Ramadhan is an important and meaningful month for every muslim. It is the month of fasting, worshiping, and giving. Of course it doesn’t mean that those good deeds can be done only in this special month, but it is expected that one can train himself / herself to enhance one’s faith and overcome one’s desire in this month then one can eventually get it in practice at the rest of the months.
Having Ramadhan in Japan is very much interesting and delighting, because Japan is one among the best respectful societies to other nations and beliefs. Here, we can freely practice our religious activities as long as we are respecting to the law and culture and creating a good communication with people and the local government. For example, we need to inform the authority when a big muslim occasion is going to take place at a certain date and location.
There are alot of muslim students studying at Hiroshima University (Hirodai) every year. They come from various nationalities and cultures. Asia, Africa and Arab are among the most dominant nationalities of the muslim students. Of course we can also find some Japanese, European and American muslims.
To facilitate our Islamic activities and culture in Hiroshima, we established a muslim league so-called Saijo Muslims Association (SMA), which is organized by a presidential commitee chosen from representative nationalities. Last year it was chaired by a Bangladesh brother, and for the next year it will be chaired by our Indonesian brother. Through SMA, we are managing a-rent house that we use for meetings, events and even it can also be utilized for a mosque. Hence, we call it an Islamic Cultural Center (ICC).
During the holy month of Ramadhan this year, we had several groups of taraweeh prayer, because the rent-house is too small to cover all muslims. Indonesian students had their own taraweeh, Arabian people had their own’s and so on. But of course SMA itself conducted a taraweeh prayer at ICC, where we had a 30 juz (chapter) program in order to complete 30 juz of Qur’an recitation in one month of Ramadhan. Therefore, there is no reason for us to be so weak in implementing ramadhan though we are away from home.
This year, eid al-fithr (idul fitri) was very special moment, because it has been celebrated by almost all muslims in the world on the same day. Starting from the exotic island in Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, to England in Atlantic Ocean, all muslims including Indonesian students and citizens celebrated this sacred day on September 20th.
During the eid prayer, we were circulating the microphon so that we could hear the takbeer from various accents and dialects. We could notice how the takbeer chorus from Arabian brothers are different from that of Pakistani brothers and so on. That is really enjoyful, delighting and colorful feeling to be having a multi-national eid day celebration in JICA’s building Hiroshima. Eid al-fithr is not only the day for break-fasting after one month fasting in Ramadhan, but also the day of giving and sharing among muslims and other human beings.
For Indonesian people, the eid celebration was continued with a barbeque party at Kagamiyama Garden (Kagamiyama Koen). It was organized by Indonesian students and the foods were prepared by their wives and families. We were really satisfied with many kind of Indonesian foods like ketupat, empek-empek, opor, rendang, kerupuk etc. This party was attended by all students, kensusei (trainees) and other Indonesian families who live and work surrounding Hiroshima. After photographying session, we were finally back home with an overly full and satisfied stomach. We are gonna miss this memorable moment. (Hiroshima, 1 Syawwal 1430 H).***