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Islam and Gaming

I just read a post by Jim Sterling regarding Islamic ideologies when it comes to gaming. As a Muslim myself, I felt it was necessary to set things straight.

Please take the time to go through a small lesson in Islam. If you wish, think of it as a clear introduction to extinguish the flame war before it begins:

First off, Islam is built on ease of practice, not difficulty or complexity. However, there are some who take our texts and interpret them in ways that fit their individual world views.

In its purest form, Islam is built upon five pillars:
1. The submission to the belief that there is no God but Allah, and that Mohammad is His prophet.
2. Praying five times a day.
3. Fulfilling Zakat (a fixed percentage, usually 2.5%, of your capital, given as annual charity to the poor and needy).
4. Fasting the month of Ramadan
5. Performing pilgrimage to Makkah if capable.

Now, with the pillars established, let's look at a couple of other practices that Muslims agree upon, which are relevant to our argument:

1. It is taboo to murder, commit adultery, steal, drink alcohol, eat pork, listen to music and talk about people behind their backs.
2. It is taboo to draw pictures representing living creatures, and if given an item with such a picture, you should not use it for decoration.
3. It is taboo to disrespect other religions, because its follows will disrespect Islam in return.
4. It is taboo to provide visual representations of Allah, the angels and the Prophets (including Mohammad, Jesus, Moses, Abraham, David, Isaac, etc.)

Some people take such unambiguous laws, along with texts in the Holy Quran and the Hadith (texts of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him)) and misinterpret them, or take the ambiguous parts as justification of their behavior and ignore the unambiguous. They do that although it is clearly stated in the Quran that some parts are clear and some are not, and that there will be those who neglect the clear and embrace the ambiguous to suit their needs.

You see, not everyone who claims to be a Muslim should be taken as a model on which to compare all the Muslims in the world.

Now, let's look at how Sharia law, otherwise known as Islamic law, is meant to be formed: It is built on four aspects, as follows:

1. Quran and Sunnah: Use the texts of the Holy Quran and Hadith for the fundamentals.
2. Ijma'a: If the majority of Islamic scholars in any point of time agree on the Islamic views regarding any newly introduced topic, invention, technology or scientific method, then the consensus is formed and their opinion is written into law.
3. Qiyas: If something new appears, without any historical precedent to return to and/or no consensus is reached, personal judgment should be made by comparing the subject in question with loosely related subjects in which a verdict was reached.

You can probably see where exactly personal efforts can lead some scholars, even those not in any formal position or sufficient knowledge regarding the topic in question, to be lead astray by their research efforts.

Lesson's over.

Let's talk about the subject of gaming now. I have heard that gaming, and all other forms of entertainment, are undesirable under the following conditions:

1. It causes you to delay or neglect your religious duties (ie, when prayer time comes, you don't pray because you're playing a game.)
2. It has content that is deemed offensive to Islam (such as the depiction of God.)
3. It results in your neglecting your worldly responsibilities, including family, work, school and maintaining your physical health.
4. It has sexual overtones (ie, Japanese dating sim games, etc.)

I know a lot of fellow Muslims who are ready not only to play most video games, but to excel in them.

Now, to address any hate in the comment section before it begins:
1. Don't hate on any religion. That includes any and all attempts to question their legitimacy and the existence of any unseen entities related to religion.
2. Don't turn this into a religious flame war. In the VERY long run, we'll all know who is right and who is wrong.
3. No name calling. Not at me, not at Jim Sterling and not at the inevitable offensive commenter above your post.
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About SAMA1984one of us since 3:01 AM on 01.11.2010

I'm a lifelong gamer who has enjoyed video games through the thick and thin of my life. I'm also a person who speaks my mind often, which is why I chose to start this blog here where others can discuss what I have to say.

Originally a Nintendo fan, I've turned my back on it when they turned their collective backs on their old following. Currently, my Wii is still connected to my TV and I play with it from time to time.

Had an Xbox 360, which got the red ring five times before I put it out of its misery, and got an Elite, which got the E74 error and couldn't be replaced or fixed. Currently, it's on a shelf in some game repair shop, collecting dust, and that doesn't look like it's about to change anytime soon.

Have a PS3, which is going strong. It's currently my primary console.

I also have a DS and am planning to pick up a PSP as soon as Valkyria Chronicles 2 comes out. And a PC that runs Crysis, Supreme Commander and World of Warcraft, often at the same time.

You see, my posts may get responses suggesting I'm a fanboy or a hater, which is why I clarify this here: I tried all consoles, and didn't cling onto them when they started to fail, either in company support or in hardware/software.

My favorite genres are real time strategy and first person shooters, and I often turn to role-playing games and fighting games, with a bit of platforming on the side.

I hate, HATE music games. I love the songs you can play in them, but I hate the concept.


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