As-salamu Alaykum (peace be upon you), Dear Readers...
NEW for September 18, 2016:
This blog has MOVED to the Muslim Writers Club, a new website dedicated to all of your writing needs.
Here are some of the pages you will find on the new site:
Jobs and Internships for Muslim Writers – Check out the latest opportunities.
Freelance Markets for Muslim Writers – A list of magazines, newspapers, and websites that want to work with YOU, insha'Allah. Includes many paying markets.
Book Publishers of Interest to Muslim Writers – Have you written a book? Start your search for a publisher here.
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Writing Activities for Muslim Children – Coming Soon!
Q&A Page - Get your questions about the art (and business) of writing answered.
Articles and Other Resources – Even more resources for Muslim writers.
Hope to see you at the new site, Insha'Allah!
Monday, February 19, 2007
Use of Arabic Terms in English
1. Always assume you are writing for a mixed audience of Muslims and non-Muslims. People who are unfamiliar with Islam should be able to read your articles and understand them without consulting a dictionary or going on-line to find the meanings of Arabic words and phrases.
2. This means that you must either define your words or use their English equivalents. For example, if you say something is haram, define it in parentheses:
Drinking wine is haram (prohibited).
Before defining the word, however, ask yourself if it would not be easier simply to write in English:
Drinking wine is prohibited in Islam.
3. When you must use an Arabic word or phrase, use the same spelling for it throughout your article. Ideally, the publication you are writing for should have guidelines for this, but not all publications do. So, if you start with the spelling Muhammed, don't suddenly change it to Mohammed, Muhammad or another spelling later in your article. It is important to be consistent.
4. Keep the spellings as simple and logical as possible. There has been a trend among some Muslims to lengthen certain vowels, writing Allaah or Islaam (for example) instead of the more common (accepted) forms: Allah and Islam.
Recently, I read an interesting article on this topic:
Can there be Muslim English?
I don't agree with every point in the article, but I can certainly agree with the following:
1. There is a need to standardize the way we write Arabic in English.
2. Using too much Arabic may confuse readers who are unfamiliar with the terminology.