I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: coming into this new year for me meant making drastic changes to my own self and dramatically filtering the things and the people I let into my life because enough has happened to make me realise just how short and unpredictable it is. Life is shorter than we like to admit and the truth is, if I truly believe in the hereafter, why am I not doing more to use this short time I have in preparation for it? With this in mind, one of the goals I decided on for this year was to re-establish a connection with the Qur’an and use it to strengthen my relationship with Allah, and of course, in true Ayesha style, I had to do the absolute most and be so extra about it that it makes me question my own sanity sometimes, haha.
Naturally, I took to pen and paper and realised that the way I have always learned best is by taking big blocks of information and condensing it into more creative and accessible pieces that are aesthetically pleasing (wish I’d realised this sooner in life, revision would have been a breeze!). I’d originally set out to follow in the footsteps of Faakihah and create a Qur’an journal that was simplistic in nature and more like a diary than anything else, but the more I read, the less I wanted to do this because there was just so much information that I wanted to hold onto. So, I devised my own plan:
- Read the surah in my Arabic Qur’an just before sleeping (still holding onto the first one I ever bought during my early madrasah days – 2005 according to the date inside it, always fills my heart with nostalgia for those days)
- Read the Abdel Haleem translation in English straight after (I remember things much better when I read them just before I fall asleep)
- Summarise and make an overview of the verses the following morning – highlight themes, subject matter, and any other significant points of interest that mean something to me on a personal level
- Collate all this information and create the entry of the day – I like to stick to the A5 size and use a mixture of calligraphy, plain arabic text (with translations), some typography, and illustrations
The entire Qur’an journal is being done in my Moleskine (I’ve linked which one I use all the time), and honestly, there are no fancy pieces of stationery – some felt tip pens from Tiger, basic ballpoint pens in black, red, and blue, and a pencil. By keeping it simple, I’m trying to reduce the amount of time I spend faffing about which is the right pen or colour to use and really maximise the time I spend understanding what the Qur’an has to offer and how I can apply it to my own life. Though my daily entries have slowed down significantly while I’ve been out of the country, I have been trying to keep in my habit of daily reading because this time that I give myself feels almost meditative. Cut off from the world and completely focused, it is a feeling I cannot even describe in words.
Though this time round I have placed a focus on the Qur’an and the individual surahs which make it up, I hope to use this format to take on more research topics and really strengthen my own bank of knowledge in life – next in line is (hopefully) relearning the 99 names of Allah and understanding the context behind each. By taking on these projects to explore elements of my faith and strengthen my understanding of Islam, I am allowing myself to understand the ways in which my faith has always complemented my life despite my resistance, and the ways in which it can guide me to be an upstanding member of the human race. By taking control of the information I expose myself to, I am creating a far more wholesome and gentle environment for my own self.