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Monday, August 30, 2010

Where do you draw the line?

I occasionally receive e-mails from people in search of Muslim writers to work on various projects. I welcome this and eventually plan to establish a page on this blog where editors and employers can post their ads directly.

The other day, I received an e-mail from someone who is seeking freelance bloggers to write about love and relationships from a Muslim perspective. It is a low-paying market that pays $10 per post. The hiring website is a popular mainstream website that focuses exclusively on "love and relationships."

Upon visiting the site, I found it did not meet my personal standards for a halal writing opportunity. The vast majority of content published on the site is contrary to Muslim values and includes advertisements and articles that discuss (and promote) dating, premarital relations, drinking alcohol, and other practices that are alien to Islam.

Browsing the site, I saw a few articles discussing relationship issues from Jewish and Christian perspectives, so it seems that the site is branching out to include Muslims as well. It is not, however, a religious site, and most of the articles have nothing to do with religion at all.

When Sr. Sadaf and I discussed a similar ad back in 2008, we both thought that writing for sites of this nature could be risky for Muslims striving to please Allah SWT with their writing. On the plus side, you would be reaching out to thousands of people and educating them about love and marriage from an Islamic perspective. There is a genuine need for this. Unfortunately, however, your articles would be surrounded by countless objectionable links, photos, ads and articles by other authors. Your articles would drive pageviews to the site and cause others to view haram content. This, in turn, would be a source of increased revenue for the site as a whole, and your own income might be tainted.

"Opportunities" like this present a real conundrum to me. If this blogging position is to exist, then I would certainly prefer that a knowledgeable Muslim do the writing. In the wrong hands, such a column could turn into something rather distasteful or present a distorted image of what Islam says about love and relationships. Nevertheless, concerned Muslims might do better to establish their own (independent) blogs/sites on these very important topics and not rush to write for mainstream sites just because they are popular. "Love" is a sacred topic in Islam and should be written about in the most dignified and serious manner possible.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I regularly encourage Muslims to write about Islamic topics for mainstream sites, but this particular site is not one I would feel comfortable linking to. There is a line that must be drawn, and the racy photographs and headlines are (to me) just too bold to ignore.

What are your views on this topic? Should Muslim writers be seeking increased visibility on sites like the one I have described? Where do you draw the line?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe the need to draw the line HERE is a must. If we don't continuously consider our Islamic values and compare them to how they relate or don't relate to others, then our efforts are not sincere for the sake of Allah nor is our goal to preserve the purity of Islam and the innocence of Muslims.
When opportunities like the above present themselves, we should STOP and THINK. Look at how this clashes with our values and consider what the dangers are. Some offers might be tempting but Satan is dangerous and makes one think about the 'benefits' of such offers. But like you have already figured out, the disadvantages and corruption of such pursuits are far greater.
And like you suggested, if non-Muslims should want to know about Islam's view on love and relationship, then the internet is full of it. And the idea that Muslims should create their own blogs highlighting this topic. It is not however, fitting for Muslims or their writers to be exposed to the sites of non-Muslims that are full of filth or have no distinction between right or wrong. And the danger thus lies in the many Muslims who might visit such sites and as a result will see/read/learn about things they would not otherwise. and you can't control what they choose to view even if their initial intention was simply to read the Islamic articles only. But Satan is smooth and his tricks, many.

We ask Allah to protect the Muslims and to reward you for your efforts and sincerity on this subject.

This blog is maintained by Amel Abdullah, a freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator.