A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible Under Islam

July 26, 2010 -

Blogger Ebrahim Saifuddin used his medium to pen an interesting look into why he believes videogames are haram (forbidden) for Muslims.

In his article, posted late last year, the author uses passages from the Qur’an to guide his opinion on whether specific game components are haram or halal (permitted). Ebrahim begins with music in videogames, citing four spots in the Qur’an as indicating that music is haram. Among the passages cited was the following (though it seems a bit wide ranging):

There is a man among the people who buys discourses of distracting amusements, so that he may mislead (people) from the Way of Allah, and make a mockery of it. For such people there is a disgraceful punishment. [31:06]

Next up, the depiction of animate objects in games, such as humans and animals, which includes the author’s claim that, “Many a times the female characters in video games are highly inappropriately dressed.” The author concludes:

The making of pictures includes sculptures as well. There are hardly any videogames available that do not have any animate objects in them. This again renders them (games) to be impermissible.

Saifuddin goes on to somewhat vilify violent videogames such as Grand Theft Auto and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, before citing a few dubious studies (from Douglas Gentile and Craig Anderson among others) under a section examining the psychological impact of videogames.

Saifuddin then explores the impact games have on a player’s health, writing, “As Muslims, it is prohibited to get into idle activities that simply wastes time. Islam does not prohibit one to indulge in healthy activities and in fact encourages people to do so.”

He continues, interpreting that while Islam does allow for recreational activities, “Enjoyment and play should be those that are beneficial to our body and mind. That which has no benefit should not be practiced by us.”

Videogames also serve as a “distraction from obedience to Allah,” as, "It often happens that people playing videogames would hear the adhan (call to prayer) but do not get up to offer the salah because they are so much engrossed in the game.”

Games were also billed as a waste of money: “With the same money we can purchase books that would enable us to be better Muslims.”

Saifuddin concluded:

Keeping everything in mind, videogames should be avoided and the money spent on them should, instead, be channeled in a useful way which would be beneficial to us and others. A Muslim household should have members who have a healthy mind, body and soul.

Video game consoles, if used for educational purposes would then be permissible. Some videogames can simulate learning in children and thus can be used for these purposes strictly. However, there are other ways to simulate learning in children but if it is so necessary to use videogames then they can be used for such purposes.

Apart from this, videogames should be avoided and not deemed permissible for the many reasons stated above.


Comments

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

'...and the money spent on them should, instead, be channeled in a useful way which would be beneficial to us...'

There's your real reason.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

If a religious personality says that videogames is a violation of their religious tennants and damages the soul, more power to them.

However it is a matter of belief. It cannot be proved scientifically (since the existence of the soul cannot be proven either). As long as his cautions are directed at those of his own faith, kudos.

Just don't try to use that as an excuse to legislate my games. I am a godless heathen and I will rise up to devour your soul.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

Okay, fine- if videogames aren't a good way for a good Muslim to spend his time, then more power to them to make that choice.  As long as that choice is a personal one of the faith and not imposed on non-believers, then all is well. 

Of course, this issue also smells like the right-wing Christian arguents against games that normally riles up everybody.  The funny thing is how whenever its an Islamic anti-games/culture arguement, the tables of the debate turn and the left-wing cheerleaders or Islam abandons their supposed principles and apologize for irrational religious dogma- solving nothing in the secular vs religious debate. 

Personally, this whole religion vs games thing is a complete non-political issue unless someone is actively using faith to impose law against games.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

So basically they want Laura Croft wrapped in a birka?

 

But in all seriousness it sounds like Brain Age and Tetris would be okay to play since they help your mind.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

“Many a times the female characters in video games are highly inappropriately dressed.”

Everytime a gamer plays a female character highly inappropriately dressed, there's an earthquake.

Shake it up baby now, shake it up baby!  Twist and shout!  Twist and shout!

....

