Posted By Veiled Muslimah on/at 2/15/2009 07:29:00 PM

Since I was a kid, I loved reading and I loved writing. I've always had a fondness for the written word. When I was a kid, I would read what all kids read at that age. Magic, Rabbits, Stories of Princesses and faraway kingdoms. I would be transferred to a land of beauty, magic, adventure and excitement.

As I grew older, my taste developed according. I picked more 'sophisticated' books, adding Biographies, Classics, Plays of Old, Islamic books and Real-life Novels. In high school I picked Literature as a subject and I aced the last five years in my O and A levels. There was not an assignment that I would do that I did not get an A or B. A 'C', for my teachers was a disappointment where I was concerned.

It was during those years that I was introduced to analysing plays and different works of literature. Of Shakespeare and other such classical authors. My love for literature on the whole grew exceedingly.

My teachers told me I had talent - talent that I should put to good use. And therefore, I started writing after that. I've written a few articles here and there, I've helped people analyse work and now, the field that I will going into is involved with the written word.

However, through it all, I haven't gotten over reading fiction. Of indulging in fascinating stories [regardless if they're real or not!] over a cup of hot tea.

I can read straight for hours and hours and not care about anything else if I find the book interesting enough. [Except for Salah obviously]. But I try and not to do that, infact I haven't done that in quite a while alhamdulilah - until recently. Time is valuable & whatever you do is written down by the Angels.

Something made me feel guilt though... I was out with my friend in Dubai Festival City, and we passed Magrudys, at which I insisted that I just quickly needed to go and browse the fiction section. I hadn't read a good book in sometime and was curious to see what was available.

To which she said,

Fiction? What for? You're just wasting your time reading nothing but lies. Get an Islamic book instead.'

I sighed and laughed and made my way in the bookstore.

But what she said stuck with me.


I've realised it is so easy to get caught into a fascinating world that does not exist. A World of magic, love, art, beauty and the supernatural. Also, I've realised, speaking from experience that sometimes it does take a toll on my Imaan. Maybe not so much, but it does. I have a harder time concentrating in Salah, especially if it is a particularly exciting book that I haven't finished yet. When I read, I tend to get so involved with what is happening. Almost as if I'm there. I'm happy when the characters are happy and I'm sad when the plot is sad.

But... as she said, they're all nothing but lies, aren't they? And that is the truth of it.

Quitting on movies and music was not so hard on, alhamdulilah. It just happened naturally over time. Good cannot exist with bad in your heart, I've realised. One overpowers the other. When you have Qur'an and constant remembrance playing in your heart again and again, you stop finding such things interesting or exciting. A lot of people are shocked that I do not do these things anymore. [Music & Movies] - sometimes labeling me or or thinking it I'm sure with the most famous label of 'extremist'. Heh. I don't mind it much. I am spiritually satisfied and that is what matters to me. I do not feel the need or want to do or listen to these things. And sometimes this is hard to explain to others.

But Books, I'm sure can't be that bad. With movies and Music, there is Shariah involved. While books, I feel are harmless. What I do need to do is though, cut down the the amount I read [fictional] during a day when I'm reading a particularly good book.

Like now for example... I too, like millions of people around the World is caught in the fascination of Isabella Swan & Edward Cullens world. Of Vampires, Werewolves & the supernatural.

[I know! Some people are going to be shocked about this coming from me and my blog which has usually been about Islam - but whatever. We're normal too. And sometimes I just love killing stereotypes. ;)]

I'm on the fourth volume now: Breaking Dawn. And I must say, it's an interesting read to an extent. If you have the taste for reading fiction, particularly Vampire and Werewolf fiction. In fact, I don't understand what all the hubbub was about Twilight [The first book in the trilogy] I found the writing to be almost... abrupt. The plot was good overall, but the writing style was what I had complains about. In contrast, her other three books are what I found better and exceptionally more interesting.

What I do feel bad about is that I finished the second book in the trilogy in one and a Half days and the third in a two days. I'm halfway through the fourth one and it's only been half a day. I've been neglecting doing things which are more beneficial to me. Like going over the Qur'an that I will be tested on tomorrow morning, like going out for a walk and exercising, like writing an article for someone, like cleaning the clutter in my room and table...

Sigh. I think I need to add 'discipline' to one of the to-do things in my life.


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16 comments:

Habibti said...

i had the first book and i read it but then after i thought about it the whole concept and i couldnt pursue reading these kind of books because of the emotions they created in me. you know

Veiled Muslimah said...

actually i think i know what you mean... sometimes its hard to differentiate yourself from the actual book.

The only problem for me is that sometimes they're really distracting and take up time which i could be using more beneficially.

Surprisingly i didn't always think like that... :)

Habibti said...

exactly and the time you lose too. i immersed completely myself into it. i would get mad if some one says interrupts me. i was in another world. so sad and i couldnt even sleep i had to finish it. it was like a drug. Machallah

Cecilia said...

I love to read and I love these books!! have you read the host? it is also by stephenie meyer! and it is also very god!

Cecilia said...

I wrote GOD but it is supose to be good, I missed an o ... sorry

Niqabi said...

