Are Video Games Containing Violence and Indecency Impermissible?
Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
I wanted to know whether the video game Fortnite is haram. It contains violence and indecent images of women, and nudity amongst other haram things. Jazakumullahu Khayran.
I pray you are well.
Yes, playing such a video game would be impermissible due to the immoral content. Such images would come under the bracket of impermissibility because of their detriment (fitna). [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al Muhtar]
A case can be made for the permissibility of certain types of video games – especially for children living in the West. This is because forcibly sheltering children from something which is desirable, popular, and ubiquitous is likely to lead them to yearn for it. This will eventually make them run towards it with open arms, having felt deprived all their lives.
As a child, I saw parents who forcibly sheltered their children from TV without having strong familial bonds to compensate for its absence. The children grew up hearing everyone talk about their favorite shows, etc. Once they had the opportunity they went to the other extreme. There are many stories of people losing all restraint when they taste the freedom of living away from home.
Balance in Parenting
Children are a trust. This means that you do what is best for them, and if they are being raised in an environment where they are likely to be tempted by something, it is better to provide a halal alternative for them. Enough to remove the craving, but not so much that it is detrimental.
For video games, if a child has no inclination to them keep it that way. If the need does arise then provide them with something family-friendly. Don’t provide them with something which portrays graphic violence, nudity, or other things that glamorize the haram.
Another problematic element is shooting games that depict detailed maiming and striking of the face, such as sniper/shooting games. If need be, give them something which will preserve their innocence – not something which will corrupt it. Don’t give them free rein either: supervise the play, participate even, and see it as something which will remove the craving children have to fit in.
As a parent, be diligent and limit the use. Don’t go to one extreme – nor the other. Leaving them hankering only to dislike religion is detrimental, as is throwing them into the thick of all that is out there to entertain the youth with no supervision.
Allah knows best.
May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.