What is Qur’an Journaling?
Writing is a form of therapy. I have always turned to writing as a self-care activity to recalibrate, find peace and untangle the mess of thoughts in my head. Qur’an journaling is one form of writing exercise which I discovered 3 years ago, at the start of the blessed month of Qur’an. It is basically a journaling activity where you journal verses from the Qur’an and reflect on it deeply. We keep a Qur’an journal to document our thoughts and reflections about a certain verseor passage in the Qur’an by relating it to our personal life.
Why Qur’an Journaling?
I wanted to find a way to get closer to God through a way I know I will enjoy. My attempt on this activity stems from a lack of personal connection with Allah’s book which I have been reciting since young. I’d attended classes to practise and recite the Qur’an until I was fluent at it yet I felt like something was missing. I later realised that reflecting and applying these words to my life, engaging in tadabbur (reflecting), was essentially what I was lacking – what’s the point of fluently reciting a text if that is all there is to it? We can be reading it as competently as we can but if we fail to immerse in Allah’s words and understand the semantics and pragmatics couched in the language, then we will never understand the message that our Lord is telling us. The Qur’ran is our Light and our guide in times of darkness and despair. It’s no wonder that many turn to it so seek solace in His words.
How to do Qur’an Journaling?
All you need is a notebook and a few coloured markers. Nothing fancy, really. In the pictures, I’m using the Leuchtturm1917 dotted notebook. You don’t even need an assortment of coloured markers to start out with, you just need a simple pen or two. If you’d like to gradually transition to something fancy, then you can try calligraphy and lettering pens which you can easily find in stationery shops.
The steps to it are simple. Here are 3 simple tips to get you started!
- Read and resonate. Choose a verse from the Qur’an which you want to journal and which resonates with you at the current moment. For e.g., if you have just received unpleasant news and you remember reading verse 216 from surah al-Baqarah, you journal it down. You don’t even have to write the Arabic if you’re not comfortable with it, you can simply write the translation.
- Do a quick research and find out a little more about the verse by reading or listening to the tafseer (explanation behind its meaning) or watching videos that unpack the verse. My main references for the translation and the context behind the verse I choose to journal are mainly from bayyinah.tv or qtafsir.com. I’m sure there are many other reliable sources out there which you can ask around ?
- Write, recite, reflect. Take your time to journal it out. Again, don’t be too concerned with it not being fancy. I had to remind myself of my intention in journaling, which is a form of therapy and also as means to get closer to Allah. If we rid ourselves off the expectation of perfection, then we’d be more consistent in the deed. As you write the verse, recite it too. Then finally, reflect on the verse and how it relates to your personal life. Writedown your notes and thoughts in your journal. Here is an example:
‘Call upon your Lord in humility and privately’ Surah al-a’raf [7:55]
What I find beautiful is how simple it is to communicate with Allah - no appointments, no celebrations, no splendid display of performance, no barriers for a response - just a heart that’s humbled, a little quiet, & a chest of words reserved for the One. A moment not heard, a moment not seen - a moment that has no need for a scene - just a private conversation between a soul on his threadbare mat, tears falling for his ever present, ever hearing Lord.
We are all striving to be better Muslims as we grow so taking Ramadhan as a springboard to be better than we were before is always a good start. I started trying Qur’an journaling 3 Ramadans ago when I had the luxury of time to pick up this activity. With the ‘stay home Ramadan’ that we will all be experiencing this year, Qur’an journaling might just be the perfect activity for you to try. Ramadan Mubarak!