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Are video games allowed if no naked women in them and no sort of excitement? It is used to release stress after long hours of study and hard work. In the same time video games could create addiction to some kids and take them away from prayers and study. Please note that in the Canadian society everything is allowed, so kids or adults need some time to play.
Praise be to Allaah.
Electronic games in general include many evils aspects with regard to belief and behaviour, and the games are accompanied by music, and young and old become so attached to them that they make them forget their Islamic duties and distract them from the rights of their own selves and of others.
With regard to using them, that depends on the type of game, because some of them contain excessive violence, some of them are about pursuing prostitutes in the street, and some of them are about venerating the cross and raising the dead. They should also be free of evils such as indecent pictures and music, and they should not distract players from obligatory duties. The games should also be free of gambling and you should not play it a great deal. The shar’i ruling is based on the above. If you find these things or some of them in it, then it is not permissible to play it, but if it is free of all these things, then it is permissible.
We should advise parents and those who are in authority that it is essential to examine and watch the game before allowing children to watch it. We have found out that some games include indecent sexual scenes, such as Grand Theft Auto and Tomb Raider and many others. Some of them insult Islam badly, such as First To Fight, in which cities are cleansed of bearded men and mosques are bombed whilst the sound of the adhaan is coming from them, and shots are fired at Mus-hafs, and you cannot move on to the next level unless you cleanse the city of Muslims and their mosques! In these scenes you will clearly see them destroying mosques and looking for those whom they call Muslim terrorists.
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.
(al-Musaabaqaat wa Ahkaamuhaa fi’l-Sharee’ah al-Islaamiyyah by Dr, Sa’d al-Shathri).
In conclusion, having some time for amusement or entertainment is permissible in Shariah, if it is restricted to the rulings of Shariah. So, if they contain any Haram act or divert one from prayers, remembering Allah, or drives one to deviation, then they are Haram. If they are free from prohibitions, then they are permitted. Every means to Haram is Haram itself and every means to Halal is Halal.
And Allaah knows best.
Question Date: 2010-07-27
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