Q: I wrote a poem describing a scene of nature that I submitted to a large (non-Muslim) poetry competition. I came second place and have won R500. My poem will also be published in a poetry collection that will be distributed. There was no entrance fee for this competition. (1) Is the money I have won permissible? (2) Is it correct for me to get into these things – albeit not seriously and only occasionally – for perhaps some part-time income etc.? This would include writing poems, short essays, descriptive passages on nature, the rain, the environment, the effects of pollution and similar topics. Maybe these topics have some Deeni benefit and are not futile. I do not know. I think I am quite good in writing on these things as well. Please help me and correct my understanding.
1. It is better that you do not accept this gift and return it to the givers.
2. If you are fulfilling all you other deeni obligations, engaging in zikr and the recitation of the Qur’aan Shareef correctly as you ought to do with regular performance of your other duties then it is permissible.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)