Knowledge is one of the most important underpinnings of law and faith. In a famous Hadith, the Prophet (SAW) said, ‘To seek knowledge is an obligation upon every believer’. There are numerous ways that knowledge is exchanged, disseminated, discussed – and literature is one of the essential ways this is done.
Many Muslims find that their interest in spirituality and the light of Islam is intertwined with a keen interest in the beauty and metaphor of Islamic literature. The Holy Qur’an – the word of the Almighty – itself contains the most unique, most eloquent words – words which could never have been constructed by man.
There is a vast and extensive Islamic scholarly tradition, with countless books on Islamic jurisprudence, theology and law. This is compounded by literature in other forms, like poetry. Islam itself places an emphasis on using precise language. If you feel drawn to this scholarly tradition, then you might be able to use your love of both writing and Islam to enhance your career.
Sticking to Your Passions
When you are engaged in an activity that is meaningful, you thrive and feel motivated. In psychology, this is known as a ‘flow state’. You might have felt this when you’re fully engaged with a fulfilling task or reading a fascinating book. Somehow, without you knowing it, hours have passed. If you achieve this state when writing about Islam, then you know that this could be work that you could stick to.
Writing about Islam can take many different forms. If you are skilled at writing journalistic pieces, then you can use your talent to address topics of interest in Islam. If you enjoy writing blog posts, your writing could be a means of reflection. If poetry’s your thing – then by all means, take inspiration from one of the most famous poets, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi, and explore your religion thus.
When selecting a new hobby, you’ll have noticed that you keep going with those which are naturally enjoyable and produce this flow state. If writing falls under this category, then perhaps it’s worth wondering if you can charge for it.
Where to Find Work
There is a greater need for written content than ever and, with Muslim populations rising in the West, increasing demand for Islamic literature. A good place to start is with your own blog. There are numerous blogs, varying as widely in content as in style and form – such as Ayeina, which is an inspiring blog developed with the intention of self-reflection and self development. A possible place for inspiration on where to begin your writing journey is the Muslim Writers Club (http://muslimwritersclub.com/) where writers share valuable information about the art as well as the business of publishing.
You can also keep your eyes open for print magazine and newspapers. Check if they accept submissions and if they offer payment. Keep a list of those which look interesting and carefully study their audience before writing a piece for them.
If your children or younger siblings love to write, why not encourage and challenge them to submit their work to the Young Muslim Writers Awards (https://ymwa.org.uk/) It’s a great platform to promote their love of writing and develop their literacy skills.
Finding work as a writer can be difficult and beginners will often feel disheartened by their first few rejections. However, you have a niche in Islamic writing which can help you stand out. Keep studying your passions and practicing your writing and you’ll make progress.
Becoming a writer can be a dream come true for many people. If you have a real passion for writing about Islam, then it is possible to turn it into a full-time career or at least a side job. Be persistent and perfect your craft for the greatest chance of success. As the Hadith goes – ‘Actions are according to intentions’. Focus your intention and Insha’Allah you will turn your passion for writing and Islam into a career!