PlayStation Under Fire in Saudi Arabia

There is a sketchy report out of Riyadh today indicating that PlayStation and unspecified games have come under attack from Islamic leaders.

As reported by AKI, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs has notified all of the country’s imams that using PlayStation can be dangerous. His message reads, in part:

They are dangerous games, because they teach the wrong thing to children. They have a negative influence on the personality of children, and thus from an Islamic point of view, it is not acceptable to waste time in this manner.

Badel Muhsin ibn Uthman Bin Baz, a professor from the Imam Saud university, added:

These games cause mental problems in children.

There is, we have discovered, an official Saudi PlayStation site, although it contains no news of the controversy.

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  1. 0
    N.D. says:

    Thank you, Love Gorilla.

    @ curious plague spitter (and Karsten)

    The most important reference on the forbidding of chess is Sahih Muslim B28N5612. The chapter is entitled, appropriately enough, “It Is Prohibited To Play Chess”. There are other references, such as in Malik’s Muwatta, Book 52, in the section entitled “Games of Dice”. Playing chess and playing dice are described as “worthless games”. More damning, Mohammed said, “He who played chess is like one who dyed his hand with the flesh and blood of swine.” Presumably, the reason why playing chess is such an offense that it is comparable to the insolence of touching pigs and painting one’s hands with their blood (pigs are haraam/forbidden) is as follows: it is a worthless game and a waste of time and any worthless game that is a waste of time is haraam, additionally, anyone who ignores what is haraam and indulges in it anyway… well, they are like a person who ignores the fact that pigs are haraam and submerges himself in them anyway.

    In fact, it is such an offense that the son of the second Caliph, Abdullah ibn Umar, who was an important scholar on Islamic law, beat a member of his family when he found him playing dice. ‘Aisha, Mohammed’s wife, threatened to throw members of her household out of the house when she found them playing.

    So chess and dice are forbidden because they are worthless and a waste of time, and anyone who indulges in them is like one who dips his hands in pig’s blood. The former is a game of strategy and the latter is a game of chance, yet both are treated to the same condemnation. Therefore, I would not expect that Go or any other type of board game is allowed. And there is a strong case to be made by scholars and religious authorities that video games are also banned by Islam — not just because they depict creatures with souls — but because they are worthless games and a waste of time, even though they require skill like chess, they are haraam, and the video gamer is like the person who dips his hands in pig entrails and blood!

  2. 0
    Serpilian says:

    Yes, they should not waste time on these dangerous games, and instead learn how to best strap suicide bombs to themselves to kill the infidels! Now that is time well spent!!


  3. 0
    Cornbread Ted says:

    If you think this causes violence in the middle east….. there is a tv show for children sponsored by the taliban that actually had a segment that went like this

    “if you have 7 bullets and shoot 4 infidel, how many bullets will you have left?”

    May i remind you this is reinforcing the stereo type of the middle eastern people?

  4. 0
    NeW SpEcTrUM ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “These games cause mental problems in children.”

    And the sky is green…

    Few things annoy me more than people trying to sound smart. Especially when this guys shits out one sentence, I have to laugh.

  5. 0
    Karsten ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    On the part of it is forbidden to play chess in Islam (which, btw, I don’t really think it is?), I can support this with a reference, at least as far the Taleban goes.

    Some years ago I was working in a sort of language school teaching Danish to immigrants, foreigners and refugees. One of these refugees came from Afghaistan. In the fall of 2001, I think?, he came to the teacher’s lounge really upset and demanded tto know the adress of the chess club in the same town as the language school. He was upset because he has just learned that the Taleban had banned chess in Afghanistan. He then wanted to make a rebellion on his own, so he looked for the nearest chess club.

    Anyway, let me remind that during the Puritan period in Great Britain and during the Pietism period, chess, music, theaters and general amusement was banned in the countries we now know as the Western Countries as well. I mean if Cromwell or Luther stood up of their graves and witnessed what’s was going on today, they would probably also be against anything that took time awau from people’s worship of God.

    I think that’s why the clergy in Saudi-Arabia probably and mainly are against the PS3 and the games for it. (why it is the PS3 and not the Xbox 360 that’s under attack?).

    I don’t know why the Taleban outlawed chess, since it is a game of middle eastern (persian) origen. And some of the world’s greatest chess players have been – arabs & persians.

