Writing as Catharsis

Peace, one and all…

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Well, I’ve returned from the blog wilderness.  Not a very long retreat, but a helpful one certainly.  The key issue has been intention: where am I going; am I moving in the right direction; why keep writing this blog; what’s its purpose?  From the little I’ve learnt of Islam, making sure of your intention is crucial and so that’s what I’ve been reviewing. 

Writing has always been a form of catharsis for me.  Indeed, this was one of the main reasons I started blogging.  I wanted to write myself forward, if you know what I mean.  In other words, writing is a kind of conversation, a written dialogue – with myself, my Self, God, others and the universe at large.  Talking (or writing) through problems of mind and heart have helped me enormously in my attempts to grow beyond narrowness.

This, in a nutshell, explains my poetry.  Essentially, my poems are (for what they’re worth) all about talking.  They’re my ongoing conversations with my inner Self and God.  They chart my soul’s progress through life, and document my growing (or fading) understanding of Allah’s utter centrality to all things. 

Writing (or more basically, speaking) must be matched by action, if it is to be truly effective.  This is what I’ve been exploring in my recent blogging khalwah (or ‘retreat’).  I grow ever more acutely aware of the vast difference between what I say and what I do.  I’m sure this is something we all feel (or should if we’re even remotely honest with ourselves).  The trick, it seems, is in successfully moving from one to the other; or, in other words, how can I become the man I would like to be?

Ultimately, this is a lifelong struggle.  I’ll only stop becoming the man I am to be as I draw my last breath.  After this point, all that I have thought, all that I have done and all that I have become, will be judged by God.  Being aware of my faults, I fear God’s judgement upon me.  In my own reckoning, I have done and still do, much that is evil in the sight of my Lord.  But, I am not so self-important as to confuse my own judgements of myself with Allah’s.  One of the reasons God is God is because only He is qualified to judge.

Moving beyond automatic behaviours, unconscious mannerisms and actions; this is the task before me.  How can I truly open my self, so that it can step out of the narrow prison my ego has built?  Of course, Islam/Sufism is a method as much as a faith; but there is a difference between knowing and doing.

My progress on the Threshold Society’s 99 Day Programme (which may well extend into 99 years!) has come to this point: attempting to move beyond a mere ‘boom and bust’ spirituality; one that lifts in times of energy, and sinks in times of lethargy.  I’ve been asked to reflect on repentance and ego, and have found the following statement by Abu Hafs al-Haddad particularly profound:

‘I abandoned wrongdoing, but then returned to it.  Later that wrongdoing abandoned me, and I did not return to it’.

At this moment in time, I stuck firmly in the first half.  Ya Allah!  How I want to move beyond!  How I want to be abandoned by my wrongdoing!  But, wanting to end on a note of hope, here’s a poem of Mevlana’s:

Water says to the dirty, ‘Come’.
‘But I am so ashamed,’ the dirty one says.
‘How will you be washed clean without me?’

Wa akhiri da’wana an il hamdu lillahi rabbil alameen.

Ma’as salama,
Abdur Rahman

6 thoughts on “Writing as Catharsis

  1. Assalaam Alaikum Abdur Rahman Bhai,

    Alhamdulillah!
    i am glad you are back to enlighten us all !
    The Amazing Grace of Almighty Allah is unsurpassable and works manifolds. SubhanAllah! Along with your personal benefits, such eloquent and thought-provoking writing and poetry does help others like us understand ourselves much better- with insights to make us evermore aware of our intentions and to fight our nafs.

    wish to share this enlightening article on nafs:
    http://hakkani.wordpress.com/2007/03/08/sohbet-fighting-the-ego/

    May Allah(swt) make these introspections and contemplations during your retreat benefit you to the utmost. Ameen

    Please do keep me and my family in your prayers.

    sf

  2. Salaams SF,

    Thank you for your kind thoughts. All good comes from Allah. Only the duff bits are mine!

    Thank you again for the link. Shaykh Abd al-Karim Effendi really drives the point home. Insha Allah, I think I might include this in a post soon.

    Ma’as salama,
    Abdur Rahman

  3. I WAS DELIGHTED TO FIND YOUR WEBSITE !This is just what i wanted writing and sharing experiences that link us with The Ultimate Reality!Do let me know how i can be a part of the writing team!At the moment i am interested in writing reviews on books related to religion !Pl z contact to let me know the scope and terms and conditions of this website
    Thanks

  4. al-salamu alaikum Tayyaba,

    Thank you. Welcome to my online home. Allah bless you always. This is just my personal blog, where I post things I find profound, and reflect upon them. At any rate, all that is good comes from Allah. Only the mistakes are mine.

    If you want to contribute, then do feel free to let me know.

    Ma’as salama,
    Abdur Rahman

  5. Aslam U Lakum
    I wrote a review on a book written by Nigel Watts tittled The Way of Love.It is a beautiful account of Roomi R.U.A ‘s training by his spiritual guide Shams Tabriz R.U.A which aimed at creating a consciousness of our Love for the “One” and the only “Beloved Allah” !I would like to share it with the readers!

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