Muslim Fiction

I know I already said it in my last post but I really want to have a discussion on Muslim Fiction. There’s a major shortage of Islamic Fiction, so idt that’s doable right now, I mean even Muslim Fiction is barely being established. A part of my mission with this blog is to sort of raise awareness and bring attention to some Muslim Fiction and build the readership to get book lovers and even casual readers or non-readers engaged with Muslim Fiction and Islamic Fiction.

A few days ago, I reviewed a book called Ayesha At Last, written by Uzma Jalaluddin. I’m still waiting for more interactions there and for people to pick up the book and discuss it. For now though, I want to talk about Muslim Fiction in general.

This isn’t one of my typical discussions though. I’m not going to say a lot or make a video for idk how many people to listen but not respond. This time, I want to hear from my audience. How ever many people see this post. I really value everyone’s input. So please contribute to this and let’s have a conversation.

 

1) Are you a reader/writer of Muslim fiction?

2) What are some Muslim fiction books you’ve read or heard about and want to read?

3) If you’re a writer/author of Muslim Fiction, what’s something you’d like to share about your works? (Published or currently in progress, doesn’t matter)

4) Who is your favorite Muslim fiction author? (Please keep it to Muslim fiction or Islamic fiction, not just a Muslim authored book)?

5) What’s something you’d like to see explored in Muslim fiction?

6) Why does Muslim Fiction matter to you, and if it doesn’t WHY NOT?

7) What got you into reading, and when did you discover Muslim Fiction?

8) What are your favorite genres when it comes to reading, and how do you think the Muslim writing community can work them into Muslim Fiction?

9) What are some ways you think readers can help Muslim authors to grow and expand the categories of Muslim and Islamic fiction?

10) Lastly, what are some Muslim fiction books you would recommend to me or anyone else?

 

Please tag any fellow readers/authors/bloggers/bookies out there and let’s have a discussion about this. Thank you in advance, everyone, and as always, Happy Reading!

 

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

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43 thoughts on “Muslim Fiction

  1. 1. I’m both a reader and (private) writer of muslim fiction.

    2. Because my blog is focused on muslim centered books whether by character or author, I honestly want to get my hands on everything. Right now, I’m looking forward to checking out The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf.

    3. I have a lot of unfinished things written but one thing that I’m writing about a muslim werewolf. I’m going to be too excited when I finally get somewhere with it. I’m big on different fantasy story ideas but with muslims as the main character.

    4. Right now one of my favorite muslim fiction authors would have to be S.K. Ali. She struck me with her book Saints and Misfits.

    5. I want more diversity in muslim fiction. I’m honestly tired of running across arab and desi characters dealing with the same “coming of age” problems. I want diversity of age and diversity of race. There’s a whole world of different muslims so some different perspectives should be added. I’d also love to see more fantasy written that doesn’t include jinns. There’s a whole world of fantasy and imagination. Jinns don’t have to be the only thing you can write for fantasy stories.

    6. Muslim fiction is beyondddd important. As a kid, all I remember is feeling left out of the conversation when talking about book characters that I could relate to. It’s important for reasons of representation, conversation, and simply as ways for pure entertainment. All too often muslims are looked at as either people who are 100% pure or people who should be alienated. We are normal people trying our best to be good and muslim fiction can also portray that.

    7. I don’t know what got me into reading because I don’t remember a time I ever wasn’t reading. Honestly, the website wattpad got me into muslim fiction. There used to be so many muslim writers up there who wanted stories about people like us. I used to rant and rave that we needed more fiction with muslim characters not knowing all the while that it was a blossoming thing in other parts of the internet already. I just couldn’t understand why it wasn’t mainstream. 2017-2018 is when I really started making myself hunt stories and authors down.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. 3. Muslim werewolf story, hm? Not my thing but I know someone who would pretty much die for something like that lol. I’ll be sure to direct them your way when the book comes out, In Shaa Allah.

      4. I’ve seen that book around. Considered reading for a review, but I’m not sure it’s for me, so I don’t want to go in knowing I might not enjoy it and then have to give an unfair review based on that. I won’t write it off completely though, maybe in another time I’ll check it out since everyone else seems to think highly of it.

