts of Tokyo. This Mosque represents an addition to the series of Islamic projects supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, both government and people. May Allah (S.W.T.) reward them for the services they have rendered to Islam and Muslims.

In most recent years, Mosques were newly built in Sendai, Tsukuba, Fukuoka, Kyoto etc. without exaggeration almost every short lapses of time new Mosques are built.

One of the most important events that took place during this period was the symposium on “the Relations between Japan and the Muslim World and One-Hundred Years of Islamic History in Japan”, which was organized by Islamic Center-Japan (ICJ) in collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Jeddah in 2000 and received generous donations from the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz, Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah (MWL), Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah (IDB), World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), and International Islamic Charitable Organization, Kuwait. The symposium was attended by about seventy representatives of Muslims in  neighboring and concerned countries, including His Eminence Sheikh Salih bin Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh, the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Da’wah and Guidance. The symposium was also attended by a large number of Japanese intelligentsia and noted Japanese professors, Muslim and non-Muslims alike, who contributed invaluable researches. Various delegates also contributed researches and gave speeches, including the representative of Japanese minister of foreign affairs. Representatives from different Islamic societies inside and outside Tokyo also attended it and helped towards its success. The symposium lasted for three days during which time it highlighted the Islamic presence in the country. Japanese officials, especially in Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, warmly welcomed this event and requested the organizers to organize similar activities in order to deepen relations between Japan and Muslim world. On the other hand, Japanese ministry of foreign affairs organized later on almost every year symposium on the relations between Japan and Muslim world. Arabic Islamic institute, Tokyo followed on the same steps.

This period also witnessed annual Islamic camps organized by Islamic Center-Japan in collaboration with World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). These activities received generous financial assistance as well as moral support from His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and benefited from the knowledge and guidance of His Eminence Sheikh Saad bin Abdullah Al Borek who represented His Royal Highness on the occasion. In fact, His Eminence Sheikh Saad bin Abdullah Al Borek played a major role during this camp as he revived the wok of the Council of Coordination between Islamic Societies which had been very active for the previous twenty years after its activities came to an end with the death of its general coordinator Professor Abdul Kareem Saito. Indeed, three hundred and fifty Muslim representatives from different parts of Japan signed a document in an effort to revive this council. Mr. Khalid Kiba, the noted Japanese scholar and member of the founding committee of Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah, and one of the directors of Islamic Center-Japan was appointed general coordinator of the council.

One of the main concerns of Muslims in Japan was the burial of their dead, especially after their numbers had dramatically increased. The cost of one single grave in Enzan graveyard which had come under the supervision of our brothers in Japan Muslim Association was almost fifteen thousand dollars. It was therefore for this reason that Muslims considered purchasing a land in one of the provinces neighboring Tokyo in which they could bury their dead free of charge, and so they started raising donations from members of the Muslim community in Japan. Then help came from the late King Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz donated U.S.$700,000, the amount required for the purchase of the land. The committee members of new Muslim graveyard, particularly its president Mr. Mian Aftab well known Pakistani businessman, among other Muslim businessmen in Yokohama who had also financially supported numerous Islamic projects, requested that the graveyard land be officially registered in the name of  Islamic Center-Japan as the Center was the only religious body officially registered in the country, and given that the official religious body was the only body entitled to request the setting up a graveyard. Islamic Center-Japan granted the request and worked closely with the committee to own the land to set up a Muslim graveyard on it.

The Center also supervised the largest pilgrimage mission which comprised forty three Japanese male and female Muslims at their own expense under the direction of Al Hajj Muhammad Sawada well known Japanese caller of Islam, and sent along with them Sheikh Nimetullah Yurt and Abdur Rahman Siddiqi. It also arranged for the largest pilgrimage trip which was initiated by the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques during the 1999. The last pilgrimage trip organized by the Council was undertaken with the generous financial assistance extended by His Royal Highness Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. May Allah (S.W.T.) reward them all for their generous help and support. In 2008 two hundred from Japan performed Hajj on their expenses.

The Current Muslim Presence in Japan:

Muslims in Japan, Japanese and residents, cover more or less the entire of Japan, form the northernmost island in the country (Hokkaido) to the smallest island in the south of the country (Okinawa Island) neighboring Taiwan; and from the easternmost part of the country (Tokyo) to the westernmost part of it (Kanazawa, Shimane and Tottori). We can classify Muslims in Japan into the following categories:

1. Japanese Muslims:

They are distributed as follows:

a. Their Own Societies, which may include the following:

  • Japan Muslim Association:

Japan Muslim Association is the first major Islamic association founded in 1953 by Pre-Second World War, Muslims who returned after their conversion in Indonesia, Malaysia and China, in addition to those early Muslims who were alive at that time. Graduates from Al Azhar University, Islamic University, Al Madeenah Al Munawwarah and Ummul Qura University, Makkah Al Mukarramah play an active role in the association, and its current president is Mr. Ameen Tukumatsu, a graduate from Al Azhar University. Mr. Yahya Endo, a graduate of the Islamic University in Al Madeenah Al Munawwarah, is also one of its active members, and so is Mr. Nooruddeen Mori, a graduate of Ummul Qura University in Makkah Al Mukarramah.   

  • The Islamic Association in Hokkaido (Mr. Abdullah Arai).
  • Japan Islamic Friendship Association in Kyoto (Mr. Ali Kobayashi).
  • Association of Islamic Da’wah in Osaka (Mr. Abdur Raheem Yamaguchi).
  • The Islamic Association in Nara (Mr. Muhammad Nakamura).
  • Muslim Women Association in Osaka and Kyoto (Sister Zeba Kume).
  • Arabic Culture Association in Tokyo (Sister JameelahTakahashi).

b. Incorporated Groups which include Muslim student as well as Japanese and non-Japanese Muslims in general:

This type is somewhat widespread in all parts of Japan and in huge numbers. To give a few examples, Mr. Khalid Kiba who runs his own association in Tokushima southwestern Japan, he is also a member of Islamic Center-Japan, Professor Abdul Jabbar Maeda with the Islamic Association in Miyazaki in southeastern Kyushu Island, Brother Muhammad Sato is active with Muslim Student Association and Islamic Association in Sendai and member of Islamic Center-Japan, and Professor Murtada Kurasawa who is one of the directors of Islamic Center-Japan and at the same time a professor in Nagoya University.

c. Individuals:

Each one of these can be equaled to a number of people in terms of his Islamic activities. These represent the majority of Japanese Muslims. They run more than fifteen websites in Japanese in which they invite the Japanese people to Islam. The following are but a few examples:

  • Sulaiman Hamanaka in Shikoku (He has a website and a Mosque).
  • Professor Kosugi (Kyoto University). He has made many contributions in the major television network. Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK), as well as in conferences and lectures.
  • Professor Onami (Kyoto University, Engineering Department). He has set up the translation of the meanings of Holy Qur’an in Japanese on his website.
  • Late professor Shiro Tanaka who used to work in the College of Foreign language. He knows Holy Qur’an by heart.
  • Professor Hisham Kuroda (The International University of Nigata) who has authored numerous books and was at one point one of the students of the late Ja’faar Izutsu.
  • Ashraf Yasui (Professor of Arabic in Japanese institutes).

In fact, the situation of Muslims in Japan is relatively similar to that of Muslims during Makkah Al Mukarramah period, when new Muslim individuals were scattered in the various cities, villages and oases of the Arabian Peninsula. Some of them were hiding their beliefs, while others publicly declared them, inviting torture and harm upon themselves until they migrated to Al Madinah Al Munawwarah.

A question arises here: What is the number of Muslims in Japan? The answer is that there is no reliable census of Muslims in the country. In fact, there are more than one hundred Islamic societies and scores or even hundreds of Mosques and prayer halls through which many Japanese people embrace Islam almost every day.

In addition, seventeen millions Japanese leave the country as tourists every year. Some of them embrace Islam in Muslim countries while others do so in Europe and America. They contact us online to provide them with Islamic books and their requests are promptly granted. A Japanese Muslim woman once sent us an e-mail from Kula Lumpur saying that about fifty Japanese men and women were interested in Islam and requested us to send her Islamic books in Japanese.

Japanese Muslims are estimated at about 100,000 or even more, while non-Japanese Muslims are estimated at 300,000 or more. However, this remains a rough estimate which observers look at from different perspectives and accordingly give various estimates. It is worth noting, however, that the number of Muslims in Japan is on the increase and that the Japanese people are much closer to Islam than are any other nations in the world. In fact, Japanese people revere this religion and believe that it confirms their long standing ideals and traditions.

2. Muslim Emigrants:

  • The early Muslims who came to Japan were from Indian Sub Continent before independence. They came to Japan towards the end of the nineteenth century, settled in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe where they engaged in trade. They founded the first permanent Mosque in Kobe in 1935. This Mosque has stood the test of time in that it survived the Second World War which demolished a nearby church and the 1995 earthquake which also demolished the same church for the second time.
  • The second generation of Muslim emigrants consisted of Tatars, or Kazan Turks, who came to Japan to escape Communist rule during the early twenties of the twentieth century. They lived along with Indian Muslims in Kobe and built a Mosque in Nagoya, which was demolished during the Second World War. They also founded Tokyo Mosque in 1938, and were led in their Islamic activities by the late Abdul Hay Qurban Ali. We can say that these emigrants represent the first Muslim community to settle in Japan. Some of their youth had migrated to Turkey, Europe, and America and very few of them are still in Japan.
  • Indonesian and Malaysian Muslims represent the third group of Muslim emigrants to set foot in Japan. In fact, a doctrinal controversy arose between these and Tatar Muslims (Indonesians and Malaysians follow Shaf’i School of Jurisprudence, while Tatars follow Hanafi School of Jurisprudence). This controversy prompted the late Abdul Hay Qurban Ali, Tatar Muslim leader to write to Al Masumi, the Imam of Holy Mosque in Makkah Al Mukarramah, regarding this controversy, and the latter wrote a treatise in response. The treatise was titled Hadiyah Al-Sultan Ila Bilad Al-Yaban (The Gift of The Sultan to the land of Japan). This book published during the thirties of the twentieth century. This treatise has been reprinted many times and is still in circulation. Indonesian community remains the largest Muslim community in Japan. Its members have a school and a Mosque in Tokyo that played a major role when Muslims missed Tokyo Mosque.
  • The largest immigration is the one that has been going on since the eighties of the past century. This migration consists of a number of nationalities and many of these emigrants settled in Japan after they got married to Japanese Muslim women. The new trend in this regard is Japanese men’s marriage after their conversion to Muslim women who come mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Arab world. One of the latest marriages includes a Japanese man after his conversion to a Russian Muslim lady.

