Deep TafsirsPoetic Prose

Sacred Trade of Writing

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The mystery lies in the use of language to express human life. -—Eudora Welty

A homage to the wordsmith, and his sidekick pen. Yes, the wordsmith. The underpaid journalist ferreting out facts; the sentence collector; the struggling amateur spinning his latest story; the passionate blogger; the note taker hunched over a keyboard, transcribing ḥalaqāt ʿilm. Yes, you. You are a practitioner of a sacred trade of penning and preserving-—a trade whose teacher is the Rabb of all things ﷻ. By the pen, He swore: ن • والقلم وما يسطرون By the pen, He taught: علم الإنسان ما لم يعلم الذي علم بالقلم By the pen, His angels record our deeds.

But the story of the pen began long before our existence. Allāh created the pen, then commanded it, `uktub, write. “Write the details and the decree of everything that will happen, fifty thousand years from now until the hour is established.” So this pen unleashed its ink upon the protected tablets. In words, it captured the knowledge of Allāh. And yet, were the oceans turned to ink for Allāh’s ﷻ pen, the oceans would be exhausted before the words of Allāh ﷻ are exhausted-—even if we were to bring another ocean as aid.

Scholars of old extracted an `ishārah (sign) from that Qur`ānic verse. Words cannot encapsulate Allāh, they said. Nothing can. Though perfect in memory, unswerving in recollection, He ﷻ employs the pen in sacred services to teach us: W R I T E

Write what you know and write what you learn.
Just write.

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