Dear Diary: Reflection and Growth

You know you’re headed in the right direction when you read or hear something beneficial from someone else, then you take the gems you learned and try to apply them to your life. But what if you could have that effect on yourself?

Your future self?

As Muslims, we know that it is important for us to stay conscious of our actions, manners, speech, and intentions. As Imam Khalid Latif recently said at his Ramadan Prep class,

A Muslim is never the same person two days in a row.

But when every day seems to slip through our fingers, how do we even know where we stand? What qualifiers and markers do we have?

A very simple solution is to keep a diary.

How do we know they are effective? Well, ask anyone who has ever been on a diet and kept a food journal– it helps them see what they really consume compared to what they thought they consumed, eventually allowing them to have a balanced, healthy, lifestyle. When you reflect on what you really did and felt throughout a day compared to what you think you did, it can help you to eventually maintain some order in your life, too.

Not too long ago, I realized how much I needed to pick back up on journal writing. I looked back at my older entries and saw what a mess my life had been compared to how much more at peace I am now, alhumdulillah. I revisited emotions of Annam-Past, the dua’s I made, and all my mistakes. I realized that getting all my thoughts and feelings out was an absolutely necessary process for me to move on, refine myself, and be where I am today. And you know how people hit a plateau when dieting? I think people can hit a plateau with personal growth, too. Dumping your thoughts and reflecting back is an excellent way to break through that so you can continue to grow.

Now, some of you may be averse to keeping diaries or journals for many reasons. The most common complaint: “I don’t have time.” There’s a neat, private online journal called Oh Life that solves this problem for you. All you do is hit reply on an email and you make an entry on the website. But nothing beats a good, old-fashioned #2 pencil with a black & white notebook!

Allah mentions in the Quran things we take for granted in our everyday lives: how the earth provides vegetation and animals for food, that people wake up after sleeping, that we are given mates, etc. The verses that mention these things are then followed by,

“verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.”

Allah wants us to reflect, even on the mundane. So let us be among those who reflect regularly inshAllah.

This is a reminder to myself first.
May Allah swt help us to be better Muslims. Ameen.

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14 Responses to Dear Diary: Reflection and Growth

  1. samantha July 6, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    assalam alaikum No way you go to nyu’s ramadan prep class! I started going but i stopped due to taking a class at the masjid to learn arabic and tajweed from the basics through so that when ramadan comes i’ll be able to read Qur’an in arabic inshallah =] I really liked this post, i have a book where i write all my notes from lectures and i write down my flaws, why i am like this can how i can fix it. Its really different when your thoughts r written out on paper than just in your head!

    • Annam July 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Wa ‘alikum assalaam Samantha,
      Yeah the ICNYU classes were pretty beneficial, but its great that you were able to go take classes for arabic and tajweed. May Allah swt make it easy for you to learn. Where were was the masjid that you took classes at, if I may ask?

      I’m glad you liked the post! If there was any benefit in it, it was all from Allah swt. And you’re totally right, it is very different when you actually write down your thoughts. Its kind of relieving in way!


  2. faizal July 14, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    “I looked back at my older entries and saw what a mess my life had been compared to how much more at peace I am now, alhumdulillah”–well said

  3. Mrs. Mariam Mababaya July 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    ~*~ I used to keep more than ten journals/diaries back in my teens. Reading through many of the entries I realized that what people do unto others will someday come back to them for sure. If a person does something bad, that bad thing he did will sometime find its way back to that evildoer. Same thing when a person does a good deed, gooddoers will eventually be rewarded with much good by Allah insha-Allah if not in this world then insha-Allah on Judgment Day. Allah knows best.

    I wouldn’t advise on writing on diaries since there are already two angels who keep recording every single thing we do and say every night and day, which will ultimately be shown to us on Judgment Day.

    I wouldn’t also advise Muslims to write on diaries IF, especially if, there are nosy unwanted people prying on their affairs as their bad habit. What bothers them ‘spies’ is when they can’t really tell how the Muslim they want to know more about really feels or thinks about some situation or certain people.

    Allah knows best.


  4. Mrs. Mariam Mababaya July 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    ~*~ So Alhamdulillah that I threw all those silly journals away, since I wouldn’t want to be held responsible for many of the nasty things written there. Also note that no matter how hard you try to hide your journals from certain people, your diaries/journals will eventually be read by some nosy peekingtom reader, and if you happen to be in a fight with that nosy reader they could even write some comments/notes on the sidelines of your journal entries. Keeping a journal is immature. No need to write on journals when you know that your deeds are being written down for sure -by the recording angels of Allah, Who loves only what is pure :o)

    • Annam July 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Salaam Mariam,

      Yes, the angels on our shoulder do record everything, even the things we might not even notice.

      In a hadith Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas:
      The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah ordered (the appointed angels over you) that the good and the bad deeds be written..”

      But the post was just a reminder to reflect on our deeds, words, and actions so that we can improve ourselves instead of becoming complacent because there is always room for improvement. 🙂


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    Jazakallah Khair brother Saad.

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