      5. THANK. YOU. My friend and I were actually discussing how waaaaaay too many of the books are about “teenage daughter of xyz immigrants is struggling with her identity as a Muslim of whatever background, versus being an American teenager. How ever will she deal?” Like, let’s get some fresh new ideas and new characters. New struggles, new adventures, new themes, new genres.

      DOUBLE YES on the fantasy thing. I honestly refuse to read any fiction with jinn characters (I now have 2 videos in which I discuss why the idea is such a bad one to write about). I’d like it if Muslim authors got more creative and imaginative with their fantasy and didn’t fall to the expected jinn trope just because they feel like it’s somehow “Islamic lore.” Like you all have said, let’s see a Muslim mc slay or befriend some dragons, let’s see unique settings and adventures without reliance on magic and jinns and stuff that’s borderline blasphemy. And when we tell those stories, let’s remember to keep things diverse by character.

      And for the record, when I mention diversity, I’m not just hoping for color swaps or for someone to name-drop different races and ethnicities. I’d hope for proper representation, with real effort put into exploring the different backgrounds, cultures, and livelihoods of it all. It’d be nice to feel like the author at least knows something about the real people who will connect with and see themselves in the characters.

      And if the story is in a fantasy world not based on our world at all, then I still say, what’s it hurt to have more inclusion for people from all over? That actually gives you more grounds for using your imagination and spinning a tale which perhaps challenges certain perceptions and gives new insights into our real world through a reflective lens that isn’t even immediately obvious.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 3. Lol inshaAllah, if I ever get anywhere with it 🤷🏾‍♀️

        4. Maybe read it for your own curiosity and then decide if you’ll review or not? It def may not be exactly what some people are looking for regarding muslim fiction, but I feel like it makes strides in important topics regarding things swept under the rug in the muslim communities. I personally have not seen any other muslim or islamic fiction address such topics so I think that’s where a lot of the hype comes from. Not that the hype is necessarily unwarranted in my personal opinion.

        5. Yesss the idea is beyond played out. One of the first muslim fiction books I read was in middle school and was called Does My Head Look Big In This? It was soo un-relatable to me that I didn’t think there was really any more options for muslim fiction out there. When I was drawn to Wattpad, seeing that there were so many other ideas pleased me but I would be upset that I couldn’t find any of those stories in the library for instance. It was like publishers only wanted to push the narrative of stories that belittled us or made us seem like “others”.

        BIG AGREE @proper representation and the use of “Islamic lore”.
        Exactly like like you said about inclusion for people from all over is the same way I feel about it.

        Not only that when things are set in a fantasy world you can literally make up ANYTHING, so I feel like it’s definitely the grayest of gray areas and a cop out to use magic and jinns as the basis of a muslim based fantasy.

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  2. Good thing you changed the font, lol.

    01.] Yup. Both reader and writer.

    02.] I’ve been wanting to read “A Golden Age” by Tahmima Anam, mostly because its sequel “The Good Muslim” sounds good! Then again, I have to research this one…

    03.] I’ve written a story on Wattpad (completed), and published two others (currently in progress — on Wattpad) and have half-started 18 other books in my drafts. I only write Muslim Fiction and Islamic Fiction as the main genre though. Main genre because I can’t write in a single genre, I often merge more than two (i.e., I write in Cross-Genre Genre like “Mystery/Thriller/Romance” and “Fantasy / Historical / Adventure” and “Sci-Fi / Romance”).

    04.] Lol, I haven’t read enough. I’m looking for them though.

    05.] I want to see more people writing Cross-Genre Muslim / Islamic Fiction. The possibilities are endless. Everyone is just writing romance, it’s not the only genre. But I know, I used to read ONLY romance before and it gets boring with the repeated plot-lines. Also, I like complex plots. I rarely find intriguing sub-plots in stories, so that would be a nice change.

    …does this have a word limit? Let’s see…

    06.] Wrong representation. Aside from the fact that nobody wrote the kinds of books I wanted to read, nowadays many people have distorted views of Muslims. There was no speciation lol, Muslims are normal human beings too. I’ve met a few sad souls who stereotype Muslim women as “oppressed” and Muslim men as “controlling”. This is one thing I want to change, in my own way of writing books about us who behave normally lol. And of course, as a means of da’wah. What other entertaining, creative and fruitful way is there to call people to Islam other than writing novels? 🙂

    07.] I don’t remember. My dad is a bookworm (he reads fiction and non-fiction books in three languages) and I was surrounded by books ever since I was really really young. So I guess that would be the “starting point”. And I found awesome Muslim Fiction stories first on Wattpad!