3. Muslim Students Coming from Muslim Countries:

The first Muslim students to come to Japan were Chinese. These students about forty studied at Waseda University in 1909, published Islamic Awakening, an Islamic magazine in Chinese which bears the title in Arabic. Three Ottoman students, including Ahmad Muneer son of Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim, a seasoned first class traveler and noted caller to Islam, joined Waseda University in 1911. During the Second World War large numbers of Indonesian and Malaysian students came to Japan, some of whom were martyred as a result of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, while some others survived. In fact, I met these victims a few years ago. Tatar migrant’s children attended Japanese schools and studied at Japanese universities. These include Dr. AlTinbai, Al hajj Tamimdar Muhit and his wife, Mr. Ramadan Safa, and Asad Qurban Ali. They established an Islamic association in the forties of the past century.

The largest numbers of Muslim students started coming to the country following World War II, precisely towards the end of the fifties, and are still on the increase. Most of these students come from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Arab world, Turkey, Iran and Africa. They established, along with Japanese Muslims and other Muslims who are permanently settled in the country, Islamic gatherings in every city where they hired halls which included a library and a meat shop for selling halal meat in addition to areas reserved for prayers and meetings.

As a matter of fact, I had always lamented the fact that practically all Muslim ethnic groups had built their Mosques with the exception of the Arabs, in whose midst the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was raised. Finally, Arab Muslims, mostly from Egypt, set up a Mosque in their quarters on the outskirts of Tokyo (Shin Misato). Twenty five of them as well as other students performed the pilgrimage in 2000. Many students from other nationalities also performed pilgrimage this year.

4. Professionals from Islamic Countries:

Large number of professionals from Islamic countries visited Japan and stayed here from several weeks to a year. These professionals need to know about where to get halal food from as well as the prayer times. Many of them are also asked questions about Islam, and they request us online as well as by post and fax to provide them with books and to answer some of their queries, which we immediately granted. These professionals played a big role in introducing Islam to Japanese people and their very existence in the country paves the way for Japanese people to know something about Islam, especially if they are practicing and seek to live by the dictates of Islam.

5. Muslim Businessmen and Tourists:

The commercial relationship between Japan and Muslim world is very old indeed and still ongoing, and a large number of businessmen and tourists who play a major role in introducing Islam to Japanese people visit the country every year. Our Islamic Center-Japan is specialized in Islamic books and booklets in Japanese and provides the required Islamic material for all Islamic societies in Japan as well as for students, professionals, businessmen, tourists, and others. It also provides newly arrived professionals with the necessary information about Mosques, prayer times, halal foods, and Islamic gatherings.

Notes:

We stress here again the fact that Japanese people enjoy good character. In fact, when a Japanese person reads about Islam he finds that it largely conforms to the ideals adopted by his or her society. If Allah (S.W.T.) wishes him or her guidance, He paves the way for him or her to embrace Islam. See the appendix on the good traits of  Japanese people which they have inherited from Al Samurrai, members of a powerful military class in Japan in the past.

A young man sent us an e-mail saying that he had studied Islam and would like to embrace it. Should he learn how to perform the prayers before his declaration of faith or vice? Is circumcision obligatory? If so should only a Muslim doctor undertake it? Otherwise he is ready to get circumcised at any nearby hospital.

A lady also wrote us a letter saying that she had studied Islam in order to submit a paper on the subject to her university and found it to a great religion. She also said that she wanted to invite students in her college to Islam in a “scientific way”. “I know that the prohibition of  pig meat is somehow related to hygiene” she said. Then she asked us if there are any scientific facts in Islam which modern science has confirmed so she would call students in college to Islam based on these facts.

As for Muhammad Dawud, he visited Jerusalem and Gaza two years ago and loved Islam. When he came back to Japan, he contacted Sister Zeba Kume, the well known Japanese caller to Islam. She taught him about Islam and he ultimately embraced it. I must say here that Sister Zeba may be equal to one hundred men, if not one thousand men, when it comes to Islamic activity.

Uthman is a student in the second year at the university in Kyoto. He visited Turkey for a week and fell in love with Islam. When he came back to Japan, he read the books of Islamic Center-Japan he obtained from Sister Zeba Kume, and he later converted to Islam.

Fatima Nakasone is a young girl studying in Bedford, England. She used to be Christian. She converted to Islam when she made friends with a British Muslim sister of Asian descent who talked to her about Islam. She now wears the full face veil even though she is in Britain.

Another lady e-mailed us from America saying that she wanted the meanings of  Holy Qur’an in Japanese and we sent her what she wanted. When we asked her about the Muslim community in her area she said that she was among one hundred Japanese girls and that she was only Muslim lady and that she was looking forward to having a Mosque built in her area.  She also mentioned in her e-mail that she was a music therapist in one of American universities.

Russian Victoria also wrote us from inside Japan saying that she was looking for an Islamic bank in which to keep her money in order to avoid dealing with usury (riba), and we sent her address of Pakistani National Bank. We also talked to her on the phone to where she resides not far from Tokyo and we found out that she was married to a Japanese Muslim. We questioned her with appreciation that after seventy years of Communist rule, we could now see a Russian Muslimah who was interested in keeping her money in a bank that did not deal in riba.  That was indeed one of the miracles of Islam. We then sent her a copy of translation of the meanings ostrongf Holy Qur’an in Japanese as well as the Center’s publications so that her Japanese husband would read them, and she thanked us for that.

Sheikh Nimetullah Yurt called one of the neighbors of Tokyo Mosque while it was still under construction one morning to Islam and gave her a copy of Al Maududi’s What is Islam? which bore the e-mail address of the Center. Later on, she sent us the following letter: “I was brought up as a child in a house near Tokyo Mosque…The view of its shiny dome before sunset was really captivating…I felt very sad when the Mosque was demolished…Now that the Mosque is being built, I am really elated with joy…” She wrote this e-mail in a green background, which Japanese believe is the symbol of Paradise. In fact, such incidents occur on a daily basis in Islamic Center-Japan, Arab Islamic Institute, Tokyo Mosque, Kobe Mosque as well as in the other Islamic societies and associations.

In fact, many Islamic gatherings in Japan pave the way for new Muslims to visit them and learn about the Islamic way of life there. Islamic Center-Japan is rightly a beacon of guidance which helps guide whomever wishes to know anything about Islam as well as Muslims who come to Japan. Our website is easily accessible. Anyone who types us the words “islamcenter.or.jp” in the search engine will immediately get it. We promptly respond to queries and requests. We retain all e-mails that we receive, and all correspondents thank us for our prompt responses.

An Arab student from Seattle in west central Washington State wrote to us that there were many Japanese students in his college who were interested in Islam and requested us to send him books on Islam in Japanese. He also mentioned that a Japanese female student returned to Japan and requested us to send her some Islamic books to her address which he mentioned in his letter. We promptly sent the translation of the meanings of Holy Qur’an in Japanese and some Islamic books both to him and to Japanese student. In reply, he thanked our prompt response, saying that in one million Muslims there was one like you who does your task.

Our Islamic Center-Japan is also considered to be one of the oldest Islamic Centers in Japan and is known to the Japanese government, the media, the universities, schools and religious groups, making it a major source of Islamic knowledge in the country. We thank Almighty Allah for affording us the opportunity to call to His religion and carry out this collective duty on behalf of the Muslim Ummah. We also thank all those who have given us assistance and support to facilitate our duty. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “That Allah guides through you one man is better for you than the red camels” (which were the most precious property a man would wish to have in those days). Another narration mentions: “that doing this is better than the entire world”.

The Second Generation of Muslims: Their Problems and Future:

The most important problem facing Muslims in Japan is that of the second generation children who come from mixed marriages: non-Japanese Muslim men with Japanese Women, non-Japanese Muslim women with Muslim Japanese men and the children of Japanese Muslims in general.

Education in Japan is mandatory and essential, and there is not a single Islamic school in Japan while there are thousands of Muslim children who need education in an Islamic environment. If we do not provide something for them to acquire Islamic education, they will certainly dissolve in this non-Islamic society. What actually happens is that a Pakistani or Bangladeshi man sends his Japanese wife and children to his country for education purposes, and due to the huge economic and social differences between Japan and these countries, many problems arise, leading in some instances to marital breakdowns, hence the importance of solving this problem.

Islamic Center-Japan is now considering the establishment of first Islamic school in Japan. It has purchased a land neighboring Tokyo Mosque and intends to build an Islamic school on it in order to remove the barrier of hesitating to build Islamic schools in the country, as it removed the barrier of hesitating to build Mosques in the country before.  If we concern ourselves with the second generation children, they will certainly present Islam to Japanese people far better than us, for they are Japanese and their language is Japanese as well, and these two factors are very important indeed. We thank His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud for the assistance his charitable society has given towards the purchase of the land for building the school. Thanks also go the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah for offering to assist with one third of the construction costs.

A Word of Thanks:

Finally, I would like to thank Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the assistance it has, and is still, extending to Islam and Muslims in Japan. In fact, a large part of Islamic work in Japan is a blessed seedling plated by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We also thank the Gulf countries and the other Arab countries for their support of Muslims in Japan.