  6. 0
    curious plague spitter ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ N.D.

    could you please give some references about the prohibition of playing chess? i’d like to learn more about this.

    why is playing chess forbidden? does it fall under the no_created_representations_of_humans policy because there is a king, a queen, etc on the board? if that’s the case, couldn’t it be argued that the king on the board is merely an abstract representation rather than a specific king (it represents more the function/position of the king than an actual person)?

    also, since there are no human representations in go, is it allowed under islamic law?

    i know this isn’t related to the topic, but i’m curious and you seem quite knowledgeable about islam.

  7. 0
    Arion ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The immaturity of this page is reaching critical mass.

    Leaders from a culture that is far different than ours wants to something that is totally Unamerican outside of America!

    Even though millions and millions follow this religion (2nd largest) and have never beat a woman or killed a man, most Americans can’t understand or go with, judge them on the actions of the .01% of them that choose to use thier religion to kill people. Because ynow.killing people turns heads.

    There is nothing more dangerous than spreading ignorance. And you do that by doing dumb shit and then placing the reason within the lifestyle(gaming, Islam, whatever).

    The terrorists have truly won.

  8. 0
    Brian says:

    Well, the muslims are known for their fanaticism, so this hardly comes as a surprise. As long as they don’t invade US and keep keep their crazy ideas to themselves, they are free to do what they want.

    I can’t help but say this, the men in the society are ‘holier than thou’ retards, who beat their women, and oppress them, yet somehow think that videos are bad for their society.

    What can I say?

  9. 0
    gs68 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A friend of mine’s said that shooting games make you violent.

    Now, I know her, and I’m pretty sure she was just joking, but…I’ve been playing games that involve shooting things/people/creatures/aliens since I was what, 5 or 6? If what she said was true, why am I not a school shooter yet?

  10. 0
    diceman82 says:

    and this is new news how?

    In a society that seems to thrive on 12th century logic, trying to push western based social structure works about as well as a shoving a square peg into a round hole(or JT making a plausible sentence…whichever you prefer).

    Yes islam and their book (the quran was it?)is quite possibly the most hateful,racist and unbalanced books this side of the old testament but the people themselves must want to change before any real progress can be made on a society -wide scale.They can have whatever random beliefs they want for now but as soon as they get their heads out of the sand(no pun intended)and open a biology book , gain the sudden knowledge that shit written 2k+ years ago by guys that thought god had a fart and created everything is wrong entirely,they will stay that way.

    As for the topic at hand,yes banning a game system/game in a society that could use a influx of current technology is bad based on a western(and a majority of 1st world countries)viewpoint.

    from a islamic viewpoint this is ok.(at least if you take a work of fiction literally that is).

    ps:yeah i remember it being on the news that multiple suadi men went apeshit when they saw a woman holding position of power in the armed forces.i also remmeber the same men getting a royal beating when they gave her flak for it.

  11. 0
    Shiro ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    yes… it’s bad for the children. and we all know damn well the middle east has done such a GOOD JOB teaching good things to the children.
    fucking hypocrites

  12. 0
    Kaslak says:

    I completely agree with this because parents have to know what are their children is playing with espically when it’s about high rated games like GTA

  13. 0
    DW says:

    May I say, lost in translation?

    The Saudi society views Videogames, as playstation, everything about it is trival and insignifcant to parents and religious clerks.. so none of them bothered about it for a long long while and just assumed it’s for kids… with rampant piracy, which is another topic, parents did not care about what they buy to thier children, they think it’s something like a Tom and Jerry DVD they buy at a local bookstore… they don’t even bother going out to buy them, they just hand their kids the money to purchase it and don’t care.

    This now have changed in the last few years, religous leades have to be hip on what kids and young men like.. “Some of those guys no longer chase girls in our malls bob, where are those guys?” would be the average joe religous nut thinking nowdays, till they discovered that the playstation, had more games than Winning Elven… thus this retardation of a friday sermon was born.. and gullible nuts will believe playstation is evil and they willl start breaking some around like they did to TVs and sattlite dishes.. Untill they make their “own” version of Islamic games.. then they will just go.. meh.

    Aside from that, the ignorance on the comments here baffle me. The Murdoch-faux news and holywood reels sterotypes of ragged savages beating women up is really working liek a charm. Whats wrong with you? retarded? like a parrot, you have your own voice but you speak whats not your own. No differnt from the drumming crowds around religous clerks in Saudi.. just parrots with strings attached.

