Noor In My Heart is a much-loved poet who shares her work on social media. She has created a community of people inspired by her words that have a deep emotional connection to spirituality. We talk to Noor about her approach to writing poetry, how her faith is integral to her creativity and her aspirations for the future.
When did you first discover your interest in poetry and how long have you been writing?
I started my Instagram account in 2017. Around that time, I also published my own self written poetry, but my interest in it started way earlier. When I was between 13 and 14, I spent a lot of time on different platforms where people shared their poetry. I just loved it, when I was sad, I couldn’t stop scrolling through all those quotes and I’ve always found a way to relate to most of them. That’s something I just love about poetry, it almost fits every situation, because of its variety. There are so many ways to interpret one single line. It might for example to remind a happy person to be grateful and a sad person to have hope, all in once.
Does your cultural heritage influence your artistry?
My cultural heritage: not at all. It is rather or mostly my religious background that has a high impact on most of the things that I write.
Can poetry be the very expression of spirituality?
In general - I don’t think so. It is definitely one of many, but spirituality is so complex, that I wouldn’t bring it down to one art category.
For me personally though, it clearly is my very own way of expressing my spirituality. I haven’t found any other art form, that could express my relationship with Allah better than my writings. Everything I feel and experience I pour into my quotes, which I personally couldn’t do any other way.
Has writing helped your spirituality or vice versa?
Both. On one hand spirituality, my connection to Allah, has let me to write poetry to begin with. I realized Islamic quotes had quite an impact on me and so I also wanted to publish my thoughts and, in the best case, bring people closer to Allah.
On the other hand, my writing has made me stay close to Allah in tough times. You know those moments, where your iman is just quite low, but writing Islamic poetry forces you to reconnect with your religion in order to write something truly touching. And because I know that out there are quite some people who wait for me to publish something new, I needed to work on my iman to be able to write again. So, my writing is also a way to keep myself in line, because being connected to Allah is essential for my work.
Do you think about your audience much when you’re writing?
Sometimes. When I get feedback about my writings, people often tell me what they’re going through and which of my quotes helped them. So yes, I find myself thinking from time to time, what type of a poem or quote would help my audience at the very moment. But mostly my writings are influenced by spontaneous thoughts or conversations I have with Allah. That is way easier for me, because it is what I feel at that very moment. Otherwise it can be a bit forced, which I don’t want.
Through your poetry, what do you try to convey to your readers?
Primarily I want to spread the message of Islam. I hope that readers of mine feel connected to Allah through my words and/or reconnect with Him. I am a huge fan of soft and motivational words that make you feel heard and leave you trying to become a better version of yourself. I really want people to feel seen and understood and less lonely plus I want to help them to see their hardships in life in another light, because sometimes we aren’t aware of the blessings that are hidden blessings in our tests.
I also like to speak about mental health, and convey, that it is just as important as your physical health and that struggling with it is nothing to be ashamed of.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I get a lot of amazing feedback, but the most shocking ones which really gave me chills were messages where people told me my writings helped them with their suicidal ideation. That is probably the most extreme response I ever got. Other than that, to me every response is memorable. Poetry is something most people consume in private; often no one knows how deeply it touched their soul. And if someone is sharing the impact my words had on them, it is always a special moment.
Can you tell us some of your favourite poets or artists who have inspired your work?
Some of my pieces are inspired by sayings of our beloved Prophet saw or his companions. Other than that, I really love to read the poetry of others, but wouldn’t say my writings are influenced by them in any way. For the first years of writing my own stuff, I didn’t know any of the artists I am following today.
But I’d really love to name three people who always touch my heart with their words: One would be Morgan Harper Nichols. She has an extraordinary talent, I’ve loved everything I’ve read. The other ones are mindof.serenity (Instagram) and aeshapoetry_ (Instagram). Two amazing women who have been gifted by Allah with an amazing talent.
If you had to choose a poem you are most proud of writing, what would that be?
It would be one that is about Allah swt., one that opens the hearts for His love, one that reminds people of Him. If someone was reading a quote of mine and finding their way back to their Lord or feeling encouraged to step up their game, feeling inspired to become a better Muslim, there could be nothing I would be more grateful for.
Has the pandemic impacted your work?
Not really. Writing is something that you can do anywhere at any time, so technically the restrictions had no influence on the process itself. If we are talking about the creative process, I’d say that it developed an impact after being at least one year into the pandemic. For me it is very important to be able to experience new things for my mental well-being and my creative work. I’ve noted that living the same routine over and over again, does have an impact on my creative ability to write.
Do you think that poetry has the strength to change the world?
100%. Poetry, if it is done right, can reach the deepest parts of the soul of a human being. And that exact human being is able to have a huge impact on the world.
As well as poetry, do you practice any other artforms?
I really enjoy painting and photography in every form. Photography is a way of capturing a moment and being able to relive that moment over and over again as well as preserving memories. Good and bad ones. I know this sounds weird to a lot of people but I even photograph myself crying, because I want to capture not only the good, but also the times where I am not so well. Also, as a reminder that those times exist, but that better times are coming again. Try it. Capture your highs and lows and if you’re in a bad mood, look through your camera roll and you’ll realize that after each tear, a smile followed.
What are your ambitions and aspirations as an artist?
To reach people. To let them know, that there is always hope and that they are not the only ones going through what they’re going through. Being on this earth can make you feel very lonely, although you are surrounded by other people. We all have thoughts and feelings that we think no one else has. Or we are going through situations thinking there is no one who could ever relate, resulting in the thought “why me?”. With my poetry I try to comfort people by showing them that they are not alone and that every thought, every feeling was already felt by someone else. I want people to look at my quotes and feel warm and welcomed, as if I was giving them a hug. I want them to feel motivated to continue, to never give up their dreams and to never forget about their Lord and His mercifulness.
For more information check out @noorinmyheart
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