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(Canadian) Muslim Writers Anthology of Short Stories

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books.jpgThe Islamosphere is filled with excellent (and not so excellent) blogs by, and about, Muslims living in the West, trying to practice their Deen. Yet in the mainstream media – the news, the newspapers, the bookstores – we still have the problem of skewed perceptions of Islam and Muslims, exascerbated by such people as Irshad Manji and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (or is it Magan?). It is their books which make the bookstore displays, their faces which are plastered all over the TV, their voices heard over the airwaves, their words read in the newspapers.

As part of the effort to change that, to expose non-Muslims to the correct understanding of Islam and help them realize that the stereotypes they have of Muslims are wrong, I’d like to see more material in the fiction department by and about Muslims living in the West, dealing with everyday issues. Fiction is a wonderful way to reach out to, connect with, and educate people in a way that non-fiction can’t accomplish. Hence, the need for more books and stories like Does My Head Look Big In This?”

After reading Mezba’s short story here, and having read various other awesome short stories written by Muslim bloggers (such as Safiyyah Ally), I think we really do have talent in this Ummah. Here’s my idea: collecting and compiling these short stories, whether previously published on the ‘Net or not, and having them published by some big name and pushed into major bookstores.

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As for the insertion of “Canadian” in the title, I did so because I think that here in Canada it’d probably be a better sell than it might be in America. Plus I’m a Canadian, and I wish there was more Canadian Muslim stuff out there on the market… stuff that’s actually Islamic, relevant to practicing Canadian Muslims, as opposed to the modernist/ progressive type (i.e. not the MCC crowd). And hey, let’s throw in some light-hearted drivel in there while we’re at it, like something about teenage Muslimah biker chicks! ;)

True, it’d be hard work and would raise various questions (what would be deemed appropriate? What would the criteria for acceptance be? What would be considered out of bounds, or too controversial? Who would oversee the effort?), but insha’Allah if it’s done with sincerity and the intention to please Allah and fulfill a need of this Ummah, then Allah is truly the One who grants Tawfeeq (success).

If Little Mosque on the Prairie made it, why wouldn’t this? What do you think? Is this something you’re open to? Something you (or friends and family) might even like to contribute to? Do you know of something like this which already exists?

Postscript:

I did a little bit of quick research on how to publish a book, and I’ve concluded that before we even start collecting stories, we need to get a headstart for when we actually have something to submit for publishing.

Here’s what we need to do:

  • Write a query letter.
  • Look up agents.
  • Submit query letter.
  • Once accepted by an agent (insha’Allah), write a proposal.

So: Who’s up for it? If you have some time, whaddya say in helping us out with this project? If you’re interested and would like to volunteer, please contact us at info AT muslimmatters DOT org.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. AnonyMouse

    October 30, 2007 at 5:17 PM

    Amad’s post reviewing A Thousand Splendid Suns is, in my opinion, an example of WHY we need such a book to exist.
    Let’s hear the shout-outs of support! :D

  2. leila

    October 30, 2007 at 5:30 PM

    supporting 100 %.

  3. Dawud Israel

    October 30, 2007 at 10:08 PM

    If it’s going to be like Margaret Atwood…I say no. She is so BORING! But that’s just another reason to support this. :D

    I got a few to contribute.
    http://muslimology.wordpress.com/2007/09/06/islam-in-the-workplace/
    http://muslimology.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/a-pigeons-moment/
    And anything on my blog is fair game.

    And this is another project I just started. Right now there are stories I found here and there on the net, but I have a few stories coming in for it…not exactly what you might have in mind… :)
    http://ourend.wordpress.com/

  4. Moiez

    October 30, 2007 at 10:14 PM

    Very Good Idea but writing is not my strong suit…..seriously im realy bad at it, but if you need support meaning man power me and my bowflex are ready to lift :)
    BTW has anyone been watching Raja and his funny story on the show called Aliens in America? Its quite the display of Islamic morals and character which is really nice for a change, He doesnt lie, tells the truth, keeps his gaze low, prays, and wears the topi to school, like me!, If I didnt know any better it feels like they video taped me in school except I have a beard and no desi accent seriously I think its a good show.. so far

  5. amad

    October 30, 2007 at 10:25 PM

    salam.. moiez since u took the topic in a completely different tangent with that weirdo Raja show… let me share my 2 cents, which I had stated on another blog:

    I actually take some umbrage at your characterization of this show. Most people I know take this to be yet another lame attempt at bringing Muslims to the screen– its more like Muslim lampoons to the screen.

    I am not sure how you got the impression that it was “Islamically accurate”, considering that the show’s producers were not even able to put a Muslim name on the kid! By the way, Raja is a Hindu name.

    Moreover, if you ask a Pakistani like myself, I found the whole cultural shtick and the odd moments not only NOT funny, but also unrealistic and stupid. Pakistanis don’t act this way… neither do they speak this way. So, when American kids do come across a “REAL” Pakistani exchange student, they won’t even recognize the connection. I also wonder how many kids will use the show to make fun of newly minted Pakistani schoolers in America.

