Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom Among Muslims

27Aug - by Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad - 9 - In News

tumblr_mrxwut1Z4t1s1d9r3o1_500

Image: Sheik Zayed Mosque

Calling all Muslim Sci-Fi Fantasy and Fiction fanboys and fangirls. While people have been writing about Muslims cultures in Science Fiction for quite some time now and we also have many examples of Science Fiction by Muslim, one thing that is almost totally absent from this discussion is how science fiction in its all myriad forms has been received by the Muslim audience. To answer this question we are starting a new project at Islam and Science Fiction focusing on Muslim fanboys and fangirls of Science Fiction – stories of Muslims who love Science Fiction and how their background has informed their relationship with Science Fiction. Thus if you are Muslim who falls into this category then we would love to hear your story. We would also love to know your reactions to the portrayal or the lack of portrayal of Muslims in Science Fiction. Looking forward to featuring your stories. You can also tweet to us with the the #MuslimSciFiFan Hashtag. Looking forward to hearing your stories. On twitter you can follow us at @islamscifi

If you have any questions then you can email me at the following address: mahmad@cs.umn.edu

9 thoughts on “Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom Among Muslims”

  1. I’m Muslim and adore science fiction! My parents always say Allah only created us, and I know it’s not real, hence why it’s called FICTION! It’s something to boggle with your mind and opens another world up in your mind. I’m a huge fan of what could be, after all, they say God was the greatest scientist! Just imagining what could be out there when you read a Guardians of the Galaxy us brilliant. I think people who are negative towards science fiction are small minded and need to get out more, there’s a whole world out there to be explored all by your own imagination.

    1. The problem is that the sci-fi fans in the West have thrown the science off the train they call science fiction. The question is: “Does science have a culture?” Can it care about any culture?

      The funny thing about aliens invading from another star is that their technology will depend on the same physics, but they won’t know anything about Shakespeare or Omar Khayyám.

    2. Assalamualaikum brother. I do believe Allah has created this world and we were created from clay and evolved to become many different people. And I believe it’s cool to hear something like this.

      I think sci fi isn’t the only thing we have been introduced to.

      I could make sci fi fantasy or fantasy sci fi stories about mamluks and crusaders who go into each other’s ways until the sky burns and orcs and other mythical creatures appear to take advantage of them. And they could be like in the year 3000 and something-something.

      But may Allah correct and forgive us, we cannot know everything.

  2. I’m a Muslim and i love science fiction =) It’s amazing, how people write out the worlds they have in their minds. And it’s a great way to use your mind – a gift from Allah – in this way. Science fiction for the win!

  3. I’ve always enjoyed science fiction, in my younger days I would devour books often completing 300, 400 or even 500 page novels in an evening then going back to read the book a second, third or more times and in each reading building the world in my minds eye perhaps even more grand and fantastic than the author.

    Science fiction has always opened the door to what could be out there and the endless possibilities that exist.

    I never really thought about Islam, and the portrayal of Muslims in science fiction until the last few years and even more once I found out about your site.

    While not all portrayals are positive, it is always interesting to see how Muslims are portrayed and whether then author has taken liberty to show a progressive society ala Star Trek or one that is rooted in misconceptions and in some cases the ignorance of Muslims and in showing a close-minded society built on “traditions” that simply do not and should not exist today (Malala comes to mind as an example of the strength of women today or Fatima az-Zahra the Prophets daughter from a historical perspective who also showed great strength, and courage). I am certain there are countless examples of the role women play in Islam and society and it would be nice to see more positive portrayals and for writers to portray Muslims in a different light — leave the misconceptions and the ignorant few aside.

  4. Loving fantasy was what got me into an academic career in English literature. I read Tolkien’s essay on fantasy while in University and it helped me understand why my love of fantasy wasn’t just a frivolous hobby, but something very important to me. Fantasy is about creating wonder for things, muting the importance of the material and directing your attention to the interior realities of things, whether emotional, psychological or spiritual. This happens because one, fantasy tends to be heavily metaphorical, and two, because it is in the business of creating feelings of wonder. This makes it a great medium for working out ideas, ideally, and rather unfairly, great at making you love some things and hate others, all at the author’s pleasure.

    Still, I think it’s a shame that fantasy is one, so determined by Christian mythic structures, and two, so hostile to Islam and Muslims. I went though a lot of internal conflict while I was young because the fantasies I loved best were so antagonistic to what were clearly gestures to my identity as a Muslim. I seriously believe that we need Muslim fantasy writers, and not just fantasy writers who happen to be Muslim, but writers who tackle issues that are relevant to Muslims in the extremely potent medium that is fantasy. Those issues are not necessarily theological, but are issues of identity. I want a fantasy in which I can love my own myths and legends and culture, not just someone’s else’s. These should be stories that thrill and entertain on the surface, but ask questions and enable a rediscovery of our own ideas at a deeper level, and all preferably without ever mentioning the words Islam, Muslim or anything that might explicitly direct you to that. Tolkien did it with Christianity. Lewis did it with less subtlety. Rowling did it. And we really do have to find a way. So I’m glad to find a site that is at least making a connection between fantasy and Muslims. It’s a start.

  5. Hallo, I have written a fantasy book with several muslim characters, but it’s only in German up to now. It will be published by a small company in September. If you are interested I could tell you more.
    Kind regards, Antonia Cimiotti

Leave a Reply