Islamic Calligraphy Workshop Led By a Youth Talent

UICA hosted an Islamic Calligraphy workshop on sunday, January 16, 2022. The class was led by one of our west valley community young talents. Alma Tabaku, is a 14 years old student at Greenway Islamic Academy, who has always been interested in Islamic calligraphy. With a combination of professional Calligraphy classes and self teaching, she was able to construct many beautiful pieces in Islamic Calligraphy. Thanks to the Sister group at UICA, the word spread out about this workshop. Not just women from our existing UICA community, but I’ve seen many new faces who are either new to the UICA or just recently moved to the valley from out of state. I’ve always been supportive of such initiatives at mosques and Islamic centers. Connecting to other women in our community through workshops is the best way to build a strong village of women, and feel a sense of connection to our faith. The sister group organized many classes in the past, from health and fitness, lectures about Islamic history to hiking in the beautiful Arizonian wilderness.

The class has started by sister Malvina, from the sister committe, introducing Alma and talking about the need to encourage our young muslim community that has a creative skill, and how important it is to provide that safe outlet and space for them not just to show their talent but to share it and teach it to others in the community. As a mom to 3 children that attend Greenway academy, I couldn’t agree more. I got excited that my kids will have such space within our Islamic community to share a skill or an interest they may have. Teaching our kids Islamic studies and Arabic classes is not an easy process. Ask any mom, who would wake up her kids on a sunday morning to attend Islamic/Arabic Classes. With the exposure of social media and daily life in the US, sometimes the kids need that encouragement and excitement to be part of an Islamic group. To feel safe and connect Islam to daily life, like hobbies and skills they may have. Seeing young Talent as Alma, gives me hope that my kids one day will connect Islam to a talent they have.They will be proud and confident to share their faith and heritage with the world through creativity.

Islamic Calligraphy is the art of handwriting the Arabic alphabets, It is known in Arabic as khatt Arabi, which directly translates to the Arabic line. Calligraphy is a highly regarded piece of the Islamic art. It is basically delivering a piece of a text in a decorative form. These beautiful texts are found in mosques, palaces, holy books like the Quran and poetry.

We started the class by painting our base, covering our bright white canvases with black paint. In the 15 minutes of dry time, Malvina led an ice breaker conversation by having us pick a question from a bucket. The questions were simple ice breaker kinds of questions that we all may wonder about sometimes. When it was my turn, the question was “ If you get to live in any place on earth for a whole year, where would it be?” I answered without hesitation Mekka. Going through my personal faith journey, I was recently planning to take the kids on a umrah trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia to introduce the kids to our islamic history; where it all started, the prophet’s, peace be upon him, journey to Madina, and the construction of the Islamic civilization and the empire we once were and hopefully we can rebuild. It would be a great year and very uplifting to all my life aspects. To be able to disconnect from the outer world and connect to my inner faith is many people’s dream in today’s busy life. Many women got really cool questions as well, and we all had a little insight about each other, our background, interest, and what we value most. After our canvases dried, we started outlining our decorative text, which was the name of the almighty, the most gracious, the most merciful “ALLAH”. Fixing the outline and decorating the text got us all focused to perfect the name of god. We outline our text again with glue this time, then sprinkled over it with silver shines. The final canvases were so beautiful.

The workshop was an amazing experience and a way to get exposure to different skills. Women from different backgrounds, college students, moms and grandmothers really enjoyed the workshop. I would say the workshop was an excellent way to spend my Sunday afternoon while my kids attended their Islamic and Arabic classes next door. My kids always ask me afterwards what did you learn today? and today I was happy to say, “we decorated the name of God!”

By Arsil Aldakka