As'salaam Wa'alikum Bluey, how are you?...you know, i had the greatest obsession with books for years since i was very little. I would enter a world of my own, and forget who i was adn where i came from, i woudl escape. However, the same as your jorney over music and moives i lost touch with those thinsg, Alh. it was also a natrual 'let go' for me too..however, it also included my fictional books, those beautiful keys to other worlds and times, dreams and adventures. I let those go, with a slight longing..but i did so b/c whenever i read them i felt this great guilt settle upon my heart every time i looked up from page, say 100, and the time had flown by..and whatdid i do besidse just sit and read..it was a tug on my mind.
But, it is something you find enjoyment out of life, i agree with you, it would be good to balance it with everything else, have a set tiem for it...or when you are free, really and don't ahve anything more importent pending.

remember me and my family in your noble prayers, insh'allah..for ease, insh'allah
Ws.
talemulhaq.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Habibti: Alhamdulilah, I'm not that bad. hehe :) i do my other work too... but with much less enthusiasm. Oh and nothing can come in the way of me and getting a good sleep. :P

Cecilia: No problem. :) Nope, I haven't read The Host but I've heard a lot about it actually. Oh and, I just saw on your blog about 'Midnight Sun' - should be an interesting read.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Niqabi: SubhanAllah... It's been ages! I miss you & wa alaykumsalam warahmutallahi wabarakath... :)

You know your just described how I felt/did and my journey exactly. Alhamdulilah.. I don't regret giving up any of the other things though. And I'm grateful for that.

About the 100 page thing? Sigh. I feel like that too sometimes, especially when I'm involved in an especially good book & i have work pending.

You know another thing which got to me? That we will be asked about what we did with our time and that everything we do is actually being written down by angels. And Islamically... time is SO precious. You can't just miss you.

I will keep me in your prayers inshaAllah... if you still come online these days and get time, email me. :) you know my various email addressed, lol.

I'd love to hear from you again,

takecare!!

Ma'asalamah

Amy Marie Royal said...

Hello Sister, It is your friend from Kansas. I can relate to your perspective about indulging in escapist fiction, and I am not even a Muslim and there is nothing in my spiritual practice that discourages wasting time in this way or forbids dwelling on certain emotions. Still, I will assert that certain very juvenile topics may not "feed the soul." Or do they? Part of me has come to believe that kicking up your feet and allowing yourself to be carried away in an author's creation is a little like staring for a long time a natural landscape: it's just restful for the mind, the heart, to quiet the thinking mind and just 'receive'.

Samira said...

Salaam aleikoum,
I know exactly what you mean. I also love reading books about love, magic and other things that aren't happening in our daily lives. LOL I hope love will soon. And you're not the only one who loves reading. Your friend was right and we should actually read something beneficial..

Veiled Muslimah said...

Hi Amy,

Glad to hear from you. :)

I too think sometimes a litte 'me' time is required as well, and well, same goes for fiction - i think it can be read as long as its limited and i'm not wasting A LOT of time on it. I think the problem arises when you become too involved in it and neglect everything else.

I guess with this too, the same rule applies. Of balacing everything.

It's also a problem though, when it starts messing with your 'spiritualness'.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Samira:

Wa Alaykum As-salam :)

I totally agree! And if we can't stop reading the fiction, then we should really balance it with other beneficial things.

Best of luck with the love thing ;) :P

American Muslima Writer said...

Salam,

I love fiction so much it's practically all I read. As if I ever get the chance to read though. With kids and house and husband and blogs lol. SOmetimes when i do demand myself to read I too loose control of time forgetting everything and get upset and annoyed when time comes to pray or my kids go "I'm Hungry" . Yeah so I have to limit my reading too or nothing get's done, I'm like ok just another chapter, just another five pages, another half an hour, andother 15 minutes, and then oh Hubby wont mind food isn't on the table..., then Hubby comes home yelling why I didn't do anything all day and asks what I spent my day doing and I just remain silent knowing it'll make it worse if I say reading a book. Yet he always wonders how I read through a book so fast, engrossed reading I call it.
Yet as your friend said we shoudl do better thing BUT there is nothing wrong with Fiction in my eyes. It's jsut someone imagining a story and what people would say if they were real. People KNOW it's not real but it's nice to excape real life sometimes.

As you said important thing though is Balance.

Wahhabi Backward Mullah said...

I have to disagree when you say that "books cannot be harmful." Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised us to seek knowledge that is beneficial. One could say that knowledge is great, it cannot be harmful. But our Prophet tells us to seek beneficial knowledge. In the very much similar vein, books can be harmful. The Satanic Verses, for example, is a work of fiction. But is it good? I have not read much fiction except spy-novels or horror-novels but I think I have read enough that I can say that not all books are harmless.
Wallahualam.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Wahabi Backward Mullah: Well, okay I do agree that maybe the generalisation that all books are not harmful was a bit too unrealistic. I guess yes, to an extent even fictional books can be harmful. I suppose the solution here would be to really balance your time and to sift through the books you read to take that which proves to not be harmful to you.

Abu_hind (formerly) said...

Hey books rock...i've been reading a whole bunch recently. But no time really: medschool kills life.

Books on reading list (they've been on there for a while):

My Family and other Animals.

And books on Islam....

...I wanna get: Lord of Flies, Brief wondorous life of Oscar Wao..and some other stuff.

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Musings, Articles and Ramblings of a Muslim Woman which range from a variety of different subjects.

Location: Dubai - United Arab Emirates.
The believers are only those who, when Allâh is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur'ân) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone).
Surat Al-Anfal - Verse 2
The Holy Qurán