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Nine Methods of Writing (or Why are Muslims Backward?)

Writing is the highest intellectual activity and the best mental exercise. Writing is the first pillar of Islam because Testimony (Shahada) is impossible without thinking, and thinking is impossible without writing (96:4).[i] Writing is the way and method of reading the Quran, which is expressed in verse 73:4.[ii]

Writing is superior to reading because writing contains reading. A person can learn to read without learning to write, but a person cannot learn writing without learning to read.

Writing is the seed and process of civilization and culture. Without writing, there are no civilization and culture. Without writing, there are no trade, commerce, jurisprudence, laws, science, art, religion, medicine, military, economy, tax systems, states, governments, international relations, etc. Writing is the prerequisite of personal and public development.

Muslims are backward because they stopped and dropped writing. At some point in their history, Muslims were excelling at writing, i.e., producing and synthesizing new ideas. However, for the last five centuries, Muslims were not writing, and this is the reason and cause of their downfall, degradation, and degeneration.

Writing must be a daily habit. Writing must be a daily habit like washing your face, eating a meal, talking to family and friends, etc. Writing must be a daily habit because writing is talking with and listening to oneself, and writing is self-dialogue. Writing must be a daily habit because writing is the dialogue of a person with God (96:4). Writing is like looking in the mirror or doing an X-ray scan of the soul, and writing provides information about the feelings and thoughts of a person.

Muslims stopped talking with and listening to God when they dropped writing. Muslims stopped doing MRI scan of their thoughts and feelings when they dropped writing. As a result, Muslims became blind, deaf, and dumb to God and themselves (2:7, 2:18, 2:171, 5:71, 6:39, 6:50, 6:104, 7:64, 8:22, 10:42, 10:43, 11:24, 11:28, 13:16, 13:19, 16:76, 17:72, 17:97, 20:124, 20:125, 20:126, 21:45, 22:46, 25:73, 27:66, 27:80, 27:81, 30:52, 30:53, 35:19, 35:22, 36:9, 36:10, 40:58, 41:4, 41:17, 43:40, 47:23). That is why Muslims are backwards, degraded, degenerated, and downfallen.

The cure and care of this disease is a daily habit of writing (96:4). Each person, young or old, male or female, rich or poor, must write daily. A daily habit of writing is the First Pillar of Islam, and it is called Testimony (Shahada). Small children must start writing as soon as they are able to hold the pen. Old people must write their memories and experiences. Busy people must write daily, even if it is just a few sentences.

Writing is not publishing. Writing is intimate, individual, private, and personal. Writing is for oneself. Publishing is for others.

There are nine types of writing, ranging from simple and easy to complex and hard: (1) underlining, (2) the best phrase, (3) copywork, (4) marginalia, (5) paraphrasing one page, (6) paraphrasing ten pages, (7) mindmapping (drawing), (8) answering the question, (9) asking the question. Most Muslims are doing none of these.

Underlining (or highlighting) is the easiest and simplest method of writing. When reading a book, person, phenomenon, process, or situation, just underline important and interesting parts. Then, during the process of re-reading and revision, these underlined parts are going to serve as anchors, connections, and threads that connect you to the world.

The second method is choosing and copying the best phrase. For example, you read one page, or listen to a person, podcast, audiobook, video, or movie for five minutes, then stop and write down the best phrase or sentence.

The third method is copywork. For example, you choose the most important book for yourself. Next, you copy it by hand. You copy every page, every sentence, every word, every hyphen, every comma, every dot.

In my experience, copywork allows the most complete and deep immersion in the text, and it is as if I become the author of the book or scribe who writes down the book at the moment of its revelation. Copywork is like dialogue with the author, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, word-for- word. Copywork is very slow when compared to reading or speed reading, but slowness is an advantage because slowness opens doors to concentration, reflection, and immersion. Copywork is like meditation and medication, and it helps to relax and helps to heal. The Brett & Kate McKay from The Art of Manliness lists the benefits of copywork, so refer there.[iii]

The fourth method of writing is marginalia.[iv] Marginalia are the notes that we write on the margins of the pages of books. Personally, I rarely wrote marginalia because books I read were from public libraries, and my parents did not allow me to scribble on books from the family library. So, instead of writing on the books, now I carry a small piece of folded paper where I write my marginalia.

The fifth method of writing is paraphrasing one page. For example, you read one page, close the book, and write the things you understand in your own words. Then repeat it: read, close, write.

