Is fiction really haram?

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Ismail Kamdar

Channel: Ismail Kamdar

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Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah you are get to at hamdulillah robola mean, WA salatu salam ala nobilo Karim was early he was happy at marine. So today inshallah, we are going to have a short discussion on the concept of fiction. And I've already had this discussion. Last week, on Twitter, we had a Twitter space covering this topic. But that wasn't recorded and a lot of people had requested a recording that they could listen to later or show to others. As it was a very interactive discussion. The summary of it has been shared multiple times across Facebook and

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Twitter. And I keep getting these questions over and over again, people want me to cover it in a video. So this video is going to be dedicated to everything that I've been asked over the past few weeks, and really over the past few years related to fiction. Before we begin, why, why did this topic come up? Well, over the years, I have debated with myself about whether I should write fiction or not. As you know, most of my books are nonfiction. Right? I've written books on time management books on history books and personal development books in tafsir. But every time I bring up the issue of writing fiction, I have some sincere and well meaning brothers and sisters telling me that

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fiction is haram. It's a waste of time. So waste of your efforts.

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And a lot of misconceptions are raised. And recently, I have been rethinking this topic, I have actually been thinking about writing fiction again. So what I've done in the past, for example, there's just two things I've written in the past that will count as fiction. One is my short book, climbs a mountain, which is a parable about how to achieve your goals. So I call it a parable. So it will be less controversial and will be considered fiction, because for some reason, it's considered different in people's mind. And the other one, a children's book called the greeting of peace, which is a fictional story of an uncle going for a walk with his nephew and teaching him some of the other

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Gar and the meanings are 100 avoided, his books have done well and people have found it beneficial. Nonetheless, this question comes up very often, which is, you know, is fiction wrong? Or I heard from a certain ship that fiction is wrong, or I've read in a certain football website that fiction is wrong. So is it is it really how long? Well the two we're going to discuss today inshallah. And to begin, the fatwa

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is fiction hierarchy. What is fiction fiction is a made up story, where somebody makes up a story. And other people in general, read the story, or watch a movie or plate or TV series or page or a game play a game of it, whatever it is, generally, the word fiction is used for the books, but it applies to all of these other concepts as well. It's generally a made up story that people engage with for entertainment, or for deriving a lesson or learning something. And fiction seems to have existed throughout human history. You can't really name any civilization, or any

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time in history, where there seems to be a lack of fiction, it seems that storytelling is a part of human nature. And making up myths and legends and stories, and available to convey lessons is something that humans have always been doing Muslims as well. Throughout Muslim history, you will find many, many books containing both fiction and nonfiction, true stories and made up stories. Very often the fictional stories are there, to teach us a lesson, to draw a point to, to get us to understand something that would have been hard to understand without a story. And this has always been there throughout our history. It's only in recent times, I would say in the past 100 years,

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there have been a lot of fatawa stating that fiction is wrong. And this fatawa normally based on two reasons. Firstly, they say it's lying and lying is wrong. Secondly, this age wasting time and wasting time is Hurry up. Now. Before I adjust the specific footwear, you notice this general mindset.

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This is a

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20th and 21st century prop. This is a modern problem of wanting to declare everything under the sun. However,

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this is not the historical Islam. This is not the Islam, the Islam of the early Muslims. They would not look for reasons to declare anything wrong. They would default consider things Hello, unless there was really strong evidence that something was bad for society.

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Only when the evidence was like the word we would use in fake it's got a it's something definitive it's something that okay, you can see for sure this is harmful. This is bad.

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They will use the word hero. But in the past 100 years, there have been some sets and movements that have come about to revive Islam. And some of these movements have taken a very fanatical, hardcore approach to Islam, where they have just gone about declaring everything, from videos, to more than the technology to entertainment. And so of course fiction gets lumped in as well. And it's for these movements only that you rarely see this fatwa, a very strong fatwa about fiction being corrupt. You won't really see it from mainstream scholars throughout history.

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It's something you'll see only from the past 100 years, for as far as I've seen, I mean, I could be wrong. It could be 40 years before that, I haven't found any. Every photo I have found saying that is wrong is of the past 100 years. And it's normally from these movements. I don't want to mention the movements by name because I don't want to start any sectarian politics over here. The focus is on the fatwa itself, not what Richard said, said it nonetheless, it is the same model movements that are obsessed with declaring things around they have said this and the reasoning is very weak form, it shows a fake perspective, right?

