NOT ONLY IN TRAVELING MATTER, TAIWAN MUSLIM-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT ALSO EXIST IN UNIVERSITY

2021-10-25

Explore, travel, is a dynamic activity defined as "to go from one place to another, especially over a long distance" [1]. But the dictionary only defines the action without presenting an actor object or a reason why exploration/travel needs to be done. Qur'an, as the word of Allah, as the most excellent dictionary that we have, conveys that traveling is what a Muslim should be able to do. Allah says that He created the earth because He is the One Who smoothed out the earth for us. Even Allah reaffirms for "so walk in the paths thereof" [2]. Apart from that, maybe we all remember the story of a companion of the Prophet PBUH, the hanif one, who travels to various places to find the truth. He is Salman al-Farisi, who finally found the truth brought by the Prophet Muhammad PBUH and made him embrace Islam. His story is indeed inseparable from his odyssey. Or we are reminded of the inspirational story of Ibn Battuta, who traveled to various corners of the world. With him, we don't need just to be amazed by the wanderings of famous European figures. But with him, we also know that the story of the Rihla/journey can be delivered by a pious person, even written in a famous travelogue entitled "The Rihla - A Masterpiece to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling."

However, when we can relate these two stories and the fragment of the verse from the Qur'an, as well as look at it from the point of view of ibn Kathir from his interpretation (tafsir), then we can draw another thread from this exploration. He explained the passage of the verse as

"(He it is Who has made the earth subservient to you; so walk in the paths thereof) meaning, travel wherever you wish throughout its regions and frequent its countrysides and all the areas of its domain in your various journeys to seek earnings and trade. And know that your efforts will not benefit you anything unless Allah makes matters easy for you [3]."

He said that an attempted journey would not provide any benefit unless Allah makes it easy😊.

From here, the essence of this article will begin. The article which is a form of shouting "YES" from us, because we can feel that another lesson from the journey of a Muslim is also to prove the ease that Allah has given in all over the earth. Including the convenience we get when making Taiwan our journey destination. Especially the comfort we get when trying to present a prayer room in our campus environment in Taiwan, National Chin-Yi University of Technology, Musholla/Muslim prayer room of Al-Kahf.

The convenience that was obtained started from gathering several students who began to try to find an area that could become a prayer room. It is attempted because of our concern (especially men) on Fridays who cannot perform Jumu'ah because the campus and mosque are far away, lab activities, or classes. In addition, in the near future of that time, in 2019, it will also enter the month of Ramadan. So, with this submission, we hope that the campus can provide a particular room for us to hold Jumu'ah, Ramadan activities, and other Muslim activities. Then, we finally got the opportunity to dialogue with the campus, including the top officials who have a hand in setting policies and managing campus facilities. It didn't take long for the meeting to proceed in a friendly and straight-to-the-point meeting, which concluded that the campus would provide a place, even including the facilities in it. 

16/04/2019 On-campus meeting for providing a Muslim prayer room

Long story short, the meeting ended by scheduling another appointment with the Office of International Affairs to survey the place for a prayer room. The next day, we were surprised by the place that was proposed to be a prayer room. The place was an empty semi-open space, under the stairs, in a corner, which is spacious, but dark, also previously only a place for students to pass by who will enter class on the B1 floor room. Apart from that, we also discussed what needs were needed. The OIA also asked the facilities department to provide several facilities that are pretty large in quantity, as well as their functions. And in less than a week, it's all finished. Gradually, indeed, but we were made to distrust the place that we thought was an inappropriate place, instead it became a place that made us present a lot of activities in it until the present time. Even create our organization to take care of this prayer room.

Annual activities in the prayer room

Yes, this is the Al-Kahf prayer room, which can be seen in the pictures. What certainly also makes readers curious about this place.

20/10/2021 Present conditions of the prayer room

Finally, it can be emphasized that this is one proof that Taiwan makes it easy for Muslims to get a Muslim-friendly environment. Taiwan, which is ranked 2nd in providing a Muslim-friendly travel environment among the world's non-OIC countries (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) [4-5], not only provides convenience for travelers, but also convenience for Muslim students to get the comfort of worshiping in the campus environment. It may be just one of the many stories of Muslim students who have had a difficult path that has been transformed into an easy way to worship on campus. And this is also just one proof that Allah will provide convenience in all corners of the places He created to explore, including Taiwan. May Allah bless us all.

[1] https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/travel_1?q=travel

[2] Quran Surah Al-Mulk (67): 15

[3] https://www.recitequran.com/tafsir/en.ibn-kathir/67:15

[4] https://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0020308

[5] https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202107160019

by: Muhamad Aditya Royandi