Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: I was interested in understanding how non-Islamic literature (fiction novels) is viewed according to the Shariah. I understand certain things are undoubtedly impermissible, such as pornographic literature, but what about novels such as 1984, Harry Potter, Kite Runner, etc. ?
Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.
The general ruling of literature is that it is in itself permitted, and praiseworthy insofar as it improves one’s language, communication, thinking skills, and ability to concentrate (as opposed to things like digital media). Children should be encouraged to read. Parents should, however, nudge them towards wholesome literature–and keep a good mix of Islamic literature for balance and grounding.
There would be a distinction made between literature that is generally wholesome and that is read for good purposes, and that which is to the contrary.
As for fantasy literature, there is fantasy literature that is deeply moral and wholesome (e.g. Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia), and others of rather twisted themes.
And Allah knows best.