    08.] Favourite genres… Romance (still, without a doubt), but there is already lots of cheese on Wattpad. I guess Adventure, Mystery and Sci-Fi have more scope. WITHOUT including jinn and magic, if a writer can write in these genres, that would just be awesome! I’m working on my stories in these genres too, so I would really like to see others write them as well!

    09.] Host contests. Give everyone prompts to write, and reward the best. That’s one way to do it. Aaaaand… write one-shots. I mean, a person who is only a reader, and they have in interest in a specific genre… They can borrow characters (with permission) and write into the genre. Or even collaborate with different authors!

    10.] As I said, I’m still discovering these off Wattpad, I’m looking for these too.

    I guess there’s no word limit then, lol! This was fun! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 02.] Hm never heard of that. I think I heard about the first one but I’ve definitely never read either of them. What are they about?

      04.] Try to read more, lol.

      05.] Yeah absolutely. And even the stories that have romance don’t need to be strictly romance books. We have plenty of contemporary romances. How about Muslim fantasy, scifi, thriller, mystery books with romantic elements. Not cliche or boring repeated plots, diverse and unique storylines and characters that can be entertaining and feel like a beneficial or impactful read.

      06.] Agreed. We need to take it into our hands and show the world who we are. Speak our voices and tell our stories and due justice to Muslim representation and sharing the message of Islam properly. There are many avenues and story-telling is among the most excellent to reach a wide audience, In Shaa Allah. We just have to make sure we do things the right way. 

      08.] So is this in general or on the reading website? What about books you’d go to the library or bookstore for?

      09.] Hmmm… while online readership is also important, I’m mostly concerned about helping to expand the readership in the outside world. With publishing and physical books and such outside of whatever reading sites. Don’t get me wrong, those are nice too and can be a nice start for some authors to find a following, but we also need that to translate into something of more substance. I do like the contest ideas though.

      10.] Lol that’s why I was stressing the need to move away from there a little, because otherwise people will only know of that. There are a lot of people who don’t even know that Muslim/Islamic fiction are legitimate categories for books outside of online reading platforms, and some who don’t even know they exists there!

      We want to change that and make it so that there may come a time when a child visiting a bookstore or library can see themselves in various books and it won’t have to be a specialized search or impossible task or solely on an amateur writing site (that’s not a diss, plenty of GREAT and even professional authors also use them of course).

      We hope that one day kids in school have access to books featuring characters like themselves and feel like they are represented. To get that confidence boost and reassurance of who they are and not feel like outsiders. And for non-Muslim kids too, to see their classmates and learn a little something about them or understand and see them just as they see themselves.

      And it’s not just kids, there are also teens and adults who need to be able to pick up a book to escape into and read things they can relate to or learn from and admire. To feel their identities reflected and perhaps have an inside look at themselves through the characters. Not always on a deep philosophical level, sometimes just as that awesome bearded dragon slaying warrior, that brave and bold hijabi queen saving her kingdom, that brilliant scientist out to change the world, etc etc.

      But we need real books for that too. It can’t all come online only or else a lot of people will never be exposed to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 02.] “The Good Muslim” is a story of family / faith after a decade of a war (and it influences them) and how the two children in “A Golden Age” are now coping with the adult versions of themselves. It’s a little on the heavy side, so I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone. There are a lot of things I read about it that didn’t sit well with me, but I want to read it properly to find out what is really happening. No judging the book by the cover, right?

        05.] Exactly! Reading fantasy, sci-fi (that doesn’t clash with Islamic beliefs) would just be awesome! I mean, these genres aren’t even audience-selective. Everyone from all ages and nationalities read a good mystery. And it becomes especially good when the writer has a diverse set of characters so everyone can relate!

        06.] In Shaa Allah! It indeed is the best way to eradicate misunderstandings.

