We love to make a new zakat collection container every year for one of our Ramadan crafts.
Zakat means “that which purifies” and in Arabic it is pronounced as زكاة or zakāh. It is one of the 5 Pillars of Islam and required of all Muslims who are able to participate. Some view it like a self-imposed religious tax.
In the past, we have made our zakat boxes out of ice cream containers, wood boxes, picture frames, food containers and even a wicker basket. This year I found this container that reminded me of the minarets in Morocco, which all had flat tops.
I brought it home and used Gallery Glass paint to turn it into a minaret with a door and two windows. The only other supply I needed was stickers to spell out the word zakat, so my family knows what to put into the container. At the end of the month, we will donate the money to a local charity.
Gallery Glass in green, blue & pink
Black lead paint
I made sure my container was clean before I got started. I first placed the stickers on the side and then added the doors and windows with the black liquid leading. I also added an outline around the top lip.
I filled the door and window space with the green and blue colors and added the pink to the top.
I left my zakat collection box lying flat for a full 24 hours for everything to dry before placing it by the front door.
If you enjoying learning how to make this zakat box, make sure you stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more.
It was held at St. Therese Parish, with dinner provided by EWM, free of charge. This organization was started in 2017 as a way to build bridges:
We believe that eating together and sharing an experience is what will strengthen and enrich our country and values so let’s sit together.
Founders Ilays Aden & Fathia Absie
The food was delirious, a blend of sub-Sahara and North African flavors. There was goat, chicken, vegetables, hummus, bread, salad, and yummy desserts, including dates.
Attendees were encouraged to sit with someone they did not know, to open dialog. There was a Muslim member from EWM at each table. There were also 10 questions about Islam on the table, to help facilitate the conversation.
Our own table took on the issue of race in religion. Our EWM representative had converted to Islam in the 1970s. These are his words “I went to a religious class here at St. Therese and my priest could not explain to me why my Jesus (pbuh) was white on the walls but described differently in my Bible.” Once he started to look into Islam, he realized that Mohammed (pbuh) did not have any images of what He looked like nor was there a Christmas in His honor, he liked that the religion was not about Him but about the personal & communal direction in life. Our representative repeated several times that this was his own path, as a black man in America, on how he had arrived to Islam and others have different stories. But this lead our conversation to race & religion.
I’m sure that this conversation would make many uncomfortable, but I was excited it was happening because race is an issue that is not discussed enough. America has a vast history with slaves and one that is not as well known, Muslim slaves. Yet, we do not discuss enough how white & black & yellow & red & every other races were brought together in our history, in movies, books or TV, unless we are shown it disproportionately tied with violence.
Once dinner was over, a panel of Muslims were asked public questions from the audience to wrap up the evening. The range of questions varied from how women were treated in pre-Islamic times to what is a burka.
I was so indebted to EWM for allowing me to join in the conversation to help improve how Muslims are seen, in contrast to what is being shown in the media.
If you are having an event in Seattle and would like to have a table of educational items for children that showcase the Arab world or Islamic culture, please use my contact form to reach me. I also teach Islamic art lessons to children and provide items for longer term rentals, such as library displays.