I would like to thank Japanese academics and professors who are concerned with Islamic culture and try to present it to their own people in an objective and impartial manner without being affected by any Western influences. We would like to thank the leading academics and professors, such as Professor Itagaki, Professor Katakura, Professor Komatsu, Professors Sugita who share the same surname from Tokyo University and Professor Goto as well as the rest of the academics and professors. I would also like to thank the Japanese government for giving Muslims in Japan complete freedom and for caring about them and trying hard to deepen understanding between Japan and Muslim world. In particular, we would like to thank His Excellency former Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Kono and Japanese police in general for their readiness to cooperate with Muslims, individuals and groups. We also thank Japanese people who revere Islam and receive its publications with great respect. In fact, studies conducted by Japanese government on foreigners in the country have shown that Muslims are the coolest and most collected community with the least troubles.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.

Dr. Salih Mahdi S. Al Samarrai

Email: Salihsamarrai@yahoo.com

  1. 1.        Dr. Zuhal is now a rector of Al Azhar University of technology in Jakarta and was previously a minister in his country. In fact, he raised a handsome sum of money to help rebuild Tokyo Mosque in 1998.
  2. 2.     Ahmad Suzuki was one of Al Azhar University graduates. He belongs to the second generation of Japanese Muslims, as both his father and maternal uncle were Muslim.
  3.  The author of the present pamphlet.
Traits of Samurai, the Warrior Class in Japan

These traits were mentioned by His Excellence Dr. Musa Muhammad Umar on 04 March,1978 during a meeting held by the Muslim Youth Association in Kanazawa, on the Sea of Japan opposite Korea. The association comprised one hundred Japanese Muslim youth who were the students of the late Mustafa Komura, who assisted the late Umar Mita with translation of the meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese and authored a huge encyclopedia on the history of Islam in Japan. In fact, he sent some of these youth to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Qatar, and now they are occupying posts in universities, companies, and free trade in all parts of Japan. We Muslims admit that we have neglected the duty of keeping in touch with them. Dr. Musa was and still is one of the directors of Islamic Center-Japan and was the Sudanese ambassador to Japan.

About the Samurai:

  • They do not forget favors.
  • They  abstain from alcohol, women and overeating.
  • They respect their parents and obey them and never feel annoyed no matter what they do to them.
  • They wash their hands and feet in the morning and in the evening. They also take a warm bath and like to keep their bodies and appearance nice and clean.
  • They never preoccupy themselves with things that do not concern them or even talk about them.
  • They take an interest in discipline and military training.
  • They feel duty bound to engage in good works and acceptable actions and avoid unacceptable and wrong actions.
  • They are trustworthy not out of fear of people or that they might be caught out doing something that contradicts their principles.
  • They have to take an interest in studies and the acquisition of knowledge and never waste their time.
  • They lead a dignified life, do not do harm to others, nor are they dependent upon them.
  • They do not get into bad company.

This is a copy of a document Dr. Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai received from the late Bakir Barq, one of the leaders of Annoor Group in Turkey who worked as a broadcaster for a long time for the Turkish program in Saudi Arabian Radio, Jeddah.

 

 

 

 ISLAM IN JAPAN

HSITORY, SPREAD, AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE COUNTRY

 

 

 

Prof. Dr. Salih Mahdi S. Al Samarrai

Chairman

Islamic Center- Japan

2009

 

 

 

 

ISLAMIC CENTER-JAPAN

1-16-11, Ohara, Setagaya-Ku,

Tokyo 156-0041, Japan

Tel: 0081-3-3460-6169 Fax: 0081-3-3460-6105

E-mail: info@islamcenter.or.jp

URL:http//islamcenter.or.jp

 

 

 

Introduction:

The light of Islam emanated from the Arabian Peninsula and spread eastwards to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Indian sub-continent, then to Malaysia and reached as far as China and Philippine. It continued spreading for a long time and reached different parts of the world but reached Japan only towards the end of the nineteenth century. In fact, Japanese, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, feel wonder why Islam was so delayed and did not reach Japan at the time it did reach to China and  Philippine. In the present pamphlet, I would like to present a chronology of Islam in Japan, writing whatever information I have about each point in time, based on fifty years of my life which I spent in Japan and fifty years of research. The present work does not pretend to be exhaustive, but different writings on the subject will certainly provide a more comprehensive study. I hereby present my work, seeking the good pleasure of Almighty Allah. I pray to Allah (S.W.T.) for His Mercy and I beg my Muslim bothers for forgiveness.

Dr. Salih Mahdi S. Al Samarrai

Email: Salihsamarrai@yahoo.com

The Era before 1900: 

With the beginning of the era of Japanese Renaissance, known as the era of Meiji, started in 1868, only two countries in Asia enjoyed independence, namely the Ottoman Empire and Japan. As they both came under pressure from Western countries, they decided to establish friendly relations between them and consequently they started to exchange visits. The most important of these visits was the mission sent by Abdul Hamid II (reigned 1876-1909) to Japan on board Al Togrul ship which carried more than six hundred officers and soldiers led by admiral Uthman Pasha in 1890. On the homeward journey, after the mission was successfully accomplished in Japan and meeting Japanese emperor, a fierce hurricane fell on the ship while it was still in Japanese waters, causing the death of more than 550 people including  the Sultan’s brother. The disaster deeply moved both sides and the survivors were carried on board of two Japanese ships to Istanbul. The martyrs were buried at the site of the accident and a museum was set up not far from the accident site. Japanese and  Turks still celebrate this event until today at the same site of the accident every five years despite successive change of governments.

Along the ship with the survivors going home, a young Japanese journalist by the name of Shotaro Noda who raised donations in Japan for the martyrs families, left for Istanbul, handed these donations to Turkish authorities and even met Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who asked him to stay in Istanbul and teach Japanese to ottoman officers. During his stay in Istanbul, he met Abdullah Guillaume, an English Muslim from Liverpool, Britain who introduced Noda to Islam. Quite convinced after a lengthy discussion that Islam is the truth, Noda embraced Islam and chose to be named Abdul Haleem, as Turkish document at back of the present pamphlet shows. In fact, Abdul Haleem Noda could be considered the first Japanese Muslim. Soon afterwards, another Japanese called Torajiro Yamada went to Istanbul in 1893 to give donations he had collected back home to the martyrs families in Turkey. Following his conversion to Islam, being the second Japanese person to embrace Islam, he changed his name to Khaleel, or maybe Abdul Khaleel. He stayed in Istanbul several years doing business and kept friendly relations with Turkey after coming home until his death.

The third Japanese person to embrace Islam was a Christian merchant by the name of Ahmad Ariga. He visited Bombay, India in 1900. The beautiful sight of a Mosque there attracted his attention, he went in and declared his conversion to Islam. During this period, a number of Indian Muslim merchants lived in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe, they are considered to be the first Muslim community in Japan.

PERIOD FROM 1900 TO 1920:

Muhammad Ali, one of Sultan Abdul Hamid’s envoys, visited Japan in 1902 with the intention of building a Mosque in Yokohama, as some documents have revealed, but he was not successful.

A Turkish general Pertav Pasha, an envoy of Sultan Abdul Hamid, also visited Japan to monitor the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). He spent two years there, met  Ottoman emperor and authored a three volume book in Turkish which I translated the first two volumes into Arabic language.

After the Russo-Japanese War, news came in the press that Japanese showed interest in Islam as well as in the Muslim world, prompted Muslims to call Japanese for Islam. Abbas Mahmoud Al Aqqad, a prominent Egyptian scholar, mentioned that some Egyptian officers were so impressed by Japanese victory against Russian forces that they volunteered to serve in Japanese army and later on married Japanese women who gave birth to children. Some of them returned home while some others stayed in Japan. Qari Sarfaraz Hussein, a famous Indian scholar, also visited Japan towards the end of 1905 and early 1906 and gave lectures on Islam in Nagasaki and Tokyo. The first Mosque was built in Osaka for Russian Muslim prisoners in 1905.

News in the Muslim world also announced in 1906 that a conference is to be held in Tokyo in which Japanese would conduct a comparison between various faiths in order to choose the right one. This news also prompted enthusiastic Muslims to travel to Japan to attend the conference.

Ali Ahmad Al Jarjawi, an Egyptian Shahriah lawyer and a graduate from Al Azhar University, claimed that he had attended the conference and wrote a book titled The Japanese Journey. Al Jarjawi, along with Chinese Sulaiman, Russian Mukhlis Mahmoud and Indian Hussein Abdul Munim, formed a society in Tokyo to call to Islam resulted that embraced 12,000 Japanese Islam.

Two or three years later, Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim, a Muslim traveler and noted caller of Islam from Russia, came to Japan in 1909 and rejected  the claims of Al Jarjawi. This claim was also rejected by an Indian intellectual Muhammad Barakatullah who stayed in Japan for five years (1909-1914). In fact, the present author has for some years until now been trying to find out if Al Jarjawi really visited Japan or not, and has not found any tangible evidence to this effect, apart from the book written by Al Jarjawi.

Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim came to Japan in 1909 and stayed there for six months, during which he met a number of Japanese people, ranging from ministers to peasants. As a result of his Islamic activities, many young intellectuals, officers, and journalists embraced Islam. He also visited China, Korea, India, and Hejaz, Saudi Arabia, and wrote a thousand page long book in ottoman language, which the author of the present work translated and revised into Arabic language. It is in the press and will come out soon, inshaa Allah.

In fact, Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim was a prominent traveler, a caller of Islam, a politician, a man of letters and an erudite scholar. The late Dr. Abdul Wahhab Azzam of Egypt, mentioned that the book Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim had authored was far better than Bin Battutah’s book, as Dr. Muhammad Rajab Bayyumi mentioned in an article published in Al Azhar magazine.

Muhammad Barakatullah, from Bhopal, Indian, also visited Japan and was the first to teach Urdu in the University of Foreign languages in Tokyo. He also issued Islamic Fraternity, an Islamic magazine, for three years (1910-1912), and managed to convert a large number of Japanese people into Islam. In fact, I have managed to find only two issues of his magazine, and I am still trying to find the rest as they certainly reflect the early beginning of Islam in Japan.

Ahmad Fadli, an Egyptian officer, stayed in Japan and married a Japanese lady in 1908. He met Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim and worked closely with him. He also worked

closely with Barakatullah for six months and helped in producing his magazine. In fact, Fadli wrote The Secret behind the Japanese Progress in Arabic in 1911 and translated the Soul of Japanese into Arabic. He also visited Waseda University along with Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim and translated one of his lectures on Islam which lasted for three hours. Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim mentioned that there were about one thousand Chinese at Waseda University of whom thirty-nine were Muslims who published “Islamic Awakening” an Islamic magazine in Chinese which also bears the title in Arabic.

