Please note: The answers on Hawramani.com constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

The rule on writing sexually explicit materials in Islam

Assalamu Alaikum brother, I just wanted to ask if u have any advice how writers or artists can avoid 'fahisha' in their work. When I write fiction I avoid writing about Islam bc I don't want to mix that which is made up with the truth. At the same time I don't want to represent lewd ideas in my writing but since that is a grey area I dont know how to go about it.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

One rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would be ashamed to read what you wrote in front of your family and other Muslims you respect. If you think they would find it shocking and unacceptable, then that is a strong indication that you should change it. However, sometimes people find something unacceptable just because they cannot fully understand it. So think of an imaginary pious Muslim who is as intelligent and well-educated as yourself. Would they consider your creation wholesome and justified or questionable? If you are not sure about a certain passage or story, show it to someone whose opinion you respect and find out what they have to say about it.

So there are no strict rules on this. Sometimes you have to write about seemingly lewd things to make a beneficial point. Check out the chapter on Islam and sexuality in my new book An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims to get an idea about how a Muslim can write about sexually explicit topics (you can download it for free here).

And God knows best.

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