        08.] Generally, I love romance novels, lol. I look for these everywhere, online and in bookstores. But if I can find an adventure / action book (which doesn’t ONLY have gory, bloody, amputated limbs *cringe* and war and fights and disagreements) then I’d definitely buy it, especially if the author is a Muslim.

        09.] Lol blah, host contests in real life then… Or get everyone to cook maqluba looool xD #BookReference

        10.] True, even though online platforms have a major part to play in spreading awareness, we need something to materialise in real life too. Exactly, we need to step up and open a whole new world (ahem, Aladdin) of possibilities. Who knows, maybe in the future we can even have Literature students studying Islamic Fiction and writing a few books as part of their project which can further promote it!

        And we need more people engaging in books in general too. There are far too many people who hate reading…

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      2. I have a request if u don’t mind. I have the digital version of the good Muslim in my library for more than 6 months now… I have a golden age too

        But… I’m slightly skeptical to be honest… The past 3 Muslim fictions I’ve read, I didn’t enjoy… So now I’m waiting for feedback before I read any more.

        So once you’re done, if you cauld just tell me two things, I’d really appreciate it… How accurate is the Muslim representation and just how heavy is it?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And while we’re at it… And THERE’S ACTUALLY PEOPLE HERE FAMILIAR WITH MUSLIM FICTION, I’m going to throw out the other titles I have already in my library but Im waiting for feedback on. So if anyone has read them, I’d love to know how accurate is the Muslim representation in these books. I’m honestly tired of reading Muslim books with inaccurate information

        An ember in the ashes by sabaa Tahir
        The unquiet dead by Ausma Zehanet Khan. (the whole series infact)
        A map of home Randa Jarrar
        Bones of grace Tahmima Anam
        The sky at our feet Nadia Hashimi

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Salaam, I can tell you right now if you’re looking for Muslim representation in An Ember In The Ashes you won’t find any. I’m not here to bash the author, the book, or the quality of its contents, but as far as Islam goes in the book: nonexistent. Muslims? Nada.

        The other stories you mentioned, I haven’t seen or heard of so idk, but typically I check the reviews of certain books before affirming any interest as far as Muslim Fiction or Islamic Fiction. Sometimes in the community, people conflate the author’s identity as a Muslim with the story itself being Muslim or Islamic even when it has nothing to do with either. Unfortunately, I’ve found that many of the stories that are passed off as Muslim fiction will not have any Muslim representation at all but merely have characters inspired by certain nationalities and places with heavy Muslim populations in the real world, so they base the story off of those cultures and people assume it’s about Muslims. Again, I’m not attacking the authors or the stories and saying whether or not they’re inherently bad stories, but being written by a Muslim or taking inspiration from the culture of a Muslim-populated area doesn’t make a story Muslim fiction.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Your comment is actually discouraging me to read it, haha. But if I ever do, I’ll leave a review for you, In Shaa Allah! 🙂 Maybe you should check the reviews on Amazon, meanwhile? Or you can just give it a try.

        Truly said, I’ve been disappointed before too. It has almost zero representation. I’ve read a few books (which I’m not going to mention so that people can’t check them lol) and those made me question if we can ever find true Muslim Fiction, nevermind Islamic Fiction! -_-

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      6. Ahhh no, don’t say sorry! Let me rephrase that lol, I’m more curious about it now! 😛

        Also, are you on Wattpad? We have a few good Muslim / Islamic fiction there. I remember seeing your name somewhere, though I don’t know where… And yes, it’s said because people make wrong interpretations, these are especially dangerous.

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      7. Oh… That’s good

        Wattpad does have a few good ones, definitely!
        I am… But under another name… Haalah is an anonymous pen name

        Maybe u saw it on one of the blogs I have? Confessions of a rebel in niqaab (fiction blog, now taken down)
        Rambling of a raconteuese (short story blog)
        For the love of Muslim books (blog dedicated to reviewing Muslim Fiction)

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I don’t think so, lol. I probably just saw your name around here on this blog… But I’ll check those blogs you mentioned! 🙂 I’ve seen the last one, but not the other two (or one, as the other one is taken down)…

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      9. …Too late lol, I’ve checked them. Well, I just scrolled through lol, I was going to read soon but since you don’t want to… 😛

        But why though?

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      10. Lmho… I’m not stopping u from reading.. Just warning u that there’s nothing great there.