  14. 0
    Twin-Skies ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “They are dangerous games, because they teach the wrong thing to children. They have a negative influence on the personality of children, and thus from an Islamic point of view, it is not acceptable to waste time in this manner.”

    I’m not even going to drag religion here – stupidity is an ailment that affects every community, regardless of race, creed, or faith.

  15. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Saudi Arabians criticising indecent morality in video games is like Hitler criticising violence committed by Jews defending themselves.

  16. 0
    AnonymousGuy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “They are dangerous games, because they teach the wrong thing to children. They have a negative influence on the personality of children, and thus from an Islamic point of view, it is not acceptable to waste time in this manner.”

    I agree. I also believe that exposing Islamic kids to such violence is having a negative influence on the children. Why play a game that allows them to express violence on another when they could just go outside and watch the Shiites and the Sunnis go at it. It’s much more entertaining. You feel like you’re actually there.

  17. 0
    Brandon ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    it’s not like they’re trying to come over here and enforce their religious/political ideals onto the west.

    Oh then explain to me why they flew planes into the fucking World Trade Center

  18. 0
    Brandon ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    oh and just to clarify I meant the wife beating thing, I knew about the humanoid imagry thing though I still think both are retarded

  19. 0
    MUKz says:

    YO this is retarded….
    they could have pick on any other system but they ahve to pick on Playstation….
    well guess what arabs!!!
    i have the entire Quran in oringinal arabic and an english translation on my PLAYSTATION portable [PSP] right now cuz my mom keeps telling me to read it.
    this can be considered a game because it runs from the game folder!!
    say thats haram!

    btw i’m muslim so Asalamu Alaikum




    -i did it 4 the LULZ-

  20. 0
    Chaplain99 says:

    Is coding a program for anything OTHER than videogames acceptable? Or is that a waste of time, too? Because I’m writing basic Java right now, and goodness, is it HARD! (Note: I’m working on my programmin’ skillz, just gimme a couple of years, okay?).

  21. 0
    odc04r ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    From the article: and thus from an Islamic point of view, it is not acceptable to waste time in this manner.

    I wish somebody would tell me how it was acceptable to waste my time :( I’m so bored and confused.

  22. 0
    Kin says:

    Some of the comments here… sheesh. You’d think with so much apparent hatred there would be more education. Well… actually no, that actually doesn’t sound right.

    @ N.D. you know a ridiculous amount about Islam, is it just Islam or are you some sort of religious scholar?

    Religious extremists always do this, it’s annoying, but you know… let them? I mean it’s their religion, they’re just saying what they can and CAN’T do in their religion, it’s not like they’re trying to come over here and enforce their religious/political ideals onto the west.

  23. 0
    N.D. says:

    @ Loudspeaker: I agree that it’s part of a larger social issue, which is why I posted. From a purely political standpoint, opening up the younger generation’s minds to the viewpoints coming from Japan, Europe, and North America can expand their parochial views of the way things are and ought to be, and that can be dangerous for those currently supported by the values and system in place. From a religio-political standpoint, Islam is supposed to block all paths to Shirk — basically, prevent sin from occurring. Women veil to, among other reasons, prevent lust and fornication/adultery; pictures/images are not allowed in order to prevent their glorification and worship — or worse, the glorification and celebration of their creators as one is supposed to celebrate Allah who created things in actuality. There is certainly the fear that, if one allows paths to sin to be opened, the younger generation will take those paths and this will be the collapse of Islam (religion) and the Islamic Empire (religious politics.) And to them this is a bad thing, not just because they’ll lose power, but because they believe the Islamic path is the only correct one and the only one to salvation.

    @Simon: Yes, puzzle games are okay, but none of those Genki Rockets music videos of animated, unveiled girls behind Lumines!

