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.”
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.