Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
1 – Shirk of desire: When one listens to music or backbiting knowing its haram, does it mean they are committing shirk of desire? I read on a website which said something of the sort and that’s really scary because wouldn’t that mean every sin is an act of shirk? Wouldn’t it only be shirk if that thing dominated your life and took precedence over Islam?
2 – Shirk in entertainment: When one watches movies/TV series/plays video games/reads books (like Thor, God of war, Percy Jackson) which talk about mythologies of other gods/idols such as greek mythology, etc, WITHOUT believing in that nonsense at all, does it become an act of shirk?
3 – Similarly, when one consumes media that has shirk elements like magic or science fiction elements like time travel or predicting the future (like Marvel movies, Harry Potter, online games which use magic), does it become an act of shirk?
4 – a) Similarly, is watching Mission Impossible, Sherlock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Big Bang theory, an act of shirk? Because the characters are typically Christian/Jewish/Hindus/Atheist. They have some Christmas episodes and the characters occasionally say, ‘Jesus Christ’.
4- b) Additionally, does it become shirk/kufr if the movie actively mocks Islam and its aspects? I never view anything that mocks Islam in any way.
5 – Is watching cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Spongebob Squarepants, Gumball, Doraemon, Disney movies like Frozen, Madagascar, Ice Age, Kung Fu Panda, an act of shirk? These cartoons don’t involve religion but they involve magic
If there is even the slightest possibility that engaging in these things is an act of shirk, then please tell me because I don’t want to take risks and I would really appreciate a clear answer like if yes or no, and why if so.
I stay away from anything that might weaken my iman. When I asked scholars in the past, they all said that these things were not shirk, just sins at most, and only became shirk if I believed in them.
But a couple of websites I found said that they were shirk/apostasy/blasphemy. I have had no peace of mind since then. Those websites have given me doubt and worry that I am following my desires and doing shirk and will go to hell.
I have a pretty strong history of waswasa so now I cannot even tell if I am overthinking.
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are having so much waswasa when it comes to this issue.
The previous scholars that you have spoken to were correct and you should refrain from questioning yourself after the matter has been settled. Please see this link that explains that committing a sin does not make one a disbeliever.
All of the movies, TV shows, and cartoons that you have mentioned are simply a waste of time and take one out of reality for the mindless purpose of entertainment and wasting time.
You should make the intention of weaning yourself off of entertainment so that you reach a certain age and are no longer in need of them. Video games that contain magic and the like are the same.
As you said in your question, if you believe in the said magic that you are playing with or watching, then it would be problematic, but I don’t think that anyone is foolish enough to believe computer tricks and special effects.
Please see this link about the ruling of reading materials.
Just as a side note, consider the miracles of the Prophets. Are these not more wondrous than the supernatural abilities of superheroes?
Consider that the moon was split in half, that one prophet understood the languages of all animals, that one prophet controlled the winds, that one could bend steel, that one could control and command the Jinn, that one could interpret dreams, that the sea was split in half for one prophet, that a prophet revived the dead with Allah’s permission and brought sight back to the blind. Your superheroes pale in comparison.
May Allah reward you for striving to do the right thing and give you the strength to do it.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.