Art is worship

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum wr wb! Love, peace and cupcakes be with everyone reading this!

I have a little confession to make. I’m a bad writer.

The first rule of writing is write everyday even if it kills you.

I haven’t been for I don’t know how long. And you know what? That kills me too.

My fingers itch for the freedom of my keyboard and my imagination.

Mashallah, by the grace of God, I have a million ideas for short films and features and novels and poems and love letters.

But then friends call, bodies fall apart due to illness, family descends on me for one reason or another and it gets put off one more hour and then one more day. And finally when I’ve parked my butt in my chair for some good old-fashioned word-slinging, my mother scoops up my life and takes me shopping.  Because you see, I’m getting married Insha Allah in December. Remind me to tell you about that sometime insha Allah – it’s a truly funny story.)

For a while now, I’ve been unsatisfied with my life. Now that my life might involve someone else, someone who arguably, I love more than I love myself, I feel like I need to do better. I feel like I need to be better. For his sake and for our children’s sake. My children weren’t a reality until now. But now I am painfully aware that I will be a role model to them, flaws and all.

Why then do I write?

Do I write to please myself? Do I write to express myself?

Perhaps.

How effing selfish. My “self” will never be satisfied and my narcissistic intellectual masturbations will lead to a singularly unsatisfied audience.

Do I write to please you perhaps? To make you see the things that I see? To make you wonder? To make you hope? To make you laugh? To make you cry?

While perhaps a nobler intention, ultimately this too is pathetic. Because all I want is for you to really, really like me. Something that changes on a dime, as we all know.

Why then should I write?

I should write to please Allah (SWT).

Money and pleasure should be secondary.

The true meaning of this did not come home to me until I read this on SuhaibWebb.com.

“You find some people have very nice things, some people are middle class and some are lower class. This is because Allah (swt) has spread provisions. It’s the same with `ibadah. Maybe for this sister Allah (swt) has put in her heart the love to make dhikr (remembrance of Allah). Maybe that sister there, Allah (swt) has put in her heart the love of Qur’an. Maybe for this brother Allah (swt) has put in his heart the love to go for forty days in tablighi jama`at. Maybe for this brother Allah (swt) put in his heart the love to study at Zaytuna, and maybe for this brother Allah (swt) put the love in his heart to be with the people of the Islamic movement. So, the same way that Allah (swt) has given them these provisions in the dunya, is the same way He has given them, as Imam Malik said, provisions in `ibadah.”

Political activism is Ibadah. My work, as I’ve expressed before, for me is often a form of activism.

Allah (SWT) has put in my heart the love of writing. Does this mean that writing could be a form of Ibadah? Subhanallah!

When one grows up thinking that only if you read the Qur’an and pray day and night will you reach the highest levels of Jannah, such a concept blows the mind.

Art is Ibadah.

If this is Allah (SWT)’s Rizq (provision for me), if this makes my heart beat, my blood quicken, my eyes refuse to shut even if it’s way past my bedtime, and most beloved of all, fills my heart with gratitude to Allah (SWT) with every letter I type, I believe that it may well be mustahhab (highly recommended), maybe even Fard (compulsory) for me to hone my craft.

Anything less would be ungrateful.

If the world tells me to shut up and go be an accountant (my apologies to all the passionate accountants reading this), I would remind myself that the secular world is also currently opposed to a myriad of outwardly religious activities, for example, the hijab.  Spiritual art by comparison is a cakewalk and much easier to explain.

If I am not grateful for my provisions, including my love of writing, AND if I don’t serve my community through it, ultimately that barakah (blessing) will be taken from me. It is part of my religious duty to nurture it.

Allah (SWT) has placed love in my heart for writing. Mashallah, there must be a reason for that. Won’t stop till I find out what that reason is.

I needed something stronger than the promise of my children and my vain own worldly desires. Alhamdulillah I think I’ve found it.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,

The Happy (and Inspired) Muslimah.

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7 thoughts on “Art is worship

  1. Art is indeed devotion and writing is indeed an act of both power and worship. This post was a lovely way of bringing together life’s demands, future demands, and this natural, intrinsic urge to write and be both inside your mind and connect with others through it.

    And a big, warm congratulations to you on getting married! Woo hoo!

    1. Jzk katheeran for the congrats 😀

      And as always, you hit the nail on the head – power and devotion. With great power comes great responsibility and Insha Allah, with Taqwa, great humility.

      What a coincidence! I wanted to write about love and here you are, writing about love too. Mashallah!

  2. First of all, congrats on your upcoming wedding! May peace, love, eeman and waterfalls of gulab jamans descend on your marriage!

    Second of all, really good article! The best thing about honing your art for the sake of Allah is that even if we crash and burn with what we’re trying to do, Allah will still reward us for our attempt! Win win situation.

    1. Ameen to your dua and jzk katheeran for the good wishes!

      So very true – we turn Allah (SWT) the strongest when we have been rejected and who gets rejected more than artists? If Insha Allah, the making of art was an act of worship, then it has not gone to waste. Another gem from SuhaibWebb.com http://www.suhaibwebb.com/personaldvlpt/character/nothing-is-ever-wasted/

      “Don’t think that your efforts have been wasted. They have not. They are recorded with Ash-Shakoor, and if you don’t see the fruits of your labor in this life, surely Allah (swt) is keeping something amazing for you in the next.”

    1. Assalam alaikum sister 🙂 Jzk for the duas and for all the sincere advice. I couldn’t have made the mental switch without your great advice, though some aspects I am still struggling with. Mashallah, Allah (SWT) blesses not only those who have learned but also those who are in the process of learning. 🙂

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