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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ruling on playing electronic games

What is the ruling on playing or allowing one’s children to play the many electronic games that are widely available, such as those produced by companies like Sony and Nintendo, etc.?

Praise be to Allaah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah.

The one who looks at these games will see that they are based on mental skills and individual reactions or decisions. These games are of various types, with many aspects. Some of them take the form of illusionary battles which train a person in what to do in similar circumstances [in real life]; some are based on being alert so as to save oneself from danger; fighting enemies and destroying targets; planning; having adventures; finding the way out of a labyrinth; escaping from wild beasts; racing cars, planes, etc.; overcoming obstacles; searching for treasure. Some games increase knowledge and enhance one’s interests, such as games that involve taking things apart and putting them back together, jigsaw puzzles, building things, colouring, and shading and lighting.

The shar'i ruling:

Islam does not forbid leisure or having fun in permissible ways. The basic rule concerning these games is that they are permissible so long as they do not get in the way of obligatory duties such as establishing prayer [i.e., praying properly and on time] and honouring one’s parents, and so long as they do not include anything that is haraam. There are, however, many haraam elements in these games, such as the following:

Games which depict wars between the people of this world (“good guys”) and people from the sky (“bad guys”), with all its implications of accusations against Allaah, may He be glorified, or the noble angels.

Games which involve sanctifying the cross or passing over or by it to gain strength, to bring one back to life or the give the player extra “lives” and so on. Also, games which are used for designing birthday cards as in Christian culture are also forbidden.

Games which approve of witchcraft/magic, and which glorify witches/magicians/sorcerers, etc.

Games which are based on hatred of Islam and Muslims, like the game in which a player gets 100 points if he hits Makkah, 50 points if he hits Baghdaad, and so on.

Games that glorify the kuffaar and show pride in belonging to them, like games in which if a player chooses an army belonging to a kaafir state he becomes strong, and if he chooses an army belonging to an Arab state he becomes weak. Also, games which teach a child to admire kaafir sports clubs and the names of kaafir players.

Games that include depictions of nudity, and some games that allow the winner to see a pornographic picture; games that corrupt morals, such as games where the idea is to run away with a girlfriend from the bad guys or a dragon.

Games based on ideas of gambling.

Music and other things that are known to be forbidden in Islam.

Physical harm, such as damage to the eyes and nervous system; harmful effects of game sounds on the ears. Modern studies have shown that these games may be addictive and harmful to the nervous system, as well as causing stress and nervous tension in children.

Making children get used to violence and criminality, and teaching them to take killing and murder lightly, as in the famous “Doom” game.

Corrupting children’s sense of reality by teaching them about a world of illusions and impossible things, such as coming back from the dead, supernatural powers that do not really exist, images of space aliens, and so on.

We have gone into details about some of the ideological dangers and things that are prohibited by Islam because many fathers and mothers do not pay attention to these things, and they bring these games for their children and let them play with them.

We should also point out that it is not permissible to compete for prizes in playing these electronic games, even if the game itself is permissible, because they are not a means of jihaad, and they do not help you develop strength for jihaad.

(al-Musaabaqaat wa Ahkaamuhaa fi’l-Sharee’ah al-Islaamiyyah by Dr, Sa’d al-Shathri).

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Anonymous said...

I believe a quarter of this information presented is fallacious and misleading.
I do not agree with some of your perceptions about the allowance of certain games.

"The basic rule concerning these games is that they are permissible so long as they do not get in the way of obligatory duties..."
Not quite. Consider other activities, such as continous and incessant involvement in development causes. Such as the requirement of workers to perform their task for a longer duration of time, intercepting the time period of prayers. Will those activities be considered as "not permissible"? I believe not, because, in this case, any task interfering the time of prayer would be considered as "not permissible"
It's quite illogical.
No, every game is permissible, as long as they do not involve elements of nudity. Witchcraft inclusion is also not haram. It actually depends on the interpretation and intelligence of the consumer playing that particular type of game. A person having the direct consciencious may not be susceptible to faith deviation regarding these matters.

Music is also not haram. The only form of music which can be considered as haram is the meretricious category.
Even celestial objects (mainly planetary objects) emit soundwaves which concoct into a melodious tune. Birds communicate with a melodious tune. Instrumental music is also very soothing. What produces sound in an instrument? (guitar in this case) The strings (a piece of metal formulated to a certain shape to produce the required sound) It produces sound, not music. Is sound haram too? Or, are collection of multiple sounds haram? I believe they are not.

Children should not be playing videogames. The games are always labeled with a certain age requirement to play (with the exlusion of pirated copies which do not inlcude this labeling). It is illegal to sell certain games to children not being able to attain the prerequisites for playing.

No, television rays do not harm the eyes or the nervous system. We, are subjected to radiation in this world, regardless of man made creation. Everywhere you go, you will experience radiation penetration. These forms of rays do not harm the body, neither do they cause cognitive or functionality declension.

Not believing in life beyond this planet is quite ignorant. I believe you do not have formal knowledge of cosmology. There are 400 billion stars in our Galaxy (this is actually incomplete numerical value we know), and there are billions of galaxies in this Universe. Do you actually think we are the "only" life form existing in this vast system of the multiverse?

Can you tell me, with logical explanation, why competing for prizes is not permissible?

Imad-ud-din Saqib said...

I do not agree with most of what you said. Firstly, how does a person know whether he'll be susceptible to the games he's playing unless he starts acting differently after playing the game.
Similarly, as for music, you might want to visit Also, you said that music is sound so does that mean sound is also haram. Let me answer you as follows! Alcohol is a liquid. If its haram, does that mean liquids are haram?
And as a matter of fact, some rays, not all, do harm the eyes and the nervous system. There isn't only one kind of radiation.
Alhamdulillah, I have some knowledge about cosmology. The post does not imply that there is no life beyond this planet. We do not know what kind of life lives beyond this planet. We just know the existence of ourselves, jinns, angels and other forms of life we've seen. But we haven't been able to find out what lives other than that. So its basically supposed life form which might or might not exist.
Similarly, for prizes, we are allowed to compete for those contests which are either a means of Jihad or help to develop strength for Jihad according to the rules described by the scholars. So we should stick to that. Whether or not there is a logical explanation for something, we should still follow it if Islam orders us to.
And Allah knows best!

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