Renewing focus on their faith and spiritual life, Muslim communities around the world have spent the past month fasting and praying during Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.
The end of this period is marked with a joyous celebration known as Eid al-Fitr, which means “the Festival of Breaking the Fast” in Arabic. This year it will be observed from sundown on May 1, with celebrations generally lasting two to three days, depending on the country.
Although celebrations to mark Eid al-Fitr vary widely around the world, they usually include prayers at a mosque followed by a feast with family and friends, whether in an intimate gathering at home or with the wider community. It is a special time of dressing up in one’s best clothes to greet friends and to pay respects at the graves of relatives. Gifts are often given, particularly to children, who may receive new clothes, accessories or toys. Eid al-Fitr is also an occasion for charitable giving and showing support for those in need.
The past two years of the pandemic have been challenging for Japan’s international residents, many of whom have found it difficult to travel to visit loved ones in their home countries. Against this background, sharing and celebrating special times takes on even greater significance and the members of Japan’s Muslim community have been looking forward to connecting with one another during Eid.
Tokyo Camii is Japan’s largest mosque and has been a cornerstone of the Muslim community since 1938. Located in Shibuya Ward, this striking domed structure was rebuilt in 2000 and features a 48-meter-high minaret. In addition to serving as a center for worship, the mosque operates a halal market and online store, along with various outreach activities.
Of particular note is the Tokyo Camii Young Muslim Club, organized for and by younger people in the community. Members include Muslims born and raised here, as well as Muslims of Japanese nationality, who collectively represent the up-and-coming face of Islam in Japan. The club organizes regular study groups and gatherings to allow Muslim youth to learn more about their faith while interacting with one another. Non-Muslims with an interest in the club’s activities are welcome to join, too.