    @Grizzam: I may have made it clearer in my response to Loudspeaker the reasons images are forbidden. Movies that just film REAL people are not subject to the same prohibitions because the people weren’t ‘created’, mimicking The Creation. Puppets though are an interesting case and Hamas, in creating Assud the Jew-eating rabbit muppet, is certainly walking a fine line. There are strong arguments on both sides of why it should be permitted or not. You can probably anticipate the arguments against it. Arguments for it might be that everyone understands that there are real people behind these puppets and that is how they derive their human-like quality and they are not different from a mask like that, and so using a puppet is quite distinct from making images of creatures who themselves have souls. Also, Mohammed allowed Aisha, his wife, to play with dolls (which are forbidden under this making-of-images rule we’re talking about) when she was a young child, which indicates that some amount of leeway should be allowed with young children, since they don’t know better.

    The ‘children’ who play video-games, however, are of an older age, about the time when they are expected to observe Islamic practices of prayer and fasting, and so it can be seen as important to protect and guide them along the right path and not give them the leeway to make the wrong turns.

    @Gameclucks: that’s not true. While some fun things are not permitted, like drinking or playing musical instruments (except at celebrations) or playing chess, it’s not true to say having fun in any way is against Islam. Only telling jokes is forbidden in Islam (i.e. Sunan Abu Dawud B41N4972).

  24. 0
    StealthKnight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I once read a book that interviewed people that were involved in “special operations” (ex. OSS, SOE, etc.). One of the the interviews was about a scientist that work at the OSS and he told a story about how some of the scientist, who were studying his psychology, thought that they could kill Hitler by sending him Gay porn. They figured that he would go nuts and foam at the mouth at the sight of gay porn. It didn’t happen though as the Air force thought it was to crazy to even risk flying into Europe.

    Maybe someone should Airdrop this minister, a package of gay porn to drive him crazy. Maybe if we are lucky, it will land on him. =]

  25. 0
    Canary Wundaboy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Remember the first Gulf War when their entire leadership went apeshit over all those American servicewomen able to drive and carry guns? Even when we’re sticking our necks out trying to help their asses they continue to preach about the evil ‘infidels’ and how much of a threat the West is to their ‘decent way of life’.

    Well guess what Muhammad, we don;t think it’s ok to beat our women, we don’t condone blowing up people on the Tube, and we don’t fly boeings into buildings.

    Get out of the 17th Century, THEN we’ll talk.

  26. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Keep in mind that the first ever Saudi-produced music video came out very recently. It sparked a huge debate in the country over whether music was or was not allowed under Islamic Law.

  27. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I forgot to ask, how do movies that depict living things fit into this? I believe I once brought up the children’s puppet shows they have over there, which depict living creatures including humans.

  28. 0
    Simon Roberts ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ND: Non-living things are excluded? Then they don’t need to ban all games — they could keep Tetris (as long as they got rid of the little dancers on the high score screen) and Base Wars (robots don’t count, right?)

  29. 0
    Loudspeaker ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ N.D.

    Thanks for posting that explaination. This makes a little more sense about why they’re saying such things.

    I feel these statements are made less as a scapegoat and more out of fear of social upheaval.

    I dunno. For me this seems to hit on a much larger social issue there than simply a, “Video games are bad! Death to games in the name of Alah!” kinda thing.

    I will simply admit more information is needed before making an educated decision on the intent of these comments and their outcome. My hope is that those who are educated there will see these comments as laughable and treat them as we treat JT’s dribble.

  30. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Wow teaching kids to kill and rape in the name of god and “society” is so much better than fictionalized fiction.

    Yes but a modern church can “re evaluate” the mentailtes in their religion, but because of stern traditionalisms and waring triable states the people(IE their society) can not mature thus you get the cluster fck of the middle east, also hard traditionalism of any kind infinitely spirals a oxymoronic mentailtiy.

    Zippy definition:
    Traditionalism:A security blanket for the old the lonely and/or the maladjusted.:ZippyDSMlee

  31. 0
    mogbert ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yadda yadda yadda… games are bad… yadda yadda yadda… non Islamic view… yadda yadda yadda…

    News flash, if you want a game to reflect the “Islamic point of view” then MAKE THE GAME YOURSELF! Banning all games and such doesn’t improve anything.

    Look, make it for the DS, it will fit right in with the Palates Training, Kanjii Training, and SAT Prep games. It will be cheap to develop. You can call it Islam DS.

  32. 0
    Salen says:

    Oy vey. Its bad when JT and a Minister of Islamic Affairs use the same sort of verbage. Well, I guess if JT gets disbarred, he could always move to Saudia Arabia. 😉

  33. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Poor Muslims…some nut goes on a crusade and the whole religion takes a hit. Maybe they should exile the zealots? Eww…but then they could come to the States…of course the Muslim image is so shitty over here, they’d be swarmed, leaving the real Muslims to rebuild their image.

