Q&A: Is Writing Fiction Haram in Islam?

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Question: Is writing fiction books haraam (prohibited) in Islam? I cannot get a clear answer anywhere so it would be helpful if you could help me 🙂 Thank you.

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


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Amel

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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11 Comments

  1. As-salamu Alaykum,

    As I mentioned above, this is probably the most common question I receive through this site. I also analyze the Google searches that lead people here and have found inquiries about writing itself being haram or prohibited.

    Please rest assured that writing as an activity is not haram. Writing is how we spread knowledge and express ourselves about important matters. It is also a profession for many people, and it is halal to earn money as a professional writer (whether you are writing about Islamic topics or about something else). What you should be concerned about is the content of what you write…not about the act of writing.

    More on this later, Insha’Allah, but I wanted to make this quick note for people who may be worrying unnecessarily.

    Amel – MWC Admin
    Muslim Writers Club recently posted…Q&A: What’s the Best Way to Share my Poetry?My Profile

  2. Assalamu Alaikum, please i need a clarification on writing fictions non islamic story but with moral is haraam.

    • As-salamu Alaykum, Faaizah,

      Thank you for your question, Sister.

      If I understand correctly, you are asking whether it is okay to write fiction that is “non-Islamic” but still has a moral at the end. By non-Islamic, I assume you mean that the characters are not Muslims, or that the story makes no mention of Islam or Islamic teachings. Did I get that right?

      Amel – MWC Admin

       
      Amel recently posted…Q&A: Reviewers for My BooksMy Profile

  3. As-salamu Alaykum,

    I have been looking for an answer for this question for a while now. Some of the answers I found were:

    -Telling made-up stories is equal to lying. (This makes totally no sense to me, but if it is may allah forgive me).

    -As long as you don’t put haram scenes/situations it’s ok.

    -The book MUST have a good message or it HAS to be an islamic book.

    I would like to know if these claims are true.

    • As-salamu Alaykum, and thank you for your comment.

      Many Muslims believe that telling stories is the same as lying, but it is not. The reason is because the reader understands that it is fiction. If you want to lie to someone, there has to be deception involved. But when you read a story or novel, you already know that the events are not true. You are not being tricked or deceived by the author. Although they are not very detailed, some of the scholarly opinions I mentioned earlier explain this point.

      Interestingly, the Arabic word for fiction also means “imagination.” When you write fiction, you are expressing the ideas in your imagination and taking the reader on a journey with you. You can pen the outcome of your story in any way you choose, guiding your readers to new and beneficial ideas they may not be exposed to otherwise.

      In order to be realistic, haram situations may come up in fiction, but the way you deal with these situations will determine whether it is actually “Islamic” fiction or just “Muslim-authored” fiction. I have tried to distinguish between these two labels in this article.

      In my opinion:

      “Islamic” fiction shows the negative consequences of going astray from Islamic values. Un-Islamic behaviors are identified as such and portrayed as undesirable.

      Ideally, Islamic fiction should not contain vulgar language, sexually graphic scenes, and other content that may be religiously objectionable, especially if it does not serve a literary purpose or advance the story in any way.

      For romance and related topics, it is definitely better to hint than to be explicit. I don’t think a Muslim should strive to write the next 50 Shades.

      I don’t personally believe that every book has to be Islamic. I think there is value in fiction besides the moral aspects.

      As a Muslim who writes, however, I do think we need to be careful regarding what our books convey to readers. Writing is a responsibility that we should take seriously. If we are able to use our writing for a higher purpose, that is almost certainly better than writing without any particular goal in mind.

      Amel – MWC Admin
      Amel recently posted…WANTED: Sensitivity Readers for Scene in Fantasy NovelMy Profile

  4. Other questions I have are:

    My book is about a zombie-apocalypse. It contains a lot of zombies, am I allowed to write about non-existing creatures? (I actually describe my zombies as sick humans who can be cured, but I’m still looking for the answer)

    I would love to put some romance in to the story, how much am I allowed to write about love in my book? What relations are allowed between men and women.

    I hope you would put some evidence in your answers.

    Thank you,

    Yusuf

    Ps: don’t mind my bad language, English is not my first language. 😊

     

  5. Please, help.

    I have a question about role playing.

    Is role playing prohibited in Islam?

    But role playing makes the fictional characters real.

    And it’s so much fun when you like a character of a story, then you find that your favs character has a twitter or instagram so you can talk to him/her like she/he is real!

    How about this?

    Lately, I am afraid if this activity could be categorized as zina.

    Thank you.

  6. Dear Brother/ Sister,

    I need clarification on is writing our own life handbook (Our own story)

    Is permissible in islam

    Thank you

    Abdulwahab imtiyaz

    • As-salamu Alaykum,

      Thank you for your question – and I apologize to everyone whose question has remained unanswered. Although I am continuously working to prepare posts and comments in response to the questions left on this site, it often takes me a while to prepare these responses. I am a full-time freelancer and often become very busy when working on a project.

      As always, I encourage anyone reading to offer their opinions and insights into any of the issues raised on this site. Please carry on while I observe from afar.

      Regarding whether it is permissible to write your life-story, I think writing your memoirs is a great idea for many reasons, which I hope to go into more detail about in the near future. Memoir writing (as a topic) is a passion of mine. There are certain considerations one must keep in mind when writing a memoir, however. Does your memoir expose any sins you have committed? Does your memoir hurt or slander other people? Even if you have only conveyed the “facts” as you remember them, there may be legal implications in addition to any moral considerations.

      What prompted you to ask this question? If you have a specific concern, perhaps you could share it here so that you receive a more detailed response.

      Amel – MWC Admin
      Amel recently posted…Featured Book: Imagine, by Shoohada KhanomMy Profile

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