Ok, I'm feeling better now.  :)

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

Awww... it makes me so sad that this guy wants to avoid video games and considers them haram... *sob, sob*

Seriously, although I'm glad I've read this article because it's written from a different perspective than the usual anti-videogame nutjobs... I simply don't care if he doesn't like games.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

But that doesn't stop Islam from playing right? How many Islamic people can also proudly call themselves gamers? Last time I checked, religion never stopped gaming before. How is this any different?

-------

"WARNING GUARANTEE: This post contains material which a truly free society would neither fear nor suppress."

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

So instead of killing people in video games, they should be doing it in real life?

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

a few dubious studies (from Douglas Gentile and Craig Anderson among others)

Dubious studies? Gentile and Anderson are two of the most respected video-game violence researchers on the planet. They have both found that while violent video games increase aggression, such aggression does not produce violent behavior.

Understand that psychologists look at "aggression" as a spectrum of emotions and "violence" as an extreme form of aggression. There isn't always a behavioral outcome, but a "violent" behavior could be as simple and playful as pinching.

Furthermore, they have also found that aggression is induced in primarily players who are predisposed, naturally or as a result of development, to feelings of aggression, especially violence.

Competent psychologists, such as Gentile and Anderson, are not usually concerned with what layman termed "graphic violence" (e.g., explosions, guns, blood, and gore.) Graphic violence simply isn't the research focus because, in the grand scheme of things, graphic violence doesn't really matter to the psychology. However, graphic violence is the focus of advocacy groups, legislators, and other people who don't know any better, so the science tends to be misinterpreted and miscommunicated.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

Lets keep honest though, other researchers have pointed to some serious flaws in their methodoliges for some of those studies.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

You know, this sounds in many ways like the more extreme conservative Christian's complaints against video games. I know this won't be a popular sentiment, but the sooner belief in a supernatural God leaves this world the better. If we are completely honest the stories are bullshit and given a different context most of us would dismiss them out of hand if someone approached on the street with any of the big religion's stories.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

"but the sooner belief in a supernatural God leaves this world the better."

Nothing would improve. People would still act annoyingly with another belief. It's naive to think that eliminating religion would somehow make the world a better place.

"If we are completely honest the stories are bullshit and given a different context most of us would dismiss them out of hand if someone approached on the street with any of the big religion's stories."

Completely honest? What does that mean? And yeah, I suppose that when one changes the context of anything in favor of dismissal, that's real honest.

 

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

"Completely honest? What does that mean?"

Heey... look, someone is doing a Clinton. lol.

 

"And yeah, I suppose that when one changes the context of anything in favor of dismissal, that's real honest."

 

As if religious people aren't interpreting(read bending) their bibles to their own liking already...

 

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

"the sooner belief in a supernatural God leaves this world the better."

 

That is your opinion and you are welcome to it, I just don't personally believe it will stop pushy people from being pushy and shoving their personal beliefs down your throat. Instead of using the various scriptures out there to justify their stance, they will use one of the many bogus scientific studies to justify their stance instead.

 

"

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

 *nods* secular fascist and communist regimes provide a good example of this.  Religion makes a convient (and powerful) tool, but nothing more.

Now,.. the question of would we be better off without it is harder to answer.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

Not to mention, isn't hoping that religion is erased, i neffect, forcing your beliefs upon others?

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

Merely hoping?  No.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

Ah, ok. I suppose it's the atheists who go out of their way to call you wrong and a brainwashed idiot are those in the wrong.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

And then people will search for a multitude of other reasons to tell someone they can't do something.

Religion isn't the problem, it's people trying to use it to justify eradicating something THEY don't personally like.

What this person is saying is his own imperpretation, nothing more.

Re: A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible ...

 Well, yes... that is one of the reasons we have so much conflict between concervative muslims and concevative christians... they are VERY similiar and both wants to be the twue way that gets to own everyone else's followers.   There is also the issue that Islam is essentially a branch of Christianity... so problems one has are likely to be present in the other.

 
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