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They say, there's generally two reasons given for Fiction to corrupt. The first is they say it's line, and line is horror. The second is that the sage wasting time and wasting time is

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now tackling the first question, or the first position, that fiction is how long because it is like, this is a very

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strange conclusion to come to, especially if you get into the definition of lying now, lying is haram. In most situations, right? It's it becomes permissible when there's benefit in it. For the number with the benefits outweigh the harms, for example, we're reconciling between people. So there's two people who are fighting with each other. And you tell one, you know, that guy said something nice about you, or the person is missing you. And they reconciled because of those lines. Those are good lines. Those aren't around the holidays. So even lying itself, there are exceptions to when it is wrong. But the bigger point js is fiction line.

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Because line is an intention to deceive. It's where you tell someone something. But you know, it's not true. And you want them to believe it's true. This is this is the key point. You want them to believe it's true. And it's not true. So for example, if I had to come here and give a video, or a lecture in which I had to tell a story about myself in a way that all of you believe that story. But that story is completely made up.

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That will be like.

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On the other hand, if I had to sit here and say that here is an example. Here's a parable. Here's a made up story to learn a lesson from and you hear the story and you take a lesson from it. And you don't believe the story because I didn't want you to believe the story because I told you it's not the real story. That's not lying. That's fiction. fiction is not like, because in fiction, you are not deceiving anyone. You don't expect people to believe the story. You're being very upfront with what you're saying is your imagination, your creativity, it's made up.

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It's not there with the intention to lie. Therefore, it cannot fall into the category of lies.

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And this is seen throughout our history. Throughout our history, people have been making up stories to teach lessons. And they make it very clear, they call it a muscle. They call it a parable. They call it a metaphor, or they call it a fable. But whatever it is, it's fiction. It's a made up story to teach you a lesson. And most Muslims throughout history did not see anything wrong with this. It's a modern phenomenon to regard this as Herat.

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The other perspective where people say to wasting time, my response to that is, that's subjective. You know what wasting time to one person is not necessarily wasting time to the other person, that you could read a fictional story and really wasted your time. Somebody else could read the same story and derive some model then upwards. They could use it for relaxing they could use it to overcome burnout. They could use it as as a break, as a task of the break between work to do to revive their spirits. They could they could really learn something about human behavior from the story. There's so much to reading a book, you can't just blanketly say it's wasting time. That's a

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very subjective take. Furthermore, even if it is wasting time, it's not automatically wrong. Because wasting time is not automatically harami depends on how much time you waste. Does it get in the way of other acts of ibadah does it become excessive

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But many other things to consider before you can pass the fatwa on it.

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So inspection haraam, the short answer is no. The short answer is no, because the general principle of vec is US law will usher in the original ruling on anything is possibility. right this is a maximum of our iba had to assume the original possibility that the things of this world that humans invent, are by default halaal unless they can be proven horror,

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and fiction are human inventions. And unless you can prove them to be wrong, they are Hello.

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If someone has to make up a story, because they believe that that story is going to entertain people, or more importantly, benefit people. And everybody knows it's a made up story. It is not in of itself prohibited.

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We see this in another part of it, right. So for example, the issue of joking, there is a hadith where the prophets why some said that go to the one who tells lies to make people up, we see the same understanding of this Hadees. This Hadees is talking about the funnel phenomenon where people make up a story about themselves that other people believe is true. Just make people laugh. This is very common today with stand up comedians, they will get on stage. And they will say the other day, this happened to me, and they will make up a story and everybody would laugh and everybody would believe the story to be true. This is what he said. And this is what the Hadees is talking about. On

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the other hand, if you have to tell people, this is just a joke. This is just a made up story. And then you have to tell the same story to make people laugh. That would not be what the Hadees is talking about. They will not be higher up. Why? Because you're not lying to anyone. You're not deceiving people into thinking that actually, you're being very clear that it's a fictional story for the purpose of jokes. A lot of people fail to make this distinction. But it's the same distinction that exists when it comes to fictional stories.