Hasan UHO Hatano, who embraced Islam through Barakatullah, published an illustrated magazine named Islamic Brotherhood in 1918. He also published another magazine “Islam” in both Japanese and English in 1912. I have not found a single issue of these two magazines.

The first Japanese Muslim to perform pilgrimage was Umar Yamaoka in 1909, who accompanied Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim to the holy lands and then to Istanbul.

French magazine La Mound Mousol Man also published in 1911 some news to the effect that two Japanese people who were residing in China  embraced Islam, and then returned to Japan, determined to spread Islam in their home country.

PERIOD FROM 1920 TO 1930:

The Japanese became more interested in the Muslim world for expansionist, economic, and cultural reasons. The meaning of Holy Qur’an was translated into Japanese, Islamic societies were set up, and Islamic and Orientalist books were written.

The Tatar Muslim emigrants then started entering Japan fleeing Communist rule in Russia and most of them ultimately settled in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kobe. The second Japanese Muslim to perform pilgrimage in 1924 was the late Ippei Tanaka who had embraced Islam when he was in China. Umar Mita, the well known translator of the meaning of Holy Qur’an into Japanese, also embraced Islam in China.

Umar Yamaoka visited Egypt and went to Al Azhar University in 1924. A photo was taken of him in Al Azhar University gown, in which he appeared as though he is one of the venerable scholars of Indonesia or Malaysia.

PERIOD FROM 1930 TO 1940:

Abdul Hay Qurban Ali emerged as a religious leader of Tatar Muslims and published Yapan Makhbari, an Islamic magazine in the Tatar language which was distributed inside and outside Japan. He also established a printing house with Arabic letters, in which Islamic books were printed in Tatar language. The Qur’an was also printed in this printing house. This Holy Qur’an had been printed a few years before in the city of Kazan before the Communist rule. He also strengthened his relations with  Japanese authorities and managed through their assistance and support to build first Mosque in Tokyo in 1938. Dignitaries who attended the inauguration of Mosque included late Hafiz Wahbah, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in London on behalf of late king Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Saif Al Islam Al Hussein from Yemen, Mahmoud Fawzi, consul of Egypt in Japan who later became Egyptian foreign minister and then vice president of the Egyptian republic. The author of the present work is still keeping the speeches and their translations as well as the photos which were taken on the occasion.

Abdr Rasheed Ibrahim visited Japan for the second time in 1933 and worked closely with Qurban Ali in managing the affairs of Muslim community in Japan. In fact, Japanese officers whom he converted to Islam later occupied important positions in the country. He stayed in Japan until his death in 1944.

Noorul Hasan Barlas, a leading professor from India, came to Japan and was appointed a university chair of Urdu in the University of Foreign Languages in Tokyo from 1932 to 1949. He actively participated in Islamic activities and wrote a number of articles on “Islam in Japan” in Urdu, which the author of the present work, translated into Arabic. In fact, I met his son in Karachi, Pakistan in 1997 as well as his grandsons in Karachi, Islamabad, Pakistan and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Alimullah Siddiqi, a renowned scholar and caller of Islam from India, also visited Japan and gave a number of lectures on Islam in Tokyo. Alimullah Siddiqi was in fact one of the first travelers and caller of Islam who traveled world widely and established many Islamic Centers, wherever he went. I still have a copy of the lecture he gave on the position of women in Islam which he delivered in Orion Hotel in Ginza in the heart of Tokyo in 1936.

During this period, Indian Muslims founded a Mosque in Kobe in 1935, and the late “Firooz Japan wala”, made a handsome financial contribution towards its building. I also met his son in Delhi in 1995 and kissed his head in memory of his father. Tatar Muslims also built a Mosque in the city of Nagoya.

Japan also showed interest in East Turkistan, which is part of China, and for this reason it invited Muslim leaders and students to Japan. Among them “Ameen Islami” who held the position of Imam in Tokyo Mosque from 1938 to 1953. He then left for Taif, Saudi Arabia, then to Jeddah where he worked as a broadcaster and then in the Saudi Ministry of hajj. His children are still in Jeddah.

The late Mustafa Komura, another Japanese leader, also embraced Islam in this period and played a major role in Islamic activities and worked closely with Muslims in East Turkistan and Yunnan, a province of China. After the war, he formed two Islamic societies which were officially recognized, hence being the first Japanese Muslim to obtain official registration from the Japanese authorities, which was literally an extremely difficult task in the country. He also sent scores of Japanese students to Pakistan, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia and took an active part in translation of the meanings of Holy Qur’an to Japanese in Makkah Al Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, and authored an extensive encyclopedia on the history of Islam in Japan, which we translated into English.

During this period, a large number of Japanese Muslims started performing Hajj. A few years later, late Salih Suzuki, a Japanese Hajj, had the honor of meeting the late King Abdul Aziz Al Saud who was in the habit of giving special care to Japanese pilgrims. Noor Tanaka performed Hajj for the second time in 1934.

In fact, Syed Amoudi who used to work in Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, informed me that Mr. Muhsin Japan Uglu, Mr. Qurban Ali’s brother in-law, visited Saudi Arabia and personally met the late King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz in Taif in the mid thirties, explained to him the situation of Muslims in Japan and sought his help and support.

A Noted Lebanese businessman and a literary person Abdur Rahman Qulelat also came to Japan along with his family after a journey from Brazil and settled in Japan. In fact, he gave a great deal of assistance to Muslims in Japan. The DEBIS family, including their eldest member Abdul Hadi Debis, who was a big businessmen, also settled in Japan. The latter’s cousin, late Mr. Fuad Debis, as well as the entire Debis family made huge contributions towards the assistance of Muslims and Islam in Japan.

PERIOD FROM 1940 TO 1950:

Sheikh Abdullah Togai, Al Azhar University envoy as a caller to Islam, arrived in Japan in 1941 and stayed in Japan for only six months, and went back to Egypt which joined the Allies against the Axis during the Second World War. While still in Japan, he taught Mr. Umar Hayashi Arabic language. Hayashi is one of the elderly Japanese Muslims who work for a long time as a representative of Arab oil company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and still active with Japan Muslim Association.

Abdul Kareem Tabbarah, a famous Lebanese stock trader, lived in Japan in 1941 deciphered the symbols and mysterious writings owned by the Ainu Tribes, the aboriginal inhabitants of Japan, after skilled Japanese linguists and anthropologists failed to do so. Then he provided a translation of these symbols and writings during a press conference which was held in Tokyo.

Japan joined the Second World War and occupied parts of Asia, affording Japanese the opportunity to come into contact with Muslims from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippine. Prominent Japanese persons embraced Islam, includingUmar Yukiba who converted to Islam in Malaysia, the late Abdul Muneer Watanabe, the late Sadiq Imaizumi, the late Faruq Nagase, Suda and Matsubayashi.

Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim, the leading Tatar scholar of Japan, passed away in 1944 and was buried in Tama Muslim graveyard on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Japan lost the war and three million Japanese returned to Japan including those who embraced Islam in Asia.

Noorul Hasan Barlas returned to Pakistan after selling ancient stamps and used the money to buy tickets for himself and his wife. As I mentioned earlier on, I met his 82 year old son who had previously studied in Yokohama school.

PERIOD FROM 1950 TO 1960:

A number of Japanese Muslims including Umar Yamaoka, Umar Mita, Abdul Muneer Watanabe, Sadiq Imaizumi, Umar Yukiba and Mustafa Komura gathered and set up the first Muslim association in Japan in 1953 (Japan Muslim Association).

Members of Tablighi movement started entering into Japan from Pakistan between 1956 and 1960. Their first group visited Japan in 1956, and I managed to meet Shabir Ahmad in Lahore, the only surviving member of this group. In fact, they visited Japan four times and I accompanied them in the fourth time in 1960. Those zealous Muslims revived the spirit of Islam in Japanese Muslims, such as Umar Mita, and Mustafa Komura, and converted new persons to Islam, such as Prof. Abdul Kareem Saito, Khalid Kiba, Dr. Umar Kawabata, ZaKariya Nakayama, Ali Mori, and Amin Yamamoto. The last four were the greatest and leading daees (callers to Islam) in Shikoku Island, one of the four main islands of Japan.Sadiq Imaizumi helped convert a number of Japanese persons to Islam including Ramadan Isozaki, Zubair Suzuki, Sideeq Nakayama, and Yusuf Imori.

During this period a prominent daee (caller to Islam) emerged, namely the late Abdur Rasheed Arshad, a Pakistani engineer from the Tablighi movement, who also knew the whole Holy Qur’an by heart. He visited Japan on a training mission at the expense of  Japanese government in 1959. He joined the third Tablighi mission and managed to convert a number of Japanese to Islam, including Khalid Kiba. It was actually Abdur Rasheed Arshad who encouraged me to come to Japan after I was introduced to him by the late Abul Hasan Ali Al Hasani Al Nadvi whom I met during one of his visits to Pakistan where I was studying agriculture in Layallpur (Faislabad). Upon Abdur Rasheed Arshad return from Japan, I met him in Raiwind, not far from Lahore, in 1959 during the annual meeting of the Tablighi movement. He used to encourage me to go to Japan, saying that it was like a blooming garden, full of ripe fruits where I could only go in and readily pick fruits and that the character of some converts to Islam was similar that of the Prophet’s companions (SAHABA).

In the early sixties, Abdur Rasheed Arshad supervised the project of setting up the telephone line between Makkah Al Mukarramah and Al Madinah Al Munawwarah and I informed him while I was in Japan in 1961 that Umar Mita embarked on the translation of meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese. In fact, I shared the same room with Umar Mita for approximately a year. Abdur Rasheed Arshad approached World Muslim League, Makkah Al Mukarramah which called Umar Mita as well as Mustafa Komura and the three of them formed a team to translate meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese. Abdur Rasheed Arshad died in a car accident between Makkah Al Mukarramah and Al Madinah Al Munawwarah in 1964 (or maybe early 1965) while in the company of Umar Mita and Mustafa Komura who survived the crash and managed to publish translation of Holy Qura’n.

