Muslims shouldn't play games, urges Islamic writer



2:40 PM on 07.26.2010

When games are criticized in America, the attack usually comes from some right-wing fundamentalist Christian nutcase. That's not to say that other religions can't get in on the fun, though. Writer Ebrahim Saifuddin believes that videogames are forbidden under Islam, and has the Holy words to back it up. 

Saifuddin quotes the Qur'an to get his point across, such as the worryingly all-inclusive and nonspecific: "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." That certainly covers videogames ... and, to be frank, nearly everything that is fun.

According to this writer, Muslims can't enjoy animate objects (living creatures) as represented in games either: "There are hardly any videogames available that do not have any animate objects in them. This again renders them (games) to be impermissible." He adds that, Many a times the female characters in video games are highly inappropriately dressed." A religion that likes to cover its women from head to toe obviously isn't going to condone Dead or Alive Paradise

"Distraction from obedience to Allah" is also a problem for Saifuddin, as he believes some Muslims will forgo prayer in order to keep playing a game. This, of course, is often the main reason why religious folk attack games, books or movies -- it's not that they're really worried about Harry Potter promoting witchcraft, it's that they're jealous of kids reading those books instead of the ones God scribbled in. 

In any case, Saifuddin has some interesting ideas, and if he feels games don't line up with his beliefs, that's cool. All this article does, however, is remind me to be grateful that I don't subscribe to any magical thinking myself. Getting to enter some vague paradise cooked up by desert-dwelling cultists several thousand years ago simply isn't worth missing out on Kirby's Epic Yarn. If I couldn't play that, I'd already be in Hell.

Are Videogames Permissible in Islam? [Via GamePolitics]


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Jim Sterling

Former Reviews Editor