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MENA: Thanks “Khawater” from Japan

Television viewers across the Arab world were in for a treat this Ramadan, with the airing of a special programme on Japan. In its fifth season, Khawater (Thoughts) visited Japan, where a young Saudi preacher Ahmed Al Shugairy explained the Japanese success story to Arab and Muslim viewers.

The one-month show explained Japan's experience of progress and reasons behind its success. Al Shugairy tried to portray how Japanese people follow the principles of Islam in their day to day manners even without being Muslims.
Many Arab bloggers, thinkers, writers and other preachers praised the program, and hoped to one day see their countries as developed as Japan.

Labeed, from Saudi Arabia, wrote a blog post under the title “Ahmed Al Shugairy the great visionary“:

Ahmad Al Shugairy is one of the most inspiring people I have ever listened to. He is out there with a strong belief that one day he will make a difference.
[…]
For those who don’t know him! He has a show called “Khawater خواطر” that airs everyday in Ramadan, what he does in a nutshell is sharing his ideas and thoughts to the whole Muslim world and sometimes the Arab world in particular. These thoughts are presented in a documentary style with a short straight forward messages.

Labeed's illustration to thank Al Shugairy for his work.

Labeed's illustration to thank Al Shugairy for his work.

Saudi blogger Samyah mentions a new project launched by a group of volunteers to translate the five parts of Khawater into English. Khawater‘s first season can be found translated here.

She also said:

كلكم عارفين انو أتعرض أ/أحمــد لكثير من النقد العنيف
انو بيطلع فضايح و و و الخ
لكن انا ضد هادي الافتراآتهوا قال من أول حلقه أستحملوا الجاي والمطلـــــوب رفع المـــعـــــــــــايـــــيـــــــــر !! ياناس
أول خطوه لتصحيح الخطأ هو الإعتراف به
We all know that Mr. Ahmed had faced harsh criticism because he highlights our scandals, etc. But I am against such lies.
Since the first episode, he asked us to bear him and said we need to raise our standards because the first step to correct something wrong is to admit it!

Mohannad El-Tayeb, from the UAE, quotes Al Shugairy as saying:

“To every young man and woman, you’re not responsible for Arabs being retard today, and nobody has the right to blame you for that!! But young men and women of today are responsible of the future of the Arab countries, you are responsible of what we’ll be after 25 years, means that “WE” decide the situation of the Islamic world in 2030″

Mohannad then commented:

This year Khawater 5 is released. Ahmad Al Shugairy traveled to Japan and made this season there. He shows that Japanese people are still keeping their traditions and customs, while they’re developing quickly. It’s amazing. you’ve got to watch it.

Wafa from Tunisia wrote a post titled “Khawater…in less than 15 min, lots of lessons!!“. In this post, she said:

This year, ‘Khawater 5′ takes us to Japan and back!
Al Shugairy compares issues in Japan and the Arab world, which he’s calling ‘another planet’!
We see how organized, clean, disciplined and punctual the Japanese people are.
We see how they respect each other, respect the elderly, respect boundaries and respect their selves!
Isn’t this exactly how we all should be? No matter what religion we belong to, isn’t this how a good human being should be?
Aren’t these the morals and conditions that make this world a better place?

And N_spirit from Algeria wrote under “I love khawater” saying:

Pour ce Ramadan 1430, et d’après la bande d’annonce Khawater 5, Ahmad Al Shukairy a choisi de voyager vers le Japon, et en retirer des leçons du peuple Japonais qui a pu se relever et s’est reconstruit en un temps record après les bombardements atomiques de Hiroshima et Nagasaki.

For this Ramdan 1430, and from the trailer of “Khawater 5“, Ahmad Al Shugairy chose to travel to Japan and show us lessons from the Japanese people who managed to reconstruct their country in record time after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Ahmed Amr from Saudi Arabia wrote under the title “Between values and reality” [Ar] a comment to people who criticize the programme and Al Shugairy. Also, Nahar [Ar] from UAE, Jeedo, a Jordanian blogger living in the US, and Egyptian blogger Ahmed Bassiony[Ar] , all wrote about how they are impressed with the programme, and how they wish their countries to be like Japan someday. They also expressed interest in visiting Japan.

Reem from Jordan comments about Khawater on Twitter

Reem from Jordan comments about Khawater on Twitter

Blogger Reem Al Saleh from Saudi Arabia wrote:

أحمد الشقيري في خواطره نجح في استقطاب المشاهدين من جميع الأعمار،ونجاحه لم يكن مصادفة فقد اختارالمواضيع التي تمثل جوهرالاسلام: القراءة حيث أول كلمة نزلت في القرآن هي اقرأ،النظافة(النظافة من الإيمان )،المعاملة (الدين المعاملة )،الحفاظ على البيئة والأرض ..
[…]
أحمد الشقيري يقول كلمته كل يوم ويمشي، ويتركنا نفخربشاب سعودي استطاع أن يقدم صورة جميلة للدين بعيدا عن الصورة المشوهة التي ينقلها لنا المتطرفون أو أولئك الذين لديهم حساسية من كلمة دين أو إسلام.
Ahmad Al Shugairy in his Khawater managed to attract viewers of all ages, and his success wasn't a coincidence, for he chose topics that represent the core of Islam: Reading, as the first word in Quran is “Read;” Cleanliness (Cleanliness is from faith); the way we deal with each other (Religion is how you deal with the other); and conservation of environment and Earth.
[..]
Ahmad Al Shugairy says his words every day then leaves. He leaves us proud of a young Saudi man who was able to provide a beautiful image of the religion, away from the distorted image conveyed by extremists or those who are allergic from the word religion or Islam.

On the other hand, Subzero, a Tunisian who lives with his wife Bluerose and is preparing for a Masters in Electronics Engineering in Tokyo wrote about one disappointment of his, despite his utter fascination with the show:

The way Ahmad-san talks about Japan is really great! It is very similar to how I talk to my friends about Japan, and in some cases he used the exact same words! To be honest, even though I like the guy so much, I was disappointed and mad to know he was in Tokyo and yet he did not even try to contact Muslims there. I would really have done anything to talk to him and help him go around Tokyo, in addition to giving some thoughts about the program.

And lastly, Saudi blogger Masha'al criticizes those who talk about their admiration for the programme and yet, do not practice what they preach, and adds:

لنكف عن عقد المقارانات الفارغة إذا أعجبتنا طريقة الشعب الياباني لنبدأ بخلق مجتمع حضاري يناسبنا و نفصله على مقاس ثقافتنا وطريقتنا لنكوّن مجتمع إسلامي حضاري راقٍ لأن أغلب المحاور التي عرّج عليها البرنامج من القيم التي من المفترض ان نملكها كمجتمع مسلم , فــ النظافة من الإيمان والعمل المتقن شيء يحثنا عليه الدين والعلم رفع الإسلام مراتبه النظر للغييّر بإحترام وعدم إستحقار المهن شيء من صميم تعاملنا مع بعضنا البعض في الإسلام وغيرها الكثير يعني أننا لم نستورد شيء من الخارج نحن فقط لو أردنا التغييّر نصحح في موروثنا الذي غيّر فينا الكثير !
Let's stop hollow comparisons and if we liked the Japanese’ way of life, then let's start creating a civilized society by tailoring our values and traditions to create a civilised Muslim society; because most of the topics that the programme discussed from the values we should have as a Muslim community. For instance, religion encouraged us to take care of cleanliness and good work. Also Islam highly appreciates sciences, and respecting others. Religion prohibited us from despising other professions. All of these examples are at the heart of our way of dealing with each other in Islam; that means we will not import anything from abroad. If we wished to really change.. we only have to adjust our heritage that changed a lot in us!

6 comments

  • Hi Eman,
    Thank you for this topic it tells and summaries our opinion about this program “khawater 5”,
    I would like also to thank you to read my humble post, all what i wanted is to keep making change in our community as Ahmad Alshugari said because this is his aim for the whole show, is the immediate change !
    cause obviously we need it. I mean us saudi community.

    they asked to stop the translating where group of volunteers were working on it..

    It’s amusing then it’s saddening then it’s amusing again, to hedge and not *hurt* the sensitive arabs.. WE ARE EXPOSED ALREADY so please spare us the drama upon “protecting” the “image”… I hope our hedging effort worked.

    we r not working because the western will have bad image of islam! how dare them use islam as excuse to not move their selves? and worse they are stopping the people who r trying to move out of the shell!

    after all the changes shall began from our self, and that what we’re trying to do :)

    God bless you all .

  • Thank you for the quote.
    But I am Jordanian, and I already finished Masters, and now in my PhD.

    Nice site, I will check it more often.

  • Great article Eman.
    I watched some episodes when I was home. I did not know about this program before. Its positivity and noble values defended were really worth spreading among arab countries.

  • MAJED

    i want to thank u so much for this program and i hope that the arab will understand and think how we r so unorganized so because of this we r being controlled by other people. good luck w allah ma3ak.

  • bbb

    I watched some episodes when I was home. I did not know about this program before. Its positivity and noble values defended were really worth spreading among arab countries.

  • […] 6) by a young Saudi preacher Ahmed Al Shugairy. Last year I wrote a post on Global Voices Online reviewing his program’s fifth season “Thoughts from Japan” – where Al Shugairy was […]

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