Written by: Meidiana Khadijah Maramis

As Muslims living in a foreign country, we need to continue carrying out our religious obligations, including prayer.

Today we talked with the head of the Ruumuichi community, Mr. Muhammad Rejaa Fauzi, and his wife Mrs. Ariyani, about the community and the satellite mosque they run.

Ruumuichi committee (the head of Ruumuichi community, Mr. Rejaa is 2nd from the left).

What is a Satellite Mosque?

Have you ever heard of the term Satellite Mosque? Maybe not many people know about this term.

A Satellite Mosque is a place where Muslims can pray and carry out other activities usually done in a mosque, but it is not an actual mosque. It can move around and is flexible like a satellite, hence the name. It is a solution for Muslims living in areas without access to a mosque or a small mosque that is not enough to accommodate all the worshippers.

The launch event of Ruumuichi.

Who is the Ruumuichi Community?

The Ruumuichi community, or the Indonesian Muslim House of Chiba (Rumah Umat Muslim Indonesia Chiba), is a community founded by Indonesian Muslims living in Japan. The community was officially launched on June 10, 2022, and organizes various activities through the Satellite Mosque, such as jama’ah prayer for Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha (in 2022), and Jumma prayers, as well as regular studies and other activities on Islamic holidays.

The activities are focused on the Matsudo area in Chiba Prefecture, with jama’ah coming from Kashiwa, Nagareyama, and Ichikawa areas and with various professions, such as students, parents, and workers. According to the interview, the community has been officially registered in the local area.

Even though the community member is mainly Indonesian, Muslims from other countries such as Bangladesh, Uzbek, and Pakistan also join the activities. The community aims to be like a home for Muslims and anyone who comes in is like a gathering of relatives and family, regardless of age, profession, or nationality.

The Activities

After Friday prayers every week, there will be a da’wah study and enjoy Indonesian foods together.

According to Mr. Rejaa, “Besides as a place for Muslims to gather, pray, and interact with each other, ruumuichi is going to introduce the diversity of flavors through Indonesian cuisines”, he said.

Jumma prayer.

Meals for everyone that join the activities.

Ruumuichi also often organizes da’wah study activities with the theme of “learning together”, such as learning the science of trading, improving various skills, parenting knowledge, or learning Japanese. They update their activities on Facebook and Instagram.

Why was The Satellite Mosque Founded?

The Satellite Mosque was founded due to the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 when activities of people gathering were restricted, including praying in mosques. Mosques in Japan had to limit the number of worshippers, including the pray in celebrating Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and the regular Jumma prayers.

The Satellite Mosque was founded as a solution for Muslims living in areas without access to a mosque or a small mosque that is not enough to accommodate all the worshippers. Mr. Rejaa, together with other Indonesian Muslim men, takes turns holding the Jumma prayer at the member’s home, in turn, to accommodate Muslims in the area to be able to join the Jummah prayer (because the prayer needs to be held in jama’ah) by carefully following the Health Protocols of Japan.

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Muslims living in the area gather to celebrate Eid together.

To increase the quota of people joining the prayer, then the community decided to run a Satellite Mosque, which began by renting a room at a community center in the Matsudo area of Chiba for Jumma prayer every week.

My Experience Joining Eid Prayer at Satellite Mosque

After the pandemic hit, it has been 2 years since I couldn’t celebrate Eid at the mosque with other Muslim friends. At the end of 2022, mosques in Japan opened more quotas of people for Eid prayers, but it is still limited and the distance of mosque is quite far from my place.

I heard about Eid prayers in the Chiba which is not that far from where I currently live and, Alhamdulillah, I was able to join the Eid prayers with the ruumuichi satellite mosque. After the prayer, we had typical Indonesian Eid celebration food that makes me feel at home and enjoy the Eid vibes.

Food for Eid celebration (taken in Eid 2022).

In conclusion, the Satellite Mosque in Japan with the Ruumuichi community from Chiba is a great solution for Muslims living in Japan to carry out religious obligations. It allows Muslims to pray and participate in other activities usually done in a mosque without having to travel long distances. The Ruumuichi community is doing an amazing job running this Satellite Mosque and providing a home for Muslims living in Japan.

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