  6. AnonyMouse

    October 30, 2007 at 10:41 PM

    I saw an episode and a half of Aliens in America, and HATED it!
    The jokes were lame, often sexually explicit, and evn the whole plot is just.. eurgh.
    Even Little Mosque on the Prairie is better than it, that’s how bad it is!
    *Shudders*

    Aaaaaaaaaanyway… I seriously need someone willing to draft a query letter for me…

  7. inexplicabletimelessness

    October 30, 2007 at 10:47 PM

    as salaamu alaikum:
    sr Mouse, are there any good Muslim publishing companies you can contact? maybe they can help you out and give you some direction, insha Allah.

    best wishes.

  8. AnonyMouse

    October 30, 2007 at 11:16 PM

    Dar us-Salaam and Islamic International Publishing House (IIPH) are two my mom suggested.
    However, I was thinking that to get more “mainstream” exposure (i.e. be able to get into such stores as Chapters, Barnes and Noble, etc.) we should try aiming for bigger names… Scholastic comes to mind, but there are others as well.

  9. inexplicabletimelessness

    October 30, 2007 at 11:35 PM

    You think just like my mom. ;) You guys should collaborate! :D

  10. MR

    October 31, 2007 at 12:30 AM

    We need Abdullah Potter!

  11. Amad

    October 31, 2007 at 9:26 AM

    Puttar is son in Punjabi.. so

    Abdullah Puttar could be a great punjabi series. Maybe he would be like the hafidh who takes out jinns from those possessed… ;)

  12. iMuslim

    October 31, 2007 at 11:18 AM

    Is there anything like Lulu.com for Canadians? It means you can self-publish in case you don’t have success with mainstream publishers… Plan B. :)

  13. Moiez

    October 31, 2007 at 2:02 PM

    wow realy you not the response I was looking for but anyways I think its better than little mosque on the prairie because there arnt any morals or anything in that one.
    Raja doesnt cheat, lie, or watch bad things, he denounces them like muslims should. He prays, wears a topi, and is realy an innocent person. The name or the way he talks doesnt matter much to me but its his character that I noticed. Look a little closer brothers and sisters, its actually not that bad, dont just make assumptions on the way he looks or his name.
    BTW A ‘REAL’ Pakistani muslim who just comes over from Pakistan nowadays listens to music, has a girlfriend, doesnt pray, calls himself Muslim and doesnt have half the morals depicted on the show like Raja has.
    Personally I dont care if people like that we talk funny or or names sound funny because that will go away. But the actions that he does is what will stand out. People will know hey he doesnt watch bad things, doesnt talk bad, denounces imoral behavior, and is a good guy.

  14. Moiez

    October 31, 2007 at 2:08 PM

    Abdullah Puttar, haha that is a good one, I was thinking something like a series on a just muslim leader and his days with dealing with different situations in the muslim ummah, you know like a problem occurs and he uses Islam and wisdom to overcome the obsticles, it will depict muslim character, how a leader should be, and the the muslims try to stay united even though we are different even several aspects.

  15. AnonyMouse

    October 31, 2007 at 2:17 PM

    “I think its better than little mosque on the prairie because there arnt any morals or anything in that one.”
    As ridiculous as LMP is, there was at least one decent episode (in the new season) where the girl finally chooses to wear hijaab. I was actually surprised at how, for once, they addressed a pertinent issue in a correct way.

    As for Aliens in America, like I said, I found the plot to be ridiculous, the characterization obnoxious, and the jokes lame. I find it too over-the-top… LMP’s quieter humour (far more successful in the second season than the first – I think they’ve got new writers or something) suits me better.

  16. AnonyMouse

    October 31, 2007 at 2:18 PM

    If someone paid me in advance I could probably find the time to sit down and write several Islamic novels!
    Offers, anyone? ;) :D :p

  17. Moiez

    October 31, 2007 at 2:22 PM

    Actually my intentions to start watching AiA was so I could see the Muslim and his character and actions. I didnt realy care if it was funny or not or if the plot was bad. Same thing with LMP
    and of course different people have different tastes. I havnt watched LMP after the first 3 or 4 episodes maybe I tune back and see

  18. Moiez

    October 31, 2007 at 2:24 PM

    Mouse: If someone started to sponsor writers I bet people would help out definitley financially of course. But dont all writers get paid after they write a good book not before?

  19. AnonyMouse

    October 31, 2007 at 2:36 PM

    According to this site, you actually get a bit of money before you write the book! Way cool :P

  20. Moiez

    October 31, 2007 at 3:57 PM

    Where?

  21. AnonyMouse

    October 31, 2007 at 4:21 PM

    Click on the “Sign the Contract.”

    Of course, I doubt I’ll make it that far with any big-name publishers… but I can dream on, and make du’aa! :D

  22. Moiez

    November 1, 2007 at 11:25 AM

    We all will make dua, just try it if your intentions are sincere than inshallah it will happen

  23. Dawud Israel

    November 5, 2007 at 1:35 PM

    Any progress on this? Did I mention my stories were true… :)

    Come on Anonymouse! If you don’t do it, who will?!?

  24. AnonyMouse

    November 5, 2007 at 1:43 PM

    Dawud, you can check out Musings of a Muslim Mouse for an update on the progress of my project(s)… I really am trying to get this done, but as with everything done on a volunteer basis, the faraa’idh of real life (school!) comes first! :(

  25. Mezba

    August 4, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    So sometime back I decided to set up a Muslim anthology project here

    https://www.facebook.com/canadianmuslimstories/

    We got too busy with other projects, and this didn’t go anywhere, but I would love it to become a success, iA.

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