Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Is it permissible to write about other people in one’s private journal as a means of therapy?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Yes, it is permissible for you to write freely in your journal, especially if doing so is therapeutic for you.
The Legal Reasoning and Wisdom
The legal reason for the prohibition of backbiting and mentioning the flaws and faults of other Muslims is that doing so is a direct violation of their honor, which the Sacred Law seeks to protect.
If your journal is kept private such that you will not show it to anyone and you are reasonably sure that you can keep it out of the hands of anyone who may try to look at it (if applicable) there is no fear of anyone’s honor being violated.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It is sufficient as evil for a person to belittle his fellow Muslim. The Muslim is sacred to the other Muslim, in regards to his life, his wealth, and his honor.” [Muslim]
Despite the fact that expressing yourself freely is therapeutic, it is important not to allow this therapy to take you to extremes or to take you away from the higher spiritual standards that Allah Most High and His Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace) call us to, such as the following:
- Belittling a fellow Muslim;
- Holding ill assumptions of them;
- Having hatred or rancor towards;
- Becoming deficient in one’s sincere desire for their wellbeing (nasiha), etc.
What may assist you in this is to make a sincere supplication for each person you write about negatively in your journal.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.