Written by: Meidiana Khadijah Maramis
As the holy month of Ramadan is observed by Muslims all around the world, each country has its own specialties when it comes to breaking the fast or called “iftar”. Japan is no exception, with major mosques holding public iftars every day during Ramadan.
Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Tokyo Camii and experience their iftar menu, which mostly consists of Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Tokyo Camii, one of the major mosques in Japan, holds public iftars throughout the month of Ramadan. The mosque welcomes not only Muslims but also non-Muslims to experience iftar together during the holy month.
Upon arrival, visitors can choose to join the congregational prayer first and then eat iftar or vice versa. Those who prefer to break their fast before prayer can enjoy dates and drinking water, which are distributed by worshippers at the entrance of the mosque.
Maghrib prayer in congregation usually starts 10 to 15 minutes after the call to prayer (adzan), and after completing the prayer, men queue for iftar by going down the inner stairs from the 2nd floor of the mosque, while women can use the outside stairs from the second floor of the mosque and enter through the front door for the iftar queue.
Iftar Meal at Tokyo Camii
The menu for the iftar served at Tokyo Camii is mostly Turkish or Middle Eastern cuisine, and at the time we attended, we got goat curry, cheese soup, pasta, and salad.
The iftar meal is provided free for all visitors, including free drinking water. The menu usually includes meat, such as mutton, beef, or chicken, to increase stamina after a day of fasting. This enables worshippers to perform the night prayers in good condition.
The multipurpose hall on the first floor near the entrance is used for the iftar, but due to the limited capacity of the room and a large number of visitors, it is expected that those who have finished eating can leave the room in turn with other visitors who have not yet received a seat.
The iftar usually finishes around 7:30 p.m. After that, visitors get ready for the Isya and Tarawih prayers in the congregation, which start at 8 p.m. After the Isha prayer, the tarawih prayer consisting of 20 rak’ahs and Witr of 3 rak’ahs begins, with the division of 2 rak’ahs repeated 10 times, and continued Witr 3 rak’ahs 1 time. This usually finishes at half past 10 p.m.
Donations and Zakat
Tokyo Camii opens donations for iftar and for victims of the earthquake that hit Turkey on February 6, 2023. Donations can be made by putting the money directly into the donation box provided or by paying zakat-ul-fitr through the mosque either by coming in person or transferring to the specified account.
The Iftar at Tokyo Camii is a beautiful experience that allows visitors to enjoy Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine, perform congregational prayers, and donate to those in need. It is a true reflection of the spirit of Ramadan, where people come together to break bread and perform good deeds.