Lit’EDTech Fiesta | 04| On Spirituality and Self-Discovery with Dr. Faran

For episode 4 of Lit’EDTech Fiesta, we at Daastan invited Dr. Faran Ahmed to talk about his book “Theif of Heart”.

Dr. Faran Ahmed’s “Thief of Heart”: The Poetry of Spirituality

In the act of writing lies a conflict. The written word holds in itself a consequential part of the author. All the while, also adding on to the journey, the author and the reader embark on. Dr. Ahmed’s collection of poetry, Thief of Heart does just that in how it reflects the spirituality that guides the poet. Similarly, how it further adds to our understanding of a world beyond the one we inhabit. 

Theif of Heart

Significance of the title

On being asked the significance of title, Dr. Faran opened up the vast world of the divine, by creating links between spirituality and human existence. In the phrase “Thief of Heart” he tries to contain the complexities of a spiritual existence within a materialistic world. The “heart” becomes a metaphor for where the “divine light shines”. In addition, the man becomes a thief of his own heart when he becomes prey to the worldly corruption of it. 

According to Dr. Ahmed, it is the materialistic approach that primarily corrupts the heart. Alongside it is the ever present companion; Satan, the rejection of whose whispering becomes important in retaining the purity of our hearts. He places humans on a spectrum, lying somewhere between the angels and the devil. Hence, making the purpose of their existence not to never be corrupt, but to achieve control over the part of them that leads them astray. Quoting Imam Ghazali he warns against excess of any kind,

“Excess of four things will corrupt your heart: excess of sleeping, eating, anger and sex”.

For avoiding this, he points to the divine guidance afforded by God through the religious tools made available for the common man. All such ideas of existence and spirituality are reflected within the title of the collection.

The Poetic form of “Thief of Heart”

As a writer who prefers prose, his chosen medium of expression remains poetry. It is mostly due to the natural leanings within. He finds it easier to present his thoughts in lyrics and verses. His innate ability to form stanzas and ideas are accumulated into his poetry collection. 

However, he does mention the role the online poetry community played in motivating him to adopt the poetic form. According to him, the support and encouragement gained from such forums allowed him to perceive himself as a poet. 

Dr. Faran on Self-discovery and the Gaps we Bridge

In this candid conversation, Dr. Faran focuses on the idea of self-discovery. He urges people to discover oneself as a writer, a poet, a person with something to offer to this world. Quoting the likes of Socrates and Nietzche, he highlights the very basic idea of self discovery as a constant journey that keeps evolving at every stage of one’s life. In order to discover one’s talent, they need to first bridge the gap between how they perceive themselves and how the world views them. Once the differing identities have been reconciled, all that remains is to be true to oneself.

 “Being true to yourself is the key to tranquilitY and peace in this world”.

Here, Dr. Faran brings in the role of the spirituality in truly being who we are in the purest sense. A relationship with God is essential in discovering one’s identity and purpose. In this discussion he also bridges the gap between the spiritual experiences of Islam and the wider world. Furthermore, he acknowledges the spiritual experiences of fellow writers of various religions, granting them the same legitimacy as those experienced by him. Through this constant learning and re-learning, he uses as an example to highlight the process of self-discovery never truly ends.

“There is no exact age at which you discover yourself. Instead, you keep discovering yourself as you keep living.”

Fallacy of perfection: Advise to young writers

While addressing the younger writers in the audience, he focuses on a couple of things. The primary one being that there is no short way to achieve success.

“Writers need to read good books, watch good movies – surround themselves with inspiration at all times.”

On the other hand, the obsession with perfection also needs to be stopped, as there is no point in waiting for perfection. While room for improvement in any given thing exists perpetually, waiting for true perfection can only be a hindrance in creating whatever it is that one wishes to create. Further, he also highlights the importance of time management in order to tackle issues of inconsistency and impatience. For self-discipline becomes of utmost importance, while producing anything. 

You can stream episode 4 here. For more literary goodness, stay tuned!


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