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So that's why we've discussed that the fatwa stating that fiction is wrong is, in my perspective, incorrect. If you believe it to be corrected, that's fine. That is an opinion of sample ama, and you have every right to follow that opinion. But in my opinion is incorrect. Because the chaos behind it, the reasoning behind it is weak, declaring it allies, allowing in a waste of time is is incorrect. The original fake ruling of permissibility occurs or applies over and

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not necessarily wasting time. So the next question I get about fiction is, you know, how do we navigate it? How do we know whether what we're reading is good or bad or wrong?

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It's it's a very gray area. And the same applies to video games. The same applies to movies. The same applies to TV series to cartoons, to basically any form of entertainment. How do we how do we draw the line? How do we figure out you know what we can and can't do? You see another problem that that we have today is that we want specific fatwas and everything we want for every single movie abattoir. Ladies, hello. We wanted every single fictional book of fatwa on Reddit.

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And that's generally not the way pic works. That's a very impractical approach to take.

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There's no Adam out there who's going to watch every single movie for you. And they pass a fatwa tell you that, oh, I watched the now I know, it's not, it's not going to work like that, in general, the allameh are not going to watch movies at all.

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Right? Because it's, especially for people with status and knowledge. It's something that's a waste of their time. And they can open up the doors of Iran, so they will avoid it altogether. So to to bring them a specific book or movie or cartoon and tell them no, it's this one Hello, is this will harm

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you putting them in a position where they're going to have to look at it to see if it is

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so instead of for every single work of fiction that you deal with,

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asking if it's Hello Hara. What we need to do as laymen as average Muslims, is be responsible. We need to be responsible. And this is where I would say we go to the football of the heart

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with the prophet SAW yourself was asked what he said. He said a sin is something that you don't feel right about in your heart and you don't want other people to know that you did it.

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Now take that concept, and apply it to whatever you're doing. If you're watching a movie that makes you feel uneasy in your future, in your nature, in your in your in your in your heart, and you would be embarrassed. If any pious person do you watch that movie. Don't watch the movie. It's probably wrong

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because your future knows better.

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It sends out a warning signal, it lets you know this, there's something wrong with it. The same with a book, you reading a book, and you feel uneasy and you feel embarrassed and you don't want people to know you read the book, you shouldn't be reading that book.

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So you don't need

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to pass fatwas. For every single movie, every single TV series, you need to be responsible. You need to look and say, okay, is this benefiting me? Is this good for me? Is this taking me away from Allah? Is this is this inciting my nerves? Is this making me desire?

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Is this poisoning my mind, we have to be critical thinkers, we have to be very, very selective in what kind of entertainment we allow into our lives in the life of our family. We can't expect specific fatwas from Allah. This is something every individual needs to do for themselves. So this is where you trust your heart. And I want to give some general guidelines on what you can do over here, right, the general guidelines, when it comes to entertainment is number one, entertainment should be a side thing. It should not get in the way of your ibadah you should not get in the way of your family relationships, it should not get in the way of your work and your career. It should be

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on the side. So if you prayed all your Salah on time, you worked your work hours, you spend time with family, and the evening, you're reading a novel for an hour, you know, playing video games with your kids for an hour, whatever it is some small entertainment. That's okay. I that's the first point that it's not taking up too much time. It's not getting in the way of your responsibilities. Number two, is that it must not be vulgar. It must not be immoral, but not be taking you away from Allah subhanho wa Taala. So if you are reading a fictional story that teaches you about responsibility, it teaches you about courage, it teaches you about stepping out of your comfort

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zone, or teaches you about your family ties, or even teaches you about Islam, because they are fictional stories that teach you about Islam, and nothing wrong with us. But if you are engaging with a fictional story, whether it's through a movie, or TV series, or a book that is inciting enough, making you want to commit see now making you want to do evil,

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or making you question Islam, then, you know, you need to be responsible and avoid that. So it's up to us that we need to be responsible. Number one, these things should not be priorities, they should not be the most important thing in our lives, they should be on the side. Number two, we have to be responsible for what forms of entertainment we interact with, especially the content and how much time we spend with them. Number three,

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is that we need to

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ensure even for our children, that we give them guidelines. You see when it comes to parenting, unfortunately, I noticed two extremes amongst Muslims when it comes to entertainment. They are those who try to cut off everything from the children. They don't let the children play any video games or watch anything or do any of this. And most of the cases I've seen most of the cases I've dealt with like this, the kids rebel, they go to someone else's house, the day they leave home, they grow up, they just watch everything, they have no filter, they have no way of differentiating good from evil. They just want to consume everything because they were deprived of everything when they were younger

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that that approach doesn't work. The other approach where you just give them full freedom to do what they want. They're they're the minds are poisoned and brainwashed by all kinds of faulty media. That doesn't work either.

