Can I Play Games Involving False Gods?

Shafi'i Fiqh
Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

Is it kufr to bow down to idols while playing a game, according to Shafi’i Madhab? PUBG, or Player Unknown Battlegrounds, is a clearly Haram game. In some versions of PUBG, players will bow to idols and totems while playing. In this version of PUBG, the player loses Imaan. If he is married, his Nikah becomes null and void. The only way to return to Islam is to make sincere Tawbah from the Kufr and Shirk committed in PUBG and to renew one’s Imaan.

Also, will it be considered an ijma if Hanafi and Shafi’i both respond in the same way?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. We pray that Allah guides us to make the best use of our short time on earth and facilitate beautiful ways to find rejuvenation in forms that please Him.

The Hanafi and Shafi’i answers to this question would basically be the same. Ijma‘ is not a requirement for an action to be unlawful. Ijma‘ is also tantamount to impossible in contemporary matters, but there certainly is Ijma‘ that involvement or support of polytheistic acts is unlawful. If a game involves polytheism, it is unlawful to play or support it, and Allah knows best.

Rulings Concerning Games

Other than games involving prize money, every game played by two or more people that relies on luck, conjecture, and guessing, is unlawful (whether money is stipulated or not). Every game not of the above category is permissible if no there is no money therein.  Any of the things mentioned above that are permissible become unlawful if they prevent one from performing a religious or this-worldly duty. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

False Gods in Games

The feature of a false god/s in a game renders the game problematic since it promotes, condones, and desensitizes the player to the worst crime imaginable, ascribing partners with Allah (shirk). Even though one may opt not to play with that character, supporting and playing such a game should be avoided, and Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.