Islamic organizations in Japan held a Seminar on Prophet Muhammad in The University of Tokyo
Many believe that Muslims are more easily divided than united. Often, it’s probably right, but it is not always the case. On Sunday, October 18, 2009, the Islamic organizations in Japan joined JMPF (Japan Muslim Peace Federation) to held the second seminar about Prophet Muhammad.
JMPF founded in 2006, when the newspapers in the Danish caricatured fake image of Prophet Muhammad which was offensive to most of Muslims. It’s first move was a peaceful demonstration in front of the Danish embassy in Tokyo. According JMPF coordinator, Dr. Imran Al-Haq, there were twenty organizations joint following the peace rally. Afterwards, JMPF realized that they needs unusual movement to promote a peaceful Islam, greatness of Prophet Muhammad’s personality and beauty of Islamic teaching. Given the character of Japanese society is rational, many parties in JMPF argued that intellectual approach is needed. Japanese society will put his ear to hear if that speaks an academic caliber, a professor.
JMPF is open to anyone, from any Islamic organization, any nation, who put interest on calling people in more intellectual way. Currently the JMPF annual program is hold a seminar on the Prophet Muhammad. In 2008, JMPF held it’s first seminar. In each theme, is always associated with Prophet Muhammad and his teachings that clarify the message of Islam.
The first seminar theme was “Contribution of Prophet Muhammad to Humanity and World Peace”. This year the two themes carried were “Islamic Economy – A Solution to World Crisis” and “Japanese Policy toward the Muslims and Islamic Studies in Japan during World War II “. These themes were chosen given the the current economic crisis.
Like the previous seminars in the year 2008, TUICS (Tokyo University Islamic Cultural Society) was appointed as the local organizer. TUICS chosen for this organization officially recorded as Muslim student’s organization in The University of Tokyo. Besides, it was also with the hope the fame of this university provide attraction for Japanese society.
The event opened with the reading of the Quran by Imam Al Ensari, from mosque Tokyo (Tokyo Camii and Turkish Culture Center). He was reading chapter 49 (Al Hujarat) verse 11-12-13. Reading beautifully and translation in line with the screen in both English and Japanese are expected to make Japanese non-Muslims know the beauty of the Quran and Islamic teachings.
The event then continued with lecture from 3 professors, Professor Ahamed Kameel from the International Islamic University, Malaysia, Professor Atsushi (Kamal) Okuda from Keio University, a Japanese Muslim, and Professor Usuki Akira from Japan Woman’s University. Presentation given in Japanese. Professor Ahamed Kameel did his presentation in English with direct Japanese translation. According to President TUICS, Dr. Khurram Bashir, about 150 people attended this seminar.
Professor Ahamed Kameel brought lecture titled “Islamic Monetary System as Solution to Current Economic Crisis”. Yasuyo Takemori Amina, a Japan Muslimah was in charge as interpreter. He explained how the monetary system backed by gold modified by president Richard Nixon in 1971, so the current fiat money is principally not valuable because it created out of nothing. From his wallet he pulled out 1 dinar coin and said “fourteen centuries ago you could buy a sheep with the money. Now, with this money, you can still get a sheep”, greeted with laughter from several participants. According to him riba (usury) is not only the interest rate, because sharia banks applying zero interest rate could also give problems in the economy. Fiat monetary system itself is usury. So there is no implication that one can escape from usury. He cites a letter Al-Baqarah verse 278-279, where God and the apostles declared war against the perpetrators of usury. The day before, when he lectured at Otsuka Mosque, He stressed this verse with statement “what war could be won by Muslims now? Everywhere Muslims defeated and backward, because opponent that we face are Allah and His Apostle”
Professor Usuki brought material titled “Japanese Policy toward the Muslims & Islamic Studies in Japan during World War”. He explained the characteristics that distinguish Islamic studies during the war and after the war.
Prof. Okuda bring the material titled “Real Meaning of Jihad Muhammad (SAW) toward Peace and Harmony of the World”. He stressed that Jihad does not necessarily mean war, he quoted the Prophet Muhammad’s hadith states there is an enormous jihad beyond the war, the jihad against bad desires. Further, he also emphasizes how a Muslim should behave within Japanese society. According to him, if a Muslim says that Islam is good, Japanese people will not willing to hear because they are not interested in religion. Conversely, when the attitude of a Muslim have a place in the hearts of the Japanese, they would like to know more about one’s background including their Islam-ness.
The seminar also featured a poster exhibition to introduce various aspects of Islam and Islamic organizations in Japan. Of the many posters, some committee members agreed the best poster belong to Yonanda and Sarah, Indonesian Muslim couples. Unfortunately there was no poster contest was held this year.
Daawa in Japan have their own challenges, because the object of has two categories. First Muslims themselves for guidance, and the second Japanese non-Muslims, for introducing them to Islam. Each of the Islamic organizations in Japan, ranging from student organizations, Muslim communities of each country, Muslim organizations of Japanese convert and mosques organized activities to serve their communities and conduct training for Japanese converts manageable by them (convert because of marriage). However, when there is a commitment to carry out joint movement, the synergies arise. Besides, all realized that this seminar aims to introduce the Prophet Muhammad, the best example of Muslim and lover of God.