By Zuhair Shaath
Ramadan truly is something special. On top of the spiritual, physical, and emotional discipline we build, it comes with a built-in opportunity for da'wah. With opportunity however, comes let down. Many of us are not trained on how to answer questions at work, (“why can't you at least drink water?”) or the shell shock we feel when our fasting is 'exposed' when we're invited out for a lunch gathering.
One of the ways we've tried to capitalize on this opportunity at the Islamic Institute of Orange County is by creating a Ramadan da'wah Jar for our congregants to purchase and distribute to colleagues, neighbors, friends, family with an interest in Ramadan. In the first two Jumuah prayers of Ramadan this year, we have sold over 650 jars, and are expecting to sell approximately 1,200 next year.
This is a short guide on how you can establish this simple — yet impactful— project in your local community.What you'll need:
- Ramadan Pamphlets – If your local community doesn't have their own Ramadan pamphlet, I recommend using the “Why Islam” pamphlet on Ramadan.
- Candy wrappers (wrap the dates in wrappers, for the sake of those unwrapping them).
- Good quality chocolate or candy
- Jars or boxes – we opted for jars as they're en vogue
- Small mesh bags
- Business cards or masjid contact information for people to follow up, visit, or take a tour of the local Islamic center.
- Volunteers – this project can be time intensive, you need help
- Spool of ribbon
We were able to find jars for about $0.60 with lids; most cities have local wholesalers that have similar options, if not you can also purchase them online.
Once you get the jars and materials, simply wrap the brochure around the inside of the jar, wrap the dates, put a date and a few chocolate candies in the mesh bag, and place them in the jar along with the masjid business card. Wrap the top of the jar with a nice bow-tie with the ribbon. We also added a label on our string with the date and times of our Open House.
This is what ours looked like:
Our total cost each jar was roughly $1.25, and we sold them to community members at 1 for $3 or 2 for $5. It was such a hit that other local communities also purchased cases from our mosque for interfaith iftars and distributions.
May Allah put barakah in your Ramadan, and may He accept all the good works we do this month. Ameen.
Zuhair Shaath is the Outreach Committee Coordinator at the Islamic Institute of Orange County and former Youth Director at the Clear Lake Islamic Center