        I’m not even so sure myself, I think I’ve just passed that phase? Rn, I’m happy enough to just write in my writing app where no one besides me and my phone sees #shrug

        U know what’s weird? Why are we having a conversation in someone else’s comment section?!

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Lol enjoy writing with your phone then!

        Probably because idk your wattpad username lol, besides, this is a good discussion and needs more comments so people comment more! Anyways, nice talking to you, salaaam! 🙂

        Like

  3. ·Yes, I am a Muslim fiction writer
    ·Saints and Misfits, Love from A to Z, Muslim Girl, Love, Hate and other Filters etc.
    ·My works are the kind of stories I want to read. They have characters I can relate to and they do more than just serve an entertainment purpose, they teach values that will make the reader become a better human.
    ·Naima B. Robert, S.K Ali, Umm Juwayriyah, Umm Zakiyyah, Wael AbdelGawad, Papatia Feauxzar, Tohib Ajetumobi etc.
    ·More halal romance, unique protagonists (Muslim wizard, hijabi witch etc.)
    ·Muslim fiction matters to me because I’ve always wanted characters I can relate to.
    ·I’ve always wanted a Muslim fiction book, but what got me into writing muslim fiction was a blog post by Umm Juwayriyah on Why Muslim Fiction matters.
    ·Fantasy, science fiction, horror, thriller, mystery. As for working them into Muslim fiction, a Muslim character and/or a Islamic setting and/or Islamic plot/subplot
    ·Blogging about the books, writing reviews, recommendations, purchasing the books, connecting with authors, interviewing the m, nominating their books for competitions etc.
    Ducktrinors by Papatia Feauxzar, Throne of a crescent moon by Saladin Ahmed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 3- Great! We should have more relatable characters and lessons in our Muslim Fiction, and hopefully, still have them presented in an entertaining and enjoyable manner.

      4- I’ve bought a book from Naima B. Robert. Seen S.K Ali’s books. Same for Umm Zakiyyah and Umm Juwayriyah. I’ve seen Papatia Feauxzar around but I think the only one of hers that I know is Ducktrinors. And the other two authors, I’ve never heard of.

      5-Agree on the halal romance if done in new ways. Unique protagonists, absolutely. The examples you gave though… those are quite the contradictions, are they not? Magic is kufr and very strongly forbidden and opposed in Islam, so it’s kind of an oxymoron.

      Those aren’t the kind of characters we need showcased because they don’t represent Islam or the values and beliefs Muslims hold. We don’t have the concept of good magic vs bad magic, all magic is without any doubt evil and detested in Islam, so any magical characters should/would undoubtedly be evil. I wouldn’t recommend anyone write stories with magic at all because that would require trying to learn about what Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade us and warned us strictly against. Or the alternative is just writing what we don’t know and inventing from our own minds about matters of the unseen, which is also risky territory. I’ve explained a bit of that in my video “Let’s Discuss: Muslim Scifi.” Please do check it out.

      9- I agree. That’s part of why I started this blog. We need to get more people talking about these things and sharing them. Supporting the authors by buying their books and also reviewing and encouraging others to read and discuss them. More interviews and nominations for competitions will definitely help spread the word. And also with the contests, which @Jasmin above also mentioned, I think that might also incite more people to explore the concept of writing themselves and give us new authors with different ideas. New stories and new readers. Excellent.

      10- Ditto on the first one but I wouldn’t count TCM as Muslim fiction by any stretch. From what I can tell, Muslims don’t even exist in the story, and the religion presented is one of shirk and magic, not to mention certain blasphemous statements and exclamations made in that book.

      Just as well, in my first video here (Let’s Discuss: Islamic Fiction vs Muslim Fiction) I broke down some basic criteria for books to be classed as Muslim or Islamic fiction. It is my opinion, and others may disagree, but generally I think there’s some agreement that books should be written by AND feature Muslims to be considered Muslim fiction (or Islamic fiction). And even outside of my own standard, under the defined criteria for Islamic Fiction (which, in this example was including Muslim fiction) which you can find online it says:

      ***
      Islamic fiction cannot include harmful content: vulgar language, sexually explicit content, un-Islamic practices that are not identified as un-Islamic, or content that portrays Islam in a negative way.
      ***

      So how about a book that erases Islam from existence and substitutes it with a pseudo-religion whose prayers are but magic and sorcery? What of a book filled with the worst of vulgarities and offensive statements using the name of God?

