Towards a Muslim Hero Archetype
Before I say anything, I am going to let this guy go first:
Powerful lyrics, aye? These are the heroic names I wish to pass down to my kids. But getting to this point has been a challenge.
You see I remember growing up in the midwest watching Christopher Reeve fly around on my TV screen as Superman. I followed along and donned my towel/cape. After mastering running around with fists forward I began leaping off of the sofa, in a single bound mind you. My Mom had issues with such antics and I was quickly shooed to the neighborhood playground.
But that didn’t stop me from acting out my fantasies. I would take clumps of sand and crush them with my bare hands. As far as my 4-year-old brain was concerned I was crushing actual rocks. I felt perplexed as to why there was no diamond in my palm. What would I give to my future Lois Lane? Feeling cheated I gave up on DC Comic Characters and found religion.
This was easy for me as I grew up in a house of Scholars. Talks at our dinner table ranged from politics, history, Islamic Jurisprudence, Qur’anic Interpretation and other assorted goodies. Add to the mix raging teenage hormones and you can imagine why I decided on inventing a new subgenre of literature. Essentially it was a combination of my two greatest passions Islam & Science Fiction. After going it alone for many years I finally stumbled across like minded people. Great minds really do think alike!
From what I know about bloggers, all of us have been bitten by the writing bug. We brew stories either consciously or subconsciously. When life allows it we get a chance to type up our thoughts and unburden ourselves. Expressing oneself through writing is a supreme form of charity. It allows all to benefit from your wisdom. This is my primary motivation to keep going.
However as I mature as a person, experiencing new aspects of life, getting in touch with my mind, body, and soul. I can’t help but feel more creative. My writing resonates, boosting my confidence. So much so that I actively seek an audience. The feedback received helps me to tailor my words, eliciting a greater response.
Currently, I am learning to write more character-driven narratives. My English teacher had told me that when reading a story facts and figures don’t matter, it is all about what you make the reader FEEL. I personally feel sad to be living in a post 911 world. Let’s just say that humanity’s higher attributes have not been on display. So I gravitated towards dystopian fiction. It helps me conceptualize what not to do. Perhaps by limiting our options we can better focus on a Utopian future.
As Ada Barbaro has mentioned Muslims have their own vision of a Utopian Society. However, I hate it when people walk around with rose colored glasses and pretend everything is hunky dory. That doesn’t help solve real world problems like a lack of opportunities for youngsters, especially in impoverished areas.
That’s why my manic depressive writing is the antithesis of that peaceful vision. My aim is to rustle some feathers and get people talking. My go to enemy are evil corporations that replace world governments and suck the earth dry. Now all I need is a protagonist who can take them on. The question is how should he or she act? Do we want them to be gods and challenge our decree of “God is Greater” or do we look to mere mortals for inspiration?
Aisha Bilal did just that, she compiled an impressive list of Muslims throughout the ages who contributed positively to the advancement of civilization. She aptly chose the title “Knights of Arabia” my mind can connect with that word. I remember reading Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” to my grandfather. He was fascinated by the Knights of the roundtable. Each one of those characters strived to do good in the best way they could. But Aisha’s Knights are actual people that I feel comfortable emulating. Some of them are still living!
This gives me hope. We now have approachable templates to work with. Something sorely needed in an age when not too many positive role models are available for Muslim Youth. The social implications of which are played out on the nightly news. But I digress.
My point in taking you down this winding road was to add another layer. You see my September article gave you building blocks for writing good SF. My October article gave you a wide variety of settings to choose from. Now you just needed a hero you can call your own, which today’s article took care of. To see how to put all of these components together, check out my November article. Now go write me some Islamic SF! Love to see what you come up with. Cheers!