Muslims: Eight Types of Books to Avoid

بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Eight Types of Fiction Books
to Avoid if You're Muslim

As we get older and learn more about Islam, there are books out there that may be “fun” to read but will slowly harm or decrease our iman (spiritual health). Bear in mind the things decreed by Allah (SWT) are haram for a reason because they will hurt us in ways we cannot comprehend.

Below is a list of topics to avoid as a practicing Muslim (I use Goodreads’ reviews to check for these):

  1. Shirk (Polytheism): I’m a huge science fiction and fantasy fan, but most books out there in these genres have made-up religions that aren’t monotheistic (i.e., where characters worship idols and multiple deities). Reliance or mentions of astrology also tells us it’s promoting polytheism. Usually the title, blurb, and reviews about the book tells us if a book contains shirk. Internally normalizing the language of polytheists will affect how you see and connect spiritually with Allah. Shirk is the only unforgiveable sin.
    • Examples: Daughter of the Moon G*ddess, Written in the Stars, all of Rick Riordan’s books, The Jasad Heir
  1. Kufr (Atheism): This is similar to the previous topic, but instead of worshiping any deity, the stories (sometimes adamantly) say that there is no higher power and all things happen by chance/each individual is in charge of their destinies. This is again, contrary to Islam, where Allah (SWT) is in control of everything and knows our fates (qadr).
    • Examples: Road of the Lost, all of Ayn Rand’s books, all of Isaac Asimov’s books, most “hard” science fiction books
  1. Degeneracy: Books that encourage immorality among men and women like hedonism, nihilism, and liberalism where people have no respect for themselves, others, animals, and their environment, and believe that they can do whatever they want because they can. This also includes pre-marital/haram relationships, drinking alcohol, and pro-abortion attitude (i.e., situations where the involved parties don’t want to deal with the consequences of their actions/take any responsibility/accountability).
    • Examples: All My Rage, Iron Widow, and many Young Adult and Adult contemporary and fantasy books (published in the past two decades)
  1. Islamophobia: These books have an underlying current of hate towards Islam and Muslims, and thus not easily avoided, but if we know the author’s stance on certain issues (e.g., they are Zionist) then it becomes clear.
    • Example: All of Sarah J. Maas’s books, all of Frank Herbert’s (Dune) books, the Wheel of Time series, Brandon Sanderson’s books (all of his books are also heavy on the ‘white savior’ complex, so it’s best to avoid this author completely)
  1. Smut/Erotica: This is pornography in book form. Usually, the covers contain scantily dressed individuals or images of physical intimacy. Others books include romantic fantasy books, which include various levels of romance. Please check the tags and reviews on Goodreads. UPDATE: Please be aware some of these books covers have alternate covers with flowers and fancy script/typography on them.
    • Words to look out for: spice, smut, steamy, sexy, heat
    • Example: All of Sarah J. Maas’s books, all of Colleen Hoover’s books, most New Adult fantasy romance books, all of E.L. James’s books, all of Ana Huang’s books, Fourth Wing (all of Rebecca Yarros’s books)
  1. Vilifies/Misconstrues Islam: This is similar to the topic of Islamophobia, however, most of these books are usually written by non-practicing Muslims where the characters who are practicing Muslims in their books are the villains or these books have misleading/misinformation about Islam (since these “Muslim” authors are ignorant/haven’t researched properly)/putting Islamic aspects/beliefs in a negative light. As Muslims, we shouldn’t be scrounging for any form of “Muslim” representation, especially if it harms us.
    • Example: Counting Down with You, You Truly Assumed, All-American Muslim Girl, all of Tahereh Mafi’s books, all of Samira Ahmed’s books, The Jasad Heir
  1. Sodomy/Homosexuality: This is a major sin some Muslims are either supporting out of ignorance or are supporting due to the fear of being “canceled” when, in fact, supporting this cause will lead to one’s downfall (both in this life and in the next). This genitalia-centric group claims they support Muslims and use Muslims’ struggles to extend to their own (how can one’s selfish [carnal] desires equate to the commands of God? Allah protect us from such deviating mindsets!), yet they will never be satisfied until you validate their open sins and join them (in their sins). Unfortunately, most books published after 2015 will have this heinous agenda promoted (mostly having one-liners which add nothing to the plot, characters, or worldbuilding). And beware, there are “Muslim” authors who also write and promote this (even writing for young children!) when the Qur’an is clear about this topic. (Read this article for an in-depth analysis of this ideology.) Please read the blurbs, tags on Goodreads, and reviews to see if they contain any elements of homosexuality. Also note the colors of the covers of these books (the colors used by their “flag”).
    • Words to look out for: “love is love”, LGBTQAIP+ (they continue to add letters to this ideology), pride, queer, sapphic, lesbian, gay, bi, nonbinary, demi, pan, butch, authors who use “pronouns” in their bios, drag queens
    • Covers: stark contrasts of mainly pinks, blues, and purples; rainbow bands and stripes
    • Examples: all of Aminah Mae Safi’s books, all of Adiba Jaigidar’s books, The Loophole (all of Naz Kutub’s books), Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor (all of Xiran Zhao’s books), all of Shannon Chakraborty’s books
  1. Swearing/curse words: This is something we must avoid in our daily lives, whether we speak like this or hear others, as it darkens the heart and desensitizes us to good and pleasant speech. It’s difficult to pinpoint which books have curse words, but most adult fiction have some form of swearing in them. As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Speak good or be silent.”
    • Examples: many upper Young Adult contemporary books by non-Muslims and non-practicing Muslims (i.e., books by Sabaa Tahir), adult fiction (including some by Muslims)

In sha Allah, you can be assured my books will not contain any of these problematic topics in support of them.

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