Of the leading Japanese daees (callers to Islam) who embraced the Muslim faith during this period was the late professor Abdul Kareem Saito. He was converted to Islam at the hands of the Tablighi groups. He worked at Takushoku University and paved the way for scores of Japanese youth to embrace Islam. Actually, we together sent all these converts to Al Azhar University, Egypt, in the sixties and to Saudi Arabia in the seventies in order to master Arabic language and study Islam. Now they are teaching Arabic language in Japanese universities and working in companies, and some of them, such as Khalid Higuchi, Amin Tokumatsu, Japan Muslim  Association’s president and Yahya Endo, are running Japan Muslim Association, the first Japanese Muslim organization.

PERIOD FROM 1960 TO 1970:

Foreign Muslim students from different Muslim countries, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Arab world (including myself) etc. arrived in Japan at the end of fifties and beginning of sixties, and they set up the first Muslim Student Association in Japan. The managing committee of the association included Dr. Zuhal[1] from Indonesia1, Muzaffar Uzay from Turkey, Ahmad Suzuki [2] from Japan, Abdur Rahman Siddiqi from Pakistan and Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai, an Arab. [3]

Muslim students set up a da’wah joint  Board with Japan Muslim Association (Umar Mita, Abdul Muneer Watanabe, and Abdul kareem Saito who represented Japanese side) and (Abddur Rahman Siddiqi, Muzaffar Uzay and Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai who represented students). The Board carried out a number of activities including the following:

  1. It published booklets on Islam written byUmar Mita and translated and published Al Maudoodi, towards understanding Islam.
  2. Brother Farooq Nagase assisted the publication of fortnightly The Voice of Islam newspaper.
  3.  It sent Japanese Muslim youths to Al Azhar University and organized intensive preparatory training courses.
  4. It undertook all da’wah activities after the Tabligh members had left Japan.
  5.  It purchased the first graveyard for Muslims in Enzan (Yamanshi prefecture) with a handsome amount of money contributed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as some money from the late Abdul Kareem Saito. The graveyard later registered in the name of Japan Muslim Association.
  6.  The board introduced Professor Abdul kareem Saito to the Muslim world, first, he visited Iraq, then Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and many other Muslim countries.
  7.  The board inaugurated the first Islamic Center in Tokushima city, southwestern Japan, in Shikoku Island, in 1965 but it witnessed only one year of operation.
  8.  It inaugurated the first Islamic Center in Tokyo in 1965 with the help and support of Al Sanie, the first Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan. The Center lasted for one year and then closed down after the support was stopped following the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s leaving the country.

Late Al Mangoor, Saudi Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Muhammad Basheer Kurdi, Mr. Salah Al Husaini, (the son of the late Al Hajj Amin Al Husseini, the then mufti of Jerusalem) who worked in Saudi Arabia Embassy in Tokyo gave tremendous support to our Islamic activities in Japan. In fact, Mr. Al Manqoor would provide us with a generous amount donations on various occasions to support the different Islamic activities.

Indonesian students also had a huge residence in the heart of the Japanese capital, not far from its central Mosque, in which we used to celebrate the various Islamic events, particularly Eid Al Fitr festival. They would prepare a massive celebration with delicious food which would then be attended by Muslims and senior Japanese officials and even Japanese members of parliament. The celebration called AL HALAL BIL HALAL in Indonesian.

In the third part of this period, after most of the students had gone back home, and their Islamic activities witnessed a decline as a result, another eminent and unique caller to Islam by the name of Syed Jameel visited Japan. He was the chief accountant in Pakistani government and the president of Holy Qur’an Memorization Society in Karachi, Pakistan. In fact, he started from where others had left off and expanded the Islamic activities which started off by his predecessors. He also published some treatises on Islam in Japanese, and his activities included Korea as well.

The late Prof. Dr. Ali Hasan Al Samni, a highly qualified Egyptian professor, also came to Japan and taught Arabic to thousands of Japanese students in colleges of foreign languages as well as in other Japanese institutes from 1963 to 1978. He was consulted by leading professors in Japan and benefited from his vast knowledge. The Japanese emperor conferred the order of merit on him in appreciation of his services in the field of Arabic language and Islamic Culture. During the seventies of the past century, the late Abdul Kareem Saito, Ali Hasan Al Samni and the author of the present pamphlet would stay in Tokyo Mosque in afternoon of every Sunday to reply to the queries posed by the Japanese people about the Muslim faith.

It is worth mentioning that the late Miftahuddin and Ainan Safa, two Imams of Tokyo Mosque, as well as Mr. Kalki, the then Imam  of Kobe Mosque, who were amongst Tatar Muslim emigrants, also rendered great services to the Muslim community in Japan.

I would also like to stress here that during this period the main source of financial support of the general da’wah activities conducted by the joint Islamic Board came mainly from Kuwait through Mr. Abdullah Al Aqeel and the late Abdur Rahman Al Dosari who used to raise donations from Muslim philanthropists, most popular of whom were the late Abdur Razzaq Al Salih Al Mutawwa, Al Qinai, and Sheikh Abdullah Ali Al Mutawwa and many others. We pray to Almighty Allah to reward them abundantly for the services they rendered to Islam and Muslims in Japan.

The Seventies: PERIOD FROM 1970 TO 1980:

The late King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia visited Japan in 1970 and met a number of Japanese Muslim delegates including Muslim delegates from Korea. Then Dr. Abdul Basit Al Sebai, the president of “Muslim Student Association in Japan” seized the opportunity and requested the Saudi monarch to dispatch Dr. Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai, professor at Riyadh University, to Japan to help da’wah work in Japan, and he kindly granted the request in 1973. May Allah reward him abundantly for his services to Islam and Muslims.

The late King Faisal also supervised translation project of the meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese which was undertaken by Umar Mita, and he allotted a large sum of money to this project with Saudi Arabia Embassy in Japan, ordering that the Embassy in Tokyo pay every necessary amount whenever the translation was out of print. Umar Mita mentioned in the introduction to this translation that Mr. Ahmad Suzuki and Dr. Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai assisted him with the final revision of the translation work in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the summer of 1970.

During 1971 and 1972, Syed Jamil continued the Islamic work in Japan and Korea.

 In 1973, King Faisal assisted by late Hasan Al Shaikh the minister of education dispatched the author of the present work to help the da’wah activities in Japan along with six other persons, namely Khalid Kiba (Japanese), Asad Qurban Ali, the son of the late Abdul Hay Qurban Ali who founded Tokyo Mosque, Dr. Abdul Basit Al Sebai (Egyptian), Ali Al Zubee (Syrian), Abdur Rahman Siddiqi (Pakistani) and Musa Muhammad Umar (Sudanese). They had all studied in Japanese universities and had undertaken major Islamic activities in Japan. This team set up the first integrated Islamic Center in collaboration with other Japanese and foreign dignitaries who are active in Dawah, such as Umar Mita who translated the meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese,  Abdul Kareem Saito, Mustufa Komura,  Abdul Muneer Watanabe, Tamim Dar Muhit, Umar Daraz Khan, Ali Hasan Al Samni, Matloob Ali and Ainan Safa. We must not forget to mention here the great efforts made by the late Sheikh Hasan bin Abdullah Al Sheikh who was a great help to King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz in this respect and helped support the various activities of Islamic Center-Japan and Islamic da’wah in Japan. The late Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz also played a major role in this regard. In fact, these two men helped shape the destiny of Islamic da’wah in Japan. May Allah reward them for their efforts.

Islamic Center-Japan was established at a critical stage in the history of Japan, namely the oil crisis in 1973 and the following years. The Japanese people started to show interest in Islam, as most of the oil exporting countries were Islamic. The establishment of this Center was a dream of every person who had been engaged in da’wah activities for a hundred years. In fact, all those who had visited Japan and engaged in da’wah activities whose writings we have read, such as Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim, Muhammad Barakatullah, and Noorul Hasan Barlas, were always hoping that an Islamic Center be set up in Japan where Japanese Mup dir=”LTR” align=”center”Alimullah Siddiqi, a renowned scholar and caller of Islam from India, also visited Japan and gave a number of lectures on Islam in Tokyo. Alimullah Siddiqi was in fact one of the first travelers and caller of Islam who traveled world widely and established many Islamic Centers, wherever he went. I still have a copy of the lecture he gave on the position of women in Islam which he delivered in Orion Hotel in Ginza in the heart of Tokyo in 1936.slims and anyone fluent in Japanese would call people to Islam and publish Islamic books in Japanese for the Japanese citizens.

  1. Islamic Center-Japan was frequented by huge numbers of Japanese who embraced Islam.
  2. The Center published numerous books and booklets on Islam in Japanese and issued Assalam  magazine in Japanese.
  3. Its da’wah activities covered the entire country from the north to the south, and Islam reached the northern island of Hokkaido for the first time and opened new branches in a number of cities.
  4. It sent Japanese students to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt for Islamic studies.
  5. In 1976, it set up the first council to coordinate the efforts of the various Islamic societies which numbered at that time twelve societies including Japanese Islamic societies in a number of Japanese cities as well as Indonesian community and Muslim Student Association in Japan.
  6. It organized the first symposium on the Islamic Law (Sharee’ah) in 1977 in collaboration with Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah and Chuo University, Tokyo on the initiative of Khalid Kiba. This event was attended by the uncle of the present Japanese emperor, members of the High Court and three hundred Japanese lawyers. It was also attended by the late Muhammad Ali Al Harakan, the general secretary of Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukrramah. The symposium lasted for three days and its proceedings were published in Arabic, Japanese and English and paved the way for numerous studies on the Sharee’ah which are still going on.
  7. The Council also organized a number of cultural symposia which were attended by thousands of people in Tokyo and other Japanese cities under the auspices of major Japanese newspapers with wide readership in collaboration with Islamic Center-Japan and Riyadh University. These events were attended by His Excellency Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Fadda the rector of University of Riyadh and His Honor Dr. Tawfiq Ash Shawi.
  8. The Council also arranged for hajj missions which began in 1976 through the generous financial assistance of His Royal Highness Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Vice Minister of the Interior of Saudi Arabia and the generous hospitality of Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah.
  9. When His Excellency the late Hasan Al Sheikh visited the Council in 1975, Islamic Center-Japan requested him to establish an Arabic Islamic institute in Tokyo to provide an Islamic knowledge in Japan and to teach Arabic and the Islamic culture to Japanese people. He referred the matter to Imam Muhammad bin Saud University, Riyadh which undertook, through it’s the rector, His Excellency Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsin Al Turky, to supervise the setting up of this lofty cultural edifice which has greatly benefited thousands of Japanese people by teaching them Arabic, Islamic culture and winning many of them to the fold of Islam. His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal gave up the site of the Saudi Arabia Embassy and all its premises in Tokyo to build Arabic Islamic institute, Tokyo whose inauguration we still celebrate. King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Saudi monarch, contributed ten million dollars towards the construction project of the institute and added another million dollars for its completion. May Allah (S.W.T.) bless his soul.
  10. Before this period, we used to put the number of new converts to Islam between one thousand and three thousand people, but after that we began counting them by tens of thousands. Islamic awareness was spread among Japanese people. Islam used to be locally called Kaikyo but now it is called Isram, as Japanese language does not have L letter which it is replaced with R instead.

Towards the end of this period, the late Syed Jameel, a noted caller to Islam, came to Japan for the second time and carried out his final Islamic da’wah activities in Japan, accompanied by Sheikh Nimetullah Yurt who is still at the top of da’wah activities in Japan.

The major financial and cultural assistance for Islamic activities in Japan during this and later periods came mainly from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, government and citizens, and Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saltanate Oman, Egypt through Al Azhar University, and Libya which dispatched many callers of Islam in Japan. We mention of the numerous people who provided much needed assistance to Islamic activities in Japan, Hamad Al Hajiri, the first Qatari Ambassador to Japan who provided us with the first financial assistance during the establishment period of the Center, the late Sheikh Abdullah Al Ansari, president of Sharee’ah courts in Qatar, the late Abdul Aziz Al Mubarak, President of the Sharee’ah courts in United Arab Emirates, the late Abdullah Al Mahmoud in Sharja, the late Abdur Rahman Al Dousari of Saudi Arabia, the late Abdur Razzaq Al Salih Al Mutawwa, the late Abdullah Alli Al Mutawwa, Sheikh Yusuf Al Hajji, and Abdullah Al Aqeel of Kuwait.

PERIOD FROM 1980 TO 2009:

In the early eighties King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz donated a land for the purpose of setting a building office for an Islamic Center-Japan. Their Royal Highnesses Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz and Prince Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz sponsored the construction of this magnificent cultural edifice which became a major Islamic source of knowledge frequented by professors, students, journalists, media members and the public at large. The general public visiting center either embraced Islam or enquired about it. The Center still plays its central role and is continuously improving.

His Royal Highnesses Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz visited the Center in 1985 and so did His Royal Highness Prince Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz in 1986. Both of them extended financial and moral support to its various activities. May Allah (S.W.T.) reward them for their efforts.

The greatest development in the history of Islamic presence in Japan started in the mid eighties, namely the massive surge of Muslim emigrants who started coming in Japan, mostly from Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa, Turkey, and the Arab world. They all came to Japan to earn a living. They married Japanese women after these embraced Islam and were consequently granted permanent residency. Some of them were granted Japanese citizenship and their children were Japanese by birth. These emigrants built Mosques, prayer halls, halal food restaurants and halal products shops and turned their homes and Mosques into centers for enlightening new Japanese converts in Islam and teaching them its sublime principles and practices.

In 1986 Tokyo Mosque was demolished to the dismay of Muslims in Japan, in order to rebuild it in the same site. The construction phase met with a number of obstacles. However, with the help of Allah (S.W.T.) and with Islamic Center-Japan’s continuous efforts and the support of well wishers of Muslims of Turkey and other countries, the construction of Tokyo Mosque was finally completed in 2000, following Ottoman architectural style. This splendid Mosque has ever since been visited by Japanese people who have queries about Islam. The religious Affairs Presidency in Turkey supervised most of the construction work. Islamic Center-Japan with Muslims in Japan and elsewhere had raised about one third of money towards the construction costs, and our Islamic Center-Japan raised most of it.  The Turkish Religious Affairs Presidency is now in charge of running Tokyo Mosque.

An extension was also added to the ancient Kobe Mosque to act as an Islamic cultural center in southwest Japan, and again Dabis family, through Mr. Fuad Dabis, paid for most of the construction costs. This extension virtually represents another source of Islamic knowledge and enlightenment in that part of Japan and plays its role in a most efficient manner.

In Nagoya a new Mosque was built replacing the old Mosque which had been destroyed during the Second World War, and the construction process was supervised by the well known philanthropist Pakistani merchant Mr. Abdul Wahab Quraishi and was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. Salih bin Abdullah bin Humaid, the general president of the affairs of Two Holy Mosques. This Mosque provided a meeting point of the local Muslims who engaged in matters of Islamic education and worship. Brother Abdul Wahab Quraishi also set up a school for Muslim children not far from the Mosque. May Allah reward him for the services he rendered Islam and Muslims.

Mosques set up by brothers from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Africa are in fact numerous. In addition to the Mosque founded by members of the Tablighi movement in Ichinowari and their other Mosques, we find those built by adherents of  Pakistani Jamaate Islami, Otsuka Mosque which received handsome donations from His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz and inaugurated by His Eminence Dr. Umar bin Abdullah Al Subayel, Imam and orator of the Holy Mosque in Makkah Al Mukarramah, Toda Mosque which used to be a factory, and Isesaki Mosque. We also find many Mosques founded by African brothers. In fact, the Center has a list of all Mosques in Japan and will publish it along with Mosques maps and addresses. Brothers in  Japan Muslim Association received generous donations from His Royal Highness King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz which allowed them to purchase their new headquarters.

In fact, the demolition of Tokyo Mosque was a blessing in disguise for despite the feeling of sadness which resulted from the demolition of this Mosque that used to unite Muslims in Japanese capital Tokyo, Almighty Allah provided better alternatives that encouraged Muslims, whose numbers had dramatically increased, to build more Mosques and prayer halls. The first alternative was Arabic Islamic Institute, Tokyo which provided ample room for worshippers during the five daily prayers as well as the two Eid prayers. May Allah (S.W.T.) reward its management committee members for their efforts. The Indonesian brothers had also taken in large numbers of worshippers in the prayer hall of their embassy and school. The Iranian and Malaysian brothers used their embassies for the same purpose. Indeed, it was the Tablighi adherents who were the first to found new Mosques in Japan, then the rest of Muslims followed suit. As a matter of fact, Islamic Center-Japan had borne half the expenses for renting halls in areas where there were more students and fewer Muslim merchants both in northern and southern Japan. Ebina Mosque in Kanagawa Prefecture whose location is not far from Tokyo represents the most modern Mosque in Japan. Its construction cost one million dollars but Muslims did not raise a single penny outside their prefecture.

One of the last center of Islamic da’wah to be founded in the country was Toheed Mosque which His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud built in Hachioji on the outskirts of Tokyo. This Mosque represents an addition to the series of Islamic projects supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, both government and people. May Allah (S.W.T.) reward them for the services they have rendered to Islam and Muslims.

In most recent years, Mosques were newly built in Sendai, Tsukuba, Fukuoka, Kyoto etc. without exaggeration almost every short lapses of time new Mosques are built.

One of the most important events that took place during this period was the symposium on “the Relations between Japan and the Muslim World and One-Hundred Years of Islamic History in Japan”, which was organized by Islamic Center-Japan (ICJ) in collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Jeddah in 2000 and received generous donations from the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz, Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah (MWL), Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah (IDB), World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), and International Islamic Charitable Organization, Kuwait. The symposium was attended by about seventy representatives of Muslims in  neighboring and concerned countries, including His Eminence Sheikh Salih bin Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh, the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Da’wah and Guidance. The symposium was also attended by a large number of Japanese intelligentsia and noted Japanese professors, Muslim and non-Muslims alike, who contributed invaluable researches. Various delegates also contributed researches and gave speeches, including the representative of Japanese minister of foreign affairs. Representatives from different Islamic societies inside and outside Tokyo also attended it and helped towards its success. The symposium lasted for three days during which time it highlighted the Islamic presence in the country. Japanese officials, especially in Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, warmly welcomed this event and requested the organizers to organize similar activities in order to deepen relations between Japan and Muslim world. On the other hand, Japanese ministry of foreign affairs organized later on almost every year symposium on the relations between Japan and Muslim world. Arabic Islamic institute, Tokyo followed on the same steps.

This period also witnessed annual Islamic camps organized by Islamic Center-Japan in collaboration with World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). These activities received generous financial assistance as well as moral support from His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and benefited from the knowledge and guidance of His Eminence Sheikh Saad bin Abdullah Al Borek who represented His Royal Highness on the occasion. In fact, His Eminence Sheikh Saad bin Abdullah Al Borek played a major role during this camp as he revived the wok of the Council of Coordination between Islamic Societies which had been very active for the previous twenty years after its activities came to an end with the death of its general coordinator Professor Abdul Kareem Saito. Indeed, three hundred and fifty Muslim representatives from different parts of Japan signed a document in an effort to revive this council. Mr. Khalid Kiba, the noted Japanese scholar and member of the founding committee of Muslim World League, Makkah Al Mukarramah, and one of the directors of Islamic Center-Japan was appointed general coordinator of the council.