      In that case, whether or not the author of TCM is Muslim doesn’t matter, the book just can’t be considered to be Muslim Fiction.

      Thank you for your other recommendation though and for commenting in general. I hope my response didn’t seem offensive or like an attack or lecture, I meant no harm by it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh no, it didn’t. I must have gotten way overboard with my examples, I was just so pissed off by the jinn thing in Muslim fantasy books. I mean, there are other things apart from jinns and other characters apart from ghul hunters. An hijabi warrior princess and a Muslim freedom fighter will do. Just something that has not been overdone and yes, that stays within the limits of Islam. Thank you for calling my attention to those examples.

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    2. About your 8th point, you mentioned horror…

      By that you don’t mean the jinn stuff, right? The kind of things that happen to be “paranormal Muslim stories” that are circulating now? Do you mean like… making up your own “scary” characters? Jump scares? You don’t mean souls stuck here for revenge like all other horror stories / movies, right?

      How would you write horror in an acceptable Muslim / Islamic Fiction?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There can be horror without stuck souls or whatever. I’m not really an horror fan but I’ve seen a Muslim fiction book about a character who gets disturbing dreams. I think if it’s done well, then there’s nothing wrong in writing it.

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  4. 1) Are you a reader/writer of Muslim fiction?
    2) What are some Muslim fiction books you’ve read or heard about and want to read?
    3) If you’re a writer/author of Muslim Fiction, what’s something you’d like to share about your works? (Published or currently in progress, doesn’t matter)
    4) Who is your favorite Muslim fiction author? (Please keep it to Muslim fiction or Islamic fiction, not just a Muslim authored book)?
    5) What’s something you’d like to see explored in Muslim fiction?
    6) Why does Muslim Fiction matter to you, and if it doesn’t WHY NOT?
    7) What got you into reading, and when did you discover Muslim Fiction?
    8) What are your favorite genres when it comes to reading, and how do you think the Muslim writing community can work them into Muslim Fiction?
    9) What are some ways you think readers can help Muslim authors to grow and expand the categories of Muslim and Islamic fiction?
    10) Lastly, what are some Muslim fiction books you would recommend to me or anyone else?
     

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    1. My previous reply posted before I could answer the questions. Here are my answers.

      1) Are you a reader/writer of Muslim fiction? I am a reader and writer of Muslim Fiction

      2) What are some Muslim fiction books you’ve read or heard about and want to read? I’ve read Areebah’s Dilemma: Love or Deen, The Shoulders On Which I Stand, Author Karimah G; Her Justice by Nasheed Jackson, American Boy and Muslimah Divas by Zara J; His Other Wife by Umm Zakkiyah; No God But God by Jihada; Muslim Girl by Umm Zakkiyah, there are many more. Join our Facebook Groups We Love Muslim Fiction Book Club and https://www.facebook.com/AmericanMuslimFictionWritersandReaders/

      3) If you’re a writer/author of Muslim Fiction, what’s something you’d like to share about your works? (Published or currently in progress, doesn’t matter) I have three published books, two are the same book with different titles and one is a monthly journal. They can be located on my website at https://sites.google.com/view/author-karimah-g/home

      4) Who is your favorite Muslim fiction author? (Please keep it to Muslim fiction or Islamic fiction, not just a Muslim authored book)? Nasheed Jackson, Hend Hengazi, Papatia Fauxzar, there are so many.

      5) What’s something you’d like to see explored in Muslim fiction? I would like to see the genre go in every way that other fiction is as well. I do not believe there should be any limit.

      6) Why does Muslim Fiction matter to you, and if it doesn’t WHY NOT? It matters to me because the first time I read Muslim fiction, it spoke to me. I am an avid reader and often I did not see myself in the books I read.

      7) What got you into reading, and when did you discover Muslim Fiction? I’ve read all of my life. I discovered Muslim fiction in 2013.

      8) What are your favorite genres when it comes to reading, and how do you think the Muslim writing community can work them into Muslim Fiction? I read a variety of genres. I like a lot of non-fiction. If something holds my interest, I can read it despite the main genre.

