Posted by: Dawud Israel | June 23, 2010

Heart-Writing

Bismillah, alhamdulillah, wa salat wa salam ala Rasulullah

After Imam al-Ghazali is robbed of his books, he comes to realize what knowledge means, in terms of what he knows and has with him at all times. This at one level means memorization, on another level it also means those things which are written onto the soul, or are easily written onto the heart- his very being, those thoughts that are only a few seconds away from his mind. From this point onwards, Imam al-Ghazali’s interaction with with ‘ilm that he learns and discovers, is what  Ebrahim Moosa calls “heart-writing.”

What is Heart-Writing?

The idea of heart-writing comes from the symbolism of the Quranic mention of the Pen. As a revelation, there is something of the Quran, being revealed to the hearts through the use of the pen in ways fisabilillah. The goal and end result of this type of writing is to transform oneself, purify oneself and others,  and finally to come closer to Allah. There is a blessing in the works of the scholars and the righteous to the extent miracles may occur from reading them, or writing about them.

Heart-writing is a form of writing, particularly peculiar to the scholar, alim and intellectual, that is different from what one is accustomed to: it becomes “part of a highly meta-physicalized self,” where the writing is doxological (praising God), but also a dialogue of thoughts, often building upon what he already knew, in a different form of repetition, but with an originality of meaning, so that it would pierce his heart. One may put a certain hadith into a different context and then discover a new aspect of it’s meaning, or re-phrase an oft-heard quotation into a different way.

Heart-writing seeks to grasp something of God, and by extension purify the self, by:

“de-center[ing] the diseased certainty of cognition, a cognition that constantly seeks ideological closure. It is only in ideological certainty is destabilized that writing as semiotics can effectively occur in the heart and soul—when it issues an aesthetic theory announcing openness and expansion.”

So while one suspends previous assumptions, habits, behaviors, and your tendency to conclude things instantly, you also let what you already know guide you or steer your thoughts into arenas you haven’t explored, or which are new to you. At the same time, a process of pendulation occurs where you take in something of what is being written, and put in something back, simultaneously as you write, whether you are copying out a quotation or negotiating through the situation that it was said in, how it applies to you now, and what it reflects about yourself, so “the self is suspended between the eventfulness of meaning or the meaningfulness of events.”

You can get a hold of this diary from Paperblanks. This makes an excellent heart-writing book.

How to Heart-Write

-You can merely copy out quotations, hadith and verses that inspire you, but in a very slow methodical manner. The more you pen down, the more time you take, the more you contemplate and take it in.

-Note down certain duas and adkhar that you plan on saying regularly, morning and evening.

-Keep note of those sayings, wisdoms, ahadith and verses that hit the pressure-points of your nafs. That is, those sayings which instantly soften your heart, push you away from a wrong-doing and gear you toward committing good deeds instantly.

then writing also de-centers the diseased certainty of cognition, a cognition that constantly seeks ideological closure. It is only ;n ideological certainty is destabilized that writing as semiotics can effectively occur in the heart and soul—when it issues an aesthetic theory announcing openness and expansion.

Responses

  1. i love this, great idea


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