One of the main concerns of Muslims in Japan was the burial of their dead, especially after their numbers had dramatically increased. The cost of one single grave in Enzan graveyard which had come under the supervision of our brothers in Japan Muslim Association was almost fifteen thousand dollars. It was therefore for this reason that Muslims considered purchasing a land in one of the provinces neighboring Tokyo in which they could bury their dead free of charge, and so they started raising donations from members of the Muslim community in Japan. Then help came from the late King Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz donated U.S.$700,000, the amount required for the purchase of the land. The committee members of new Muslim graveyard, particularly its president Mr. Mian Aftab well known Pakistani businessman, among other Muslim businessmen in Yokohama who had also financially supported numerous Islamic projects, requested that the graveyard land be officially registered in the name of  Islamic Center-Japan as the Center was the only religious body officially registered in the country, and given that the official religious body was the only body entitled to request the setting up a graveyard. Islamic Center-Japan granted the request and worked closely with the committee to own the land to set up a Muslim graveyard on it.

The Center also supervised the largest pilgrimage mission which comprised forty three Japanese male and female Muslims at their own expense under the direction of Al Hajj Muhammad Sawada well known Japanese caller of Islam, and sent along with them Sheikh Nimetullah Yurt and Abdur Rahman Siddiqi. It also arranged for the largest pilgrimage trip which was initiated by the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques during the 1999. The last pilgrimage trip organized by the Council was undertaken with the generous financial assistance extended by His Royal Highness Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. May Allah (S.W.T.) reward them all for their generous help and support. In 2008 two hundred from Japan performed Hajj on their expenses.

The Current Muslim Presence in Japan:

Muslims in Japan, Japanese and residents, cover more or less the entire of Japan, form the northernmost island in the country (Hokkaido) to the smallest island in the south of the country (Okinawa Island) neighboring Taiwan; and from the easternmost part of the country (Tokyo) to the westernmost part of it (Kanazawa, Shimane and Tottori). We can classify Muslims in Japan into the following categories:

1. Japanese Muslims:

They are distributed as follows:

a. Their Own Societies, which may include the following:

  • Japan Muslim Association:

Japan Muslim Association is the first major Islamic association founded in 1953 by Pre-Second World War, Muslims who returned after their conversion in Indonesia, Malaysia and China, in addition to those early Muslims who were alive at that time. Graduates from Al Azhar University, Islamic University, Al Madeenah Al Munawwarah and Ummul Qura University, Makkah Al Mukarramah play an active role in the association, and its current president is Mr. Ameen Tukumatsu, a graduate from Al Azhar University. Mr. Yahya Endo, a graduate of the Islamic University in Al Madeenah Al Munawwarah, is also one of its active members, and so is Mr. Nooruddeen Mori, a graduate of Ummul Qura University in Makkah Al Mukarramah.   

  • The Islamic Association in Hokkaido (Mr. Abdullah Arai).
  • Japan Islamic Friendship Association in Kyoto (Mr. Ali Kobayashi).
  • Association of Islamic Da’wah in Osaka (Mr. Abdur Raheem Yamaguchi).
  • The Islamic Association in Nara (Mr. Muhammad Nakamura).
  • Muslim Women Association in Osaka and Kyoto (Sister Zeba Kume).
  • Arabic Culture Association in Tokyo (Sister JameelahTakahashi).

b. Incorporated Groups which include Muslim student as well as Japanese and non-Japanese Muslims in general:

This type is somewhat widespread in all parts of Japan and in huge numbers. To give a few examples, Mr. Khalid Kiba who runs his own association in Tokushima southwestern Japan, he is also a member of Islamic Center-Japan, Professor Abdul Jabbar Maeda with the Islamic Association in Miyazaki in southeastern Kyushu Island, Brother Muhammad Sato is active with Muslim Student Association and Islamic Association in Sendai and member of Islamic Center-Japan, and Professor Murtada Kurasawa who is one of the directors of Islamic Center-Japan and at the same time a professor in Nagoya University.

c. Individuals:

Each one of these can be equaled to a number of people in terms of his Islamic activities. These represent the majority of Japanese Muslims. They run more than fifteen websites in Japanese in which they invite the Japanese people to Islam. The following are but a few examples:

  • Sulaiman Hamanaka in Shikoku (He has a website and a Mosque).
  • Professor Kosugi (Kyoto University). He has made many contributions in the major television network. Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK), as well as in conferences and lectures.
  • Professor Onami (Kyoto University, Engineering Department). He has set up the translation of the meanings of Holy Qur’an in Japanese on his website.
  • Late professor Shiro Tanaka who used to work in the College of Foreign language. He knows Holy Qur’an by heart.
  • Professor Hisham Kuroda (The International University of Nigata) who has authored numerous books and was at one point one of the students of the late Ja’faar Izutsu.
  • Ashraf Yasui (Professor of Arabic in Japanese institutes).

In fact, the situation of Muslims in Japan is relatively similar to that of Muslims during Makkah Al Mukarramah period, when new Muslim individuals were scattered in the various cities, villages and oases of the Arabian Peninsula. Some of them were hiding their beliefs, while others publicly declared them, inviting torture and harm upon themselves until they migrated to Al Madinah Al Munawwarah.

A question arises here: What is the number of Muslims in Japan? The answer is that there is no reliable census of Muslims in the country. In fact, there are more than one hundred Islamic societies and scores or even hundreds of Mosques and prayer halls through which many Japanese people embrace Islam almost every day.

In addition, seventeen millions Japanese leave the country as tourists every year. Some of them embrace Islam in Muslim countries while others do so in Europe and America. They contact us online to provide them with Islamic books and their requests are promptly granted. A Japanese Muslim woman once sent us an e-mail from Kula Lumpur saying that about fifty Japanese men and women were interested in Islam and requested us to send her Islamic books in Japanese.

Japanese Muslims are estimated at about 100,000 or even more, while non-Japanese Muslims are estimated at 300,000 or more. However, this remains a rough estimate which observers look at from different perspectives and accordingly give various estimates. It is worth noting, however, that the number of Muslims in Japan is on the increase and that the Japanese people are much closer to Islam than are any other nations in the world. In fact, Japanese people revere this religion and believe that it confirms their long standing ideals and traditions.

2. Muslim Emigrants:

  • The early Muslims who came to Japan were from Indian Sub Continent before independence. They came to Japan towards the end of the nineteenth century, settled in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe where they engaged in trade. They founded the first permanent Mosque in Kobe in 1935. This Mosque has stood the test of time in that it survived the Second World War which demolished a nearby church and the 1995 earthquake which also demolished the same church for the second time.
  • The second generation of Muslim emigrants consisted of Tatars, or Kazan Turks, who came to Japan to escape Communist rule during the early twenties of the twentieth century. They lived along with Indian Muslims in Kobe and built a Mosque in Nagoya, which was demolished during the Second World War. They also founded Tokyo Mosque in 1938, and were led in their Islamic activities by the late Abdul Hay Qurban Ali. We can say that these emigrants represent the first Muslim community to settle in Japan. Some of their youth had migrated to Turkey, Europe, and America and very few of them are still in Japan.
  • Indonesian and Malaysian Muslims represent the third group of Muslim emigrants to set foot in Japan. In fact, a doctrinal controversy arose between these and Tatar Muslims (Indonesians and Malaysians follow Shaf’i School of Jurisprudence, while Tatars follow Hanafi School of Jurisprudence). This controversy prompted the late Abdul Hay Qurban Ali, Tatar Muslim leader to write to Al Masumi, the Imam of Holy Mosque in Makkah Al Mukarramah, regarding this controversy, and the latter wrote a treatise in response. The treatise was titled Hadiyah Al-Sultan Ila Bilad Al-Yaban (The Gift of The Sultan to the land of Japan). This book published during the thirties of the twentieth century. This treatise has been reprinted many times and is still in circulation. Indonesian community remains the largest Muslim community in Japan. Its members have a school and a Mosque in Tokyo that played a major role when Muslims missed Tokyo Mosque.
  • The largest immigration is the one that has been going on since the eighties of the past century. This migration consists of a number of nationalities and many of these emigrants settled in Japan after they got married to Japanese Muslim women. The new trend in this regard is Japanese men’s marriage after their conversion to Muslim women who come mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Arab world. One of the latest marriages includes a Japanese man after his conversion to a Russian Muslim lady.

3. Muslim Students Coming from Muslim Countries:

The first Muslim students to come to Japan were Chinese. These students about forty studied at Waseda University in 1909, published Islamic Awakening, an Islamic magazine in Chinese which bears the title in Arabic. Three Ottoman students, including Ahmad Muneer son of Abdur Rasheed Ibrahim, a seasoned first class traveler and noted caller to Islam, joined Waseda University in 1911. During the Second World War large numbers of Indonesian and Malaysian students came to Japan, some of whom were martyred as a result of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, while some others survived. In fact, I met these victims a few years ago. Tatar migrant’s children attended Japanese schools and studied at Japanese universities. These include Dr. AlTinbai, Al hajj Tamimdar Muhit and his wife, Mr. Ramadan Safa, and Asad Qurban Ali. They established an Islamic association in the forties of the past century.

The largest numbers of Muslim students started coming to the country following World War II, precisely towards the end of the fifties, and are still on the increase. Most of these students come from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Arab world, Turkey, Iran and Africa. They established, along with Japanese Muslims and other Muslims who are permanently settled in the country, Islamic gatherings in every city where they hired halls which included a library and a meat shop for selling halal meat in addition to areas reserved for prayers and meetings.

As a matter of fact, I had always lamented the fact that practically all Muslim ethnic groups had built their Mosques with the exception of the Arabs, in whose midst the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was raised. Finally, Arab Muslims, mostly from Egypt, set up a Mosque in their quarters on the outskirts of Tokyo (Shin Misato). Twenty five of them as well as other students performed the pilgrimage in 2000. Many students from other nationalities also performed pilgrimage this year.

4. Professionals from Islamic Countries:

Large number of professionals from Islamic countries visited Japan and stayed here from several weeks to a year. These professionals need to know about where to get halal food from as well as the prayer times. Many of them are also asked questions about Islam, and they request us online as well as by post and fax to provide them with books and to answer some of their queries, which we immediately granted. These professionals played a big role in introducing Islam to Japanese people and their very existence in the country paves the way for Japanese people to know something about Islam, especially if they are practicing and seek to live by the dictates of Islam.