  34. 0
    Saladin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    What a load of crap. Just reading this killed a few of my brain cells. As a muslim, sometimes all I can do is shake my head.

  35. 0
    JustChris says:

    It’s not a Saudi citizen’s problem that another Saudi citizen is not following Islam correctly. But the problem is controlling the freaks, and Muslim countries aren’t particularly known for keeping their freaks on a leash.

  36. 0
    Rhade says:

    “These games cause mental problems in children.”
    ::Interviewer stares intently at the doctor awaiting further information::
    “…What?.. That’s.. I mean.. they-uh… Meh, that’s all I got.”

  37. 0
    DarknessDeku ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The playstation gives your kids mental problems, but giving them a gun and letting them kill everybody is perfectly healthy.

  38. 0

    […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThere is a sketchy report out of Riyadh today indicating that PlayStation and unspecified games have come under attack from Islamic leaders. As reported by AKI, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs has notified all of the country’s imams that using PlayStation can be dangerous. His message reads, in part: They are dangerous games, because they teach the wrong thing to children. They have a negative influence on the personality of children, and thus from an Islamic point of view, it is not acceptable to waste time in this manner. […]

  39. 0
    LAG (Law Abiding Gamer) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Let’s keep in mind that these are the words of a few, not necessarily the views of the many (obviously many who follow the Muslim faith feel that games are okay, or it wouldn’t be an issue that the Minister of Islamic Affairs would feel necessary to address). Please don’t turn this into a Muslim bash. Let JT do that 😉

  40. 0
    TheStripe ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    ” . . . so ladies, continue to hide your faces from the world, as Allah commands, and men, continue to beat the ladies, as Allah commands.”

  41. 0
    Black Sheep says:

    Actually Cornbread the U.S(true story) sponsered afghanistan education like that,they created for instance the “alphabete of jihad” which was like there are 5 russian soliders and 3 are killed how many are there?

    Criticizing ‘extreamism’ and using it at the same time its pretty silly.

    Frankly you can justify anything you want with religion,I actually belonged to a sufi order that believed massive amounts of pot could lead to enlightenment

    the material reality is the most aggressive will always define society/history

  42. 0
    DW says:


    Being a Christian RTS, but they don’t represent christians.. don’t they?

    There are educational games by Muslim developers, they usualy are adressed to young children to teach them how to pray, be good to their parents, simple math… etc etc. They are pretty popular to occupy young children time in the bookstores. But the game development scene lacks direction towards more mature games with better technology.

  43. 0
    N.D. says:


    It’s not a generalisation; it’s a descriptive. Islam commands women to cover — Allah refuses to listen to their prayers if they don’t (i.e. see S.24:31 and S.33:59 as well as Sahih Bukhari V6B60N282 and Sunan Abu Dawud B2N641) and gives men permission to beat wives (i.e. see S.4:34 and Book Sunan Abu Dawud B11N2141), denying anyone the right to question or criticise a man for beating her (Sunan Abu Dawud B11N2142).

    As for objection to video games from Islamic countries, this is to be expected, regardless of the content of a game. Islam forbids the depiction of humanoid creatures (those with a soul) or in other interpretations, the creation of a likeness of any living creature, with the understanding that only non-living creatures like rocks or trees have no soul (i.e. see Sahih Bukhari V7B72N833-846, also see Kitaab At-Tawheed, Ch.58 for scholarly explanation.) Those who make these depictions (i.e. the game designers) will be punished with fire in the afterlife and those who keep these images in their homes (i.e. consumers) will not be visited by angels and will have opened a path for Shirk (which is the greatest sin in Islam.)

    With that understanding, all video-games (because they depict living creatures, and the vast majority depict humans or humanoids, or at least sentient and sapient animals) are haraam (forbidden). Whether it is Super Mario Galaxy or it is GTA IV, the content/rating is irrelevant. A very legitimate understanding of Islam is that they are forbidden images and one should not expose one’s children to corrupting, sinful, unIslamic influences. I hope I have provided an adequate explanation that gives some context to this news item so that perhaps, even if you disagree with this view entirely, it at least makes some amount of sense why they’d be saying the things they are.

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