Egypt's FM meets with Algerian counterpart for talks in Cairo    Agency: Trump is due $1M tax refund for Chicago skyscraper    Egypt's Sisi urges developing banking sector performance, stabilising monetary performance    Sudan hopes Ethiopia will come to its senses: FM Al-Mahdi    Governor of Egypt's South Sinai discusses investment, tourism with Serbian officials    French security forces brace for anti-health pass protests    Belarus leader ready to invite Russian troops 'if necessary'    Athletics: Brilliant Thompson-Herah leads Jamaican sweep in 100m    Toothless Egypt out of Olympics after 1-0 loss to vibrant Brazil    Egypt rolls out QR code certificates for coronavirus vaccination    Regional forces join offensive against Mozambique extremists    Egypt reports 45 new coronavirus cases, 4 deaths on Friday    Vaccinated people can carry as much virus as others: Study    Swimming: US star Dressel wins 3rd goal in Tokyo, sets 100m fly world record    'Cooperation with Nile Basin countries key pillar of Egypt foreign policy': Irrigation minister    Scarlett Johansson sues Disney over its streaming release of 'Black Widow'    Hatif Libya, U.S. Infinera sign deal to upgrade Libya's fibre optic network    Russia to send delegation to Egypt in August for its mega industrial zone project    Fitch forecasts Egypt's real GDP growth of 5.5% in FY2022/23    Qatar appoints ambassadors to Egypt and Libya    Egypt's transport start-up SWVL preps for Nasdaq listing after merger with Queen's Gambit    Father builds exoskeleton to help wheelchair-bound son walk    Russian delegation to visit Egypt today for Sharm al-Sheikh, Hurghada security checks    Remembering Roushdy Abaza: Egyptian silver screen's first man    Russia flights to Egypt resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada to resume on August 9    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Thanaweyya Amma exams resume after Eid Al-Adha holidays    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Etisalat Misr partners with Bassita to contribute to a Cleaner Nile    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    Egypt denounces Ethiopia's move to start second filling of giant dam    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Egypt's Ahly is establishing a new stadium, expected to be 'sports complex'    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Muslim Literary Voices Call for Redemption
Published in Daily News Egypt on 06 - 08 - 2007

Several Islamic blogs have recently started a discussion over means to combat the "pornographic imagination in Arab literary works through the spread of what has been labeled the Islamic novel.
This type of novel calls for the need to follow the right path of true believers who should steer clear from the obscenity of word, imagination, and action.
The idea of an Islamic novel was embraced by some Saudi writers who started their career with an ambition to spread the moral values embedded in the faith of Islam. These writers think that the literary work is the new method to convey the daawa or mission of spreading the values of Islam.
Some of the new Islamic novelists are surprisingly young women, such as Joumana Ali and another writer who publishes under the pseudonym of Al-Muhajira. Most of these writers have been criticized by literary critics who evaluated their work as lacking in literary merit. But driven by their ambition of being part of the daawa, they ignore their critics and focus on their readers.
Joumana Ali reported that she uses a literary style to preach the values of Islam, and that her targeted readers are Arab youth who are exposed to immoral influences. She has published a collection of short stories and is currently working to publish a novel. Al-Muhajira, on the other hand, considers herself a preacher, rather than a novelist. For her, the novel provides a good medium to convey the morality of Islam.
Another interesting aspect of the new Islamic novelists is avoiding the romantic plot and their use of figures from the history of Islam or among contemporary scholars and preachers in the development of their work. But the fact that their novels are Islamic does not necessarily mean that they agree with the existing Muslim rhetoric. On the contrary, some of them heavily criticize the extremist rhetoric and invite the fundamentalists to embrace a more compassionate discourse that can mobilize the youth in a non-aggressive way.
Al-Muhajira, in her critique of the extremist rhetoric in books, speeches and tapes widely available in Saudi Arabia, mentions that she expected her opinion to draw angry criticism. She published three novels that could be tracked in a lot of online discussion forums.
Her latest novel titled "So that we do not lose the veil is an unstructured debate about the meaning and the purpose of the veil. Several female characters struggle to reach a common ground, and the writer consciously tries to lead them to a good path away from extremism and rebellion.
These young men and women are definitely caught between two dilemmas in Saudi society: Wahhabist extremism, and underground rebellion against a repressive system.
Deciding not to be caught in either, they attempt to create a new voice that can reach young minds in a way that can discuss real issues instead of avoiding them.
But one serious problem with such an attempt is it forfeits the individual imagination that can only come out of a creative and free-thinking mind. All plots will eventually have to prove the values; all dialogues will have to observe the red lines, and some themes will always be taboo. Imposing Islamic topics on the plot sounds more like the creation of a pre-planned forum to convince.
Amidst all other aspects of blooming Islamic forums for fatwas, daawa, jihad, and match-making, the Islamic novel is definitely a novelty worthy of consideration, especially that it never received praise either from the literary critics or from the Islamist scholars.
It may be used to counter the effects of several recent Saudi novels that harshly exposed the repressive aspects of Saudi society, and were well-received by readers. But it's hard to see how the Islamic novel could succeed as a literary genre and survive its loaded ideological purposes.
Omneya El Naggar, MA, is an Egyptian political commentator and researcher in comparative politics in the Middle East. She has also done research on political Islam, terrorism, and East-West dialogue. This commentary is special to DAILY NEWS EGYPT.


Clic here to read the story from its source.