      9) What are some ways you think readers can help Muslim authors to grow and expand the categories of Muslim and Islamic fiction? The best ways readers can help Muslim authors to grow and expand the category is by supporting Muslim authors as well as writing reviews and sharing on various social media and telling others about the books.

      10) Lastly, what are some Muslim fiction books you would recommend to me or anyone else? I definitely recommend you read my books, The Shoulders On Which I Stand and Areebah’s Dilemma: Love or Deen. I also recommend you join our Facebook groups for so many more. There are way too many to list.

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      1. 2) My sister has read one of those; Dowry Divas. She liked it as well.

        3) Just out of curiosity, why the different titles for the same work? Was that a strategic marketing move or is one a later modified edition?

        4) And In Shaa Allah more to come!

        9) DEFINITELY AGREE. Reviews and sharing. We need a lot more of that, spread the word and the stories be heard.

        10) Alright, sounds like plenty to look at, thank you so much and I will have a look In Shaa Allah. Is the Facebook group an open group or only by invitation? Nvm I guess I’ll see when I get there, In Shaa Allah.

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  5. As salaamu alaikum. Same story, different cover because some people misinterpreted the first cover as if the book was going to be a sex-related book. I received questions about the man’s aurah showing (it wasn’t). So, I created another cover with the woman in niqab. I want my books to be read by both Muslims and non- Muslims and the man signified the strong shoulders the main character stood upon from her family and ancestors.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for starting this discussion. I’m both an avid reader and an amateur writer. I must say that for the most part Muslim fiction has left me unimpressed. Don’t get me wrong we have a lot of talented Muslim writers, the issue is not the quality of their writing, but rather the scope of their storytelling.

    There is an overwhelming amount of Muslim fiction that is either YA or romance. Many of these stories touch on the same themes, explore the same tropes, and for the most part offer a weird distorted version of the Muslim experience(s). I often have the feeling that these authors’ intended audience (who they have in mind while writing their stories) is primarily non-Muslim, which relegates their Muslim audience to the very margins we are trying to escape. I can’t help but notice how much Muslim authors tend to play into an orientalist narrative, and I find that disheartening. The obsession with Muslim women struggling with their identity (often centred around their hijab), the recurrent Jinn-centric fantasy (that is all too predictable, while also being problematic aqeedah wise), the weird “woe is us” undertones that puts the emphasis on Muslims being miserable in their condition, etc…all of this has put me off from reading Muslim fiction. I mean how many times are we going to read about a Muslim coming of age story? Do Muslims never get older and have grown up issues? Are we stuck in perpetual adolescence? I really can’t relate to much of what is being written by Muslim authors for the most part.

    I just want Muslim authors to transcend what they think is expected of them by mainstream society and stop rehashing the same old tropes. There is an entire world of genres to explore out there, a multitude of themes and tropes to write about, so why limit ourselves to simplistic narratives? I have yet to see a good mystery/thriller, a science fiction space opera, or a fantasy novel that has nothing to do with Jinns or flying carpets in Muslim fiction. I’m a science fiction writer and I often feel that there is no interest in this genre amongst Muslims. I would love to see more of us writing in various genres and creating fresh and new stories.

    Thank you for starting this convo sister, it is much needed. Shameless plug: Feel free to visit my blog dedicated to Muslim futurism https://wordpress.com/posts/muslimfuturism450264352.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I actually talked about a lot of that in some of my previous discussions here and in my videos. A lot of the Muslim fiction (not all) is stuck cycling through the same repeated tropes and they honestly are presenting really harmful narratives. The struggling hijabi identity one plays into the hand of the anti-Islam people who want to spread this message that Islam somehow oppresses women and they need to be “liberated.”

      The coming of age thing is everywhere. The jinn stuff is sooooo ridiculous too. I actually did a video about the jinn stuff in so-called Muslim scifi and speculative fiction, check it out if you like (https://notepadnomad.wordpress.com/2018/12/30/lets-discuss/) .

