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5 Benefits of Reading More Islamic Fiction Books!

These novels and so many more are reminders that I, as a young Muslimah, can be recognized; that my lifestyle is perfectly normal; and that I can read stories that represent me and the needs of my community.

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These novels and so many more are reminders that I, as a young Muslimah, can be recognized; that my lifestyle is perfectly normal; and that I can read stories that represent me and the needs of my community.

I grew up reading fairy tales and African folklore.

The tales, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, consisted of characters with distinct features: fair skin, gold hair, blue eyes, and a host of others. I couldn’t relate to these characters because the people I come across in my home country, Nigeria, have contrasting features, including black woolly hair, brown eyes, and dark skin. In addition, African folklore was usually filled with stories about animals and characters who were either traditional worshippers or Christians.

So, when I discovered my intense passion for writing and started producing fictional pieces, it didn’t come as a surprise that the stories I wrote were similar to those I’d read. For example, I wrote a drama that centred on the lives of three sisters—Alice, Alison, and Alyssa—who were singers. They juggled their time between school and the studio and spent their holidays touring cities and singing in concerts. Similar to other young-adult (YA) fiction works, the story also explores dating, family, and friendships. Then, there was The Conquest of Love, a story about a twenty-two-year-old lady from a middle-class family who fell head over heels for someone from an influential family—and so much more.

As I grew older and had more access to books, I discovered that most young-adult fiction revolved around the life of a 12- to 18-year-old white teenager in high school. These stories usually focus on family, first loves, identity, and more.

Years would pass, and I’d long to read and write more stories that portray Islam and that feature characters like myself, who wear the hijab, pray five times a day, and follow the dictates of Islam. I wanted stories I could relate to that explored broad concerns in the Muslim community.

Then, Islamic fiction became popular, and I, excitedly, got copies of books written by Umm Zakiyyah, S.K. Ali, Nai’ma B. Robert, and Randa Abdel-Fattah.

Firstly, I read S.K. Ali’s Love from A to Z and was overwhelmed with emotions after completing the novel. This story wasn’t only beautiful and profound, but the protagonist faced encounters just like I have, ranging from Islamophobia to the loss of a loved one. I was thrilled to see characters bear Muslim names and greet themselves with the salam.

Secondly, I read Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Does My Head Look Big in This?, and for the first time, I read a story about a teenager who didn’t end up kissing her crush despite her desires. I nodded in approval when the protagonist clearly stated that she couldn’t engage in a romantic relationship due to her moral standard.

Nai’ma B. Robert’s She Wore Red Trainers is cheesy, romantic, and tear-jerking. But it isn’t just a beautiful love story. It is a reminder that two young adults can fall in love and work towards spending the rest of their lives together while following the dictates of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

These novels and so many more are reminders that I, as a young Muslimah, can be recognized; that my lifestyle is perfectly normal; and that I can read stories that represent me and the needs of my community.

How Can We Benefit from Islamic Fiction Books?

Islamic fiction pieces offer a multitude of benefits to Muslims. Some of them include the following:

1. Islamic fiction works offer representations of Muslims

Islamic fiction works have helped us improve our vocabularies, gain insights into different cultures, and broaden our knowledge base.

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Muslims can now read books that represent their way of life and school of thought thanks to the advent of Islamic fiction. They can finally relate to characters who dress in Muslim garb and follow Islamic teachings in their daily lives.

2. It is an effective means of learning more about Islam

Muslims can afford the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about the dictates of the Qur’an and hadith in a number of ways, including attending lectures, watching YouTube videos, participating in Q&A sessions, and reading religious books. Islamic fiction is another effective way of gaining more insights into the proper way to live as Muslims.

A Muslim can read the story of an imperfect Muslim who is struggling to repent of his wrongdoings and seek Allah’s pleasure. A Muslim can also learn the proper way to court a significant other and tie the knot in the most legal ways.

3. Islamic fiction works portray Muslims in a different light

In the mainstream media, derogatory terms such as oppressed, terrorist, and extremist are frequently used to describe Muslims. Islamic fiction, on the other hand, dispels negative stereotypes about Muslims by demonstrating how Muslims live fulfilling, enriching, and exciting lives.

It features characters who travel to new places, try new foods, fall in love, dress beautifully, and strive to live a happy life. These stories demonstrate that Muslims, like everyone else, break ground, make significant contributions to society, and enjoy the wonders of the world.

4. Islamic fiction works promote shared experiences

Islamic fiction books allow us to read about the experiences of Muslims in various parts of the world, such as Pakistan or Canada. We can learn about how they incorporate their unique cultures into the celebration of festivals such as Eid, childbirth, and marriage.

It also shapes our perspectives on living as Muslims in specific regions, including the challenges they face and how we can play our roles to help them. Reading these works promotes love, brotherhood, and unity.

5. Islamic fiction books are both entertaining and educational

Islamic fiction pieces are, undeniably, thrilling and entertaining. They are written by highly skilled authors with mastery of sentence fluency, organization, and word choice. A significant number of Islamic fiction works are captivating and educational.

They broaden our worldviews, improve our empathy, and increase our understanding of Islam. What’s more? They are enjoyable to read.

Conclusion

Islamic fiction is thriving, with a steady stream of stories being published. With the rise of Islamic fiction works, children and young adults will have the opportunity to read novels that highlight the Islamic worldview, reveal the challenges Muslim families face on a daily basis, and portray Islam in a different light than what is broadcast in the media.

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