Question: I am a youth who is given to writing and I produce novels, plays, and stories about good societal subjects which are fictional and from my imagination. I ask about the ruling on writing these novels, stories and earning money from it such as awards from competitions or practicing it as a profession to earn provision?
These affairs which are imagined in your mind then written about are not free: either it remedies a disease that afflicts the people until Allah rescues them from it by these depictions that you have imagined or the imagined things are those not allowed in the legislation. If the things imagined are not allowed, then verily this is unlawful and not allowed in any condition due to what is in that of cooperating upon sin and transgression. Allah, the Exalted said:
وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْأِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ
Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.
If the novels remedy a disease that afflicts the people and perhaps Allah will rescue them from it, then there is no harm in it with the condition that he presents it in an unrealistic exposition. For example, he makes it a parable so that the people can take from these parables a lesson. As for narrating it as if it is a real affair and a true story when it is really imaginative, then this is not allowed due what is in it of lying. Lying is unlawful. However, it is possible to narrate it as a parable which clearly shows the outcome and consequence of the one who is afflicted with this disease.
There is no harm in taking it as a means to earn provisions if it remedies the worldly affairs because there is no harm in seeking provision with the knowledge of the worldly affairs. If it is religious affairs, then it is not allowed to make it a means of earning livelihood and money because the religious affairs must be done sincerely for Allah, the Exalted. Yes, they must be done sincerely for Allah due to His statement:
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لا يُبْخَسُونَ .أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ إِلاَّ النَّارُ وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوا فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter, to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire; and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do.
The conclusion is that these fantasies which are imagined in the form of stories, if there it supports sin and transgression, then it is unlawful in every condition. If it supports good and benefits the people, then it is allowed with the condition that it is imagined in the form of a parable and not in a realistic form because it did not occur. If you imagine it in a realistic form and it did not occur then it is lie. If it he takes it as a means of earning material and what he intends is the worldly reform or worldly benefit, then there is no harm for him to earn the worldly (material). If he intends by that religious reform then it is not allowed to make religious affairs a means to worldly affairs because the religion is greater and more honorable than to take it as a means to what is less than it.
[Taken from: Noor ‘ala Darb no. 213]
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan