Nur Arisa Maryam | Japan

Editor’s note

Arisa-chan was the first Japanese muslimah I met while I was in Japan. She introduced me to Tokyo Camii, a place where I would later find solace in, a second home. The nur from her heart shines through the warm, beautiful smile on her face every single time I meet her. Here is her story.


Started to study Bahasa Melayu

I wanted to study languages which many Japanese people didn’t know very much so I chose my university because it was the best university in Japan to master foreign languages and learn other cultures. But I didn’t decide which course I should take. But my mum gave me an advice to take Malaysian course. I was really surprised because I’d never heard that she was interested in Malaysia. Soon after I started to study Malaysian, I fell in love with it and Malaysia. I couldn’t study abroad there but I did my best to be a no.1 student in my class.


Took classes of Islam in university

1 year later after I started to study Malaysian, I still had many words that I couldn’t understand. I realised that all of them were related to Islam, so I took classes of Islam….at the time it was only for studying.


First time went to the mosque in Tokyo and wore hijab

My Malay friends invited me to go to the mosque Tokyo Camii and I went there to see their solat. I thought I knew many things about Islam because I’d studied it for 2 years in university but I was totally shocked when I saw Muslims praying at the mosque. I had no idea why they prayed 5 times in a day and how to pray. Yes it was because they were Muslims and it was for Allah but … I couldn’t understand why they WANT to do it. And It was the first time I wore hijab because my Malay friends gave it to me. I was so happy and felt relieved.Although I loved wearing sexy style clothing, I suddenly wanted to cover myself up more after that…to be respected and known for who I was inside.


Finding my hidayah in Malaysia

I decided to study Islam in Malaysia for a month and stayed at my Malay friend’s house. I learnt many things from this trip. I tried ” 1 month challenge ” – wearing hijab and covered my aurat everyday. It was too hot and sometimes I couldn’t stand the heat but my heart was full of happiness. I prayed everyday and tried to memorize Doa Ifititah, Takhiyat awal and akhir. ( Actually I could recite Al-fatihah before I came to Malaysia because I practiced to recite it with my phone every night. ) Alhamdulillah many people made dua for me. But I wasn’t ready to take syahadah because I had a lot of problems – family, friend, and work. I believed in Allah so I took syahadah only in my heart and made dua for making my problems easy.

17.January 2015

Syahadah at the mosque in Tokyo

La Ilaha Illallah Muhammadun Rasululla
Alhamdulillah. After reading Al-Quran in Japanese, I couldn’t stop crying and suddenly felt the hidayah. At that time, I didn’t know how to recite syahadah officially. I went to the mosque without asking whether I could recite the syahadah today or not, but all people at the mosque welcomed me gladly.More than 10 Malaysian sisters came to be my witnesses. MashaAllah. I was lucky, Prof. Misbah ur-Rahman Yousfi, the director of the Islamic, was also in Japan, and he led me recite the Syahadah. Jazak Allahu Khair.Alhamdulillah from this time I became Nur Arisa Maryam. I couldn’t stop my tears from falling. After that, I had the chance to perform solat Isyak as a muslim and made dua at the mosque for the first time in my new life.


Maryam’s new life

I’m still learning Islam because we Muslims are not perfect and we always have to be better muslims. Many people ask me about the difference between before and after syahadah. Yes my life has changed a lot. Before I got irritated easily and I always needed someone who were always with me but now I can calm myself down and I don’t feel sad anymore because I know I’m always with Allah no matter what. Alhamdulillah. So I am strong even though I have many challenges in my life.I can’t go to the mosque everyday,I have to combine Zohor and Asar solat because of the work,I don’t wear hijab at my office,I have to go to the nomikai party ( drinking party ) … but It doesn’t mean I don’t like Japan and Japanese society. I’m really proud of being a Japanese muslim. Japan reminds me of Islam and saying ‘Alhamdulillah’ everytime I see Islam here. Allah gives me other chances. My office provide me a prayer space only for me, my family allow me to wear hijab weekends, I drink orange juice at the party. See? Haha Allah never makes us down! Allahu Akbar!

You can follow more of Arisa-chan’s journey in Islam from her instagram account @nurarisamaryam.



Reviews (3 comments)

  • budiono On

    subhanallah, May Allah gives better life and future for nur arisa maryam

  • e-jump On

    Its nice to read your history.
    I have been to Japan few times, and met few Japanese muslim males along my travel. But because my Japanese is so terrible, i could not strike a long conversations to ask how/why did they go about and choose Islam, I like it in Japan because the mosques felt like an international gathering place (you can meet a lot of muslims of other nationalities (AUS, UK, MY, middle easterns etc) and your way of thinking and exposure became wider across cultures.
    I could understand the difficulties to do prayers especially for girls, as for us males it is easier with our wudhu and aurat we can do it in public.
    Anyway, keep it up.

  • Muhammad Joe Sekigawa On

    Masya Allah. I only one time met Nur Arisa Maryam, and talk with her mother in Japanese and with Maryam in Bahasa Indonesia. When ate ifthar in Tokyo Jami’ Ramadhan 2015 (1436 H)

    Baarakallahu fiik ya ukhty Nur Arisa Maryam

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