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What parents need to do is to sit the kids down and teach them responsibility. teach them about, you know what works. What?

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What are the Islamic guidelines, you need to look at choosing entertainment? Now, let your kids play video games in the evening, if it's something that your family feels fine with. But how do you choose video games that are not vulgar because even video games these days can be vulgar. They are video games that have immorality in it. Many parents aren't even aware of that they just buy the kids any video game. But like any other out for video games these days can be vocal. You'll help them choose video games that are not vocal, maybe once a beneficial you'll there are many that teach them strategy and business their creativity that can be better for them.

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Teach them you know how to navigate when selecting entertainment. You know what our limited Muslim what we would completely never engage with? What something that's okay, what's the gray area, you know?

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engage with them on these topics. You know, if they were at a friend's house and they saw a movie with a morality in it, explain to them why it's immoral. explain to them why we as Muslims shouldn't be looking at those things or doing those things. have these conversations with your kids. Again, it's all about personal responsibility. We can

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You know, expect a lump sum fatwa to cover everything. And the problem with our federal approach today is that we want In fact, what it says all of it is Hello, all of it is horrible. While in reality,

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we have the general ruling that entertainment is valid as long as it's in moderation. But it's up to you to be responsible, and only choose types of entertainment, that don't go against the principles of Islam.

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The next question that arises related to fiction is what happens if there's no real vile goodness, or nudity or something in it, but, you know, the characters you are watching or reading about are not Muslim. So they engaged in shark, they might be engaged in magic, you know, like in fictional stories, like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings is like magical elements with this counter see her with this counter shark? And the short answer is no. The long answer is it depends on you as the reader, right?

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If you are someone who is easily influenced by what you read, so if you read a book about Christians, you become attracted towards Christianity, or you read a book about Greek mythology and you become attracted towards polytheism, then you should stay away from those resources, strengthen your Akita, and study Islam, because that's a very dangerous position to be. But if you're someone who is strong in your aqeedah, strong in your Eman, and you can read the book without it facing you at all, like you're going to read a whole book about Greek mythology, without it affecting your imagine liable. You really completely as your this is fiction. These are made up stories that other

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people believe in, I know this to be corporate fiction, and it doesn't affect your Akira at all, then that wouldn't necessarily be a problem.

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So for these kinds of stories, it really boils down to us as individuals, that you have to look at it and ask yourself, does this affect money?

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If it does, stay away from it, and work on strengthening your mind first? If it doesn't, then no problem. In fact, I find for some people who strengthens Am I What do I mean? So for example, look at a fictional work based on Greek mythology, yo with these with these Greek gods, so to say, like Zeus and Hercules and things like that.

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For someone, I find a lot of young Muslims who have strong aqeedah, and a strong belief in tawheed, when they see fictional works about these characters, it

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puts the impression in their mind that these characters are fictional, and that these can never be caught at the end. And that this political makes no sense at this is an entirely fictional concept. So it actually strengthens their toe heat, and exchanges the mind because seeing those characters in a fictional setting

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convinces them that that is fiction. So for such people, that would actually be beneficial.

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Right. So

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this is another aspect, you know, even with the issue of, of magic, now, this is a bit more of a controversial point. I know when I was a kid, and Harry Potter came out and I read all the books. A lot of our elders will get angry with us and say it's magic and see her How can you engage with that? Well, it's not really, right. See her is interacting with the jinn to engage in real world magic.

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Harry Potter is a completely fictional concept, right? The only thing they have in common is the word, the word magic. And he word does not mean the same thing in different contexts. The word magic with a child is doing card tricks is not the same as the word magic in a fictional story where people are born with powers is not the same as real world. So it doesn't count as real was a you know, it could be a completely fake imaginary story, which has no bearing on the real world, and you reading it to learn about, you know, the power of loving your children, or the importance of courage or the importance of good triumphing over evil, or just for entertainment, and he doesn't appear to

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appear at all, that would not be a problem, in my opinion, and Allah knows best.