5. Muslim Businessmen and Tourists:

The commercial relationship between Japan and Muslim world is very old indeed and still ongoing, and a large number of businessmen and tourists who play a major role in introducing Islam to Japanese people visit the country every year. Our Islamic Center-Japan is specialized in Islamic books and booklets in Japanese and provides the required Islamic material for all Islamic societies in Japan as well as for students, professionals, businessmen, tourists, and others. It also provides newly arrived professionals with the necessary information about Mosques, prayer times, halal foods, and Islamic gatherings.

Notes:

We stress here again the fact that Japanese people enjoy good character. In fact, when a Japanese person reads about Islam he finds that it largely conforms to the ideals adopted by his or her society. If Allah (S.W.T.) wishes him or her guidance, He paves the way for him or her to embrace Islam. See the appendix on the good traits of  Japanese people which they have inherited from Al Samurrai, members of a powerful military class in Japan in the past.

A young man sent us an e-mail saying that he had studied Islam and would like to embrace it. Should he learn how to perform the prayers before his declaration of faith or vice? Is circumcision obligatory? If so should only a Muslim doctor undertake it? Otherwise he is ready to get circumcised at any nearby hospital.

A lady also wrote us a letter saying that she had studied Islam in order to submit a paper on the subject to her university and found it to a great religion. She also said that she wanted to invite students in her college to Islam in a “scientific way”. “I know that the prohibition of  pig meat is somehow related to hygiene” she said. Then she asked us if there are any scientific facts in Islam which modern science has confirmed so she would call students in college to Islam based on these facts.

As for Muhammad Dawud, he visited Jerusalem and Gaza two years ago and loved Islam. When he came back to Japan, he contacted Sister Zeba Kume, the well known Japanese caller to Islam. She taught him about Islam and he ultimately embraced it. I must say here that Sister Zeba may be equal to one hundred men, if not one thousand men, when it comes to Islamic activity.

Uthman is a student in the second year at the university in Kyoto. He visited Turkey for a week and fell in love with Islam. When he came back to Japan, he read the books of Islamic Center-Japan he obtained from Sister Zeba Kume, and he later converted to Islam.

Fatima Nakasone is a young girl studying in Bedford, England. She used to be Christian. She converted to Islam when she made friends with a British Muslim sister of Asian descent who talked to her about Islam. She now wears the full face veil even though she is in Britain.

Another lady e-mailed us from America saying that she wanted the meanings of  Holy Qur’an in Japanese and we sent her what she wanted. When we asked her about the Muslim community in her area she said that she was among one hundred Japanese girls and that she was only Muslim lady and that she was looking forward to having a Mosque built in her area.  She also mentioned in her e-mail that she was a music therapist in one of American universities.

Russian Victoria also wrote us from inside Japan saying that she was looking for an Islamic bank in which to keep her money in order to avoid dealing with usury (riba), and we sent her address of Pakistani National Bank. We also talked to her on the phone to where she resides not far from Tokyo and we found out that she was married to a Japanese Muslim. We questioned her with appreciation that after seventy years of Communist rule, we could now see a Russian Muslimah who was interested in keeping her money in a bank that did not deal in riba.  That was indeed one of the miracles of Islam. We then sent her a copy of translation of the meanings ostrongf Holy Qur’an in Japanese as well as the Center’s publications so that her Japanese husband would read them, and she thanked us for that.

Sheikh Nimetullah Yurt called one of the neighbors of Tokyo Mosque while it was still under construction one morning to Islam and gave her a copy of Al Maududi’s What is Islam? which bore the e-mail address of the Center. Later on, she sent us the following letter: “I was brought up as a child in a house near Tokyo Mosque…The view of its shiny dome before sunset was really captivating…I felt very sad when the Mosque was demolished…Now that the Mosque is being built, I am really elated with joy…” She wrote this e-mail in a green background, which Japanese believe is the symbol of Paradise. In fact, such incidents occur on a daily basis in Islamic Center-Japan, Arab Islamic Institute, Tokyo Mosque, Kobe Mosque as well as in the other Islamic societies and associations.

In fact, many Islamic gatherings in Japan pave the way for new Muslims to visit them and learn about the Islamic way of life there. Islamic Center-Japan is rightly a beacon of guidance which helps guide whomever wishes to know anything about Islam as well as Muslims who come to Japan. Our website is easily accessible. Anyone who types us the words “islamcenter.or.jp” in the search engine will immediately get it. We promptly respond to queries and requests. We retain all e-mails that we receive, and all correspondents thank us for our prompt responses.

An Arab student from Seattle in west central Washington State wrote to us that there were many Japanese students in his college who were interested in Islam and requested us to send him books on Islam in Japanese. He also mentioned that a Japanese female student returned to Japan and requested us to send her some Islamic books to her address which he mentioned in his letter. We promptly sent the translation of the meanings of Holy Qur’an in Japanese and some Islamic books both to him and to Japanese student. In reply, he thanked our prompt response, saying that in one million Muslims there was one like you who does your task.

Our Islamic Center-Japan is also considered to be one of the oldest Islamic Centers in Japan and is known to the Japanese government, the media, the universities, schools and religious groups, making it a major source of Islamic knowledge in the country. We thank Almighty Allah for affording us the opportunity to call to His religion and carry out this collective duty on behalf of the Muslim Ummah. We also thank all those who have given us assistance and support to facilitate our duty. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “That Allah guides through you one man is better for you than the red camels” (which were the most precious property a man would wish to have in those days). Another narration mentions: “that doing this is better than the entire world”.

The Second Generation of Muslims: Their Problems and Future:

The most important problem facing Muslims in Japan is that of the second generation children who come from mixed marriages: non-Japanese Muslim men with Japanese Women, non-Japanese Muslim women with Muslim Japanese men and the children of Japanese Muslims in general.

Education in Japan is mandatory and essential, and there is not a single Islamic school in Japan while there are thousands of Muslim children who need education in an Islamic environment. If we do not provide something for them to acquire Islamic education, they will certainly dissolve in this non-Islamic society. What actually happens is that a Pakistani or Bangladeshi man sends his Japanese wife and children to his country for education purposes, and due to the huge economic and social differences between Japan and these countries, many problems arise, leading in some instances to marital breakdowns, hence the importance of solving this problem.

Islamic Center-Japan is now considering the establishment of first Islamic school in Japan. It has purchased a land neighboring Tokyo Mosque and intends to build an Islamic school on it in order to remove the barrier of hesitating to build Islamic schools in the country, as it removed the barrier of hesitating to build Mosques in the country before.  If we concern ourselves with the second generation children, they will certainly present Islam to Japanese people far better than us, for they are Japanese and their language is Japanese as well, and these two factors are very important indeed. We thank His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud for the assistance his charitable society has given towards the purchase of the land for building the school. Thanks also go the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah for offering to assist with one third of the construction costs.

A Word of Thanks:

Finally, I would like to thank Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the assistance it has, and is still, extending to Islam and Muslims in Japan. In fact, a large part of Islamic work in Japan is a blessed seedling plated by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We also thank the Gulf countries and the other Arab countries for their support of Muslims in Japan.

I would like to thank Japanese academics and professors who are concerned with Islamic culture and try to present it to their own people in an objective and impartial manner without being affected by any Western influences. We would like to thank the leading academics and professors, such as Professor Itagaki, Professor Katakura, Professor Komatsu, Professors Sugita who share the same surname from Tokyo University and Professor Goto as well as the rest of the academics and professors. I would also like to thank the Japanese government for giving Muslims in Japan complete freedom and for caring about them and trying hard to deepen understanding between Japan and Muslim world. In particular, we would like to thank His Excellency former Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Kono and Japanese police in general for their readiness to cooperate with Muslims, individuals and groups. We also thank Japanese people who revere Islam and receive its publications with great respect. In fact, studies conducted by Japanese government on foreigners in the country have shown that Muslims are the coolest and most collected community with the least troubles.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.

Dr. Salih Mahdi S. Al Samarrai

Email: Salihsamarrai@yahoo.com

  1. 1.        Dr. Zuhal is now a rector of Al Azhar University of technology in Jakarta and was previously a minister in his country. In fact, he raised a handsome sum of money to help rebuild Tokyo Mosque in 1998.
  2. 2.     Ahmad Suzuki was one of Al Azhar University graduates. He belongs to the second generation of Japanese Muslims, as both his father and maternal uncle were Muslim.
  3.  The author of the present pamphlet.
Traits of Samurai, the Warrior Class in Japan

These traits were mentioned by His Excellence Dr. Musa Muhammad Umar on 04 March,1978 during a meeting held by the Muslim Youth Association in Kanazawa, on the Sea of Japan opposite Korea. The association comprised one hundred Japanese Muslim youth who were the students of the late Mustafa Komura, who assisted the late Umar Mita with translation of the meanings of Holy Qur’an into Japanese and authored a huge encyclopedia on the history of Islam in Japan. In fact, he sent some of these youth to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Qatar, and now they are occupying posts in universities, companies, and free trade in all parts of Japan. We Muslims admit that we have neglected the duty of keeping in touch with them. Dr. Musa was and still is one of the directors of Islamic Center-Japan and was the Sudanese ambassador to Japan.

About the Samurai:

  • They do not forget favors.
  • They  abstain from alcohol, women and overeating.
  • They respect their parents and obey them and never feel annoyed no matter what they do to them.
  • They wash their hands and feet in the morning and in the evening. They also take a warm bath and like to keep their bodies and appearance nice and clean.
  • They never preoccupy themselves with things that do not concern them or even talk about them.
  • They take an interest in discipline and military training.
  • They feel duty bound to engage in good works and acceptable actions and avoid unacceptable and wrong actions.
  • They are trustworthy not out of fear of people or that they might be caught out doing something that contradicts their principles.
  • They have to take an interest in studies and the acquisition of knowledge and never waste their time.
  • They lead a dignified life, do not do harm to others, nor are they dependent upon them.
  • They do not get into bad company.

This is a copy of a document Dr. Salih Mahdi Al Samarrai received from the late Bakir Barq, one of the leaders of Annoor Group in Turkey who worked as a broadcaster for a long time for the Turkish program in Saudi Arabian Radio, Jeddah.

 

 


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