      Also I’ll have a look, I think someone else mentioned your blog before too lol. Last note though, I’m a dude so…

      *brother. Lol

      I know there aren’t that many of us Muslim males in the creative writing world (unfortunately) but yeah, I’m also hoping to change that too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL, so sorry brother. I totally assumed you were a sister. It is so refreshing to have brothers in creative writing. I’m definitely going to look through your blog. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one with serious trepidations about some aspects of Muslim fiction.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. 1. I am a writer, and I wish to be a reader, but have not found any Muslim fiction books that are in the genres that I like to read.

    2. I have heard of some Muslim fiction books, most recently Ayesha at Last, and the Broken Kingdom. But to be honest it seems like mostly all that we have are coming of age stories and freaky jinn and other unseen stories that don’t appeal to me at all. Currently I am reading Musa and the Blade and enjoying it quite immensely 🙂

    3. I feel like good writing should make people think, learn, and feel. It should make them reevaluate their lives, and it should inspire them to better themselves as people and Muslims, and that’s what I try to do in my writing. Even if my words can help just one person, whether it makes them laugh, whether it helps them through a difficult time, or reminds them of Allah swt, then it’s worth it. Also, I have a children’s book series in the planning process that is similar to the format and fun of the babysitters club little sister following a little Muslim boy and his fun and mischievous adventures!
    4. Q. Muhammad Abdullah!
    5. Let’s explore other genres! We don’t have to box ourselves into the same story tropes of either being hated on because of our religion, or struggling with the hijab, or the overbearing misguided family forcing the oppressed Muslim girl into things, or the horrible new trend of jinns! A fantasy setting with dragons and elves? A princess fairytale land? A regency period piece? Why shouldn’t Muslims exist in all of those and more? And why shouldn’t it be normal at that?? (Keeping things Halal of course!)
    6. It’s gives me a sense of inclusiveness, without forcing me to compromise myself and my beliefs and values.
    7. I’ve been reading ever since I could remember lol since I started talking (which was before I started walking!) my mom had me learning how to read! I’ve always loved books, and read them by the tons! When I was younger, my punishments would be having my books taken away! I discovered Muslim fiction from a very young age as well. My mother and father both being educators, bought my siblings and I Islamic videos and books. I remember reading Islamic stories for kids and while they weren’t as exciting as Scooby Doo and Franklin and The Magic School Bus, they still were appealing for me because they were relatable!
    8. I have such a wide range of genres that I love to read. I love fantasy (mermaids are my favorite right now though I’m not sure how that would be converted into Muslim fiction xD) and fairytales (I’m super into fairytale retellings especially the ones that have gender bends! One of my favorite stories ever has Robin Hood as a girl ^_^) , romantic comedies and dystopian. As for working them into Muslim fiction, just start writing! Write the story you’d like to read!
    9. By supporting authors when they branch out into other things. Nowadays it seems like readers just gravitate to the same ole cliches, the same stories that are questionable as to if they could even be considered Muslim fiction let alone Islamic fiction.
    10. Ummm…lol I’ll have to get back to you about that xD

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 1. Reader and aspiring author.
    2. Not many, actually. A lot of the time I’ve come across one, got excited, and then heard negative reviews about how unrealistic it is and not bothered.
    3. They always have female protagonists and I’ve never even had a male secondary character in any of my books because I don’t feel like I would be able to do it right since my own brother completely baffles me lol
    4. I don’t have one. I love She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B. Robert and If I Should Speak by Umm Zakiyyah (which I’ve read 3 times) but other works by them I didn’t like. I love Seven is Special by Shagufta Malik as well.
    5. A muslim-fiction contemporary with female MCs that does not consist of them talking about boys in an immature and unislamic way. I find it very frustrating and feel very unrepresented if that makes sense.
    6. Because everyone deserves to be represented.
    7. Idk I’ve been reading since I was 4, I haven’t really been into reading muslim fiction cos I’ve found so many books disappointments I’ve kinda given up searching for them but I do tend to read some if I come across them
    8. Personally, I love YA fantasy but I would love to see Muslim-fiction that’s contemporary.
    9. Just read their books and spread the word.
    10. If I Should Speak by Umm Zakiyyah.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Salams, so glad I found this forum. Haven’t gone through the questions yet but will soon return. I write reviews, or so I try to. My blog is more personal than spiritual but I have recently started to make an effort in picking up books written by Muslim authors. Will update inshallah!

    Like

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