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Are Video Games Haram?

Are Video Games Haram?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Are Video Games Haram?

What is the authenticity of playing Video Games on latest gaming equipments?

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Answer:

Video Games

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

Islam guides that the absolutely most expensive commodity one has been blessed with and will be held accountable for is the ‘time’ one has been allocated with in the short and transient life of this world as a test and trial from their Lord.

Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 67 Surah Al Mulk verse 2:

He (Allah) created death and life that He may test you,  to see which of you is the best in deeds.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 51 Surah Dhariyat verse 56:

I have not created the jinn and men except for this that they should worship Me alone.

The guidance of Islam encourages those who have professed belief to utilize this allocated time in doing good wholesome deeds either for oneself or for one’s fellow mankind; deeds which will profit oneself or others spiritually, physically, materially, or even mentally so that one may further strive towards success and salvation in the test period of this short and transient life.

Islam absolutely discourages the believers from ‘wasting’ their precious and allocated time in doing useless and worthless deeds; deeds which will bring absolutely no profit to themselves or others, either in this world or the Hereafter!  All such useless and worthless deeds which bring absolutely no gain or benefit to one in this world or the Hereafter, nor furthers one’s cause towards salvation and success are prohibited for the believers who sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day. 

Islam guides that just as a student in an exam utilizes his time to make sure he scores the maximum he can in his results, the precious time allocated by the Lord to each individual in the short and transitory life of this world as a test must be ‘utilized’ to further one’s cause of existence rather than ‘wasted’ on worthless deeds and acts.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 70 Surah Mairaj verses 42-44:

Therefore,  leave them engrossed in their vain talk and play,  until they encounter that Day of theirs which they are being promised;  when they shall be rushing out of their graves as though they are racing towards the shrines of their deities.  Their eyes shall be downcast and abasement shall be covering them.  That is the Day they are being promised.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6  Surah Anam verse 32:

This worldly life is but a sport and an amusement.  In fact, the abode of the Hereafter is better for those who desire to be safe from harm.   Will you not, then, use your common sense?

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 43  Surah Zukhruf verse 83:

Well,  let them remain absorbed in their falsehoods and sports,  till they see that Day of theirs with which they are being threatened.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7  Surah Aaraaf verses 50-51:

(On the Day of Judgement) The inmates of Hell will cry out to the people of Paradise: “Pour upon us a little water or throw down a bit of the provisions Allah has bestowed upon you.”  The people of Paradise will reply, “Allah has forbidden both these things to the disbelievers,  who had made their religion a sport and a pastime,  and who had been deluded by the worldly life.”  Then Allah will say, “Today We will forget them just as they forgot the meeting of this Day,  and rejected Our Revelations.”

Beloved brother, the deen of Islam does allow some level of amusement or entertainment which are good and wholesome like spending quality time with family and friends, or some sport which benefits one physically, etc.; but to ‘waste’ a commodity as precious and invaluable as time on useless and worthless deeds which bring absolutely no benefit to oneself or others is absolutely discouraged in Islam.

Thus even though useless and worthless games like chess, backgammon, or games which involve dice are mentioned by name as discouraged and prohibited; the truth is that all such acts which bring oneself or others absolutely no benefit except ‘killing’ or ‘wasting’ time are discouraged in Islam.

Al-Muwatta Hadith 52.7

Yahya said that he heard Malik say, "There is no good in chess, and he (the Messenger of Allah (saws)) disapproved of it."  Yahya said, "I heard the Prophet (saws) disapprove of playing it and other worthless games.  He recited this ayat, 'What is there after the truth except going the wrong way.' " (Sura l0 verse 32).

Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4920  Narrated by AbuMusa al-Ash'ari

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “He who plays backgammon disobeys Allah and His Messenger (saws).”

Al-Muwatta Hadith 52.6

Yahya related from Malik from Musa ibn Maysara from Said ibn Abi Hind from Abu Musa al-Ashari that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, "Whoever plays games of dice has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger."

Your Question: What is the authenticity of playing Video Games on latest gaming equipments?

The vast majority of the available ‘video games’ would fall in the category of ‘worthless games’ where its indulgence would neither further oneself spiritually, or morally, or materially, or even physically, but it would constitute a clear wastage of the absolutely invaluable commodity of ‘time’ bestowed upon each individual by the Lord Most High.  In our humble opinion it would be best for the believers who sincerely fear Allah and the Last Day, and realize the value of ‘investing’ their allotted time rather than ‘wasting’ it, to abstain from such worthless an indulgence as playing video games.  And Allah Alone Knows Best.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

Burhan