Q&A: Is it Halal to Receive Payment for Islamic Poetry?

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Assalaamu Aliekum,

I’ve written some Islamic poems and sonnets. Obviously the process consumes a lot of energy and time. I’m in a dilemma that is it really legitimate (halaal) to earn through Islamic poetry writing? If at all it is legal, I humbly request your good self that please guide me which publishing agency should I approach.

Thanking you in advance. Allah bless you.

Can you answer this question? Please post your advice below.

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Amel is an experienced freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator. She started the Muslim Writers Club as a means of sharing useful information about the art (and business) of writing.
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1 Comment

  1. As-salamu Alaykum (peace be upon you), and thank you for your question, which I almost did not receive due to you sending it to my e-mail as an attachment. I mention this because most publishers (and people in general) prefer not to open attachments from unknown recipients. Attachments sometimes contain viruses, so it is usually better to avoid them unless specifically invited to send your work, résumé, etc.

    While I am not a scholar of Islam, there is no reason I know of that would make it haram (impermissible) to accept payment for your creative writing, especially that you are not withholding vital knowledge from anyone. Even teachers of the Qur’an are permitted by Islam to accept a salary, and I think most Muslims would agree that exposure to Islamic poetry is less vital than is exposure to Islam’s holy book.

    Writing is a profession like any other, but many people feel uncomfortable getting paid for their work. I have seen this tendency amongst writers of all backgrounds and faiths. These are people who write for the love of the craft and have difficulty charging for their poems, stories, and articles. They love writing so much that they would gladly do it for free. For them, an audience is payment enough.

    Writing is, indeed, a special activity that fulfills a yearning deep within the soul. As you rightly pointed out, however, it also takes time to create a poem or text that others will enjoy. And if you want to spend hours on your craft, then you need time to do that. Some are independently wealthy or have day-jobs to pay the bills, while others sell their writing and consider writing their job. It is totally up to you how you balance your writing with your time and need to earn.

    Having said that, poetry is probably the lowest-paid form of writing there is, and it may be difficult (but not impossible) to find a publisher for your work. Muslim Writers Publishing is an example of one publishing house I know of that has published collections of Islamic poetry, and I have also seen nicely illustrated collections for children (both mainstream and Islamic). So, it basically boils down to looking around to see who’s interested – and I would think that poetry with some type of theme to bind it together would probably be more attractive to publishers and also do better as a book.

    You can also approach literary magazines, self-publish, or come up with other creative ideas. Some nasheed artists, for example, depend on poets to help them compose new work.

    Amel – MWC Admin

    Muslim Writers Club recently posted…Q&A: Stand-Alone Novel vs. SeriesMy Profile

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