Discussions, islamic fiction

The Truth About Today’s So-Called “Islamic-Fiction”

Hey everyone! Today’s post is extremely long-awaited (for me, anyways). I’ve always talked about Islamic-fiction on my blog and how much it means to me, but I have also talked about how much the so-called “Islamic-fiction” books these days have left me so disappointed. So in this post, I’m going to be going into detail as to why that is so.

I also mentioned this in my post “The Truth about ‘Love, Hate and Other Filters’ by Samira Ahmed” – a book that was about a Muslim girl that lived a very unislamic life, such as having a boyfriend and not wearing the headscarf or jilbab that millions of Muslim girls (myself included) don whenever they go out the house and in front of males that have hit puberty and aren’t their fathers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, husbands, sons, etc (not cousins).

The thing is, a huge majority of books called Islamic-fiction are about non-practicing Muslims who live a lifestyle that completely contradicts that of Islam. I find this very sad, because despite how big society is about things that we don’t do in Islam, such as sex outside of marriage, there are still millions of faithful, practicing Muslims out there, so it’s hardly unrealistic to portray these instead of others.

I find it very misleading for these books to be classed as Islamic-fiction. It portrays a very false image as to what practicing Muslims are actually like, and about the religion we follow. Practicing Muslims don’t have boyfriends or wear short clothes, for example. We believe and love what we do and practice, like how so many other people around the world make their own choices about their lifestyles. Also, just a note, even if you live a different lifestyle to mine, and have different opinions to me, I still respect that! We’re all entitled to our own ways of living 🙂

Inaccurate representation can be a very hurtful thing, and something that I have felt keenly these past few years where I have been on a continuous hunt for accurate Islamic-fiction books. Growing up, I’d never really had those books to show me that there can also be an adventure world filled with Muslim children like me. It really makes a difference!

So now you know why I don’t really review a lot of the new “Islamic-fiction” books out there 🙂 There are four or five Islamic-fiction books that I do know that do have accurate representation AND are amazing reads! Here are a few of them, but I’ll be making a whole post soon talking about everything in more detail…

  • If I Should Speak by Umm Zakiyyah – 13+ (CW: mention of a boyfriend but there is no inappropriate detail)
  • Musa and the Blade by Q. Abdullah Muhammad – 12+ (CW: the main theme is about being born outside of marriage)
  • When Wings Expand by Maryam Sinclair – 10+
  • Burning Boats by Zaynab Dawood – 8+ (CW: a girl does die and there is some detail but I read it at 8 and I was fine)
  • Seven is Special by Shagufta Malik – 7+

What are your thoughts on this?

14 thoughts on “The Truth About Today’s So-Called “Islamic-Fiction””

  1. What a wonderful post 👏 👏 👏
    I’m so happy, this post is finally here

    Lol I wish I could put my thoughts together as coherently as you but I just end up a babbling mess 😂😂😂

    I love what you said about us believing and loving the way we practice Islam. These types of books make it seem like a burden to be a practicing and religious Muslim 😒

    I remember reading Ink and Bone and my shock at the Muslim character being an actual practicing Muslim. It was done so well without being a hindrance to the plot or a burden on the characters or anything of that sort. I really want to see more of that in fiction.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you 😊 I know that’s sooo true its really sad. SAME I WAS SO SHOCKED! But she was still friends with a guy. Me too 🙂

    Like

  3. Salamu Aleikum Ruqs.

    So good to hear from you sister, I’ve missed reading your posts. I, of course, completely agree with what you’ve said in your post. Too often we tend to think that because an author is Muslim, the characters will reflect a Muslim identity grounded in a Muslim lifestyle; which of course is a mistake. I think what we really need is to redefine the concept of “Islamic fiction”, which in itself is misleading.

    Islam is a religion (Deen) that encompasses clear edicts found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. I’m not even comfortable putting Islam near the word fiction to be honest. While we can reflect our realities and identity in fictional stories, we should really make an effort to not lump Islam with everything. What exactly does Islamic mean? We don’t seem to differentiate Islamic from Muslim. You can have a Muslim country (inhabited by Muslim people), but in order for it to have an Islamic government, it has to be legislated according to Islamic jurisprudence and law. So we can’t just use Islamic and Muslim as synonyms.

    Fiction written by Muslim authors remains just fiction and should be referred to as such (YA, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy, etc….). Now, if these stories are centred around the realities experienced by Muslims characters whose identity is part and parcel of the story, and their Muslim identity shapes their lives, societies, actions, etc…then one could label such books as “Muslim fiction”….meaning stories reflecting clearly realities and lifestyles that are deeply rooted in Muslim traditions, lifestyles, and perspectives. That label should only be reserved for these types of stories in order to avoid the current confusion, where we expect every book written by a Muslim author to reflect a Muslim lifestyle rooted in Islam.

    I hope all is well on your end in these challenging times my dear sister. May Allah ‘aza wajal continue to bless you and keep you and your family safe, Inshallah.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Walaikumasalam, alhamdullilah so lovely to hear from you too ❤ Subhanallah honestly can't help agreeing with everything you say… ameen I hope the same for you and your family inshallah and may Allah give us all patience and strength, ameen

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I never considered this when reading diverse fiction featuring Muslim protagonists. I never considered that they were largely acting outside of the religion they were meant to be representing. I’ll have to look into some of your recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You really captured the essence of my thoughts. This is why I prefer the term Muslim fiction to the frankly misleading Islamic fiction, especially as a lot of them are full of acts contrary to the tenets of Islam.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Salaam,
    You said this much more beautifully than I could ever hope to, but this has been my experience with books labelled as such. In fact when I decided to start my blog, I wanted to see what was out there… and was disappointed. That’s why I’m following your blog, even before launching mine.
    Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Walaikumasalam,
    Jazakallakhair 💓 Alhamdullilah, I’m glad I was able to do some justice to the topic, it is so incredibly important. Alhamdullilah I’m glad this blog has been of some help! It’s been very silent for a while but I really want to focus on producing more Islamic-related posts inshallah. Thank you for the comment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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