Our mission is to critically examine the modern era and its driving ideologies through a worldview that is rooted in traditional Muslim values. We aim to affirm that the Muslim tradition is ever relevant in diagnosing and solving modern problems. We invite submissions from individuals who are equally curious about life and able to coherently articulate their positions. We do not shy away from controversial or contentious material, but we do require intellectual honesty and humility. Formal training or education is not required to submit a piece, but we ask that you familiarize yourself with our material before submitting.
Traversing Tradition produces four styles of content: articles, shorts, verse & prose, and dialogues. You can find more information about them below and find specific writing guidelines here.
Articles are longer, research-based pieces. They implicitly align with four broad categories:
- Primers – introduce an ideology, philosophical strain, cultural phenomenon, and/or a foundational topic, including mention of dominant definitions and intellectuals in said field. These pieces often serve as foundations to themes explored in later articles.
- Reflections – briefly introduce a topic and incorporate a writer’s novel understanding of the state of world or state of a specific matter, with discussion on the implications of one’s view and discussion on alternative perspectives. These pieces often remain open-ended for readers to share their own insights.
- Analyses/Reviews – Center and summarize a book, movie, TV show, etc. and offer a writer’s criticisms on how a content creator has articulated his positions and the impact of such positions.
- Directives – briefly diagnose and introduce a problem and then having addressed alternative viewpoints in an intellectually honest manner, propose solutions and offer guidance to readers about how best to move forward.
Articles should generally be between 800 and 1200 words. On occasion, we will accept longer pieces and ask writers to divide them into a series of articles. However, we strongly encourage concision and clarity. Articles must have a central claim and narrative that is developed throughout the piece. Writers may use their personal voice, but must not be overly polemical, antagonistic, or sectarian, and must incorporate specific examples and reputable outside sources cited in MLA style.
Despite which category/categories a piece aligns with, all of our content is explicitly referential and deferential to the Muslim tradition and the scholarship of ‘ulama (Muslim scholars) before us. We believe that critical engagement with modernity requires not just creativity, but also humility before those who may have already addressed the problems we currently face, especially as no one on our team is, nor claims to be, an expert about which they write. As such, we require writers to draw from primary and secondary sources to substantiate any claims they make in their pieces, particularly claims about Islam and Muslim life, in general.
Shorts is an initiative to feature a different type of writing format on Traversing Tradition. The aim is to integrate and revive the art of blogging, where the pieces do not have to be long nor do the ideas have to be heavily sourced for them to find a place in our quest for answers. They are generally between 500 and 800 words.
Verse & Prose. One of the defining characteristics of the Qur’an is its timeless poetic structure. The imagery, metaphors, and form used by God in the Qur’an have transfixed millions into submission. It has also inspired thousands of Muslim writers to compose works of their own that draw on the beauty of God’s words. In our Verse & Prose section, we invite you to follow in the legacy of such writers by reflecting on the beauty of our Creator and of His creations.
Short stories, poems, vignettes, and any other type of metered or unmetered creative writing that is within 1000 words is welcome here. Overused metaphors, tired tropes, and febrile cries about Islamophobia are not. We encourage you to reflect on how our ummah and the natural world is beautiful because of our submission to God, not in spite of it. We want to see pieces that are proactive, not defensive in celebrating what God and through His light, what we as Muslims have to offer to the rest of creation.
We also welcome submissions that translate classical poetry or prose, which may not have gotten recent public attention.
Dialogues are conversations we have with various members of the community about their work.
Traversing Tradition aims to make its material accessible to the average reader who already has a basic familiarity with the tenets of Islam. As such, we have an editorial team that reviews each submission and works with writers to assess the fluency of each piece, ensuring all material is grammatically correct and logically presented.
These terms apply to any engagement with our material and exceptions to them must be solicited in writing by contacting us. Submission of a piece to Traversing Tradition is considered acceptance of these terms:
- Traversing Tradition reserves the irrevocable, perpetual, and exclusive right to publish, translate, amend, cut, or alter material you submit to us in any format, as we deem appropriate.
- If you would like to republish material originally published on Traversing Tradition, you must first contact us and include a link to the TT piece in your republished piece.
- Writers guarantee that material submitted is their original work.
- If you would like to withdraw a piece submitted for publication, you may contact us, but generally Traversing Tradition reserves the right to maintain it.