The sixth method of writing is paraphrasing ten pages. Actually, it can be five pages, twenty pages, or any other number of pages, but ten pages seem to work the best. It is the same as the fifth method: read ten pages, close the book, and write one page. Then repeat: read ten, close, write one.

The seventh method is mindmapping (drawing). Mindmapping is about drawing connections between ideas and concepts. For example, the first five verses of the ninety-sixth chapter of the Quran can be analyzed by property of belonging either to God or to humans.

The first step is to circle or underline the words by using different colors.

The second step is to draw lines or arrows between the words.

The third step is to add explanations, meanings, interpretations.

The eighth method of writing is answering the question. Choose one question out of many that books, people, or situations ask from you and write the answer. This method is more difficult than the previous seven methods because there are many answers, and you have to evaluate each of them and choose the group of best answers.

The ninth and final method of writing is asking questions. This method is the highest, most difficult, and most rewarding. Asking the questions is the highest art. Scientists, thinkers, and writers spend decades of their lives learning to ask the right questions because everything starts with a question. If the question is incorrect, then answers cannot be correct.

For example, the question “Is beard and veil (hijab) important for current Muslims?” is an incorrect and wrong question because it frames Islam as a matter of facial hair and bodily clothing.[v]

For example, the question “Should the constitution and laws of a country contain the elements of Muslim jurisprudence (fiqh)?” is an incorrect and wrong question because it frames Islam as a compendium of political, economic, criminal, etc. laws.[vi]

For example, the question “Do Muslims have to kill non-Muslims and invade their land?” is an incorrect and wrong question because it frames Islam as a military doctrine and invasive policy.

Then, what is the correct and right question? The correct and right question is “What is Islam?” And the correct and right answer is “Islam is the application of principles of Justice, Freedom, Compassion, and Knowledge first to individual life, and then to the life of society.”[vii] Next, question: “Who are Muslims?” Answer: “Muslims are people who try to apply the principles of Justice, Freedom, Compassion, and Knowledge, first to their individual lives and then to the life of their society.” Alas, according to this definition, most people living in “Muslim countries” are non-Muslims.

Bloom’s taxonomy has six levels: (1) remembering, (2) understanding, (3) applying, (4) analyzing, (5) evaluating, and (6) creating.[viii] Nine methods of writing can be categorized according to Bloom’s taxonomy.

Underlining is about remembering. The best phrase and copywork are about understanding. Marginalia, paraphrasing one page and paraphrasing ten pages are about applying. Mindmapping is about analyzing. Answering the question is about evaluating. Asking the question is about creating.

Current Muslims do not reach even the first level of Bloom’s taxonomy. However, early Muslims were on the sixth level of Bloom’s taxonomy because they were creating new fields of science, and they were doing ijtihad.[ix]

Parents must learn themselves, and parents must teach their children nine methods of writing as a daily habit. Otherwise, they are going to remain on the zeroth level of Bloom’s taxonomy, and they are going to remain the laughingstock of the civilized world.

I chose, and I am choosing writing habit, not a non-writing habit.

2:111 … Say: “Produce your proof if you are truthful!” [x]

25:30. And the Messenger says: “My Lord! Surely my people have made this Qur’an something worthy of no attention.” [xi] [xii]

-İman isteyen münafık


[i] Ali Ünal, The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English, n.d.,

www.mquran.org www.theholybook.org.

[ii] Wikipedia, “Tarteel,” in Wikipedia, April 4, 2021,


[iii] Brett McKay and Kate McKay, “Want to Become a Better Writer? Copy the Work of Others!,” The Art of Manliness (blog), March 27, 2014, https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/want-to-become-a-better-writer-copy-the-work-of- others/.

[iv] Wikipedia, “Marginalia,” in Wikipedia, May 26, 2021,


[v] Wikipedia, “Hijab,” in Wikipedia, June 4, 2021,


[vi] Wikipedia, “Fiqh,” in Wikipedia, June 7, 2021,


 [vii] İman isteyen münafık, “Justice, Freedom, Compassion, Knowledge,” January 29, 2021,


[viii] G. Kasilingam, M. Ramalingam, and E. Chinnavan, “Assessment of Learning Domains to Improve Student’s Learning in Higher Education.,” Journal of Young Pharmacists 6, no. 4 (March 2014): 27–33.

[ix] Wikipedia, “Ijtihad,” in Wikipedia, May 3, 2021,


[x] Ünal, The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English.

[xi] Ünal.

[xii] hypocritewhowa1 hypocritewhowa1, Newspaper or Quran? (Turkish Language), 2021,



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