Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat answers the question if it is permissible for Muslims to open a cyber lounge as a business.
Peace upon all of you with God’s mercy and blessings.
I am trying to make better decisions in life and improve myself. I recently rented a store with a friend and been thinking about making it a cyber lounge located in California, where people can come and play videos games or surf the internet, repair computers, have some drinks(not alcohol)/snacks and socialize. I understand video gaming can be addicting and cause disconnect from reality if played for long hours, at the same time I think it’s fine to have some entertainment for 2-3 hours a day so video games wouldn’t be harming in that manner and I might be wrong. Another thing is that video games nowadays are turning into a sport, I don’t know what to make of that, those players game as if it’s a regular job, I used to be one of them, nowadays I play a few hours a week for entertainment or don’t play at all.
From my own experience, I definitely see the negatives from gaming for long hours in my self and with others and will not argue with it, at the same time I can see some positives from it. For example, when I used to go to cyber lounges as a kid, I made a lot of friends, we socialized, we started doing outside activities and sports together and plan recreational trips, we prayed together (not extensively but at least we tried), some video games make the brain think like chess players or even better especially strategy games, people play chess and no one says it’s “BAD” and its still considered a game, some video games are similar and could require even more strategic planning than chess because there are a lot more options to think about than chess has so why is chess fine if someone plays it for long hours and no one talks about it?
I want the work that I do in this life to be beneficial for people, the after life, and of course acceptable by God.
I appreciate any help you can provide on this subject and your time for reading my question.
Wa ‘alatkum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh
I pray you are well.
Assisting in Sin
It is permissible for you to pursue this project. Essentially you will be charging people for using the facilities you provide. what they do is their choice – so you would not be assisting in sin. (Salah Abu all Hajj, al Bayan). If, however, you do see someone accessing inappropriate content, or playing a game with such content you should address it.
Helping Others Do Good
Having said that, it would be a tremendous act of service to your community if you made the place a haven from the societal problems the youth – especially young men – are faced with. Make the establishment a place where they can come to relax, avoid bad company and activities, and socialise in general.
Don’t allow any drugs, smoking, or other impermissible activities to take place there. Provide an ample prayer area, wudu facilities, and activities for the youth to engage in. Many of the youth simply don’t have anywhere to go to hang out with their friends – and if their is such a place it usually has many bad influences there.
You could also co-ordinate with local scholars and have some open Q&A sessions, or something else which engages people. Doing so would be a great help to your community, and an act of charity for yourself.
Other Avenues Of Helping People
Look for other means to help people, and see if you can incorporate that into the project. How about using part of the building to run MMA or Archery classes? If need be you could try and get the community to subsidise what you do. The need is there, and if you ask Allah and make a sincere intention to please Him and serve the umma of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, you’ll see the fruits.
May Allah facilitate all matters which please Him for you.
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.