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The final point, and we'll close off at this point, you know, people ask, what's the point of affection? What's the benefit? So again, this actually pops up whenever I read the question of, I want to start writing fiction, always have some again, very well meaning and loving brothers and sisters are telling me that that will be a waste of my time and efforts. They told me that you should rather write books about fake books of Tafseer books of history. Why would you waste your time with fiction?

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And it's the same when reading now they will say that it's a what, what's the benefit? What's the point? So when the perspective of writing, I would say, the benefit of writing this is that you're going to reach people who you are not going to reach with a book of fingertips here. Because let's face it, not everybody reads succeed books. So sad reality of our time. Not everybody reads fake books. I know I've written the book teams of the Quran, maybe 1000 people

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Reddit, perhaps if I write a fictional story, where a character engages with the Quran, and benefits from the Quran is transformed by the Quran. And I include the same exact same lessons in that story. It could reach many other people, people who read fiction but don't read books off tafsir it's the same with

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the same with history, write my book on Ahmed bin Abdulaziz reached a few 1000 people, very beneficial book on history. Yet, I know not everyone's going to read it. But if I write a fictional story with the same lessons, it will reach other people.

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So it's not necessarily a waste of time, because you are. Or at least I am my intention when I when I think about writing fiction is about reaching out to people who are not going to buy my nonfiction books, and showing them the beauty of Islam, the truth of Islam, the power of Islam, to storytelling.

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Storytelling can be a very powerful way to show Islam in a modern context to people who otherwise are not going to see it. People are not going to read a history book or not going to read it up, see a book, and you want them to see the beauty of Islam. fiction is probably the best way to reach them.

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Allah knows best.

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That's for the benefits of fiction. There are many. It builds your vocabulary, it strengthens your creativity and imagination. But it also teaches you about about human nature, because most works of fiction are focused on human nature. They teach us about about love the teachers about courage, they teach us about bravery to teach us about overcoming the odds about patience, about perseverance, about responsibility,

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about

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how to deal with trials and obstacles. It's all about the triumph of the soul. That's the common theme across most works of fiction, where someone is put in an impossible situation, and they find a way to overcome it. And people are inspired by the stories. And there's nothing wrong with taking the kind of inspiration from such stories.

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So I'll end on this point, what would be the need of fiction in our times, I would say the need of fiction in our times is to reach people who are not already practicing Islam, or to provide Hello entertainment for those who are practicing Islam but need entertainment. I see this particularly being a need for Muslim teenagers and young adults. You see a lot of our work today either focuses on very small children, like five or six years old, on adults, people in their mid 20s 30s. You know, do the to crowd cater to these days. But when it comes to preteens, teenagers, young adults, we barely have anything at their age level.

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And at that age level, the easiest way to reach them is through works of fiction, whether it's through Islamic movies, or TV series, or video games, or novels, this is where you want to get to them. And if you can put together something engaging, something exciting, something that catches on something that millions of Muslim youth around the world are going to read or watch or play. And through that they experience Islam through that they fall in love with Islam through that they see the glory and beauty of Islam, and that opens the door so they have to start studying Islam to start practicing Islam, then this is a great thing to do. And I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. So

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to end off into summarize, fiction is not Haram, because it is not like it is using one's imagination to convey a lesson and to try and benefit people or entertain people. As long as a fictional story is not outright vulgar. It's not calling towards immorality. It's not a problem. Now sometimes it may be some immorality by the way. For example, if it's a story about the Muslim man who committed Zina and make Toba, and the whole story is about tobuy how to make Toba then, that itself wouldn't be her up. But if it's promoting Xena, and trying to get people to come in sooner that that's problem.

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fiction is not necessarily a waste of time, it depends on the reader, I really do benefit from it or not. And finally, finally, it is a need of our time. And if you are someone who has a strong imagination, great storytelling, storytelling capabilities, and you have the means to either put together a movie or TV series or a cartoon series or a video game, or none of that write a novel or a comic book that can benefit Muslim teenagers, young Muslims, who are otherwise consumed by the vulgar immoral media that is out there. Then you will be providing a halal alternative that is beneficial for them. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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Now forgive me if I said anything wrong and guide me towards understanding our religion properly, may allow us to override only that which is beneficial and to say only that which is beneficial. I hope you found this short presentation

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means a benefit for you. And I hope it has cleared up these few points. If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comment section I will deal with them. Whenever I check the comments on my videos is Allah Pharaoh Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.