As with everything else, you must be certain about the intention behind your writing. Why are you going to write? Are you intending to achieve positive and halaal effects? Are you going to write something beneficial? Take into account any negative (but not necessarily haraam) effects, such as the criticism of friends and family. Do they outweigh the positive effects? Are you prepared to handle them? Such a self-evaluation sets the mood for writing. You will have an increased focus and a motive behind writing.
Never trivialize or ignore this “weapon of the believers.” Start by asking Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to bless your work and to forgive you for any mistakes that you may make. Start in the name of Allah.
Choose the topic which you will really enjoy writing about. Choose the type of article best suited to your skills or mood. Are you going to write a descriptive essay on your first khimaar (head-scarf)? This will require a rich vocabulary (mainly adjectives) and a profound observation of the subject. Are you going to write an argumentative essay against the ban on hijab? This will require a list of strong points to support your argument. You may also decide to write a narrative essay, narrating a memorable Eid. If you are assigned a topic – a boring one or even a comprehensive one – there is nothing to panic. Notice that the topic will be general, for example, hijab. You can tailor it to your choice by narrowing down the topic to a more specific one, for example, the khimaar you purchased with your first halaal earnings. Apart from essays, you may write letters, articles for magazines, book reviews and reports.
Once you have decided the topic, do a quick research on the subject. Write down words which may be relevant. This will ensure a smooth flow of words and ideas throughout your writing.
Roughly list all that comes to your mind when you think about the topic. Then pick the best ideas and arrange them into sentences in your main write-up. This ensures clear and flowing organization throughout your work. Often, we are overwhelmed by a host of ideas – with a draft, you can pick the ideas from a wide range to avoid writing too less or too much. This speeds up your writing too. Therefore, it is highly recommended to make a draft.
Choose an unconventional title which will grab the readers’ attention. This is very important because many busy readers sort out the most interesting titles to read. In any case, do not give away the moral/the story of your article through your title. Which is better – The Hidden Louis Vuitton Purse or Wearing Beautiful Garments While Praying?
This is confined within the first paragraph. You have to intrigue the readers to continue reading. For example, if your topic is benefits of photography, you can begin with a general description (definition of halaal photography and its uses), a small relevant story (how your father used to teach you about photography), a contrast to your topic (how photos are being misused), or a quotation. Do not announce the topic in the first sentence. At the end of your introduction, introduce your topic in the most interesting manner. Sometimes, part of this topic can be stated in the concluding paragraph (as in the case of a story with a moral).
This is when your research on the subject comes into handy. Divided into 2-4 paragraphs (standard) or more, develop your topic in each of these paragraphs. If you are writing a descriptive essay on your khimaar, devote the first paragraph to its colour, the second paragraph to its texture, the next to its comfort and so on. Therefore, each paragraph will highlight, in details, one aspect of the main topic. Make the words flowery by not repeating the same words, by replacing dull words with appropriate synonyms/antonyms and by using transitions (words like in addition to, however and therefore). Make sure though that your writing remains clear, to the point, and accessible.
Do not jumble up the statements. For example, do not write about the colour, then the texture and then back to the colour.
Readers will lose focus and interest if you are writing about a serene moment in Hajj and with the flow of words, shift to the description of your deteriorating health, if it is not necessary/relevant.
Restate your topic in new words (do not copy the words in the introduction). As mentioned earlier, you can state part of the topic in this last paragraph. Do not bring up new points here. End it in a manner which will leave a lasting impression on the reader, which will convince the reader of the integrity and correctness of the emotions you have tried to convey.
Check the grammar, vocabulary and quality. Use a dictionary. Approach a friend/family member to read your write-up. He/she will act as a prospective reader and in general, will be able to comment on the quality. Read the article yourself after a few days – you will be able to see flaws which you may not have seen before. Reading your work out loud is also an effective way to catch mistakes.
This will enrich your vocabulary, improve your grammar and get your creativity moving. As a reader, you will be more aware of the reactions that your write-up will get (what increases the curiosity of readers and what lulls them to sleep).
So what are you waiting for? Lift your pen and write! Write as much as possible even if you struggle initially. Every experience will teach you something new for your betterment. Remember, everyone can be a writer! Develop this productive hobby, and maybe even search for outlets to publish your work and have an impact on others insha Allah.
About the Author:
Khadeejah Islam, writer at Habibi Halaqas